You’ll likely be very familiar with cocoa powder. Whether you sprinkle it on to your morning Cappuccino or use it for flavoring in your delicious bakes; it’s a household staple. Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does cocoa powder have gluten? But first, we must look at what it is, where it comes from and does cocoa have gluten?
What is Cocoa Powder?
Cocoa powder is an unsweetened chocolate product. It adds a rich chocolate flavor to things you likely consume every day. Beverages, desserts – it’s deliciously versatile. Cocoa beans come from the Theobroma cacao tree. The fat from the bean is removed and the substance that remains is then ground into what we know as cocoa powder.
Cacao powder is essentially the same. It’s just considered to be more nutritious and natural. You process cacao beans at low temperatures, rather than high. This is the only real difference between the two powders. It’s often more bitter but is full of magnesium.
Is Cocoa Gluten-Free?
The beans themselves are completely natural and do not have any gluten-containing ingredients. Meaning we can enjoy them at any available opportunity!
Is Cocoa Powder Gluten-Free?
Largely, most cocoa powders you’ll find will be gluten-free. However, products such as hot chocolate powders, chocolate sprinkles, etc. should always be checked. We all know how much manufacturers love adding gluten to anything and everything! Also, depending on where it’s made, there could be a chance of cross-contact with gluten-containing foods. Always opt for products that clearly state they’re “gluten-free” if you can.
Is Dutch Cocoa Powder Gluten-Free?
You may find some products that are referred to as “Dutch cocoa powder”. There isn’t much difference, besides the fact that it’s less acidic. An alkalizing agent is used to lessen the natural acid taste of cocoa. It’s still usually 100% gluten free, so apart from tasting slightly different – it’s perfectly suitable for us. Dutch-process has a far milder taste.
Cocoa Powder – Out and About
Whenever I go for a coffee or hot chocolate, there’s always the temptation to have a sprinkling of cocoa powder on the top. Depending on the severity of your intolerance, this is something to be very careful about doing. Whilst the powder itself will almost always be gluten-free, the environment often isn’t.
Where coffee is served, snacks will often follow. A sandwich here, a bagel there. Those crumbs can easily work their way over to where they’re preparing drinks. Kitchens in these venues are often small with little room to maneuver. For this reason, avoiding cocoa powder at times like this may be the best thing.
If you really can’t live without it, try taking a little pot in your handbag so you can use your own! Or ask your server if they can open a fresh batch of powder for peace of mind. You must always do what feels most comfortable for you.
Gluten-Free Cocoa Powder
There’s a huge range of options for us out there, to meet all our cocoa powder needs. Let’s take a look at some favorites.
Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cacao
We were looking at Dutch Process cocoa’s earlier – and this is one of them! With a sweet, mild taste and it’s claim of being perfect for gluten-free desserts, this is my go-to choice. It’s widely available in your local grocery store and Hershey’s is a household favorite.
The only ingredient is cocoa itself and this product is highly versatile. This particular cocoa is sugar-free and contains just 10 calories per serving. The cheapest I could find this product was at Walmart for just $3.26.
Baker’s 100% Pure Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
This one isn’t quite as healthy, but it sure is delicious. This option is richer and more intense. So depending on how you like your cocoa powder to taste – this may be a better suggestion for you.
It’s made with 100% pure cocoa and is made in the more traditional way (no Dutch process for this one!). It has rave reviews online and is easily accessible and reasonably inexpensive. The cheapest I could find this was again, at Walmart, for $3.60.
Although it contains no gluten-free label, there is nothing to suggest this product is made in a gluten facility.
BetterBody Foods Organic Cacao Powder
While this may be the more luxurious suggestion, treating yourself has to be done sometimes! The flavor is much deeper – and actually more nutritious. BetterBody Cacao Powder is organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and is full of protein, antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.
At $8.49 per bag, it is certainly the priciest option but for raw Cacao from Peru – it’s definitely worth it!
Anthony’s Organic Powder
Anthony’s has a range of cocoa powders on offer. Whether you prefer raw or Dutch, Anthony’s has both. Organic, non-GMO, and clearly marked gluten-free – this brand has my seal of approval. It’s verified gluten-free and batch tested. This always gives me peace of mind when buying gluten-free products.
Again, this option is slightly more expensive than the first two we had a look at, but it’s what you can expect when products are organic and go through vigorous processes like batch testing. You get what you pay for!
To conclude, satisfying our cocoa powder cravings whilst following a gluten-free lifestyle couldn’t be easier! The only times to be wary of cocoa powder is at venues, such as restaurants and cafes. Those gluten crumbs can get absolutely anywhere. Remember to always check the labels wherever you’re buying your cocoa powder from – which I’m sure you do anyway!
If you have a favorite cocoa powder, please let me know in the comments below. This list was by no means extensive and there are probably thousands more out there! I love using cocoa powder when I make gooey fudge brownies. Is there anything you make that cocoa powder makes better? I would love to know.
Read more about: Is Maltodextrin Gluten Free?