By Wendy Stoltz / Last Modified On March 21, 2023
A common addition to cookies and the perfect candy to eat by the handful, M&Ms are a classic for a reason. However, if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it’s vital to know whether your chocolate is safe to eat.
So are M&Ms gluten-free? We’ll walk you through common ingredients and how to read labels to make informed decisions.
Are M&Ms Gluten-Free?
Most M&M varieties are technically gluten-free and typically have the same base ingredients (like milk, soy, and chocolate). However, M&Ms are not distinctly advertised as gluten-free – and Mars Wrigley has never stated that they’re processed on separate equipment from gluten-containing products. Therefore, cross-contamination is something to consider.
The FDA states that products that carry gluten-free labels must have less than 20 ppm of gluten. This is “the lowest that can be reliably detected in foods.”
If your M&M package contains a warning that its contents may contain trace amounts of wheat, it’s probably not worth the risk for people with Celiac disease (though people simply following a gluten-free diet should be okay). However, if it comes without any potential allergen statement about gluten being used, it’s likely safe to eat for people on a gluten-free diet.
Which M&Ms Are Gluten-Free?
For gluten-free candy, there are plenty of M&Ms to choose from. Consider putting any of the following in trail mix or gluten-free monster cookies for a delicious pick-me-up:
- Mini M&Ms
- Milk Chocolate M&Ms
- Dark Chocolate M&Ms
- White Chocolate M&Ms
- Peanut Butter M&Ms
- Almond M&Ms
Note: Be vigilant when checking packages from different countries (like the UK, EU, and Australia), especially because they have different ingredient requirements and processing standards. This article is referring to M&M varieties produced in the United States.
Which M&Ms Aren’t Gluten-Free?
As we stated earlier, certain varieties use items like pretzels, brownies, and bits of cookies. These are made with wheat flour and therefore aren’t gluten-free chocolate options. Flavors that contain gluten include:
- Crispy M&Ms (which contain barley)
- Fudge Brownie M&Ms
- Pretzel M&Ms
- Speckled Egg M&Ms
- Sugar Cookie M&Ms
It’s important to remember that it’s common for ingredient lists to change. Therefore, be sure to double-check the back of the packaging before purchasing anything.
Are Caramel M&Ms Gluten-Free?
Yes, Caramel M&Ms are considered gluten-free.
Are Peanut Butter M&Ms Gluten-Free?
Yes, Peanut Butter M&Ms are considered gluten-free.
Is Chocolate Gluten Free?
Chocolate is naturally gluten-free. That said, many chocolate products wind up with wheat during manufacturing due to additional ingredients. Always remember to read labels carefully before purchasing/eating any candy.
The Most Popular Gluten-Free Chocolate Brands
There are quite a few gluten-free brands of chocolate – and these are some of the most delicious ones:
While it’s especially popular during the springtime (thanks to their delicious, cream-filled eggs), Cadbury chocolate is always available. Some of our favorite gluten-free Cadbury chocolate varieties include:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
After discovering issues with gluten, I had to sadly eliminate Kit Kats from my candy bar lineup. Thankfully, Resse’s was already a close second:
- Reese’s peanut butter cups
- White chocolate Reese’s
- Peanut Butter Lover’s Reese’s
- Mini Reese’s
Remember that it’s always important to check the ingredients on the packaging. For example, certain Reese’s flavors include pretzels (that aren’t gluten-free).
I first discovered Kinder chocolate when my daughter loved Kinder Eggs. After discovering they were gluten-free, I fell in love with their rich and creamy milk chocolate. You can safely enjoy:
Avoid flavors that include ingredients like wafers (such as Kinder Happy Hippos).
Snickers don’t contain any glutinous ingredients. Just like M&Ms, however, they aren’t certified gluten-free.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is gluten-free but cannot be certified gluten-free due to a risk of cross-contamination.
Certified Gluten-Free Chocolate Brands
If you have celiac disease, it can feel frustrating to find items that can be enjoyed without any sort of worry. Consider the following brands:
- Dove chocolate
- Alter Eco
- Enjoy Life
These brands all offer a variety of flavors, so be sure to check labels to ensure that you’re eating gluten-free chocolate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Peanut M&Ms Have Gluten?
Yes, Peanut M&Ms are considered gluten-free.
Are M&M's Celiac-safe?
In the United States, due to potential cross-contamination issues, Mars Wrigley does not provide a distinct gluten-free label on its M&Ms. While the brand clearly provides potential allergens on every label, someone with celiac disease may not want to risk their health
Are M&Ms Eggs Gluten-Free?
During the Easter season, it’s hard to resist M&M Eggs. Their crispy shells and milk chocolate interior should be safe for people on a gluten-free diet.
So are those M&Ms gluten-free? That’s a little tricky to answer, and it can be disheartening to discover that your favorite candy isn’t certified gluten-free. However, it’s good to see that a growing number of companies in – and outside – the United States are starting to incorporate clearer warnings on their packages.
If you’re like me, you’re always looking to safely get a chocolate fix. If a handful of M&Ms aren’t cutting it, here’s a list of more than 30 gluten-free desserts for safe enjoyment!
Just because you’ve cut gluten out of your life doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy delicious bread anymore. Say “goodbye” to spongy, dry, and bitter loaves when you try this gluten-free artisan bread course!
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