Is brown sugar gluten free? Yes, it’s naturally gluten free. However, there is always a risk of cross contamination during manufacturing. If you’re sensitive to gluten, there are a few things to watch out for.
What is brown sugar made of?
Brown sugar is made from white sugar and molasses. Both come from sugarcane. To make white sugar, sugarcane is pressed. The juice that is extracted is then boiled and then crystallized. The liquid is removed from the crystals and what remains is raw sugar. The liquid that is remove is molasses. To get white sugar, the raw sugar is further processed to get the fine texture and white color.
To make brown sugar, white sugar and a small amount of molasses are combined. It comes in two colors light (3%–4% molasses) and dark (6%–10% molasses).
Does brown sugar have gluten?
As you can see, brown sugar comes from sugarcane and it naturally gluten free. However, like most mass produced and processed products, it is at risk of cross contamination if the brown sugar isn’t certified gluten free, tested for gluten or processed in a gluten free facility. If you’re extremely sensitive to gluten even trace amounts of gluten could cause issues.
Additionally, it’s very important that you always read the ingredients on the products that you purchase. Just because something like brown sugar would logically only include one ingredient, doesn’t make it so. You’d think that you wouldn’t need to dig deeper into the ingredients. But some versions of brown sugar may contain flavors or additives. All of which could contain gluten.
Brands can and will change their manufacturing process/ingredients without notice so it’s best to be vigilant regarding ingredients and packaging.
If you have a gluten intolerance or suffer from celiac disease, then it’s best to read labels, research brands and use only those products which you trust.
What brown sugar is gluten free?
- Relative Foods: According to their website, their brown sugar is made in an Allergen-free facility in Spring Lake, Michigan. And it’s packaged at Total Food Package, which is an allergen-free and gluten-free facility.
- Domino, C&H and Florida Crystals: Domino, C&H and Florida Crystals are owned by ASR group. According to their customer service, ‘We confirm that our products are gluten free, and we do not process Gluten products in our facilities.’
Please note that like I mentioned above, brown sugar is a naturally gluten free food. This is not necessarily a complete list of gluten free brown sugar brands. I only included brands that responded to my inquiry or had a gluten free statement on their website. When looking for a gluten free statement, I look for something more that the words ‘gluten free.’
Frequently asked questions about gluten and brown sugar
- Is great value brown sugar gluten free? According to the packaging, it says that it is gluten free. However, it’s not certified, nor does it say if it’s made in a gluten free facility. I didn’t include this brand is the list of gluten free brands as I did not receive a response from customer service with more details about how it’s manufactured.
- Is C&H golden brown sugar gluten free? Is domino dark brown sugar gluten free? Domino, C&H and Florida Crystals are owned by ASR group. According to their customer service, ‘We confirm that our products are gluten free, and we do not process Gluten products in our facilities.’
- Is brown sugar gluten free and vegan? As long as brown sugar isn’t contaminated with gluten it’s both gluten free and vegan. There are no animal products used in making brown sugar as it’s made completely from sugarcane.
How to make Brown sugar at home
If you’re struggling to find gluten free brown sugar that you can trust, making your own is easy. Just combine refined white sugar in a blender or food processor with a small amount of blackstrap molasses (remember that brown sugar is only 3-10% molasses). Start with about 1 teaspoon molasses for every cup of sugar. Using blackstrap molasses is preferred as it’s the least processed molasses which mean it has the highest nutritional content.
Storing brown sugar
Brown sugar has a higher moisture content which can make it harden if exposed to air. It’s best to store brown sugar is a resealable container. If you find that your brown sugar gets too hard, remove the container’s top, place a wet cloth or towel over the top (don’t let it touch the sugar though) and let it sit. After a few hours, the moisture from the towel should soften the sugar.
Gluten free recipes with brown sugar
- Carrot Cake (please note that by using brown sugar rather than coconut sugar, this recipe is no longer paleo)
- Gluten Free Banana Upside Down Cake without Nuts (please note that you’ll need to substitute refined sugar for brown sugar)
- 3 Ingredient Cake (you’ll need to substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar)
- Gluten Free Apple Crisp
- Gluten Free Apple Fritter Cake (you’ll need to substitute brown sugar for the coconut sugar)
- Pumpkin Brownies (you’ll need to substitute brown sugar for refined sugar)
- Graham Crackers (you’ll need to substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar which means that this recipe would no longer be Paleo)