Last Updated on September 27, 2021
Today, we’re going to be answering the question: is confectioner’s sugar gluten-free? But first, let’s take a look at what it is – and then we can determine it’s suitability when following a gluten-free lifestyle.
Gluten-free has become increasingly popular in recent years. As others are becoming more familiar with the signs and symptoms to watch out for, diagnoses are happening far more often. Also, many people are choosing to follow the gluten-free lifestyle, as it’s thought to be healthier and better for your body.
Gluten can wiggle it’s way into almost anything – but is it in confectioner’s sugar? Let’s take a look.
What Is Confectioner’s Sugar?
Confectioner’s sugar goes by a variety of different names, some of which you may be more familiar with. Confectioner’s sugar, icing sugar, powdered sugar – they’re all exactly the same thing! This type of sugar is the end product of milling granulated sugar. It’s made into a very fine powder, usually in a factory environment – but you can even make it yourself!
You can use confectioner’s sugar for a range of reasons including:
- Making icing
- Making frosting
- Decorating a cake
- Dusting over baked goods
- If you need sugar that dissolves quickly
It’s sweet, and let’s be honest – downright delicious!
Is Powdered Sugar Gluten-Free?
You may think sugar is the only ingredient in confectioner’s sugar. It sounds like it should be, right? However, sugar is not the only ingredient. And as to whether it’s gluten-free? There is no definitive answer as to whether confectioner’s sugar is gluten-free. The honest answer is, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. The answer all depends on which starch is used in the process.
If you’re making your confectioner’s sugar at home, it will be gluten-free as you can monitor which ingredients you use. However, to stop potential lumping and also as a thickener, starch can be an additive. There are a variety of starches you may find in the ingredients, including:
- Wheat starch
- Corn starch
- Tapioca starch
- Potato starch
- Rice starch
- Arrowroot starch
It’s important to note that if the product does not state which starch is included, do not buy the product. There is a chance that there is gluten in this product. However, starch-like corn and tapioca are completely safe for gluten-free consumption.
Also, cross-contact is always a risk when gluten-free claims are not made. This means that although there may be no gluten-containing ingredients in the product, it may have come into contact with products that do contain gluten. This is frustrating because as you’ll probably know, lots of products do not make any gluten-free claims.
If you’re unsure whether a product is gluten-free, testing your food with gluten test strips are a great idea. The strips are expensive and can be found here. But if you think it’s worth checking for your safety, I would highly recommend them.
Gluten-Free Confectioner’s Sugar
As we’ve seen, it’s very difficult to tell which brands are completely free of gluten without any making gluten-free claims. So let’s take a look at some of the safest options out there, so we can enjoy confectioner’s sugar, just like the rest of the world!
Domino’s Confectioner’s Sugar
Domino’s state that all of their sugars are gluten-free, including the confectioner’s sugar. The only ingredients you’ll find in this particular brand is cornstarch and sugar itself. The cornstarch only makes up 3% of the ingredients and corn gluten makes up less than 0.01% of the final product. However, this should not affect celiacs or gluten, intolerant individuals. Some gluten intolerants have been known to react to corn as well, so if you’re still getting gluten-like symptoms eating this sugar – you may have a separate corn allergy.
Domino’s sugar is easily accessible in your local grocery store and one of the leading US brands for sugar.
Great Value Confectioner’s Powdered Sugar
A surprising icing sugar that does make gluten-free claims, is Walmart’s own brand! At just $1.50 per bag, it’s definitely the cheapest gluten-free option. The only ingredients are sugar and cornstarch – much like the Domino brand. Walmart do not supply any further information on their cornstarch use or facilities, but it does have a gluten-free label on the pack of the packet. While the brand may not be certified gluten-free, gluten-free labeling is the next best thing.
Making Your Own
If you’d rather be as safe as you possibly can be, why not try making your own? Power Hungry has a great Grain-Free Powdered Sugar recipe. If you have a blender or coffee grinder, it would make the process a lot easier – but a good ol’ fashioned pestle and mortar will work too (just be prepared for an arm ache after!).
The recipe is also corn-free too, so if you do have a separate corn allergy, this is the perfect recipe to use. The only ingredients you’ll need are sugar and tapioca starch. It takes around 2 minutes…it really is that easy! I may be a novice in the kitchen, but I think even I could handle this recipe!
I hope this recipe has helped to answer the question: is confectioner’s sugar gluten-free? I think the best advice I can give from this article is:
- Always opt for packaging that offers a gluten-free claim, if available
- Do not buy any products that do not specify which starch has been used
- Make your own confectioner’s sugar or use test strips if you’re feeling particularly anxious
- Look out for cornstarch and tapioca starch on the ingredients list, as those are safe
Which powdered sugar do you use in your gluten-free baking? Did it make the list? Are there any brands that make gluten-free claims that I’ve missed? Please feel free to leave any answers in the comments below. You’ll likely be helping out someone else in the gluten-free community. Sharing is caring!
Read more about: Krusteaz Gluten-Free Flour Recipes
Hi, my name’s Zoë. I’m 28 years old and live in London, UK. I work full time as a freelance writer and critic for West End theatre. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I spend most of my free time at the theatre, or at conventions. I’m married to the love of my life, and live in a small apartment with my fur baby, Lillie. I run two of my own blogs: No Safer Place and Stage to Page: both of which have won awards. I also have a YouTube channel where I talk about all things stagey.