Are Ghirardelli gluten free?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical or lifestyle reasons. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can cause serious health issues. For others, going gluten free is a dietary choice aimed at reducing inflammation or simply feeling better overall.

Whatever the reason, finding tasty gluten free treats can be a challenge. Chocolate lovers in particular may wonder if their favorite chocolate brands contain gluten. One popular chocolate company that often comes up in the gluten free discussion is Ghirardelli.

The Short Answer

The short answer is yes, most Ghirardelli chocolate products are considered gluten free. However, there are a few exceptions, so it’s important to read labels carefully.

About Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is an American chocolate manufacturing company based in San Francisco. Ghirardelli was founded in 1852 and is one of the few chocolate makers in the United States that controls the entire chocolate-making process, from cocoa bean to finished product.

Ghirardelli chocolates are sold in grocery stores, specialty shops, and Ghirardelli’s own retail stores. Their product line includes baking chips, hot cocoa, chocolate bars, chocolate squares, specialty confections, and more.

Ghirardelli’s Gluten Free Status

The majority of Ghirardelli chocolate products are considered gluten free. According to the company:

Most Ghirardelli products are gluten free. However, those made on shared equipment may contain trace amounts of gluten. They meet the FDA requirements to be labeled “gluten free.”

This statement indicates that Ghirardelli takes steps to avoid cross-contamination in their facilities and produces chocolate that falls below the FDA limit of less than 20ppm of gluten to be labeled gluten free.

Gluten Free Products

Based on ingredient lists, the following Ghirardelli products are gluten free:

  • Ghirardelli chocolate bars, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and flavored chocolate bars
  • Ghirardelli chocolate squares, chips, and baking wafers
  • Ghirardelli hot cocoa and hot cocoa mix
  • Ghirardelli chocolate sauce
  • Ghirardelli specialty items like caramel squares, toffee squares, and peppermint bark

Not Gluten Free

There are a select few Ghirardelli products that contain gluten ingredients:

  • Ghirardelli brownie mix
  • Ghirardelli cookies and creamery ice cream sandwiches
  • Ghirardelli sundae cups

Always carefully read the ingredient lists, as formulations can change over time. If an item contains wheat, barley, rye, malt, or ambiguous ingredients like “natural flavors,” it may contain gluten.


While most Ghirardelli chocolates are gluten free as sold, there are some precautions to keep in mind:

Shared Equipment

As noted in Ghirardelli’s statement, their gluten free products are produced on shared equipment alongside gluten-containing items. This opens up the possibility of cross-contact through shared machinery, facilities, and employees.

For most people avoiding gluten, the trace amounts that could get into gluten free chocolates through shared equipment is not an issue. However, for those with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive, this may still cause problems.

Ingredient Sources

Ghirardelli states that their products meet FDA standards to be labeled gluten free by containing less than 20ppm gluten. However, the source of their chocolate liquor and cocoa powder could impact gluten levels:

  • Chocolate liquor – This refined cocoa paste may be sourced from a facility that also processes wheat or barley.
  • Cocoa powder – Cocoa powder is sometimes cut with small amounts of wheat or barley flour during processing.

For some, these remote gluten sources could be an issue, while for others, they are unlikely to cause any reaction. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy would need to weigh the risks themselves.

Formula Changes

As with any processed food, the formulation of Ghirardelli products could change at any time. It’s wise to always double check the ingredient list when purchasing a product that was previously gluten free.

Testing Ghirardelli Products for Gluten

For those who require an extra level of assurance, independent lab testing is an option. A few examples:

Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa tested Ghirardelli’s Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa powder and found it to contain 5 ppm of gluten. This falls well below the FDA limit of 20 ppm to be labeled gluten free.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Premium Baking Bar

GlutenTox tested Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Premium Baking Bars and found gluten levels to be below 5 ppm, which they confirmed as gluten free.

Additional Tests

Contacting Ghirardelli directly may yield additional product testing results. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy should feel empowered to inquire about testing documentation from the manufacturer.


Based on available information, Ghirardelli chocolates that do not contain wheat or barley ingredients are considered gluten free according to FDA regulations. For most individuals avoiding gluten, Ghirardelli chocolates present a low risk of gluten exposure.

However, for those with celiac disease or wheat allergy, tiny amounts of gluten from shared equipment or ingredient sources could still trigger issues. Carefully reviewing ingredient lists and contacting the manufacturer for testing data provides added assurance.

Overall, most people following a gluten free diet can feel comfortable enjoying their favorite Ghirardelli chocolate treats. As always, it’s wise to consume chocolate and candy foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet, regardless of the presence or absence of gluten.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ghirardelli chocolate made in a gluten free facility?

No, Ghirardelli chocolates are made in shared facilities that also process wheat-based ingredients. However, Ghirardelli takes precautions to avoid cross-contact and states that their products contain less than 20ppm gluten.

Does Ghirardelli chocolate contain wheat?

Most Ghirardelli chocolate products do not contain wheat or wheat ingredients. However, there are a few products, like Ghirardelli brownie mix, that do contain wheat and are not gluten free.

Is Ghirardelli chocolate safe for celiacs?

For most people with celiac disease, Ghirardelli chocolates that are labeled gluten free would be considered safe. However, there is a small risk of cross-contact through shared equipment and facilities. Those with celiac disease should weigh the risks and benefits themselves.

Does Ghirardelli use wheat in their chocolate?

Ghirardelli states that their gluten free chocolates are produced without the use of wheat. However, the cocoa powder used in chocolate products may sometimes be processed with wheat flour added, which could introduce trace amounts of gluten not listed on the label.

Has Ghirardelli chocolate been tested for gluten?

Yes, independent labs have tested some Ghirardelli products, like their cocoa powder and chocolate baking bars, and found gluten levels to be below 5ppm. Consumers could contact the company to inquire about additional product testing as well.

The Takeaway on Ghirardelli Chocolate and Gluten

Most Ghirardelli chocolates are formulated to be gluten free, with the exception of a few products containing wheat ingredients. For the majority of people avoiding gluten, Ghirardelli chocolates present minimal risk and can typically be enjoyed in moderation as part of a gluten free diet.

However, there remains a possibility of trace gluten exposure through shared equipment and ingredients sourced from wheat facilities. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy may wish to exercise greater caution or inquire directly with the manufacturer.

When in doubt, carefully reviewing ingredient lists and product labels provides the best means to determine if a Ghirardelli product is gluten free or not. As with any food allergen concern, consume chocolate and candy foods in moderation as part of an overall balanced and nutritious diet.

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