As we’ve spent time examining our flavor profiles, one question has seemed to consistently rise among our expert investigators: “Does Ice Cream Have Gluten?” If you, like our expert investigators, have ever wondered whether or not any of our luxury ice cream flavors contain gluten, you’ve come to the right place.
Here at Cold Case Ice Cream, we take all of our ice cream cases seriously, but this is a case that we’ve gone to special lengths to get to the bottom of. Our customers deserve nothing less than the best, and our best includes ensuring health and safety for all. Whether you prefer to avoid gluten or need to avoid it completely due to Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder that includes an intolerance to gluten), we want to protect you and your loved ones no matter the cost.
We’ve gathered all the information you could possibly ask for to help solve this case. Keep reading to find out what evidence you should look for when trying to crack a gluten-or-no gluten case!
The Case At Hand: Does Ice Cream Have Gluten?
The first question we investigated was whether or not, in its purest form, ice cream contains gluten. The verdict? Simple ice cream bases, without any mix-ins, are generally gluten free. Of course, every ice cream maker makes their ice cream a little differently, so it’s always a good idea to double check the nutritional label or ask the person behind the counter who is scooping your ice cream whether or not there’s gluten in it. Don’t ever worry about bothering an ice cream scooper with your questions about ingredients—those are the questions they’re there to answer!
Ice Cream, at its simplest, is made of the following ingredients:
- Heavy Cream
Of course, here at Cold Case Ice Cream, we have some other luxury ingredients that are a little more…classified. (We can’t be giving away all our secrets now, can we?) But these three simple ingredients—milk, heavy cream, and sugar—obviously don’t contain gluten.
So where is the gluten in ice cream hiding? If you’ve ever been to an ice cream shop, you’ve no doubt seen the little stickers by the flavors indicating whether they contain gluten or not. But what if there aren’t little sticker clues to help you out? What do you do then? We’ll give you a hint (which we’ve slyly hinted at before): the gluten is usually in the mix-ins.
Background Research: How to Detect Key Gluten Suspects
Before we delve into how you can personally detect whether or not an ice cream has gluten, we want you to be aware of something very important: an ice cream is only guaranteed to be gluten free if the ice cream creator specifically labels it as gluten free. While most simple bases of ice cream that do not include mix-ins are free of ingredients containing gluten, there is always a chance that an ice cream may contain trace amounts of gluten, or that the ice cream was made with equipment that also came into contact with gluten.
That being said, here are two pro tips for sniffing out which ice creams do or do not contain gluten:
- Single-flavor ice creams (think the classics, like chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry) are much more likely to be gluten free.
- Any ice cream flavor that includes mix-ins—especially baked mix-ins such as cookie dough or brownie!—are much more likely to contain gluten. Granted, some mix-ins are gluten free, but this is a pretty good rule of thumb if you’re trying to be extra careful!
Suspect #1: Pulp Fiction
The first ice cream flavor we will examine is Pulp Fiction—a sweet cream base with Madagascar vanilla and homemade lemon poppyseed shortbread pieces. While this luxury flavor might seem to pass the first rule of being a classic single-flavor ice cream (after all, it is a sweet cream base flavored with Madagascar vanilla), it also contains homemade lemon poppyseed shortbread pieces—a mix-in that almost certainly contains gluten.
Suspect #2: Straw-Buried Alive
For our second ice cream flavor examination, we will look at Straw-Buried Alive—a sweet cream ice cream made with fresh strawberries. When investigating this flavor, you’ll probably notice that the only mix-in mentioned is strawberries. This is a good sign that you are probably in the clear and have found yourself a wonderfully gluten-free ice cream! (Just remember, while a flavor such as this one probably doesn’t have mix-ins that contain gluten, there is never a guarantee unless it is specifically labeled as gluten free.)