Is Ice Cream Gluten Free?

Is Ice Cream Gluten Free?

Find out if ice cream is gluten free and what to watch for before digging in.

As a kid, you probably remember walking down the freezer aisle at the grocery store, marveling at all the different flavors of ice cream. Maybe that memory is more recent and maybe it’s something you do more often than you’d like to admit.

Following the gluten free diet comes with certain limitations, but you’ll be glad to know you don’t have to give up ice cream. You’ll need to be careful when choosing flavors and, if you’re lactose intolerant you might have to avoid dairy, but there are still plenty of gluten free options out there.

Read on to learn more about gluten free ice cream and to see our suggestions for tasty toppings.

How is Ice Cream Made?

Traditionally, ice cream is made from a mixture of milk, cream, and sugar frozen into a creamy delight. In the United States, ice cream generally contains 10% to 16% milk fat with higher levels of fat yielding a creamier texture. Commercially made ice cream often contains additional ingredients like sweeteners, stabilizers, and flavorings – you’ll also find a variety of add-ins used to make popular flavors like cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and butter pecan.

Making ice cream is a little more complicated than simply freezing milk or cream. When ice cream is made, special techniques are used to incorporate air, creating smaller ice crystals to produce a soft, creamy texture. Churning the ice cream during freezing introduces even more air for a softer, foam-like texture. Salt is also used in the process to draw heat out of the mixture, causing it to freeze faster.

Is Ice Cream Gluten Free?

In its classic form consisting of milk, cream, and sugar it’s generally safe to assume that ice cream is gluten free. Where you run into trouble is with commercial made ice cream and ice cream that contains add-ins or flavorings. Some manufacturers use gluten-containing ingredients as stabilizers and popular add-ins like cookie dough and brownie pieces are definitely not gluten free.

The good news is gluten free versions of these classic flavors are becoming more readily available. You can also find non-dairy ice cream made with plant milks like almond, coconut, and cashew milk. In many cases, ice creams made with alternative milks are also made with gluten free flours, so you may be able to enjoy cookie dough or cookies and cream flavors in almond or coconut milk ice cream.

Here are some flavors to watch out for that may contain gluten:

  • Cookies and cream
  • Cookie dough
  • Brownie batter
  • Malted chocolate
  • Birthday cake
  • Cheesecake

Be on the lookout for ice creams that have more than one flavor or any kind of add-in, especially things like cookies or candy. Some of the best brands that offer a variety of gluten free flavors include Breyer’s, So Delicious, Talenti, Ben and Jerry’s, and Haagen-Dazs.

A good gluten free ice cream is worth its weight in gold and the only thing that can make it better is the right combination of toppings. When it comes to topping your ice cream, you need to be just as careful as you do when picking out flavors. Read on to learn some tasty tips for topping gluten free ice cream.

Tips for Topping Your Gluten Free Ice Cream

When choosing toppings for your ice cream, double-check the label to make sure it’s gluten free. Classic toppings like chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and sliced fruit are generally safe but be careful when using bottled syrups and sauces. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a dollop of whipped cream!

Here are some tasty tips for dressing up gluten free ice cream:

  • Create a s’mores sundae with crushed Schär Gluten Free Honeygrams, mini marshmallows, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
  • Warm a little peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle it over a scoop of your favorite flavor.
  • Give your ice cream a little crunch by crushing or chopping Schär Gluten Free Chocolate Thins and sprinkling them into your bowl – stir them in for a layered effect.
  • Add some toasted coconut flakes or shredded coconut for a hint of island flavor.
  • Make mini ice cream sandwiches by spooning ice cream between two Schär Gluten Free Ladyfingers – if you’re feeling fancy, dip the edges in sprinkles or mini chocolate chips.
  • Make the ice cream your topping, spooning it over a toasty Schär Gluten Free Golden Waffle.
  • Sprinkle on some toasted nuts or crushed gluten free pretzels for the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

If you can’t decide which topping to use, why not use several? Create an ice cream sundae bar or layer your favorite toppings between scoops of ice cream in a homemade parfait. If you really want to go all out, try making your own ice cream at home with the recipes provided below.

Make Your Own Gluten Free Ice Cream at Home

Homemade ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to cool down on a hot summer’s day. If you happen to have an ice cream maker, the process will be quick and easy. Don’t worry if you don’t – you can freeze the ice cream in a bread pan or covered container and simply let it thaw a little before scooping.

Here are 3 recipes for homemade gluten free ice cream to try at home:

1. Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk


  1. Heat 1 cup of the cream in a saucepan then stir in the sugar and salt.
  2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the saucepan.
  3. Warm the mixture until the sugar dissolves then remove from heat.
  4. Whisk in the remaining cream along with the milk and stir to combine.
  5. Cool the mixture completely or chill for 1 hour.
  6. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. S’mores Ice Cream

Yield: 16 servings


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 6 crumbled Schär Gluten Free Honeygrams


  1. Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and place the marshmallows on it.
  4. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes until toasted then set aside to cool.
  5. When the ice cream is almost frozen, add the chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.
  6. Chop or tear the marshmallows into pieces and add them to the mixture.
  7. When the ice cream is done, serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze.

3. Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the coconut milk, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy, adjusting the flavor and sweetness to taste.
  3. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Stir the ice cream every 30 to 60 minutes while it freezes for a creamier texture.
  5. Thaw for 10 to 15 minutes before scooping to serve.

While ice cream may not be a treat you should enjoy every day, there’s no reason it can’t be included in your gluten free diet. Simply exercise caution when shopping for gluten free ice cream and be smart when picking flavors and toppings. Better yet, try making it yourself with one of the recipes above!