What chocolate liqueur is gluten-free?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, determining which chocolate liqueurs are safe to drink can be tricky. Chocolate liqueurs contain distilled spirits along with chocolate, cream, sugars, and flavorings. The base spirit is usually gluten-free, but many liqueurs also contain thickening agents or flavorings that may contain gluten. Additionally, some liqueurs may be produced in facilities that also process gluten-containing grains, raising the risk of cross-contamination.

What is gluten and why must some avoid it?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten poses no health concerns. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an abnormal immune response that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, and anemia in gluten-sensitive individuals. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet, avoiding foods and beverages that contain gluten.

Which chocolate liqueurs typically contain gluten?

Unfortunately, many popular chocolate liqueurs are not gluten-free. Here are some examples:


Godiva chocolates are gluten-free, but Godiva liqueurs contain malt – barley extract that contains gluten. Flavors like Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, and Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur are not gluten-free.


Baileys Original Irish Cream contains malt extract from barley and is not gluten-free. Baileys flavors like Salted Caramel and Espresso Creams also contain gluten from malt.


Kahlúa liqueur contains corn syrup, likely derived from wheat. So classic Kahlúa is off limits for a gluten-free diet. Flavors like Kahlúa French Vanilla and Kahlúa Hazelnut are also made with corn syrup that sources from wheat.


Chambord raspberry liqueur contains gluten in the form of grain alcohol/neutral spirits. The black raspberry and vanilla flavors are safe, but Chambord’s base contains gluten.


Frangelico is a hazelnut-flavored liqueur that contains barley malt, a source of gluten. Other nut-based liqueurs like amaretto typically contain gluten from grain alcohol as well.

What about cream-based chocolate liqueurs?

Many cream-based chocolate liqueurs like Bailey’s also contain gluten from malt or wheat-sourced alcohol. Examples include:

Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

Made with wheat-derived alcohol

Emmets Irish Cream

Contains malt and barley

Carolans Irish Cream

Has barley and malt

McCormick Irish Cream

Includes barley malt

Tequila Rose

Contains gluten from grain alcohol

So cream and chocolate flavor profiles do not make a liqueur gluten-free. Check the ingredients list and avoid malt, barley, or alcohol not specified as 100% corn, potato, or cane sugar-based.

What chocolate liqueurs are gluten-free?

Thankfully, some chocolate liqueurs made from gluten-free ingredients do exist. Here are some recommended gluten-free options:


This horchata-flavored liqueur is dairy-free and gluten-free, made from sugar cane spirits, vanilla, cinnamon, and dairy-free creamers.

Koko Kanu

A coconut rum liqueur flavored with Jamaican cocoa. Distilled from coconut and 100% gluten-free.

Ameretto Disaronno Velvet

Disaronno’s chocolate cherry and cream liqueur contains no gluten ingredients.

Patrón XO Cafe

A coffee-infused liqueur made from tequila and gluten-free ingredients.

Kahlúa Midnight

A gluten-free espresso martini style liqueur from Kahlúa.

St. George Spiced Pear

A pear liqueur with cocoa and spices. Gluten-free made from pears, neutral spirits, and real dairy cream.

Brand Flavor Gluten-Free Status
RumChata Original Yes
Koko Kanu Coconut Rum Yes
Disaronno Amaretto Velvet Yes
Patrón XO Cafe Yes
Kahlúa Midnight Yes
St. George Spiced Pear Yes

How to check if a chocolate liqueur is gluten-free

With so many potential hidden sources of gluten, checking labels alone may not be enough to confirm a chocolate liqueur is gluten-free. Here are some tips:

Check the ingredients list

Scan for mention of malt, barley, rye, wheat. Also look for neutral spirits or alcohol that is not specified as gluten-free.

Look for a gluten-free certification

Some brands display a gluten-free label from GFCO, the Gluten Intolerance Group, or Celiac Support Association. This independently confirms gluten-free production processes.

Contact the manufacturer

If a chocolate liqueur doesn’t list ingredients or certifications, call or email the company to inquire about gluten-free status directly. Manufacturing processes can change.

Research online communities

Check reputable celiac forums and resources like Celiac.com to see if the brand is recommended as gluten-free by others with gluten intolerance.

When in doubt, avoid it

If unsure, don’t risk the gluten exposure. Stick to chocolate liqueurs clearly labeled as gluten-free from gluten-free alcohol brands.

Gluten-free chocolate liqueur recipes

Instead of risking cross-contamination from premade liqueurs, try making your own gluten-free chocolate liqueurs at home:

Golden Milk Chocolate Liqueur


– 2 cups coconut milk
– 1⁄4 cup honey or maple syrup
– 1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
– Pinch cayenne pepper
– 1 cup vodka, rum, or brandy


1. Whisk coconut milk, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne in a small saucepan.
2. Heat on medium, stirring frequently until steaming and cocoa dissolves. Remove from heat.
3. Let mixture cool slightly then stir in alcohol of choice.
4. Transfer to an airtight bottle or jar.
5. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Keeps refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate


– 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
– 1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
– 2 tbsp brown sugar
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
– Pinch cayenne pepper
– 1⁄2 cup tequila or rum


1. In a small saucepan, whisk together almond milk, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

2. Cook on medium-low, stirring frequently, until steaming and frothy.

3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4. Stir in tequila or rum.

5. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Amaretto Liqueur


– 1 1⁄2 cups amaretto
– 3⁄4 cup chocolate liqueur, gluten-free
– 1⁄4 cup chocolate syrup
– 1⁄4 cup powdered sugar


1. Combine amaretto, chocolate liqueur, chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar in a mixing glass or jar.

2. Stir vigorously until powdered sugar fully dissolves.

3. Pour into an airtight bottle and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

4. Enjoy over ice or use to make delicious gluten-free cocktails.

Gluten-free chocolate liqueur cocktails

Craving a chocolate martini but need to avoid gluten? Try these delicious adaptations:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Espresso Martini

– 1 oz vodka, preferably vanilla
– 1⁄2 oz Kahlúa or coffee liqueur
– 1⁄2 oz chocolate liqueur
– 1⁄2 oz freshly brewed espresso, cooled
– Cocoa powder for garnish

Add vodka, liqueurs, and espresso to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Spiked Hot Chocolate

– 1 cup warmed dairy-free milk
– 2 oz rumchata
– 1 oz vodka (optional)
– 1 tbsp chocolate syrup
– Whipped cream
– Cocoa powder

Stir together warmed milk, rumchata, vodka (if using), and chocolate syrup. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

– 1 1⁄2 oz vodka
– 1⁄2 oz Disaronno Velvet
– 1⁄2 oz cherry juice
– Chocolate syrup
– Maraschino cherry

Rim a martini glass with chocolate syrup then fill with ice. Add vodka, Disaronno Velvet, and cherry juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled then strain into the rimmed glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Is chocolate gluten-free?

Pure chocolate liquor or cocoa butter contain no gluten. However, some chocolate products contain ingredients like malt or barley that are not gluten-free. Always check labels for:

Malt flavoring or extracts

Malt is made from barley and contains gluten. Malt may be in milk chocolate, candies, or chocolate baked goods.

Barley malt

Some dark chocolate uses barley malt to flavor and sweeten the chocolate. Barley malt syrup is not gluten-free.


Even pure chocolate may get contaminated with gluten during processing on shared equipment. Opt for chocolate from certified gluten-free brands if very sensitive.


The chocolate itself may be gluten-free but fillings like cookies or wafers likely contain gluten. Check all ingredients in chocolate bark, candies, etc.

Best practices for avoiding gluten from chocolate

To ensure your chocolate is gluten-free:

– Read the ingredients label carefully

– Look for gluten-free certifications

– Call the company to inquire about testing for gluten

– Stick to pure chocolate bars from gluten-free brands

– Enjoy single-origin dark chocolate, which typically has no added ingredients

– Use gluten-free chocolate chips for baking

– Opt for peanut butter, caramel, or fruit-filled chocolates

– Enjoy dairy-free chocolate to avoid milk ingredients with gluten

Gluten-free chocolate recommendations

These chocolate brands test all products to ensure they are gluten-free:

Pascha Organic Chocolate

Makes a diverse line of dairy-free and allergy-friendly organic chocolate.

Alter Eco Chocolate

Specializes in single-origin, ethically-sourced gluten-free chocolate.

Enjoy Life Foods

Offers dark chocolate bars, chocolate chips, and other items free from gluten and major allergens.


Produces premium gluten-free chocolate bars in unique flavors.

Hu Kitchen

Makes Paleo-friendly chocolate from almond butter, coconut sugar, and cocoa beans.

Lindt Excellence

Classic Lindt dark chocolate bars are certified gluten-free.

Is chocolate gluten-free? The bottom line

Pure chocolate is naturally gluten-free, but many chocolate products contain questionable ingredients. Read labels closely or look for certified gluten-free options if highly sensitive. When enjoying chocolate liqueurs, stick to brands confirmed as gluten-free to avoid malt, wheat, and cross-contamination. Or better yet – mix up gluten-free chocolate liqueurs at home.

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