You know how the old saying/song goes: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”
Ice cream is a delightful treat that satisfies all of your sweet cravings, as well as cools you down after a hot day. This sweet dairy product is the staple in birthday parties, family dinners, hangouts with friends or a simple de-stress hour during break time.
Despite the popular song claiming that everyone screams for ice cream, however, not everyone can indulge in this sweet treat — particularly those with diet restrictions. One of the most common concerns is gluten. Is there such a thing as gluten-free ice cream?
If you’re living with a gluten restriction and in love with ice cream, there’s hope. Here’s everything you need to know about gluten-free ice cream — is ice cream gluten-free? If not, can you make your own ice cream? What brands are gluten-free?
Is Ice Cream Gluten-Free? The Cold Truth
In general, most ice cream, in their natural form, is gluten-free. Some brands, however, thicken its ice cream with wheat flour or use barley malt syrup to improve the sweetness of the treat. For this reason, you should always read the ingredient label to ensure your ice cream is free from these ingredients.
Then there’s the issue of cross-contamination. Even if a company produced gluten-free ice cream, they may have processed the product in a facility with other food products that contain gluten. For instance, many ice cream parlors offer different gluten-free ice cream flavors, including the classic flavors vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, as well as some exotic flavors.
A rule of thumb with ice cream flavors: an indicator of gluten in your ice cream is the ingredient. If it’s made with gluten — Oreo, chocolate chip cookies, birthday cake or fudge — skip this flavor. Instead, go for products that are labeled “certified gluten-free.”
If you want to be safe with your ice cream, you should do more than avoid the cones and gluten-containing toppings and flavors.
Some ice cream shops use the same scoops to scoop gluten-free flavors and safe flavors. They may rinse the scoop off with water in between or they may not. Either way, there’s no assurance they’re rinsing off the scoops properly. Plus, the toppings are often grouped close together. So, you may request gluten-free M&Ms sitting next to the gluten-rich cookie crumbles and end up eating bits of the latter. In this situation, you’re at risk for gluten cross-contamination.
“Is any ice cream gluten-free then?” you may ask.
Apart from the intentionally gluten-free ice cream treats, soft-serve ice cream is a safer bet compared to scooped ice cream. Still, you need to watch out for some problem areas.
Which Brands of Ice Cream are Gluten-Free?
The best way to indulge in gluten-free ice cream without worrying about the hidden gluten or cross-contamination issues, buy gluten-free treats from the following brands:
- Ben and Jerry’s. This beloved ice cream brand offers plenty of delicious gluten-free ice cream flavors such as Phish Food, Chunky Monkey, Caramel Chunk, Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Macadamia.
- Breyers. If you’re a big fan of vanilla minus the gluten, this brand has your back. Apart from their Vanilla Fudge Twirl, Breyers offers more than 30 gluten-free flavors, which includes Mint Chocolate Chip and Vanilla Caramel.
- Dove. Dove’s ice cream products are the best bets for people on gluten-watch. Almost all of their ice cream flavors (except Vanilla with Fudge Brownies) are gluten-free.
- Häagen-Dazs. The list of mouthwatering gluten-free options, from White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle to Banana Peanut Butter Chip ice cream.
- So Delicious. The brand’s selection of dairy-free ice creams is also gluten-free and their flavors include your favorites: cookie dough and cookies ‘n cream.
How to Make Gluten-Free Ice Cream from Scratch
If store-bought gluten-free ice cream is not an option, you can always make your own. Start by lining a loaf pan with parchment paper and placing that in the freezer. While the pan is in the freezer, combine vanilla paste (or extract), sweetened condensed milk and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream at a medium-high speed until you see peaks. Next, gently fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk. Add flavor by stirring in gluten-free add-ins like gluten-free cookies, mint extract, gluten-free peanut butter and more. Pour everything into a prepared pan, cover it with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
Serve in a bowl and enjoy!
Gluten shouldn’t stop you from indulging in ice cream. There are many gluten-free options available to you. If not, you can make your own.