Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause serious health issues. Many people on a gluten-free diet wonder if popular frozen snack Dippin’ Dots are safe to eat. Specifically, the birthday cake flavored Dippin’ Dots are a fan favorite, but do they contain gluten?
The Short Answer
The short answer is no, birthday cake flavored Dippin’ Dots do not contain gluten. Dippin’ Dots are made by flash freezing tiny droplets of ice cream mix into small beads. The birthday cake ice cream mix does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. However, there is still a small risk of cross-contamination at the Dippin’ Dots factory. People with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity should use caution and check with the company about their protocols for avoiding cross-contamination.
Ingredients in Birthday Cake Dippin Dots
To give a more thorough answer about the gluten content of birthday cake Dippin’ Dots, we need to look at the ingredients. The official ingredient list for birthday cake flavored Dippin’ Dots is:
- Milkfat and nonfat milk
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Natural and artificial flavors
- Mono and diglycerides
- Guar gum
- Calcium sulfate
- Cellulose gum
- Polysorbate 80
- Cotton candy
- Beet juice concentrate
- Beta carotene
None of these ingredients contain gluten. Milk, sugar, corn syrup, and other ingredients derived from corn and dairy are naturally gluten-free. The natural and artificial flavors and cotton candy also do not contain sources of gluten. The gums and emulsifiers like polysorbate 80 are used as stabilizers and thickening agents. These specialty ingredients are gluten-free as well.
Risk of Cross-Contamination
While the birthday cake Dippin’ Dots ingredients themselves are gluten-free, there is always a possibility of cross-contamination during manufacturing and handling. Trace amounts of gluten could make their way into the product if the factory equipment is shared with other products containing gluten, or if employees do not follow thorough cleaning procedures.
According to the Dippin’ Dots website, their manufacturing facility has procedures in place to reduce cross-contamination as much as possible. However, they do not claim to be a 100% gluten-free facility. The website states:
“Dippin’ Dots are manufactured on shared equipment with milk containing products, soy, peanuts, eggs and wheat. Every effort is made to schedule milk containing products before products containing wheat in order to reduce the chance of cross contamination. However, we cannot guarantee Dippin’ Dots are 100% gluten-free.”
So while the chance of cross-contamination is low, it is not zero. The company recommends that people with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerances contact them for more information before consuming their products. They can advise whether their manufacturing protocols are sufficient based on the individual’s sensitivity level.
In summary, birthday cake flavored Dippin’ Dots ice cream:
- Do not contain any ingredients with gluten sources like wheat, barley, or rye.
- Are made in a facility that also processes wheat and milk products, so there is a possibility of cross-contamination.
- Cannot be labeled gluten-free or guaranteed gluten-free due to the potential for trace amounts from manufacturing equipment.
People with celiac disease or who are highly sensitive should use caution and check with the manufacturer about potential for cross-contamination. The product is suitable for those simply avoiding gluten or with minor sensitivities.
Tips for Enjoying Dippin’ Dots on a Gluten-Free Diet
Here are some tips for people avoiding gluten who want to enjoy birthday cake Dippin’ Dots safely:
- Check the label each time before purchasing, as ingredients can change without notice.
- Ask your server at fairs or theme parks if they have knowledge about risk of cross-contamination.
- Inquire with the manufacturer directly if you have celiac disease or major gluten sensitivity.
- Enjoy Dippin’ Dots as a treat in moderation, not a staple food item when gluten-free is critical.
- Try other flavors that might be lower risk like vanilla or chocolate.
- Look for other frozen dessert options made in dedicated gluten-free facilities if you need to avoid all cross-contact.
Other Gluten-Free Frozen Treats
If the potential for trace gluten means you need to avoid Dippin’ Dots altogether, check out some of these delicious gluten-free frozen dessert options:
|Halo Top||All flavors and product lines|
|So Delicious||Non-dairy frozen desserts|
|Enlightened||Broad line of pints and novelties|
|Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams||Many flavors marked gluten-free|
|Julie’s Organic Ice Cream||Non-dairy cashew milk frozen desserts|
|Talenti Gelato||Select gluten-free gelato flavors|
With more awareness and demand, most major ice cream brands now offer some gluten-free options. Read labels carefully and look for ones made in facilities keeping gluten exposure risk low. Many smaller brands use dedicated equipment and have robust gluten-free protocols in place as well.
Making Your Own Gluten-Free Dippin’ Dots Copycat
Another way to enjoy the fun, colorful, and flavorful experience of Dippin’ Dots while avoiding any gluten cross-contamination is to make them yourself! Here is a simple copycat Dippin’ Dots recipe to try at home:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Food coloring of choice
- Liquid nitrogen or dry ice
- In a bowl, mix together cream, condensed milk, and vanilla.
- Divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring to each to make different colors.
- Place each colored cream mixture into a lidded drink container.
- Submerge container lids in liquid nitrogen or dry ice until very cold.
- Remove lids and hold containers upside down above a tray.
- Dots of ice cream will drip onto the tray and freeze into beads instantly.
- Store frozen Dippin’ Dots copycats in airtight container to maintain texture.
This easy method lets you recreate the fun, bite-sized dots of ice cream at home with full control over the ingredients. Using pure, gluten-free ingredients lets you enjoy Dippin’ Dots without any worries about cross-contamination. Get creative with different flavor combinations and food colorings too!
Should You Try Birthday Cake Dippin’ Dots on a Gluten-Free Diet?
When following a strict gluten-free diet, deciding whether to indulge in treats like birthday cake flavored Dippin’ Dots can be tricky. On one hand, the base ingredients are all gluten-free with no obvious sources of gluten. But cross-contamination is possible at their manufacturing facilities.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding to try Dippin’ Dots with gluten sensitivity:
- Level of sensitivity – Those managing celiac disease or with high sensitivity should use extreme caution and opt for other treats.
- Importance of diet – How strictly you need to be gluten-free and consequences of exposure.
- Frequency of consumption – Occasional treats differ from making them a dietary staple.
- New flavors or bases – Try dairy-free or chocolate options which likely have lower risk.
- Making your own – Homemade copycat recipe lets you control ingredients completely.
In the end, proceed with knowledge of the potential risks and make the choice that is right for your individual health needs and restrictions.
The Bottom Line
While the famous tiny pellet-shaped frozen ice cream called Dippin’ Dots avoid using any ingredients that naturally contain gluten in their birthday cake flavored variety, the treats are still produced in a facility that processes wheat and dairy products. This means there is some risk of cross-contamination of trace gluten, even though it is minimized with manufacturing protocols.
People with celiac disease and high gluten sensitivity should use extreme caution and probably avoid Dippin’ Dots altogether, opting for dedicated gluten-free brands instead. Others with minor gluten restrictions or who are simply avoiding it in their diet can likely indulge in moderation without issue. Contacting the manufacturer directly provides the best information for those with celiac disease if considering trying.
With knowledge of the potential (but low) risk of exposure to gluten, most people avoiding gluten for minor reasons can safely enjoy birthday cake Dippin’ Dots as an occasional treat.