What ice cream from DQ is gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for health or personal reasons. For those who follow a gluten-free diet, figuring out which menu items at popular fast food chains are safe to eat can be challenging. Dairy Queen is a beloved chain known for its soft serve ice cream treats, but does DQ offer any gluten-free ice cream options?

DQ gluten-free treats

The good news is that there are gluten-free ice cream treats available at Dairy Queen! DQ states that the following ice cream treats are gluten-free:

  • Soft serve ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, or twist)
  • Blizzard treats made with soft serve and toppings that do not contain gluten
  • Royal shakes made with soft serve
  • Dilly bars made with vanilla soft serve coated in chocolate
  • Orange Julius original and strawberry Julius made with soft serve

As long as you stick to DQ’s soft serve treats and avoid ingredients containing gluten, you should be able to enjoy these yummy ice cream items while following a gluten-free diet.

Importance of customizing orders

One important tip when ordering gluten-free items from Dairy Queen is to customize your order to avoid gluten-containing ingredients. For example, Blizzards, Royal Shakes, and Julius originals often come with cookie/candy pieces or variegates that may contain gluten. Be sure to ask for these items to be made without the gluten-containing ingredients and request that they are prepared in a clean blender and served in a clean cup to avoid cross-contamination.

The best way to ensure your order is gluten-free when ordering ice cream is to start with vanilla soft serve, then add your own gluten-free toppings as desired. Popular gluten-free DQ topping options include:

  • Oreo cookie pieces
  • M&M’s
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Snickers pieces
  • Heath bar pieces
  • Butterfinger pieces
  • Nuts like peanuts, almonds, or pecans
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries or pineapple

By customizing your order and avoiding ingredients with gluten, you can still enjoy tasty treats from Dairy Queen while adhering to a gluten-free diet.

What about DQ cakes and food menu items?

While DQ’s soft serve ice cream on its own is gluten-free, most of the other menu items and cakes available at Dairy Queen are not safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • DQ cakes contain gluten, as they are made with flour in the bakery. These include their signature ice cream cakes, birthday cakes, Blizzard cakes, and cupcakes.
  • Breaded food items like corn dogs and chicken strips are coated in batter containing gluten.
  • The buns and cones used for hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken sandwiches contain gluten.
  • Non-soft serve ice cream flavors like sundaes made with handled ice cream have a risk of gluten cross-contamination.

Some DQ locations may offer gluten-free buns or cones, but it’s best to check with your local restaurant directly if you need a gluten-free alternative to enjoy their food menu items.

Dining out gluten-free at DQ

Here are some tips for safely dining at Dairy Queen with celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet:

  • Check out DQ’s allergen information online or call ahead to ask questions about their gluten-free offerings.
  • Look for a dedicated ice cream machine used only for gluten-free soft serve if you are highly sensitive.
  • Tell employees you need to order gluten-free items when ordering at the counter.
  • Request food prep surfaces, blenders, and tools to be washed before making your order.
  • Ask for your order to be served in a dish or bowl rather than a cone.
  • Check labels of packaged toppings before adding them to your order.

With some modifications and extra care, those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can still enjoy a sweet treat from Dairy Queen. Just be sure to stick to the soft serve for your best gluten-free bet.

Nutritional information

For those monitoring nutritional intake, Dairy Queen’s soft serve on its own is relatively low in calories, fat, and sugar compared to some of their more indulgent creations. Here is the nutrition info for a basic 5.5 oz soft serve cone from DQ:

Nutrition Facts Vanilla Soft Serve Cone Chocolate Soft Serve Cone
Calories 190 200
Total Fat 7g 6g
Saturated Fat 5g 4g
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Cholesterol 25mg 20mg
Sodium 115mg 105mg
Total Carbohydrates 24g 26g
Dietary Fiber 0g 1g
Sugars 19g 22g
Protein 3g 3g

A plain soft serve from DQ ranges from 190-200 calories depending on the flavor, with 3g of protein and 0-1g of fiber. There are around 20g of sugar per serving, coming naturally from the dairy. Overall, soft serve makes a nice lighter, gluten-free treat option compared to Blizzards, sundaes, or cakes.

Other tips for gluten-free living

Following a gluten-free diet requires adjustments to many areas of life, including food shopping, meal planning, social gatherings, travel, and dining out. Here are some additional tips:

  • Get familiar with reading ingredient labels to identify hidden sources of gluten.
  • Research gluten-free specialty products and flours to use in cooking and baking.
  • Rely on naturally gluten-free foods like produce, meats, dairy, rice, quinoa.
  • Meal prep your own gluten-free snacks and baked goods to have on hand.
  • Communicate closely with wait staff when ordering at restaurants if you are highly sensitive.
  • Join gluten-free social media groups for brand/dining recommendations.
  • Always have safe gluten-free snacks with you when on-the-go.

While giving up gluten takes adjustment, identifying gluten-free menu items like Dairy Queen soft serve helps make food options feel more abundant. With the right substitutions and care taken to avoid cross-contact, it’s possible to find gluten-free treats you can continue enjoying.


Is soft serve really gluten-free at DQ?

Yes, Dairy Queen has confirmed that both their chocolate and vanilla soft serve recipes are free of gluten ingredients. The soft serve machines in DQ restaurants utilize an isolated system that pumps in the base mix and does not have risk of gluten cross-contamination from other areas of the store or kitchen.

What about soft serve at other chains like McDonald’s?

Unfortunately soft serve formulas differ between restaurants chains, so gluten-free status cannot be assumed. For example, McDonald’s vanilla soft serve contains wheat/gluten while their chocolate and twist are gluten-free. Check directly with the restaurant for their latest ingredient information.

Should I worry about cross-contact from toppings?

It depends on your sensitivity level. Most mainstream toppings like Oreo pieces and M&M’s are produced in dedicated gluten-free facilities. But for those with celiac, it can’t hurt to request clean tools and new containers. Opting for your own toppings from home ensures safety.

Can I get a Blizzard, sundae, or cake on a gluten-free cone?

Unfortunately, no – while the cone itself may be gluten-free, Blizzards, sundaes, and cakes contain ingredients with gluten so there would be risk of cross-contamination when scooping and preparing the order. Stick to soft serve for safety.

Are there any completely gluten-free Dairy Queen locations?

A few individual DQ franchises around the country advertise themselves as 100% gluten-free stores, meaning they avoid all gluten ingredients and follow protocols to prevent cross-contact. But this is extremely rare – your safest bet is to customize any item to be gluten-free using their soft serve.

The bottom line

When ordered plain or customized with gluten-free add-ins, Dairy Queen’s signature soft serve treats present a tasty gluten-free option for those with dietary restrictions. By avoiding baked goods and breaded menu items and taking care to prevent cross-contact, DQ can still be a go-to spot for a cold, creamy and refreshing gluten-free treat. Careful ordering and communication of your needs is key to safely enjoying DQ’s offerings while living a gluten-free lifestyle. With a few precautions, you don’t have to miss out on their famous soft serve!

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