In The Ultimate Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Guide, I share what candies are safe — and not safe — for when following a gluten-free diet. Always do your due diligence before consuming any product. The information in this article may change should manufacturing processes and ingredient lists change. The most accurate information will always be directly on the candy’s packaging. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Halloween is upon us, and individuals on a gluten-free diet are scrambling – more like Googling – to find out what is and isn’t gluten-free.
This time of year can be fraught with scary gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. People with celiac disease and gluten intolerance cannot eat gluten. The good news is that many Halloween candies – and candies in general – are gluten-free.
In this article, I’ll help you determine which candies are gluten-free and which are not, as well as share how some of these candies fared when I tested them for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor, a portable gluten-detecting device. Learn more about Nima in my article, What You Need to Know About Nima Sensor Before You Buy – Perspective from a Celiac & Nutrition Professional.
How to Determine if a Candy is Gluten-Free
Use these four steps to assess if a specific candy is gluten-free:
(1) Read the ingredient label carefully.
The manufacturer will post the ingredients directly on the candy’s label; however, with mini- and fun-size candies, the ingredient listing is sometimes missing or incomplete on the packaging.
Additional research may be required if the full ingredient listing is not printed directly on the candy label. Read What Gluten-Free Labeling Laws and Certifications Really Mean to learn more about label-reading and gluten-free labeling laws.
(2) Research the candy.
If a candy label doesn’t have an ingredient list printed directly on the label (as is the case with fun-sized candies), research the label online or contact the manufacturer directly.
Remember, not all third-party information online is accurate or up-to-date. Always check with the manufacturer when in doubt or when information is contradictory.
(3) Never assume.
Candy labels and manufacturing facilities can change from year to year. Halloween and seasonal candies are often manufactured in alternative factories to meet high seasonal demand.
One example is REESE’S peanut butter cups, which are generally gluten-free. Unfortunately, the company says its seasonal-shaped items may contain gluten. Never assume.
(4) Don’t rely solely on allergen disclosure statements.
Per the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), manufacturers must disclose if their products contain any of the top eight allergens. These allergens include wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts. Gluten is NOT classified as a top eight allergen; only wheat is.
Candies such as 100 Grand Bars, Milky Way, and Nestle’s Crunch all contain barley malt and are not gluten-free, even though you won’t see an official allergen disclosure on any of them.
Comprehensive List of Gluten-Free Candy
The following candies are generally considered gluten-free. That said, ingredients, manufacturing processes, and ingredient labels can change without notice from year to year, making it essential to research each candy. The best and most current information will always be on the label itself.
Almond Joy candy bars are gluten-free. They’re also Nima tested, Nima approved.
Tootsie Roll makes Andes Mints. All Tootsie Roll products are gluten-free, according to the manufacturer.
Bit-O-Honey is made from honey and almond bits. It’s not labeled gluten-free, but it does not contain any gluten ingredients.
According to the Spangler company website, Dum-Dums, Saf-T-Pops, Swirl Saf-T-Pops, and Candy Canes do not contain gluten.
Brach’s candy corn does not contain gluten ingredients but is not labeled gluten-free. It has been Nima tested and Nima approved. Jelly Belly candy corn is also gluten-free.
Brookside Dark Chocolate
According to Hershey’s, Brookside dark chocolate is gluten-free. The bag is also labeled gluten-free, and the product has been Nima tested and Nima approved.
According to the Butterfinger website, most Butterfinger products are gluten-free. Regular Butterfingers have also been Nima tested, and Nima approved. The Butterfinger Crisp is NOT gluten-free, however.
According to Tootsie Roll, Dots are gluten-free.
Goobers are labeled gluten-free directly on the packaging.
Heath Toffee Bars
According to Hershey’s, Heath Toffee Bars are gluten-free and made from English toffee and chocolate. It has also been Nima tested, and Nima approved.
Milk chocolate Hershey Kisses are gluten-free, but check the Hershey’s website for information about other varieties.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars
According to Hershey’s, the original milk chocolate bar is gluten-free. The Hershey’s milk chocolate and almonds bar are also labeled gluten-free.
According to Hershey’s, and as labeled on the packaging, all Hershey’s Nuggets are gluten-free.
According to Just Born, MIKE AND IKE®, HOT TAMALES®, PEEPS®, GOLDENBERG’S® PEANUT CHEWS®, TEENEE BEANEE®, and JUST BORN® brands are all gluten-free. The company says it’s working on updating its package labels to include gluten-free statements where appropriate. The modified food starch used in the candies is cornstarch. The company says always to read ingredient labels carefully.
The company says all flavors of Jelly Belly beans are free of gluten. The company says it doesn’t use wheat, rye, barley, or oats in the basic recipe for Jelly Belly jelly beans. The modified food starch listed on the package is cornstarch.
Both Jolly Rancher hard and soft candies do not contain gluten.
Junior Mints are gluten-free and labeled gluten-free directly on the packaging.
Laffy Taffy candies (including original, ropes, and chews) do not contain gluten ingredients. The original Laffy Taffys have been Nima tested and are Nima approved. However, the company says on its website, “For gluten-free, product-specific information, please contact Ferrara Consumer Relations by completing the Contact Us form. Due to changes that may occur in the manufacturing and packaging environments, Ferrara does not provide allergen or gluten-free lists on this site.”
M&Ms are not labeled gluten-free, but they do not contain any gluten ingredients. The following M&M varieties have been Nima tested and are Nima approved: Regular M&Ms, Peanut M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms, and Caramel M&Ms.
Mike and Ikes
Mike and Ikes are gluten-free. See Hot Tamales above for an explanation.
Milk Duds are chocolate-covered caramels, and they’re gluten-free, according to Hershey’s. They have also been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
These soft coconut bars wrapped in dark chocolate are gluten-free, according to Hershey’s.
I tested several NERDS candies for hidden gluten, including the original NERDS seen below and NERDS ropes. Get the full scoop here.
Both regular and sugar-free Nips do not contain gluten ingredients, according to Fererra.
Oh Henry! bars are not labeled gluten-free, but they do not contain any gluten ingredients.
Payday candy bars are salted peanuts covering a nougat-like sweet caramel center. They are gluten-free, according to the Hershey website.
Peeps are gluten-free and labeled gluten-free too. They have also been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
Raisinets are gluten-free and labeled as such on the packaging.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
According to Hershey’s, “All varieties of REESE’S peanut butter cups are gluten-free except for seasonally shaped items.” The minis have been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
REESE’s Pieces are labeled gluten-free. REESE’s Pieces have been Nima tested and are Nima-approved. Avoid all seasonal items unless marked gluten-free.
According to Hershey’s, “ROLO® candies are gluten-free and do not contain wheat, barley, oats, rye or any added gluten.” They have also been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
SKOR Toffee Bars
This crisp butter SKOR toffee bar is gluten-free, according to Hershey’s. It’s also labeled gluten-free on the packaging.
Skittles are gluten-free and labeled as such. They have also been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
Smarties are gluten-free, according to the manufacturer. Smarties says on its website that its entire line of products is gluten-free, and if the UPC number on the packaging begins with “0 11206”, it’s been manufactured in a facility that is gluten-free and is safe for those with celiac disease. The product has also been Nima tested and is Nima-approved.
Snickers do not contain any gluten ingredients, but they are not labeled gluten-free. Snickers have been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
Sno-Caps do not contain any gluten ingredients, but they are not labeled gluten-free.
SweetTART Original and SweetTART Mini Chewy candies do not contain gluten but are not labeled gluten-free. The original has been Nima tested and is Nima-approved. Please note that SweetTARTS Ropes and Ropes Bites contain wheat and are NOT gluten-free.
Three Musketeer bars do not contain gluten, but they are not labeled gluten-free. They have been Nima tested and are Nima-approved.
Tootsie Roll says, “At this time, all of our confections are gluten-free. We do not use wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, or any of their components, and that includes dusting on our conveyor belts. We use corn and soy products in the manufacturing of our products.” This means Sugar Daddy, Charleston Chews, and other candies from Tootsie are gluten-free, too.
YORK Peppermint Patties
According to Hershey’s website, YORK Peppermint Patties and YORK Sugar-Free are gluten-free; however, other YORK products, including YORK Minis and YORK Shapes, are not gluten-free.
Candies to Avoid
The following candies are NOT safe to eat if you’re following a gluten-free diet and should be avoided:
- 100 Grand Bars – contains barley malt
- Baby Ruth – Baby Ruth does not contain any gluten ingredients. However, the company’s FAQ strangely says they are not gluten-free. Confusing!
- Butterfinger Crisp – While butterfingers are gluten-free, the Crisps are not.
- Kit Kats – contains wheat.
- Milky Way – contains barley malt (Dark and Midnight varieties are made with vanilla vs. malt and, therefore, do not contain any gluten ingredients).
- Mr. Goodbar – Hershey’s says MR. GOODBAR bars are not gluten-free. The ingredient list looks okay, but I’ll take Hersey’s word.
- Nestle Crunch Bars – contains barley malt.
- Red Vines – contain wheat.
- REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups – seasonal shapes contain gluten (original is gluten-free)
- SweetTARTS Ropes and Ropes Bites – contains wheat
- Twix – contains wheat
- Twizzlers – contains wheat (learn about gluten-free licorice options.)
- YORK Minis and YORK Shapes – only York Peppermint Patties and YORK Sugar-Free are gluten-free
A Word about Halloween Candy
Remember to always be extra cautious before eating Halloween candy. Much of it is manufactured in alternative factories to meet high seasonal demand.
Always double-check if the fun- or mini-sized treats or specially packaged Halloween-shaped items are gluten-free before consuming. Don’t rely on prior knowledge or this list, as things can change from holiday to holiday, season to season, and even day to day.
Even better, purchase organic, better-for-you gluten-free Halloween candy that is certified gluten-free, or donate your Halloween candy to our troops. Who needs all that sugar and potential gluten in your house anyway!?!
- Gluten-Free Boxes of Chocolates (and assorted chocolate brands)
- Are See’s Candies Gluten Free?
- Are Chocolate Chips Gluten Free?
- Are Candy Canes Gluten Free?
- Are NERDS Gluten-Free? I Nima Tested It for Hidden Gluten
- Is Licorice Gluten Free? The Truth about Twizzlers, Red Vines and More!
- Are Snickers Gluten Free? And a Healthy Snicker Bar Recipe!
- Are Doritos Gluten-Free? 10 Chips Brands Tested for Hidden Gluten
Try these Gluten-Free Halloween Recipes
Halloween Sugar Cookies: These spooktacular gluten-free Halloween cookies are super tasty and make for a fun craft for the kiddos. They’re made with an egg-free royal icing.
Chocolate Brownies: These intensely fudgy gluten-free chocolate brownies can be decorated with cobwebs for a spooky Halloween treat.
Pumpkin Cupcakes: These super moist and soft gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes made with almond flour include instructions for making a chocolate spider web on top.