Gluten-Free Valentine's Candy

valentine's candy hearts

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Wondering which candy among all those red and pink wrappers is gluten-free? Here's the list of gluten-free Valentine's candy options.

Unless noted otherwise, this list applies to the United States only. Manufacturing (and consequently, gluten-free lists) differ from country to country. In addition, all of these candies are gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million, the currently accepted standard in the U.S.

If you're searching for a type of candy that's not on this list, check out this comprehensive main gluten-free candy list. Otherwise, enjoy, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Popular Valentine's Candy

Here are some details on what to look for in popular Valentine's Day candies. Food manufacturers switch up their recipes all the time. If you're gluten-free, it's always a good idea to double-check the label before taking a chance. Many brands make some candy that is gluten-free and some that is not gluten-free. So it is important to look beyond the brand and examine the label and ingredients for the individual product.

Brach's Conversation Hearts

These appear on manufacturer Ferrara Candy Company's list of candy that doesn't contain wheat, barley or rye. You might want to consider these if you're looking for conversation hearts.

Dove Chocolates

Dove chocolate, manufactured by Mars Chocolate (which also makes M&Ms), is usually gluten-free. The obvious exceptions include milk chocolate cinnamon graham and cookies 'n cream flavor, while the not-so-obvious exceptions include milk chocolate strawberry shortcake crisp. The crisp itself is made from tapioca and rice; these have a "may contain wheat" warning.

You can feel reasonably confident about​ buying Dove chocolate products for Valentine's Day, provided you always check the label. Mars will call out any wheat, barley, or rye sources on the label.

Safer Valentine's items include:

  • Caramel and milk chocolate
  • Dark and milk chocolate hearts
  • Dark and white chocolate hearts
  • Milk chocolate and red velvet swirl
  • Milk chocolate candy hearts

However, some Mars' seasonal packaged items may be problematic. Dove Milk Chocolate Truffles in a heart-shaped gift box include a "may contain wheat" warning, indicating the company used a shared facility or shared equipment to produce those Valentine-specific candies.

Gimbal's Fine Candies

These aren't found as commonly in stores, but they're worth mentioning because they're free of many common allergens (including gluten). Gimbal's makes:

  • Gluten-free licorice shaped like a Scottie dog
  • Heart-shaped and round cinnamon-flavored candies
  • Heart-shaped cherry candies
  • Jelly beans
  • Sour heart-shaped gum drop-style candies
  • Sour jelly beans

All are peanut-free, tree nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free, and are made in a gluten-free facility.

Hershey's Kisses

Hershey's reports that plain milk chocolate Kisses are safe for the gluten-free diet, as are four out of five flavors of filled Kisses. Gluten-free varieties include:

  • Caramel
  • Cherry cordial crème
  • Mint truffle
  • Vanilla creme

The chocolate truffle variety is not considered gluten-free.

Milk chocolate Kisses are considered gluten-free regardless of what color foil is used to wrap them, so those pink and red foil Valentine's packages are safe, as are Hershey's Conversation Kisses in milk chocolate. However, Hershey's Lava Cake Kisses marketed for Valentine's Day contain wheat.

If you're buying Kisses in a heart-shaped tin, make sure they're all gluten-free varieties (some tins are and some aren't). In addition, avoid the giant (7 oz.) Hershey's Kisses, as they do not appear on the company's gluten-free list. Also avoid Hershey's Hearts, since they do not appear on the company's gluten-free list.

Junior Mints (Heart-Shaped)

These are produced by Tootsie Roll Industries, which states that all its products are considered gluten-free.

Lifesavers Candy 'n Stickers

Lifesavers, made by Wrigley, are considered gluten-free, as are the Valentine's candy-and-stickers packets, which are aimed squarely at people who need a box of treats to cover the entire elementary school class.

M&Ms

There are plenty of Valentine's M&M products from which to choose, including specially colored pink and red M&Ms and M&M "Sweet Sayings" (kind of like M&M conversation hearts). M&Ms, like Dove Chocolates, are made by Mars Chocolate, which says it will call out any gluten grain ingredients on the label. Obviously, pretzel M&Ms aren't safe, but other types of M&Ms that might tend to sound safe can suffer from the risk of gluten cross-contamination.

Potential cross-contamination is called out on the label in a "may contain wheat" warning. Some M&Ms "Cupid Messages" have this warning. Look for those warnings on the label, so you can avoid those products.

Peeps

It's easy to find Valentine's Day heart-shaped Peeps, and manufacturer, Just Born, labels packages "gluten-free." Look for the designation in the same area as the nutritional information. However, don't assume all Peeps are gluten-free; a few are made in facilities with the opportunity for gluten cross-contamination, such as Peep pops (Peeps on a stick) and filled Peeps.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

These peanuty treats appear on Hershey's current gluten-free list and come in a variety of Valentine's Day-specific wrappers. However, the heart-shaped ones and the minis are NOT considered gluten-free.

When purchasing Reese's candy, make sure the peanut butter cups are manufactured by Hershey's itself. The candy giant licenses peanut butter cups to other companies for special holiday versions, and those candies are not necessarily safe.

The label will state clearly whether the manufacturer is Hershey's or someone else, so just make sure to buy only Hershey's-made regular-shaped Reese's. Hershey's also markets a heart-shaped box of regular peanut butter cups so those would be considered safe.

Starburst Candy 'n Stickers and Jelly Beans

Like the Lifesavers (which come in a nearly identical package), these treats are gluten-free.

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts

These tiny confections with cute sayings on them (like "Be Mine," "New Love" and "Dream") are made by Necco. Necco considers them to be gluten-free. Note that the large Necco hearts include a "may contain wheat" warning, so they may not be safe.

Tootsie Rolls with Conversation Messages

According to the company, all Tootsie Roll products are gluten-free with the exception of Andes cookies, so these Valentine products should be safe.

York Peppermint Patties

Look for "gluten-free" on the package. If you find Peppermint Patties labeled this way, then they're safe. Don't buy any heart-shaped Peppermint Patties that don't carry a gluten-free label.

Valentine's Candy to Avoid

Valentine's Day features lots of specialty candy, and unfortunately, a good deal of it isn't safe for people who follow a gluten-free diet. The following candies marketed specifically for Valentine's Day are not gluten-free. People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should avoid them unless the label explicity states that they are now gluten-free.

  • Balmer Cuddly Cuties chocolate teddy bears and dogs (made on shared equipment)
  • Butterfinger heart-shaped candies (note that the regular Butterfingers are safe)
  • Elmer Chocolate boxed Valentine's candy (made on shared equipment)
  • Ghirardelli boxed chocolates (most of these actually are safe, but a few do contain wheat and barley ingredients, so double-check the label to be sure)
  • Lindt Lindor truffles (they contain barley)
  • Lindt chocolate mints (they contain wheat flour)
  • Mrs. Field's assorted chocolates in a heart-shaped tin (contains wheat flour)
  • Russell Stover boxed candy (for the limited list of gift-boxed candy that is safe, read about Gluten-Free Candy Boxes)

A Word From Verywell

Eating gluten-free isn't easy, especially when popular products have ever-changing recipes and manufacturing practices. Items that you once enjoyed without worry may change from one year to the next. To avoid accidental gluten intake, contact the food manufacturer directly to find out what's in your favorite candies.

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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gluten and food labeling. Updated July 2018.