Are Dilly bars celiac safe?

Dilly bars are a popular frozen dessert treat, but for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, determining if they are safe to eat can be confusing. This comprehensive guide will examine if Dilly bars are celiac safe, look at key ingredients, and provide helpful tips for enjoying frozen treats while following a gluten-free diet.

The Short Answer

Most Dilly bars contain ingredients derived from wheat, barley, and rye and are therefore not considered celiac safe. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid consuming regular Dilly bars.

What are Dilly Bars?

Dilly bars are a frozen dessert produced by Dairy Queen consisting of a dill pickle-flavored soft serve center that has been coated in a chocolate or flavored crunchy outer shell. The chocolate coating is similar to the one used on DQ chocolate-dipped ice cream cones.

Dilly bars were first introduced in 1955 by Dairy Queen to help utilize excess batches of soft serve leftover at the end of the day. The iconic bars are hand dipped and assembled in stores and are now considered one of Dairy Queen’s signature treats.

Are Dilly Bars Gluten Free?

Unfortunately, regular Dilly bars sold at Dairy Queen contain wheat-derived ingredients and are therefore not gluten free. They contain a significant amount of gluten and are not safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

According to Dairy Queen’s website, the chocolate coating used on Dilly bars contains wheat flour. Additionally, regular Dilly bars may contain traces of wheat, barley, and rye ingredients due to shared production equipment and cross-contamination risks. For these reasons, individuals who must follow a strict gluten-free diet should avoid them.

Key Sources of Gluten

Here are some of the key sources of gluten commonly found in regular Dilly bars:

  • Chocolate coating – Contains wheat flour
  • Shared equipment – Produced on shared lines and equipment that also processes wheat, barley, and rye ingredients increasing cross-contamination risks
  • Soft serve base – May contain trace amounts of gluten from barley or rye derivatives
  • Inclusion mix-ins – Cookie pieces and candies containing gluten may be mixed into the soft serve
  • Cones – Cones used for dipped Dilly bars may contain wheat flour

Are There Gluten-Free Dilly Bar Options?

While regular Dilly bars are not safe, there are now some gluten-free Dilly bar options being offered at select locations. Dairy Queen has introduced a gluten-free chocolate coating for dipped treats which some stores now use to make gluten-free Dilly bars upon request.

The gluten-free chocolate coating is dairy-based and verified to contain under 10 ppm of gluten. When used to coat the pickle-flavored soft serve, it provides a gluten-free alternative to regular Dilly bars.

However, availability of the gluten-free chocolate coating varies by location. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should check with their local Dairy Queen to see if they offer the gluten-free dipped Dilly bars option before consuming them.

Tips for Ordering

Here are some tips when ordering “gluten-free” Dilly bars:

  • Check if your location has gluten-free chocolate coating
  • Specify that you need your Dilly bar to be prepared with the gluten-free coating
  • Request a fresh scoop of soft serve and clean bowl for dipping
  • Ask them to use a fresh cone if getting it on a cone
  • Verify the workers change gloves and equipment between orders

Cross-contamination is still a risk even when the location has the gluten-free dip coating. Following these tips helps minimize contamination when ordering.

Dairy Queen’s Allergen and Nutrition Info

Dairy Queen provides allergen and nutritional information for their menu items online which you can reference to see official ingredient lists and gluten information.

According to their website, regular chocolate-dipped Dilly bars contain wheat in the coating while the gluten-free chocolate version uses a wheat-free recipe. They specifically call out wheat as an allergen present in the regular Dilly bars.

You can use their online menu to view up-to-date information on allergens and nutrition facts for Dilly bars and other products. This includes detailed ingredient lists so you can further evaluate if a product is gluten-free.

Dilly Bar Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Here is more detailed information on the ingredients and nutritional profile of Dairy Queen’s Dilly bars:

Regular Dilly Bars

Serving Size: 1 bar (2.8 oz)

Calories: 370

Ingredients: Chocolate Coating (sugar, coconut oil, cocoa processed with alkali, milk, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, wheat flour), Soft Dairy Dessert (milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, cornstarch, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial flavor, annatto color, cellulose gum, carrageenan, whey), Dill Spear (cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, dill weed oil, polysorbate 80, natural flavors)

Contains: wheat, milk, soy

Gluten-Free Dilly Bars

Serving Size: 1 bar (2.8 oz)

Calories: 360

Ingredients: Gluten-Free Chocolate Coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa processed with alkali, milk, soy lecithin, natural flavor), Soft Dairy Dessert (milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, cornstarch, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial flavor, annatto color, cellulose gum, carrageenan, whey), Dill Spear (cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, dill weed oil, polysorbate 80, natural flavors)

Contains: milk, soy

As you can see, the regular Dilly bars list wheat flour as an ingredient in the coating while the gluten-free version does not contain wheat. Always check the most up-to-date ingredient lists provided by Dairy Queen to identify any potential sources of gluten.

What About Soft Serve Base and Toppings?

In addition to the coating, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity also have to consider the soft serve base and any toppings or inclusions that may be added to the Dilly bars.

According to Dairy Queen, the soft serve base itself is gluten-free. However, because it is produced on shared equipment, there is a risk of cross-contamination with wheat, barley, rye or gluten sources.

The pickle spears used in the Dilly bars are also free of gluten-containing ingredients. But other toppings like cookie or candy pieces may contain gluten.

When ordering gluten-free Dilly bars, it’s safest to avoid any additional toppings or mix-ins. Stick with the basic gluten-free chocolate dipped bar and pickle component.

Are Dilly Bar Cones Gluten Free?

No, the cake cones used by Dairy Queen for their dipped Dilly bars are typically not gluten-free and contain wheat flour. Some locations may have gluten-free cone options, but availability varies.

If you need a gluten-free option, your safest bet is ordering your Dilly bar in a bowl or cup rather than on a cone. The cone adds additional gluten cross-contamination concerns.

You can also inquire if they have access to gluten-free cones. Some locations carry gluten-free cake cones or waffle cones that could be used upon request.

Dilly Bar Allergy Information

In addition to gluten, Dilly bars contain major food allergens like milk, soy, eggs, and wheat in various components. Those with food allergies need to be aware of these risks.

According to Dairy Queen, regular Dilly bars contain milk, soy, and wheat. The gluten-free Dilly bars contain milk and soy only based on their current ingredients.

The soft serve base also contains milk and eggs. Those with dairy or egg allergies need to avoid Dilly bars entirely. The chocolate coating and cones may contain tree nuts as well.

Always review the ingredients and allergen statements available for your exact product before consuming. Ingredients and production details vary across locations.

Major Dilly Bar Allergens

  • Milk – in chocolate coating, soft serve
  • Eggs – in soft serve base
  • Soy – in chocolate coating
  • Wheat – in regular chocolate coating, cones
  • Tree nuts – possible cross-contact in facilities

Other Dairy Queen Gluten-Free Options

In addition to the gluten-free Dilly bars, Dairy Queen offers some other sweet treats that may be safe options for gluten-free diets when ordered carefully. This includes:

  • Gluten-free chocolate dipped cones
  • Gluten-free vanilla cones
  • Gluten-freeBlizzard treats
  • Soft serve cups or bowls
  • Chocolate or vanilla milkshakes

The biggest consideration is that all these items are still produced on shared equipment at risk for cross-contamination. Those highly sensitive should exercise caution when consuming.

Your safest bet is to stick with the verified gluten-free chocolate dip coating and avoid croutons, cookies, or other mix-in toppings that may add gluten. And of course, always confirm ingredients and preparation details before ordering.

Dining Out Gluten-Free at Dairy Queen

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have to take extra care when eating at restaurant chains like Dairy Queen where gluten contamination is common.

Here are some tips for safely dining at Dairy Queen with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity:

  • Review the menu and nutrition info online first to identify gluten-free options
  • Ask plenty of questions about ingredients and preparation when ordering
  • Customize orders to ensure no croutons or gluteny toppings added
  • Request fresh scoops of soft serve and clean, unused bowls
  • Check if staff change gloves and follow protocols to avoid cross-contact
  • Avoid busy times when contamination risks increase

Being an informed customer, asking questions, and working with management helps make the dining out experience safer.

Gluten-Free Dilly Bar Recipe Ideas

If you don’t have access to gluten-free Dilly bars or want to be extra safe, there are ways to create your own delicious Dilly bar-inspired treats at home. Here are some recipe ideas to try:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Pickle Pops

Make dill pickle pops by dipping pickle spears in melted dairy-free chocolate or coconut milk-based chocolate. Roll in crushed gluten-free pretzels for crunch if desired. Freeze until set.

Soft Serve Dilly Bars

Use gluten-free vanilla soft serve or ice cream and insert a pickle spear. Roll in gluten-free crushed cookies or candy pieces. Drizzle with melted chocolate and freeze until firm.

Gluten-Free Waffle Cone Dilly Sandwiches

Fill a gluten-free waffle cone with vanilla ice cream. Top with chocolate sauce and a pickle spear. Serve immediately or freeze for a firmer sandwich.

There are endless ways to come up with gluten-free Dilly bar alternatives at home. Get creative with gluten-free cookies, ice cream, chocolate, and of course pickles!

The Bottom Line

Regular Dilly bars are not gluten-free and should be avoided with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Select locations may offer gluten-free Dilly bars dipped in dairy-free chocolate upon request. But even then, exercise caution as cross-contamination is likely.

Review ingredient lists carefully, ask about preparation procedures, and customize orders to make the safest selections when dining out. Stick to whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible and make gluten-free Dilly bar alternatives at home to satisfy pickle frozen dessert cravings.

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