Is Pillsbury canned frosting gluten free?

Quick Answer

Pillsbury canned frosting is gluten free. Pillsbury clearly labels their canned frosting products that are gluten free, stating they are made without wheat. Some flavors of Pillsbury canned frosting, such as Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Fudge Frosting, are labeled gluten free, indicating they do not contain gluten.


Many Pillsbury canned frostings are gluten free because they do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or derivatives that contain gluten. Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting contains the following ingredients:

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Corn Syrup
Whey (from Milk)
Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Carob Bean Gum)
Citric Acid
Mono and Diglycerides
Modified Corn Starch
Guar Gum
Sorbitan Monostearate
Titanium Dioxide (for color)
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (preservatives)
Yellow 5, Yellow 6 (for color)

None of these ingredients contain gluten.

Similarly, Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Frosting contains:

Corn Syrup
Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil
Whey (milk)
Cocoa Processed with Alkali
Locust Bean Gum
Guar Gum
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Potassium Sorbate (preservative)

Again, no gluten-containing ingredients are present. As long as a Pillsbury canned frosting has no wheat or wheat derivatives listed in the ingredients, it can be considered gluten free.

Validation from Pillsbury

In addition to reviewing the ingredient lists, Pillsbury has identified which of their canned frosting products are gluten free on their website and packaging.

On the Pillsbury website, they have a list of FAQs related to product allergens and dietary needs. Under the gluten free section, they state:

“Any Pillsbury product that displays the GF icon on the packaging has been tested to verify it meets the FDA requirements for a gluten free food. Products that display the icon have been tested to contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.”

Therefore, if a Pillsbury canned frosting product has a “GF” icon on the packaging, it has been tested to verify it meets the requirements for a gluten free food.

Currently, Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Fudge Frosting varieties are labeled as gluten free. Pillsbury’s vanilla and some other flavors are NOT labeled gluten free at this time.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Even though some Pillsbury canned frostings contain no gluten ingredients, there is a small chance of cross-contamination occurring during manufacturing in a shared facility.

Pillsbury notes on their website:

“Products made on shared equipment may come in contact with other products containing gluten. We follow stringent equipment cleaning protocols between production runs, but there is still a small chance of gluten cross-contact.”

So people with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity should be aware, despite Pillsbury’s efforts to prevent cross-contamination. The risk seems to be low based on many people with celiac reporting no issues after consuming Pillsbury’s labeled gluten free items. But the risk is not zero.

Pillsbury also cautions:

“Many foods require FDA pre-approval before making a gluten free claim. Pillsbury follows all FDA regulations for products labeled gluten free. Products without a gluten free claim are NOT recommended for customers with celiac disease.”

So people with celiac should stick to the varieties that are specifically labeled gluten free, like the Cream Cheese and Chocolate Fudge canned frostings. Other flavors without the GF label could be higher risk.

Testing Methodology

For Pillsbury products that are certified and labeled gluten free, Pillsbury states they test the items to verify they contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. This is the threshold to meet the FDA’s gluten free labeling requirements.

Pillsbury likely uses the ELISA test to detect traces of gluten. This is one of the most common food allergen testing methods. Testing is likely conducted periodically and when new product batches are made to ensure gluten levels remain below 20 ppm over time.

If an issue was found during testing with gluten contamination above 20 ppm, Pillsbury would no longer be able to label those products gluten free. So the testing helps ensure gluten free labeled items consistently meet the strict standards over time.

Pillsbury Company Information

Pillsbury is a baking brand owned by General Mills. They make refrigerated and frozen baked goods, baking mixes, frostings, flour, and more. Their manufacturing facilities produce both gluten-containing and gluten free products.

General Mills notes on their website:

“Many of our products are made on shared equipment in facilities that also process wheat-containing foods. We follow stringent equipment cleaning protocols between production runs.”

General Mills operates over 40 manufacturing facilities worldwide. While they take steps to prevent cross-contamination, there is some risk involved since gluten and gluten free foods are processed in shared facilities.

Other Pillsbury Gluten Free Items

In addition to some canned frostings, Pillsbury also labels some other products gluten free including:

  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Funfetti Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Bread Mixes
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie Crusts
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Cookies
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Brownie Mix

Always check the labels to confirm “gluten free” is stated for the flavor and variety you are purchasing. Also check packaging to ensure the “GF” icon is present.

Celiac Community Experiences

Within the celiac disease community, many people report eating Pillsbury’s labeled gluten free products without any issues.

On sites like, community members have commented:

“I’ve used the Pillsbury cream cheese frosting cans with the GF label and have never had a reaction.”

“I’ve been using Pillsbury GF frosting for awhile with no issues.”

“My son with celiac has eaten it with no problems.”

These real world experiences suggest Pillsbury’s testing and manufacturing processes enable them to produce canned frostings very low in gluten, within the accepted safety ranges for most gluten sensitive individuals when sticking to the labeled products.

However, a few people have commented about getting sick from Pillsbury’s gluten free frostings, so there is still a possibility of cross-contamination. Individual sensitivity levels can also vary quite a bit.

Other Brand Options

In addition to Pillsbury, some other brands that make gluten free canned frostings include:

– Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Frosting
– Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting
– Food Club Cream Cheese Frosting
– Harris Teeter Cream Cheese Frosting
– Market Pantry Fluffy Frosting
– Signature Select Cream Cheese Frosting (Safeway brand)
– Great Value Cream Cheese Frosting (Walmart brand)

Always thoroughly read labels since ingredients can change over time. Dozens of brands now label some frosting varieties gluten free, providing options for frosting cakes or cupcakes.

Cake Mix Precautions

If using Pillsbury gluten free canned frosting on a packaged gluten free cake mix, take care to ensure the specific cake mix is confirmed gluten free.

Some Pillsbury cake mixes contain gluten, so do not assume gluten free frosting paired with Pillsbury cake mix is safe. Double check the cake mix packaging for the gluten free designation. General Mills’ Betty Crocker brand gluten free cake mixes are a common option to pair with gluten free Pillsbury frosting.

Homemade Frosting

For ultimate control over ingredients, homemade frosting is another choice using gluten free ingredients. Butter, sugar, milk or cream, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and gluten free flour (if needed as a thickener) are building blocks for basic frosting recipes free of gluten.

Whipped cream or stabilized whipped cream frostings are another option not requiring flour. Whipped coconut cream makes a dairy-free frosting. Getting creative with fruits like mashed bananas or avocado can produce gluten free “frostings”.

Other Tips for Avoiding Gluten

Here are some other tips when living gluten-free and relying on packaged foods:

  • Check labels each time you purchase a product as ingredients may change
  • Look for “gluten free” specifically stated, not just checking for wheat
  • Ensure equipment and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned when cooking to prevent cross-contact
  • Contact manufacturers if ever in doubt about an ingredient source
  • Purchase certified gluten free oats, since regular oats are often cross-contaminated
  • Check prescription and over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and vitamins since fillers may contain gluten

Following a gluten free diet requires diligence, but the peace of mind of knowing what you’re eating is worth it for your health and well-being.


To conclude, Pillsbury’s canned cream cheese frosting and chocolate fudge frosting varieties labeled as gluten free provide gluten free options convenient for topping cakes and cupcakes. By sticking to Pillsbury frostings marked gluten free and double checking the cake mixes used, most people with gluten issues can enjoy Pillsbury’s products safely. However, there is still a small risk of cross-contamination from shared equipment. Homemade frosting is another choice for total control over what’s included. Overall, Pillsbury gives people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity more options in the freezer section, as long as they read labels carefully and confirm the GF designations. Their testing provides decent assurance the gluten free labeled frostings fall within the accepted limits.

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