If you’re like me and suffer from a gluten allergy, it can be difficult to find out what products contain gluten or not.
Powdered sugar is one of those grocery items that can be challenging to find out if it contains gluten.
In this post, I will talk about the ingredients inside of powdered sugar that cause it to not be safe for those with a gluten allergy and also give some great substitutes so you can still enjoy your favorite recipes without worry.
What Ingredients Aren’t Gluten-Free in Powdered Sugar?
Powdered sugar only contains sugar and starch, both of which are gluten-free. Some powdered sugars contain starches that do have gluten in them so you will need to look at the labels to safely confirm they do not contain gluten. Some powdered sugars will be made on the same pieces of equipment that process other types of grains that do contain gluten so you will need to make sure the label mentions it has a separate process if you are gluten intolerant.
What Is Powdered Sugar?
Powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground into a very fine powder. It is most commonly used as an ingredient in baking or frosting recipes.
Manufacturers are able to grind the sugar using a very fine screen that filters out any debris from the sugar, making it a pure ingredient.
Once processed, manufacturers will sift through a larger mesh to remove anything too large and package what’s left as powdered sugar for sale in stores.
Although many people buy powdered sugar in stores for convenience, the process is so easy that you can do the same thing at home with pesto and mortar.
Making your own powdered sugar is a guaranteed way you can avoid gluten at all costs. Since you’ll know exactly what products are going into the powdered sugar you’ll have no worries when it’s time to use it.
How To Pick Out Gluten-Free Powdered Sugar
The first step to picking out a gluten-free powdered sugar is looking at the labels on the actual packaging.
I’ve noticed that completely gluten-free items that promote this identifier will have a specific label saying the powdered sugar is 100% gluten-free.
If you can’t find this label on the packaging, there’s another label that will shed light on whether or not the product is actually gluten-free.
The warning should read “this product was made in a facility that also processes wheat” or something similar.
What this means is that the equipment that is used to produce the powdered sugar is the same one producing other products that contain gluten.
You can never be certain a powdered sugar with this specific label is gluten-free and you’re better off looking for a different brand.
There are, however, regulations about this label that require the product to contain more than 20ppm of gluten in order to use the label.
If there aren’t any labels that give you any confidence of knowing either way, look at the ingredients list.
Make sure the ingredients don’t just mention starch but look for the specific type of starch that’s being used.
If you see cornstarch, tapioca starch, or any other type of gluten-free option, you’re good to go. If the specific starch isn’t mentioned, it may be better to pass it up than take the risk.
If all else fails, there are some home test kits you can buy which test for different levels of gluten in the product. If it falls under the FDA-approved amounts, you may be just fine.
But if you are extremely sensitive, it may be better to have the tests on hand because you won’t know which products truly are gluten-free or not.
Which Brands Are Gluten-Free?
Aldi is a popular chain of grocery stores in the northern part of the US and they actually have their own guidelines for people avoiding gluten in their stores.
You can rest easy knowing Aldi does, in fact, create gluten-free powdered sugar.
Domino also makes confectioner’s sugar and their website claims none of the sugars used contain gluten.
Their powdered sugar does contain about 3% of cornstarch to help the sugar not accrue any moisture, but cornstarch is a naturally gluten-free ingredient.
Kroger is another grocery chain that makes their own powdered sugar and they have a convenient label right on the packaging that lets you know it’s sugar-free and safe to consume.
Good & Gather doesn’t have any gluten-containing ingredients on the label, but it also makes no mention of being gluten-free at all.
It also doesn’t say anything about the product being manufactured in a facility that also produces wheat or other grains.
Stay away from Good & Gather if you can help it because there isn’t enough information to make a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Ingredients Make Powdered Sugar Not Gluten-Free?
What Ingredients Make Something Not Gluten-Free?
Stay away from barley, orzo, panko, rye, couscous, semolina, wheat, farro, graham flour, and wheat bran if you are trying to live gluten-free. All of these grains contain gluten and would ruin a meal for someone following a gluten-free diet.
What Is a Good Powdered Sugar Replacement?
You can make your own powdered sugar if you cannot find a suitable brand to purchase. You can also use powdered coconut sugar, powdered dextrose, Xylitol powder, or dry milk powder.
Powdered Sugar and Gluten-Free
Powdered sugar in its most basic form doesn’t contain any gluten at all, but that doesn’t mean buying a product from the store will be safe.
You’ll want to check all the labels we mentioned above to find out if the powdered sugar you’re using actually has gluten in it.