Is Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix gluten free?

Quick Answer

No, Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix is not gluten free. Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix contains wheat flour, which contains gluten. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix.

Ingredients in Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake Mix

The main ingredients in Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix are:

  • Enriched bleached wheat flour – Wheat flour contains gluten, so this ingredient makes the cake mix unsuitable for a gluten free diet.
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa processed with alkali
  • Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate)
  • Salt
  • Dextrose
  • Soybean oil
  • Propylene glycol mono- and diesters of fats and fatty acids
  • Distilled monoglycerides
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate
  • Artificial flavor
  • Cellulose gum
  • Xanthan gum
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Extractives of paprika
  • Annatto extract (color)

The enriched bleached wheat flour is the ingredient that contains gluten. All the other ingredients are gluten free.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid). Gluten provides the structure and texture in products made from these grains. It acts as a “glue” that holds food together and gives it a chewy texture.

For most people, eating gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause adverse health effects.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body mounts an immune response to gluten. This immune reaction damages the lining of the small intestine, leading to an inability to absorb nutrients. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a milder condition involving gluten intolerance and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The only treatment for celiac disease is strictly adhering to a gluten free diet. Avoiding gluten is also recommended for those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity to alleviate symptoms.

This is why it’s important for people avoiding gluten to check ingredients lists carefully for any gluten containing ingredients.

Is Wheat Flour Gluten Free?

No, wheat flour is not gluten free. Wheat flour contains gluten proteins, so it should be avoided on a gluten free diet.

There are many different types of wheat flour:

  • All purpose flour – Contains 10-12% gluten
  • Bread flour – Higher in gluten at 12-14%
  • Whole wheat flour – Contains the whole grain including 14% gluten
  • Cake flour – Lower in gluten at 6-8%

All forms of wheat flour contain gluten and are unsafe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Some other types of flour that do NOT contain gluten include:

  • Rice flour
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Corn flour
  • Potato flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Soy flour
  • Bean flour

These alternative gluten free flours can be substituted in baking recipes to produce gluten free baked goods. However, some adjustments may need to be made to account for differences in texture, density and moisture absorption compared to regular wheat flour.

What Makes a Food Product Gluten Free?

For a food product to be considered gluten free, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Does not contain any type of wheat, rye, barley or triticale
  • Does not contain ingredients derived from these grains, such as malt extract or wheat starch
  • Does not contain gluten containing grains that have been processed to remove gluten. For example, wheat starch is not permitted even though some gluten has been removed.
  • Has less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of residual gluten. Foods with negligible amounts of gluten like this are termed “gluten free”
  • Is not produced on shared equipment that processes gluten containing foods, to avoid cross contamination
  • Has gluten free labeling clearly printed on the packaging

Any amount of gluten over 20 ppm can trigger reactions in sensitive individuals. That’s why there are strict regulations in place to protect consumers avoiding gluten.

Reading the ingredients list carefully and looking for a “gluten free” label is the best way to determine if a product is gluten free when you are shopping. Calling the manufacturer directly can also help clarify the gluten free status if it’s unclear from the packaging.

Are Pillsbury Cake Mixes Gluten Free?

No, Pillsbury cake mixes are not gluten free. All Pillsbury cake mixes contain wheat flour as the main ingredient, meaning they are not suitable for a gluten free diet.

Some examples of Pillsbury cake mixes that contain gluten:

  • Funfetti
  • Yellow
  • Devil’s food
  • White
  • Chocolate fudge
  • Angel food
  • Gingerbread
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon
  • Chocolate

Even though most Pillsbury cake mixes are labeled as “wheat flour” in the ingredients, wheat contains the protein gluten that must be avoided on a gluten free diet.

Pillsbury does produce a few gluten free products, but their gluten free baking mixes are made in dedicated production areas and have a “gluten free” label clearly printed on the box.

Those needing to avoid gluten should stick to Pillsbury mixes explicitly labeled as gluten free, and avoid their traditional cake mixes that contain wheat. Checking labels carefully is key for gluten free baking.

Gluten Free Substitutions for Pillsbury Cake Mix

Here are some suggestions for swapping Pillsbury cake mix with a gluten free option:

  • Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Pamela’s Chocolate Cake & Muffin Mix
  • Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Namaste Foods Cake Mixes
  • Glutino Chocolate Cake Mix

Be sure to read labels and look for “gluten free” printed on the packaging when selecting a gluten free cake mix. Baking times and temperatures may vary compared to regular cake mixes. Following recipe instructions carefully will give the best results.

Making a cake mix from scratch using gluten free flour plus other ingredients is another option. Gluten free flours like rice, almond and coconut flour can be combined with cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt to create a homemade gluten free chocolate cake mix.

Tips for Baking Gluten Free Cakes from Mix

Baking with gluten free cake mixes can produce delicious results with a few helpful tips:

  • Use oil instead of butter – Oil creates a moister crumb.
  • Increase eggs or liquid – Gluten free flours absorb more moisture.
  • Add xanthan gum – Helps replicate the binding quality of gluten.
  • Adjust baking temperature – Some gluten free cakes require a lower oven temp.
  • Avoid overmixing – Overworking the batter can make gluten free cakes dense.
  • Grease pans well – Gluten free batters are thicker and can stick.
  • Allow proper cooling – Gluten free cakes are delicate when hot.
  • Cut gently – Use a serrated knife and sawing motion.

With careful ingredient choices and baking adjustments, you can enjoy delicious gluten free chocolate cake using Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix alternatives.

Other Pillsbury Products That Contain Gluten

In addition to cake mixes, there are other Pillsbury products that contain gluten:

  • Biscuits – Made with wheat flour
  • Bread dough – Contains wheat flour
  • Pie crust – Wheat flour is main ingredient
  • Cookies – Wheat flour in almost all
  • Toaster strudel – Has wheat flour
  • Puff pastry sheets – Contain wheat flour
  • Frozen dough products – Croissants, cinnamon rolls, etc.
  • Bake-off products – Crescents, breadsticks
  • Flour – Wheat varieties contain gluten
  • Bake mixes – Pancake, waffle, cornbread, etc.

Individuals following a gluten free diet need to read labels carefully and avoid these Pillsbury items with wheat-based ingredients. Checking for gluten free labeling is the only way to identify Pillsbury products that are safe to consume if avoiding gluten.

Pillsbury Gluten Free Products

While the majority of Pillsbury products contain gluten, they do offer a selection of gluten free items:

  • Gluten Free Funfetti Cake Mix
  • Gluten Free Funfetti Frosting
  • Gluten Free Funfetti Cookie Mix
  • Gluten Free Cornbread Muffin Mix
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix

These gluten free products are produced in facilities free from gluten cross-contamination. They have a “gluten free” label clearly printed on the packaging.

Pillsbury states their gluten free items have less than 20 ppm of gluten. Their testing ensures gluten levels are below the FDA limit to be labeled gluten free.

Checking for Pillsbury’s gluten free line of products is the only way those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can enjoy Pillsbury baking mixes safely.

Are Other Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake Mix Products Gluten Free?

In addition to the original Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix, there are some other devil’s food varieties that also contain gluten:

  • Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food Premium Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Devil’s Food Marble Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cupcakes Mix
  • Pillsbury Devil’s Food Layer Cake Mix
  • Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake Mix with Hershey’s Cocoa

None of these Pillsbury devil’s food cake mixes are gluten free because they all contain wheat flour as a main ingredient. The different varieties may have additional ingredients like cocoa powder or chocolate chips, but they all contain gluten from wheat flour.

Double checking the ingredients list for wheat flour is the best way to confirm if any Pillsbury cake mix is gluten free or not. Any Pillsbury devil’s food variety that lists wheat flour is unsuitable for individuals sensitive to gluten.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Options

For those avoiding gluten that want to make chocolate cake, there are several gluten free options:

Gluten Free Box Mix

As mentioned previously, buying a chocolate cake mix that is labeled gluten free is the easiest option. Brands like Betty Crocker, King Arthur, Bob’s Red Mill and Glutino offer gluten free chocolate cake mixes.

From Scratch Recipe

Making chocolate cake completely from scratch allows you to control all the ingredients. Using cocoa powder, gluten free flour, eggs, butter, sugar and leavening agents creates a tailored gluten free chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Also called a fudge cake, this recipe is naturally gluten free since it is flourless. Eggs, chocolate, butter and sugar are combined for a rich, dense chocolate cake without flour.

Mug Cake

Individual chocolate mug cakes are an easy gluten free dessert. These cakes are made with almond flour, cocoa powder, sugar and egg mixed right in the mug and microwaved.

With some versatile gluten free baking options, avoiding gluten doesn’t mean missing out on chocolate cake.

Are There Any Health Risks with Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake Mix?

Aside from gluten, here are some other health considerations with Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix:

High in Sugar and Refined Carbs

Like most cake mixes, Pillsbury devil’s food has a high amount of sugar and refined flour. This can spike blood sugar levels rapidly. The cake mix has 14g sugar per 1/4 cup dry mix. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 25g per day for women and 36g for men. Consuming this cake mix regularly could put you over the recommended sugar limit.

May Contain Artificial Dyes

The artificial food coloring Red #40 is used in some Pillsbury chocolate cake mixes. Studies link Red #40 to hyperactivity in children and allergenic effects in those sensitive to salicylates. Natural color substitutes like beet powder can be used instead in homemade cakes.

May Contain Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Some Pillsbury cake mixes use partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats. Trans fats raise bad LDL cholesterol levels and lower good HDL levels, increasing risk for heart disease and stroke. Checking labels for partially hydrogenated oils and avoiding products containing them is wise.

Allergen Risk

Along with gluten, Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix contains other common allergens like soy and wheat. Those with food allergies need to avoid products containing their allergenic ingredients. An allergic reaction to components in the cake mix could occur if consumed.

Overall moderation is key when consuming processed convenience foods high in sugar and additives like cake mixes. Being aware of ingredients and potential health risks allows you to make informed decisions.


In summary, Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix is not gluten free and should be avoided by anyone following a gluten free diet. The presence of wheat flour, which contains the protein gluten, makes Pillsbury devil’s food cake mix unsuitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Carefully reading ingredient labels, looking for gluten free labeling, and contacting manufacturers directly are the best ways to evaluate if a product is gluten free or not. Consuming gluten free cake mixes or baking gluten free chocolate cake from scratch are alternatives for enjoying chocolate cake while avoiding gluten. Being aware of other potential health risks like sugar content, artificial ingredients and allergens is also important when consuming processed foods like cake mixes.

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