Gluten-Free Hot Chocolate and Cocoa Brands

Choose one of these two well-known brands or four specialty brands

Cocoa powder in a bowl

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Winter brings thoughts of sitting in front of a roaring fire and sipping hot chocolate or hot cocoa, preferably with gluten-free marshmallows. But which of the store-bought hot chocolate mixes (made with actual chocolate) and hot cocoa mixes (made with cocoa powder, not chocolate) are considered gluten-free?

Two well-known and widely available hot chocolate brands are considered gluten-free. One is Hershey's (Cocoa, Special Dark Cocoa, and Dutch Cocoa). The other is Swiss Miss (all flavors). In addition, there are four specialty brands (available online and in some stores) that are considered gluten-free, including:

  • BariWise High Protein Hot Cocoa
  • InJoy Organics Hot Chocolate
  • Mrs. Bryant's Dutch Colony Hot Cocoa
  • V!VA Caffeinated Hot Chocolate

Finally, there are multiple additional hot chocolate and hot cocoa mixes that contain no gluten ingredients but aren't considered safely gluten-free by their manufacturers due to potential gluten cross-contamination. And there are three brands to avoid altogether.

Gluten-Free Hot Chocolate or Hot Cocoa

These hot chocolate and hot cocoa choices (presented in alphabetical order) have been tested for trace gluten and found to meet legal standards for "gluten-free" labeling.

BariWise High Protein Hot Cocoa

This brand makes products that are specially formulated for the needs of people who have undergone bariatric surgery. BariWise offers two flavors of hot cocoa: chocolate and chocolate with marshmallows. Both contain around 15 grams of protein per package and are gluten-free, aspartame-free, saturated-fat free, and low cholesterol.


Hershey's Cocoa, Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, and Hershey's Dutch Cocoa all appear on the company's gluten-free list. Hershey's tests its gluten-free products to less than 20 parts per million.

Note that even though Special Dark cocoa is considered gluten-free, Special Dark chocolate bars are not gluten-free (for more information, see the gluten-free candy list). Hershey's gluten-free list can be very confusing, so always double-check what you're buying.

InJoy Organics 

This smaller company makes three flavors of hot cocoa: chocolate, chocolate mint, and chocolate orange. All are low-calorie (about 15 calories a serving) and sweetened by erythritol (a natural sugar alcohol) and stevia (a natural sugar substitute). The mixes contain xanthan gum (a common gluten-free ingredient).

Mrs. Bryant's Dutch Colony

Mrs. Bryant's Dutch Colony makes only one flavor of hot cocoa and the product contains just three ingredients: cocoa, sugar, and natural flavors. The cocoa is gluten-free, vegan, and Kosher, according to the company.

Swiss Miss

Swiss Miss may be the best-known hot chocolate mix and the company makes a wide variety of different flavors, including diet and no sugar added varieties. All are considered legally gluten-free and carry "gluten-free" designations on their labels.

Swiss Miss is a ConAgra company and ConAgra has a policy of clearly disclosing all gluten-containing ingredients on the label, including those from barley and rye. Swiss Miss also makes Keurig K-Cups for hot cocoa, which are considered gluten-free as well.

V!VA Caffeinated Hot Chocolate 

If you want your hot chocolate with a little kick, you may want to try V!VA's hot chocolate, which is infused with 100 milligrams of caffeine (about two-thirds the amount of caffeine in a typical 16 oz. latte). All V!VA caffeinated products are gluten-free, according to the company.

Hot Chocolate or Hot Cocoa With No Gluten Ingredients

These brands don't use gluten ingredients in their hot chocolate and hot cocoa formulations but the products aren't specifically listed as "gluten-free" and may be subject to gluten cross-contamination.

Equal Exchange Hot Cocoa 

Equal Exchange, a fair trade organic company, offers three different hot cocoa and hot chocolate products: Dark Hot Chocolate Mix, Hot Cocoa Mix, and Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix. None contain gluten ingredients.

However, both the Hot Cocoa Mix and the Spicy Hot Cocoa mix are manufactured on equipment that also processes wheat ingredients. Therefore, if you want to enjoy a cup of Equal Exchange hot chocolate, opt for the Dark Hot Chocolate flavor.


This San Francisco-based company makes hot cocoa in four flavors: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Mocha, Chocolate Caramel, and Hot Cocoa with Chocolate Chips.

Only one Ghirardelli product—the company's Luxe Milk Crisp bars—contains a gluten ingredient (barley malt). That product is not made on the same equipment as the powdered mixes.

However, Ghirardelli does not test for gluten and does not maintain a gluten-free list, so the company advises caution with all Ghirardelli products, including hot cocoa. They're looking to remove gluten from their recipes in 2020.

Keurig Cafe Escapes

This brand has no gluten ingredients but isn't specifically considered gluten-free. Therefore, if you're looking for a K-Cup hot chocolate, stick with Swiss Miss.

Land O'Lakes

Cocoa Classics, distributed by Land O'Lakes, is available in 12 different flavors. Land O'Lakes maintains a short gluten-free list that does not include its Cocoa Classics products.

The company states that it will provide "complete and accurate ingredient information" on its labels. None of the 12 Cocoa Classics products contain gluten ingredients, but the company does not test them for gluten cross-contamination.


This ubiquitous hot cocoa brand comes in three varieties: Classic, Classic with Mini Marshmallows, and Fat-Free. Unfortunately, Nestlé does not label any of its hot cocoas gluten-free since the products may be processed on equipment that also processes wheat-containing ingredients.

Trader Joe's

The grocery store chain used to include T.J.'s Sipping Chocolate on its list of "no gluten ingredient" products. But the hot chocolate doesn't appear on the chain's current "gluten-free" list, so it may be best to steer clear.

Hot Chocolate or Hot Cocoa Brands to Avoid

The following mixes are not considered gluten-free:

  • Cacao Reserve by Hershey's
  • Godiva
  • Stephen's Gourmet Hot Cocoa

Stephen's offers a variety of interesting flavors, including Mint Truffle Cocoa, English Toffee Cocoa, and Candycane Cocoa. Unfortunately, several of the company's innovative flavors contain wheat (in the form of cookies) or barley (in the form of malt).

You'll definitely need to avoid Malt Shoppe Cocoa, Cookies ‘n’ Crème Cocoa, and S'Mores Cocoa. However, all Stephen's products are made on the same equipment, so none will be safe.

A Word From Verywell

Hot chocolate and hot cocoa generally don't include gluten ingredients (unless, of course, you add crumbled cookies or malt to the formula). However, the companies that make these favorite winter drinks often process them on the same equipment as other products, some of which do include gluten.

Therefore, when shopping for a cup of rich, dark cocoa, it's best to stick with a brand like Swiss Miss or Hershey's that specifically labels its product "gluten-free." That designation means the company has done the due diligence to ensure the product is safe. Happy sipping!

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lee HJ, Anderson Z, Ryu D. Gluten contamination in foods labeled as “gluten free” in the United States. J Food Prot. 2014;77(10):1830-1833. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-149

Additional Reading

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.