Are all Jolly Rancher products gluten-free?

Jolly Rancher is a popular brand of fruit-flavored hard candy produced by The Hershey Company. With bright, vibrant colors and intense fruit flavors, Jolly Ranchers have been a favorite treat for both kids and adults since they were first introduced in 1949.

For people living with celiac disease or following a gluten-free diet, enjoying sweets and candies without having to worry about gluten can be a challenge. With so many products containing wheat, barley or rye, it’s important to find brands and confections that are certified gluten-free.

What is gluten?

Before diving into whether Jolly Ranchers are gluten-free, it’s helpful to understand what gluten is in the first place. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and other closely related cereal grains.

For most people, gluten poses no issues and can be consumed without any problems. But for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and more in sensitive individuals.

The only treatment for gluten-related disorders like celiac disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet, avoiding any foods and products containing gluten. That’s why it’s important for those adhering to a gluten-free diet to closely check labels and choose certified gluten-free products whenever possible.

Are Jolly Ranchers gluten-free?

The good news is that all Jolly Rancher candies are considered gluten-free.

According to the Jolly Rancher website, as well as consumer reviews on sites like VeryWell Fit, the ingredients in Jolly Ranchers do not contain any gluten. The candies are made without wheat, barley, rye or their derivatives.

The main ingredients in Jolly Ranchers are sugar, corn syrup, malic acid, artificial flavors, and food colors like Red 40 or Blue 1. All of these ingredients are gluten-free.

Additionally, Jolly Ranchers are produced in a facility that does not process any products containing gluten. This helps further reduce the risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing.

Varieties of Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Ranchers come in a wide assortment of fruit flavors, all of which are considered gluten-free:

  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Apple
  • Watermelon
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Green Apple
  • Fruit Punch
  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon

In addition to the classic hard candy varieties, Jolly Ranchers also offers chewy, gummy and lollipop versions of the candies. Based on the manufacturer and consumer reports, all forms of Jolly Ranchers are gluten-free.

Other gluten-free Jolly Rancher products

Beyond the individually wrapped Jolly Rancher candies, The Hershey Company produces a number of other products under the Jolly Rancher brand that are also gluten-free:

Jolly Rancher Mix

Jolly Rancher Mix features an assortment of bite-sized chewy and gummy candies in cherry, grape, green apple, watermelon and blue raspberry flavors. The mixed fruit chews come in 5-ounce resealable pouches.

Jolly Rancher Chews

Jolly Rancher Chews have a soft, chewy texture and come in cherry, blue raspberry, green apple, grape and watermelon flavors. You can purchase the chews in 5-ounce resealable pouches.

Jolly Rancher Gummies

With natural fruit flavors and a tender gummy texture, Jolly Rancher Gummies are available in cherry, blue raspberry, green apple, grape and watermelon varieties. They’re sold in 5-ounce resealable pouches.

Jolly Rancher Lollipops

Jolly Rancher lollipops feature a hard candy exterior wrapped around a sweet and fruity lollipop center. You can find them in cherry, green apple, blue raspberry, lemon-lime, grape and watermelon flavors.

Jolly Rancher Jellies

Jolly Rancher Jellies have a soft, smooth jelly center with a crunchy sugar shell. They come in unique fruit flavors like cherry, blue raspberry, orange, lemon, apple and strawberry.

Jolly Rancher Sours

Jolly Rancher Sours offer an extra burst of tangy fruit flavor. These extra sour candies are available in green apple, lemon, cherry, orange, blue raspberry and watermelon varieties.

Jolly Rancher Green Apple Soda

Jolly Rancher Green Apple Soda combines the signature tart green apple flavor with bubbly carbonated water. This gluten-free soda is sold in 12-ounce cans.

All of the additional Jolly Rancher products sold by Hershey’s are produced in gluten-free facilities and made without any wheat, barley or rye. So you can enjoy any of the Jolly Rancher candies, lollipops, gummies, jellies or soda as part of a gluten-free diet.

Are all Hershey’s products gluten-free?

While Jolly Ranchers are certified gluten-free, not all products made by Hershey’s can be safely eaten on a gluten-free diet. Certain chocolate bars and other candies made by Hershey’s do contain gluten.

According to Hershey’s Customer Relations department:

Most Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kisses, and other chocolate and non-chocolate products are considered gluten-free to less than 20ppm. However, products containing malt/barley extracts, wheat flour, cookies/inclusions with wheat flour, or peanut flour are NOT gluten-free.

So when purchasing Hershey’s products, it’s important to check the ingredients list and description for each individual candy.

Some Hershey’s products that contain gluten include:

  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds (contains wheat flour)
  • Reese’s Big Cup with Reese’s Pieces candy (contains wheat flour)
  • Kit Kat bars (contain wheat flour)
  • York Peppermint Pattie (contains wheat flour)
  • Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe (contains wheat flour)
  • Twizzlers (contains wheat flour)

Thankfully, all Jolly Ranchers are free from gluten-containing ingredients. But just to stay safe, be sure to double check the label when purchasing other Hershey’s products.

Are Jolly Ranchers nut-free?

In addition to being gluten-free, Jolly Ranchers are also free from nuts and nut-based ingredients. This makes them safe for people with nut allergies.

According to the manufacturer, Jolly Ranchers do not contain peanuts, tree nuts or peanut/nut derivatives. They are produced in facilities that also do not process nuts.

However, it’s important to note that some Jolly Rancher candies do contain coconut oil or coconut fat in the ingredients. So people with coconut allergies should be cautious and check labels before consuming.

Are Jolly Ranchers dairy-free?

Jolly Ranchers are also dairy-free candies, containing no milk, butter, dairy ingredients or derivatives.

This makes Jolly Ranchers a good option for those with dairy/milk allergies, lactose intolerance or following a vegan diet.

Are Jolly Ranchers fat free and cholesterol free?

With no fat or cholesterol, Jolly Ranchers are considered a fat-free and cholesterol-free food.

The nutrition facts for a 1 piece (13 g) serving of original Jolly Rancher hard candies is as follows:

Nutrition Facts 1 piece (13g)
Calories 50
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Carbohydrates 13 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugar 11 g
Protein 0 g

Jolly Ranchers provide 50 calories per piece, all of which come from carbohydrates in the form of sugar. With no significant source of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol, Jolly Ranchers can fit into a low-fat diet.

Ingredients in Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Rancher ingredients will vary slightly between flavors and varieties, but typically include:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Citric acid
  • Artificial colors (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, etc.)
  • Malic acid
  • Confectioner’s glaze
  • Carnauba wax
  • Coconut oil (in some varieties)

As you can see, the ingredient list mostly consists of different types of sugars, colors, flavors and acids that provide the signature sweet-tart Jolly Rancher taste.

Importantly, you won’t find any gluten sources like wheat, barley, malt or rye anywhere in the ingredients.

Buying gluten-free Jolly Ranchers

You can find Jolly Rancher candies in the candy aisle of most major grocery stores, at convenience stores, at wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and online through retailers like Amazon.

Since all varieties of Jolly Ranchers are gluten-free, you don’t necessarily have to seek out specialty labels when buying them.

However, if you want extra assurance, look for phrases like “gluten-free” or “no gluten ingredients” on the Jolly Rancher packaging:

  • Jolly Rancher 1.17 oz Original Fruity Hard Candy, Gluten Free (Pack of 36)
  • Jolly Rancher Chews Gluten Free Fruit Chews, 5 oz Bag
  • Jolly Rancher Mix, No Gluten Ingredients, 5 oz Bag

Buying Jolly Ranchers labeled with these phrases can help provide confidence that you’re purchasing a treat that’s safe for your gluten-free diet.

Are knock-off Jolly Rancher candies gluten-free?

Keep in mind that when buying discount or generic versions of Jolly Rancher candies, you can’t assume they’re also gluten-free.

Store brand fruit hard candies that resemble Jolly Ranchers may be manufactured in facilities that also process gluten. Or they may contain gluten sources like malt syrup or wheat flour not found in name brand Jolly Ranchers.

To ensure you’re getting a gluten-free product, opt for candies that specifically say “Jolly Rancher” on the packaging. Don’t assume that lookalike candies will necessarily be gluten-free too.

Storing Jolly Ranchers

Unopened Jolly Rancher candies can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

In the unopened manufacturer’s packaging, Jolly Ranchers will maintain best quality for about 9 to 12 months past the production date.

Once opened, the shelf life decreases. Keep opened Jolly Ranchers in an airtight container and aim to enjoy them within 2 to 3 months for peak flavor and texture.

Avoid storage areas that may be exposed to excessive heat or humidity, which can cause Jolly Ranchers to become sticky or start to break down.

Enjoying Jolly Ranchers on a gluten-free diet

Following a gluten-free diet certainly doesn’t mean you have to avoid all candy and sweets. With their naturally gluten-free ingredients, Jolly Ranchers can be enjoyed without worry as part of your diet.

Keep a bag of these flavorful hard candies on hand for when a sugar craving strikes or you need a little pick-me-up treat. Just be sure to practice moderation and enjoy Jolly Ranchers in balance with fresh whole foods for the healthiest gluten-free lifestyle.

The bottom line

All Jolly Rancher candies and products, including the individually wrapped hard candies, chews, gummies, sodas, lollipops and jellies, are considered gluten-free. They do not contain any wheat, barley or rye ingredients.

Jolly Ranchers are also free from dairy, nuts and fat, making them a gluten-free, vegan-friendly sweet treat option. Just be sure to double check the ingredients on other Hershey’s products, as not everything they manufacture is gluten-free.

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