Which Blue Bell ice creams are gluten free?

Blue Bell is one of the most popular ice cream brands in the United States. They offer a wide variety of delicious ice cream flavors that are enjoyed by many. For people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it is important to determine which Blue Bell ice creams are gluten free.

What is Gluten and Why Does it Matter?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For most people, gluten does not cause any problems. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine.

Consuming gluten can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue, headache and more. The only treatment for celiac disease is following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. Therefore, it is essential for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to avoid gluten in all foods, including ice cream.

Identifying Gluten Ingredients in Ice Cream

Most ice creams are naturally gluten free since they are made with ingredients like cream, milk, sugar and eggs. However, some ice creams contain gluten ingredients such as:

  • Cookie pieces – cookies often contain wheat
  • Malt or malt flavoring – derived from barley
  • Modified food starch – can be made from wheat
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Brownies or cake pieces
  • Candy pieces that contain gluten

It is important to read the ingredient list carefully to identify any potential sources of gluten. Ice creams that contain cookie dough or have mix-ins with gluten should be avoided.

Testing Methodology of Blue Bell Ice Creams

According to Blue Bell, their ice cream products are tested for gluten from wheat, rye, barley and their derivatives using the R5 Competitive ELISA method. This test can accurately detect gluten at levels of 5 Parts Per Million (ppm) or greater.

In order for a food product to be labeled “gluten-free” in the United States, it must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. So Blue Bell’s 5 ppm testing threshold provides assurance that any ice creams labeled gluten-free contain very low levels of gluten.

Blue Bell Ice Creams Labeled “Gluten-Free”

The following Blue Bell ice cream flavors are specifically labeled “gluten-free” on the Blue Bell website:

  • Butter Pecan
  • Cookies’n Cream
  • Cookie Two Step
  • Dutch Chocolate
  • The Great Divide
  • Heavenly Vanilla
  • Homemade Vanilla
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Natural Vanilla Bean
  • Orange Swirl
  • Oatmeal Cream Pie
  • Peppermint
  • Pistachio Almond
  • Southern Blackberry Cobbler
  • Spiced Pumpkin Pecan
  • Strawberry
  • Wedding Cake

These flavors are tested to contain less than 5 ppm of gluten. Blue Bell states that the gluten-free designation for these flavors is based on the lack of gluten-containing ingredients.

Potentially Gluten-Free Blue Bell Ice Creams

Beyond the flavors labeled gluten-free, Blue Bell has dozens of ice creams that appear to be free of gluten-containing ingredients based on the ingredient lists shared on the Blue Bell website. However, it is unclear whether all of these flavors have been specifically tested for gluten.

Below is a table summarizing the many Blue Bell ice cream flavors that look to be gluten-free according to their ingredients:

Ice Cream Flavor Potentially Gluten-Free
Banana Pudding Yes
Black Walnut Yes
Butter Crunch Yes
Cherry Vanilla Yes
Chocolate Yes
Chocolate Peanut Butter Overload Yes
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Yes
French Vanilla Yes
Fudge Brownie Decadence Yes
Moo-llennium Crunch Yes
Peaches n’ Homemade Vanilla Yes
Peppermint Bark Yes
Pink Lemonade Yes
Pralines ‘n Cream Yes
Rainbow Sherbet Yes
Red Velvet Cake Yes
Rocky Road Yes
Salted Caramel Cookie Yes
Southern Peach Cobbler Yes
Strawberry Cheesecake Yes
Toasted Almond Bar Yes
Turtle Tracks Yes
Vanilla Yes

Of course, it is always best to check directly with Blue Bell customer service to inquire about the gluten-free status of any flavor if gluten is a concern.

Blue Bell Ice Creams That Are Not Gluten-Free

While many Blue Bell ice creams seem to be gluten-free based on their ingredients, there are some flavors that clearly contain gluten:

  • Bride’s Cake
  • Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
  • Cookie Dough Overload
  • Funnel Cake
  • Mardi Gras King Cake
  • Raspberry Fudge Brownie

These ice creams contain ingredients like wheat flour, cookie dough, cake pieces or brownie chunks that are sources of gluten. Individuals needing to avoid gluten should steer clear of these flavors.

Frequency of Product Testing

According to Blue Bell, the company conducts testing for potential gluten contamination periodically as a routine quality control measure. However, the exact frequency and timing of product testing is unknown.

So while a flavor may have tested as gluten-free at one point in time, it is possible that gluten could have been introduced in subsequent production cycles. The status of gluten testing can change over time as ingredients and processes evolve.

Precautions for Celiacs and Gluten Sensitive Consumers

For those needing to strictly avoid even small amounts of gluten, there are some precautions to take with Blue Bell ice cream:

  • Only choose flavors that are explicitly labeled gluten-free when possible
  • Avoid any mix-ins that may add gluten like cookie dough chunks
  • Inspect ingredients lists carefully and avoid ice creams with any gluten sources
  • Inquire directly with Blue Bell about gluten testing for a flavor if concerned
  • Consume flavor-only ice cream that has lower risk of cross-contamination
  • Enjoy gluten-free cones or bowls rather than cones with gluten
  • Ask those serving Blue Bell about potential cross-contamination risks in scooping

While many Blue Bell flavors are likely safe, those needing to strictly avoid gluten may want to choose another brand that has clearer gluten-free labeling and protocols in place. Taking some extra precautions can help those sensitive enjoy delicious Blue Bell ice cream more confidently.


Most Blue Bell ice creams are free of gluten-containing ingredients and make a tasty frozen treat for those eating gluten-free. The company lab tests flavors labeled “gluten-free” to ensure minimal traces below 5ppm.

Dozens of other flavors appear gluten-free based on their ingredient lists as well, though the gluten-free status has not been confirmed through testing. A few select Blue Bell flavors clearly contain gluten from ingredients like cookie dough and should be avoided.

Overall, Blue Bell offers many delicious gluten-free options. But for those highly sensitive, taking some extra precautions can help ensure safety of the treats you enjoy.

1 thought on “Which Blue Bell ice creams are gluten free?”

  1. Blue Bell Cookies and Cream is NOT gluten free. The name itself suggests that. Cookies are made with wheat flour and therefore gluten. I also checked their website to be certain and sure enough wheat flour is named.


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