Most of us probably grew up opening our lunch boxes and finding the classic cup of chocolate pudding. It was always one of the most popular snacks at school, and for a good reason.
But as time goes on and ingredients change, how friendly is pudding for those living a gluten-free diet? This post will dive into what pudding is, how it differs from custard, if it's gluten-free, and list some gluten-free pudding brands. Let's find out, is pudding gluten free?
What Is Pudding?
There are many types of pudding, but this post focuses on traditional desserts instead of varieties like bread or rice pudding. Pudding is made from eggs, heavy cream, cornstarch, milk, sugar, and flavoring. Instant pudding mixes may have other thickening agents to create the classic pudding texture.
Depending on what flavor of pudding you purchase, the ingredients could differ (i.e., rice or tapioca pudding).
If you use pudding mix for baking, be sure to see which baking ingredients are gluten free.
What Is The Difference Between Pudding and Custard?
Quite a few people use the terms "pudding" and "custard" as if they were the same thing, but they are two different desserts. Though they are similar in taste, there are differences in their ingredients and final texture.
When making custard, eggs are the main thickening agent. Pudding, however, relies on ingredients like cornstarch to thicken it.
At the end of cooking, custard and pudding take on different textures. Thanks to the heavy use of eggs, the custard is firmer and will hold its shape when molded. On the other hand, pudding cannot hold its shape as it's much creamier and lighter than custard.
Answer: Is Pudding Gluten Free?
Yes! Most pudding and instant pudding mix brands and flavors are safe to eat for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. There are many foods out there that use gluten-based thickening agents. Still, pudding almost always uses cornstarch which is safe to consume for those on a gluten-free diet.
Not Gluten Free: Jell-O Instant Cheesecake Pudding & Pie Filling Mix contains barley in its flavoring ingredients, so it is not gluten-free and unsafe for celiacs. It is the only Jell-O pudding product found to list wheat, barley, or rye ingredients.
Since most pudding is made from gluten-free ingredients, you may not see a "gluten-free" label on the packaging. But, the ingredients label will include an allergen statement if there are any gluten or gluten cross-contamination issues.
Note: Many products are naturally gluten-free until additives are added, but pudding is (mostly) an exception. A majority of pudding flavors are gluten-free, but not all. For instance, the Jell-O Instant Cheesecake Pudding & Pie Filling flavor has barley which has gluten. Therefore, it is always important to read the ingredients label of pudding to look for gluten.
One thing to note is that most brands that make pudding don't only make pudding. This means some brands of pudding can be cross-contaminated with gluten. This isn't a frequent occurrence, but it is possible. Check the manufacturer's website and FAQ page to learn more about their cleaning processes and issues with cross-contamination.
Gluten Free Pudding Brands
- Mom's Place
- Simple Mixes
- Simply Delish
- Snack Pack
Besides pudding making a great dessert, you can use pudding mix in cake recipes like this Gluten Free Vanilla Raspberry Bundt Cake, in no-bake cakes, and it is the star in many Gluten Free Trifle recipes.
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