Most chocolate graham crackers contain gluten. Graham crackers are traditionally made with wheat flour, which contains gluten. However, there are some gluten-free chocolate graham crackers available made with alternate flours instead of wheat. To determine if a specific brand or variety of chocolate graham crackers is gluten-free, check the ingredients list for wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing grains. If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, double check with the manufacturer to ensure their products are gluten-free before consuming.
The Gluten Content of Traditional Graham Crackers
Graham crackers were originally created in the early 1800s by Reverend Sylvester Graham as part of his promotion of a vegetarian diet high in whole grains. Traditionally, graham crackers are made by mixing wheat flour, shortening, honey or other sweeteners, and spices to form a stiff dough. This dough is then rolled flat, cut into rectangular shapes, pricked with a fork, and baked into the crispy graham crackers we know today.
Since traditional graham cracker recipes rely on wheat flour as the main ingredient, most standard graham crackers contain gluten. Wheat flour contains gluten proteins which give dough elasticity and chewiness. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction and symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. So traditional wheat-based graham crackers are not safe for people following a gluten-free diet.
Some brands now produce alternative “graham” style crackers using other gluten-free flours like rice, tapioca, or brown rice flour in place of wheat. But unless the label specifies the crackers are gluten-free, you should assume traditional graham cracker products contain gluten from wheat flour.
Are Chocolate Graham Crackers Gluten-Free?
Coating graham crackers with chocolate does not change their core gluten content. Chocolate graham crackers start with traditional gluten-containing graham cracker dough. A layer of chocolate icing or coating is then added to the exterior. But the wheat-flour base still remains underneath the chocolate.
So no, regular chocolate graham crackers are not gluten-free. The wheat flour in the graham cracker portion still contains gluten proteins. Eating these chocolate-coated graham crackers would cause issues for anyone following a gluten-free diet.
However, some brands now offer gluten-free chocolate graham crackers. These replace the wheat flour with other gluten-free flours to create a suitable graham-style dough for the base. Then chocolate is added on top like typical chocolate graham crackers. Gluten-free chocolate graham crackers give people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance a way to enjoy the chocolate cracker taste safely.
Checking Ingredient Lists for Gluten
To determine if a brand of chocolate graham crackers is gluten-free, you need to read the ingredient list printed on the packaging. This will reveal exactly which flours and grains are used to make the graham cracker base under the chocolate coating.
You want to look for words like:
- Wheat flour
- Malt extract or malt flavoring (usually derived from barley)
Any of these ingredients indicate there is gluten present. The product is then unsafe for those with celiac disease or following medical advice to eat gluten-free.
If the chocolate graham crackers are specially formulated to be gluten-free, the packaging will state this clearly. The ingredient list should highlight the gluten-free flours used instead, like:
- Rice flour
- Potato starch
- Tapioca flour
- Sorghum flour
Checking the ingredients is the only sure way to assess whether a particular chocolate graham cracker product contains gluten or not. If in doubt, you can also contact the manufacturer directly to inquire about testing and gluten-free status. Don’t just assume chocolate graham crackers are gluten-free without verifying first.
Risk of Cross-Contamination
Even if chocolate graham crackers are made without gluten-containing ingredients, there is still a risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing. Facilities that also process wheat-based products can introduc e traces of gluten through shared equipment, handling, and airborne dust.
Many brands that offer gluten-free chocolate graham crackers will state on the packaging that the items are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination significantly.
You can also look for certification from organizations like GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization) that inspect facilities for proper procedures to avoid cross-contact. Their certification logo on the packaging provides added assurance that care has been taken to keep products gluten-free.
Without any indication of special manufacturing practices, know that cross-contamination is a possibility even with chocolate graham crackers made without gluten ingredients. The highest level of precaution is needed for those with celiac disease versus a wheat allergy.
Popular Brands of Gluten-Free Chocolate Graham Crackers
Here are some of the major brands now offering gluten-free chocolate graham crackers:
Kinnikinnick Foods produces gluten-free chocolate graham crackers made with rice flour and potato starch instead of wheat. Their products are certified gluten-free to less than 10 ppm. They are also peanut-free, dairy-free and kosher.
The Schar brand specializes in gluten-free products. They make gluten-free chocolate graham crackers with tapioca starch, corn starch, and brown rice flour that are certified at less than 5 ppm of gluten.
Enjoy Life has an extensive line-up of allergy-friendly foods. Their gluten-free chocolate graham crackers contain rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch and brown rice flour. They are certified gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and Non-GMO Project verified.
Mi-Del manufactures gluten-free and allergen-friendly baked goods. Their gluten-free chocolate graham crackers are made with a blend of potato starch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour and sorghum flour. They are certified gluten-free to less than 5 ppm.
The Glutino brand under Boulder Brands produces gluten-free chocolate graham crackers made with corn starch and rice flour. They are certified gluten-free to less than 10 ppm gluten.
Homemade Gluten-Free Chocolate Graham Crackers
For the most control over ingredients, you can also make gluten-free chocolate graham crackers at home. This allows you to avoid cross-contamination concerns and customize the recipe to your dietary needs.
Here is a sample recipe to try:
Gluten-Free Chocolate Graham Crackers
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with parchment.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients except sugar.
3. In another bowl, beat together the wet ingredients.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Divide into two pieces.
5. Place one dough piece between two large sheets of parchment. Roll into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Repeat with other dough piece.
6. Use a pizza cutter to cut cracker shapes. Use a fork to prick holes in each cracker.
7. Bake 9-11 minutes until set. Let cool completely on pan.
8. Once cool, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl. Dip each cracker halfway into chocolate and return to pan. Let chocolate set.
Store finished gluten-free chocolate graham crackers between layers of parchment to prevent sticking. Enjoy within 1 week.
If you need to avoid gluten, here are some important tips when purchasing chocolate graham crackers:
- Read ingredient lists carefully every time, even for brands you have bought before. Manufacturers can change formulations.
- Look for gluten-free claims on the packaging and certification seals from organizations like GFCO.
- Beware of labels that state “made in a facility” or “made on equipment” that processes wheat. This means cross-contamination is likely.
- Purchase chocolate graham crackers certified below 20 ppm for gluten intolerance or below 10 ppm for celiac disease.
- Contact the manufacturer if you have any doubts or questions.
- Shop at stores with dedicated gluten-free sections to avoid cross-contamination from other products.
Following these steps will help ensure the chocolate graham crackers you choose are reliably gluten-free and safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. With so many tasty brands now available, avoiding gluten doesn’t mean having to miss out on chocolate graham cracker treats.
Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crusts
Chocolate graham crackers aren’t just for snacking! You can also crush them up to make delicious gluten-free graham cracker crusts. Use them as the base for pies, cheesecakes, fruit crumbles, and other desserts.
To make a gluten-free graham cracker crust:
- 1 1⁄2 cups gluten-free chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
1. Use a food processor to crush the chocolate graham crackers into fine crumbs.
2. Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and sugar until well combined.
3. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
4. Bake at 325 F for 8 to 10 minutes until set.
5. Allow crust to fully cool before filling.
You can fill this gluten-free chocolate graham cracker crust with any kind of pie filling from lemon curd to pastry cream. It can also be used for no-bake fillings like puddings or ice cream. Enjoy this simple trick to transform chocolate graham crackers into a delicious gluten-free crust.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Snack Recipes
Beyond enjoying them straight from the box, there are other fun ways to incorporate gluten-free chocolate graham crackers into snacks and treats:
No-Bake Chocolate Graham Cracker Balls
- 2 cups gluten-free chocolate graham cracker crumbs
- 1⁄3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter and honey. Form into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. Freeze balls until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Use a fork to dip each ball into melted chocolate, coating halfway. Return to baking sheet.
5. Chill in refrigerator until chocolate sets.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Banana Boats
- 2 medium bananas
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter or chocolate-hazelnut spread
- 1⁄4 cup chocolate chips
- 4 gluten-free chocolate graham crackers, broken into pieces
1. Slice each banana in half lengthwise keeping peel intact.
2. Spread peanut butter or chocolate-hazelnut spread inside each banana half.
3. Top banana boats with chocolate chips and broken graham cracker pieces.
4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes until warmed through.
Chocolate Graham Cracker S’mores
- Gluten-free chocolate graham crackers
- Chocolate bar squares
1. Break graham crackers in half and place four halves on a microwave-safe plate.
2. Top each with a marshmallow, chocolate square, then second graham cracker half.
3. Microwave 20-30 seconds until marshmallows puff.
4. Press sandwiches together and enjoy immediately.
Get creative with these chocolate graham cracker inspiration recipes for quick gluten-free sweets.
Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Brand Comparison
|Brand||Main Gluten-Free Flours||Certification|
|Kinnikinnick Foods||Rice flour, potato starch||Gluten-free to less than 10 ppm|
|Schar||Tapioca starch, corn starch, brown rice flour||Gluten-free to less than 5 ppm|
|Enjoy Life||Rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, brown rice flour||Gluten-free, Non-GMO Project Verified|
|Mi-Del||Potato starch, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour||Gluten-free to less than 5 ppm|
|Glutino||Corn starch, rice flour||Gluten-free to less than 10 ppm|
This comparison table summarizes some of the key gluten-free chocolate graham cracker brand options, the main flours they use, and certification details. Check labels annually since formulations can change.
Are Honey Maid Graham Crackers Gluten-Free?
No, regular Honey Maid Graham Crackers are not gluten-free. Honey Maid Graham Crackers are made using traditional wheat-based recipes containing gluten.
Some key pointers on Honey Maid Graham Crackers:
- Made with enriched wheat flour as the first ingredient
- Contains malted barley flour which also has gluten
- Made on shared equipment that processes wheat
- No gluten-free claims or certification on packaging
Honey Maid does warn about cross-contamination with wheat on their FAQ site. They do not recommend their products for those with celiac disease or wheat allergies.
While delicious, standard Honey Maid Graham Crackers are not considered gluten-free. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities should choose certified gluten-free graham cracker options instead from brands like Kinnikinnick Foods, Enjoy Life, Glutino etc. Honey Maid does not currently offer any gluten-free graham cracker products.
In summary, most regular chocolate graham crackers contain gluten from wheat flour in the graham cracker base. But many brands now produce gluten-free versions made with alternate flours for safety. Check labels carefully for gluten-containing ingredients. Look for gluten-free claims and certification for validation. Beware of cross-contamination in facilities that also process wheat. Baking with gluten-free chocolate graham crackers provides more flexibility for gluten-free diets. Overall, gluten-free options allow those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance to still enjoy chocolate graham crackers safely.