Is Candy Gluten Free? Researching Gluten-Free Candy

Last updated on April 13th, 2023

Living gluten free includes watching for hidden sources of gluten everywhere. At some point you might find yourself wondering, is candy gluten free? A simple online search could yield millions of results, but how do you know who to trust? Avoid falling down a research rabbit hole with the following insights into researching gluten-free candy.

candy sorted by color

Primary Sources

Some sources of gluten are obvious, like Twix bars and chocolate covered pretzels. Other sources aren’t as apparent; for instance, did you know that Twizzlers and most candy with crisped rice aren’t safe for people with celiac disease?

If you have access to the original packaging, read front and back labels for any details about gluten, gluten-containing ingredients, or chances of cross-contact. Get to know which manufacturers are fully transparent about food allergens in their products, and watch out for those that are more illusive.

Strained Supply Chains
As you become familiar with safe candy brands, continue to check if products are currently safe for celiac. Due to supply chains issues, manufacturers might change their formulas depending on the candy-making components they can acquire. This means ingredients might be different from years prior.

If the candy wrappers don’t yield information regarding gluten, you have a few more avenues of research.

First, check the manufacturer’s website for any gluten statements. If you still don’t find what you’re looking for, the next step would be directly contacting the company to inquire about gluten. However, please value your time and decide if it’s worth making a phone call or waiting for an email to find out if a single piece of candy is safe to eat.

Nonetheless, in some circumstances like post trick-or treating, you might not have access to outer packaging, and don’t have time to wait for an email reply. In these cases, it’s time for internet research.

Online Research

Thankfully, gluten-free candy lists are available online, like this jelly bean guide.

It’s important to vet your sources, and look for information curated on websites you trust, like the Celiac Disease Foundation’s gluten-free candy list. When it comes to gluten research, don’t blindly follow search engine ads or featured snippets.  

Also, be certain to access a current list. A list assembled in 2018 might not be up to date for this year. In fact, many of the top gluten-free candy lists were compiled 5 to 10 years ago. Some sites update their lists annually to reflect changes in manufacturing practices, while others have been dormant for years. Look for clues like when the list was last updated, or if the current year is included in the title or within the post.

Keep spirits up if kiddos are there while you investigate what candy is gluten free. It won’t be easy for them to wait and then inevitably loose part of their candy haul. Be supportive, stay sensitive to their feelings, and focus on the candy they can enjoy.

Holiday Candy Special Considerations

Sometimes brands that are normally gluten free manufacture their specialty holiday candy on shared equipment, so these products may inadvertently contain gluten. For example, regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are gluten free, but the heart-shaped ones are not safe for people with celiac, and the minis are iffy.

Novelty holiday candy produced by smaller companies can be difficult to research. Double check packaging for wheat allergy warnings and scan ingredient lists for malt, which is made from barley.

At times it feels nearly impossible to uncover if a piece of candy is safe for celiac. For instance, your child might receive a valentine including a generic lollipop. Without access to the original packaging you don’t know the ingredients or potential allergy statement. The tough reality is that a piece of candy isn’t worth the potential gluten exposure.

two heart-shaped lollipops

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

If you can’t unearth if a piece of candy is safe for celiac, err on the side of caution and don’t eat it. This will arguably be easier for you to do as an adult than it will be for children. Some families offer cash for candy from trick-or-treating or gift bags. You could also make an effort to have gluten-free treats available to make up for the candy they can’t have.


Tracking down what candy is gluten free can be frustrating, but try to stay positive with the kiddos. Start with primary sources—packaging information and manufacturer statements. If you still have questions, take care to find the most up-to-date information online. Finally, when in doubt, throw it out and find a suitable replacement.

Leave a comment with your tips for looking up gluten-free candy.

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