Does Dutch Bros Frost have gluten?

Dutch Bros is a popular coffee chain founded in Oregon in 1992. They are known for their specialty coffee and energy drink options. One of their most popular offerings is the Dutch Bros Frost line of blended frozen drinks. Dutch Bros Frost drinks come in a variety of flavors like Andes Mint Mocha, Caramelizer, and Golden Eagle. They have a soft serve ice cream-like texture and are customizable with extras like whipped cream, flavored syrups, and candy pieces.

Many customers who follow a gluten-free diet are interested to know if these popular blended drinks are safe for them to consume. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity cannot consume gluten because it causes damage to their small intestine. This article will dive into the ingredients in Dutch Bros Frost drinks and determine if they contain any gluten.

Are the Core Dutch Bros Frost Drink Options Gluten-Free?

The main components that make up a basic Dutch Bros Frost drink are:

– Ice
– Dutch Bros Soft Serve Ice Cream Base
– Flavor Syrups

None of these core ingredients contain any gluten.

The soft serve ice cream base is made up of milk, cream, sugar, and stabilizers like guar gum and carrageenan. Dutch Bros confirmed that this proprietary base contains no gluten.

The flavored syrups used to create the Frost options like strawberry, caramel, and chocolate are also free of gluten-containing ingredients. These syrups are made from a blend of water, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, gum acacia, and caramel color.

So the basic beverage portion of any Dutch Bros Frost drink, no matter the flavor, is gluten-free.

Are Gluten-Free Options Available for Frost Drink Customizations?

In addition to the core Frost beverage, you can customize your drink order with add-ins like whipped cream, flavored syrup drizzles, and candy pieces. Dutch Bros offers both gluten-containing and gluten-free options for these extras.

For whipped cream, they offer traditional dairy whipped cream that contains no gluten.

Some of the flavored syrup drizzles contain gluten, like the caramel and mocha drizzles. However, Dutch Bros also offers gluten-free flavored drizzle options, including the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla drizzles.

For candy pieces mix-ins, options like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&M’s, and Snickers contain gluten. However, the Skittles and Sour Punch Straws mix-ins are gluten-free.

So you can customize your Frost drink order to be gluten-free by choosing gluten-free extras like the whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and Skittles pieces. Just be aware that some customization options do contain gluten so that you can avoid those.

What About Cross-Contamination Risks?

While the core Frost drink ingredients and some customization options are gluten-free, there is still a risk of cross-contamination with gluten.

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-containing ingredients come into contact with gluten-free ingredients, transferring over traces of gluten. This typically happens through shared equipment, utensils, and food preparation areas.

Some potential sources of cross-contamination with Dutch Bros Frost drinks include:

– The blenders used to blend the Frost drinks could become contaminated from blending flavors containing gluten from ingredients like wheat-derived caramel sauce.

– Scoops used for gluten-containing candy pieces like cookie dough bites could transfer gluten traces to the gluten-free Skittles.

– The shared whipped cream dispenser could have residual buildup of gluten from caramel sauce or other gluten-containing drizzles.

– Dairy-based soft serve ice cream can be prone to cross-contamination since many ice cream facilities also handle gluten-containing cookies and inclusions.

So while the core Frost beverage and some customizations are gluten-free, there is a good chance of gluten cross-contamination occurring. Someone following a gluten-free diet would have to weigh the risks based on their sensitivity level.

What About Other Allergens Besides Gluten?

In addition to checking for gluten, it’s important for customers to be aware of other allergens present in Dutch Bros Frost drinks.

Here are some key allergens to keep in mind:

Dairy – The soft serve ice cream base contains milk and cream. The whipped cream is also dairy-based.

Eggs – The soft serve ice cream is made with egg yolks.

Soy – The chocolate drizzle contains soybean oil. The chocolate shakes also contain soy.

Peanuts – The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces contain peanuts. The facility likely handles other peanut-containing candies.

Tree Nuts – The Caramelizer Frost contains almonds. Other candies containing nuts like pecans could be handled on shared equipment.

So if you have an allergy or sensitivity besides gluten, be sure to inquire about the ingredients and risk of cross-contamination. Those with severe dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and tree nut allergies would likely want to avoid Dutch Bros Frost drinks given the risks.

What About Vegan and Dairy-Free Options?

People who follow a vegan or dairy-free diet also often ask about Dutch Bros Frost drink options.

Unfortunately, most standard Frost drinks are not vegan or dairy-free. The soft serve base contains dairy milk and cream. Some of the flavored fruit syrups contain small amounts of milk or cream as well.

However, Dutch Bros does offer both a coconut milk-based and almond milk-based Frost option at select locations. These would be suitable options for vegans and those avoiding dairy. But it’s important to note that not all Dutch Bros offer non-dairy choices so be sure to check ahead of time.

There is still a risk of cross-contamination with dairy when ordering one of the non-dairy Frost options. But the coconut milk and almond milk bases provide a way for some with dairy-free diets to enjoy these popular blended drinks.

Tips for Ordering a Gluten-Free Frost at Dutch Bros

If you want to customize a gluten-free Frost drink order at Dutch Bros, here are some tips:

– Ask for your Frost to be made with a freshly sanitized blender if you have celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity. This minimizes cross-contamination risks.

– Choose gluten-free syrup drizzle options like chocolate or strawberry instead of caramel or mocha drizzles.

– Opt for gluten-free candy pieces like Skittles instead of cookie dough bites or brownie chunks.

– Request dairy whipped cream instead of flavored whipped creams which may contain gluten.

– Ask if they have dairy-free coconut milk or almond milk soft serve options if you have a dairy allergy.

– Specify that you have a gluten allergy when ordering so employees take extra precautions.

– Check the Dutch Bros mobile app or website for the most up-to-date allergen info on ingredients.

Being aware of the ingredients and following these tips when ordering can help you safely enjoy Dutch Bros Frost drinks on a gluten-free diet. But there is always some risk of cross-contamination given the shared equipment involved in making these blended beverages.

Should You Rely on Dutch Bros for Gluten-Free Drinks?

Dutch Bros makes an effort to offer some gluten-free options on their menu. But due to the risk of cross-contamination on shared equipment, they do not claim to be a gluten-free facility.

For someone with celiac disease or who is highly sensitive, consuming gluten at Dutch Bros could cause a reaction. Even small amounts of cross-contact can be a problem for those who are highly gluten intolerant.

Dutch Bros baristas receive general food allergen training. However, the company warns that menu items may come into contact with gluten or other allergens during the preparation process.

So those following a strict gluten-free diet would be at risk consuming Frost drinks on a regular basis at Dutch Bros. Someone who is less sensitive may tolerate it, but it depends on the individual.

If you do decide to order a Frost drink to accommodate a gluten-free diet, take precautions like those listed above to minimize risk. But for those who are highly gluten intolerant, it may be safest to avoid Dutch Bros drinks altogether due to the decent chance of cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Drinks to Order Instead at Dutch Bros

If you want to enjoy Dutch Bros but need to strictly avoid any gluten, here are some gluten-free drink options to order instead of a Frost:

– Hot coffee – Plain black coffee or espresso drinks are a gluten-free choice. Request dairy-free milk and avoid flavored syrups that may contain gluten.

– Cold Brew – Customize with dairy-free milk and gluten-free flavor shots like vanilla or chocolate.

– Rebel Energy Drinks – Certain flavors like Raspberry Pomegranate and Lemonade are gluten-free. Avoid mocha and cookie flavors that likely contain gluten.

– Hot Tea – Herbal teas and black tea are gluten-free by nature. Add dairy-free milk as desired.

– Iced Tea – Unsweetened or lightly sweetened tea is a refreshing gluten-free choice. Get it without flavored syrups.

– Smoothies – Ask if they can make a smoothie with dairy-free milk and naturally gluten-free fruit ingredients. May not be offered, so call ahead.

– Bottled Drinks – Bottled water, soda, kombucha, and cold-pressed juices are often gluten-free. But always check labels first.

Choosing basic gluten-free drinks like coffee, tea, and smoothies prepared safely without cross-contact allows those with celiac disease or food sensitivities to still enjoy Dutch Bros.

Is Dutch Bros Taking Steps to Improve Allergen Handling?

As a growing coffee company, Dutch Bros appears willing to improve allergen protocols to better accommodate gluten-free and other special dietary needs.

Some positive steps Dutch Bros has taken include:

– Listing basic allergen information for menu items online

– Training employees on general food allergy awareness

– Adding dairy-free non-dairy Frost options at some locations

– Making efforts to offer some gluten-free customization options

However, there is still room for improvement industry-wide when it comes to allergen training and dedicated production procedures. Given the current shared equipment risks, those with celiac disease or severe sensitivities still have to be quite cautious when ordering.

Hopefully in the future, Dutch Bros will take further steps like:

– Providing more detailed allergen info on individual ingredients

– Improving employee training specific to gluten and other allergies

– Designating certain blenders or areas for gluten-free smoothie preparation

– Using separate toppings and inclusion bins by allergen type to prevent cross-contact

– Pursuing official gluten-free certification for certain menu items

With greater awareness and expanding demand for allergy-friendly options, Dutch Bros has an opportunity to make positive changes. This would allow more customers with food restrictions to safely enjoy their signature blended Frost drinks and other menu offerings.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to Dutch Bros Frost drinks, the core beverage as well as some customization options are gluten-free. But due to shared equipment and cross-contamination risks, they are not recommended for those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance.

Coconut milk and almond milk Frost alternatives provide non-dairy options for some. However, overall those following a gluten-free diet will find it safest to stick to basic drinks like coffee, tea, and smoothies that have less contamination risk.

While Dutch Bros is taking some positive steps, those with celiac disease or an allergy need to be very cautious when ordering. In the future, hopefully the chain will improve processes and training to better accommodate special diets including gluten-free. With proper protocols in place, most customers could enjoy Dutch Bros Frost drinks regardless of dietary needs. But for now, some minimization of risk is still required for gluten intolerant patrons.

Leave a Comment