- Brown sugar is a popular ingredient in cooking, baking and grilling
- Brown sugar doesn’t contain gluten
- Some brands of brown sugar may be contaminated with gluten
- Check the label to ensure the sugar is gluten-free if you are on a gluten-free diet
Brown sugar is a common pantry staple used in a vast range of cuisines and recipes. Consumers would like to know if brown sugar is gluten-free or not.
Brown sugar is gluten-free. It’s made using sugar and molasses, which are both naturally gluten-free. As long as it doesn’t contain additives, flavorings or fillers, then brown sugar should be safe for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
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Does Brown Sugar Have Gluten?
Brown sugar is a type of sugar that is typically made by mixing granulated white sugar with molasses. The amount of molasses added to the sugar determines the color and flavor of the brown sugar.
It’s often used in baking, as it adds moisture and a rich, caramel-like flavor to baked goods. Brown sugar is commonly used in marinades, sauces, and glazes for meat dishes.
There are two types of brown sugar – light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. Light brown sugar contains less molasses than dark brown sugar, which gives it a lighter color and a more delicate flavor.
On the other hand, dark brown sugar contains more molasses, which gives it a darker color and a stronger, more complex flavor.
You may also come across other types of brown sugar out there such as raw brown sugar, refined brown sugar and unrefined brown sugar. Raw brown sugar is derived from cane juice, after extraction and clarification.
Refined brown sugar, on the other hand, is made from crude raw sugar as opposed to being made directly from sugar cane juice. This type of sugar can be made either through the painted or coated method, the co-crystallization method or the crystallization method.
If you're following a gluten free diet, you may want to know if this product is gluten free or not. Brown sugar is a common ingredient in a wide range of food products, and it's important to know if it contains gluten.
To determine whether brown sugar is gluten-free or not, we first need to check how it’s made. This type of sugar is made by combining granulated sugar with molasses. Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-making process and is naturally gluten-free.
Brown sugar is gluten free as long as it does not contain any added ingredients that contain gluten.
When is Brown Sugar Not Gluten-Free?
Brown sugar is considered gluten-free since the ingredients are all gluten-free. But, there are some instances where brown sugar may not be gluten-free.
Some brands of brown sugar may be processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley, and other gluten-containing grains. Cross-contamination can occur during the manufacturing process, leading to gluten contamination in brown sugar.
Gluten cross-contamination can also occur at the store. Some stores will store brown sugar in proximity to wheat flour or barley. Stray airborne wheat flour may find its way from the wheat flour to brown sugar, leading to cross-contamination.
There’s also the issue of brown sugar manufacturing. The majority of companies out there will use pure cane sugar to make brown sugar. Some will opt to take shortcuts and use artificial sweeteners to make brown sugar.
Some of the artificial sweeteners used may contain gluten, meaning the brown sugar made using this process will have gluten.
Is Brown Sugar Safe for Celiac Disease?
We’ve already established that brown sugar is made with only two ingredients – molasses and white sugar. These two ingredients are both gluten-free. Does this mean that brown sugar is safe for people with celiac disease?
In an ideal situation, this sugar should be safe to consume for individuals with celiac disease.
As we’ve highlighted above, brown sugar is not always gluten-free. It may be problematic for people with celiac disease in some situations.
Most of the issues associated with brown sugar for individuals on a gluten-free diet arise from gluten cross-contamination.
If you have celiac disease and you are looking to add brown sugar to your gluten-free diet, you should always ensure you go for a product that has been labeled gluten-free.
With this approach, you should be able to consume brown sugar and you won’t experience any gluten-related complications.
How to Ensure Brown Sugar is Gluten Free
If you are someone who follows a gluten-free diet, you may be wondering if brown sugar is safe to consume. While brown sugar is typically made from just sugar and molasses, it is important to verify that it is indeed gluten-free before consuming it.
Most brands of brown sugar are gluten free, but it is always best to double-check the label or contact the manufacturer to ensure that it is safe for you to consume.
Here are some tips to help you ensure that the brown sugar you are using is gluten-free:
Check the label
Look for a label that specifically states that the brown sugar is gluten-free. If you do not see this label, check the ingredients list for any potential sources of gluten, such as rye.
Contact the manufacturer
If you are unsure about the gluten-free status of a particular brand of brown sugar, contact the manufacturer directly.
They should be able to provide you with information about any potential sources of gluten in their product.
Look for third-party certifications
Some brands of brown sugar may be certified gluten-free by third-party organizations, such as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Look for these certifications on the label to ensure that the product has been rigorously tested and verified to be gluten-free.
By following these tips, you can ensure that the brown sugar you are using is gluten-free and safe for you to consume.
Remember to double-check the label or contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about the gluten-free status of a particular product.
The Top Gluten-Free Brown Sugar Brands
Buying labeled gluten-free brown sugar is the safest option for individuals with gluten intolerance as well as related conditions such as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Fortunately, there are several manufacturers of gluten-free brown sugar out there.
Some of the top gluten-free brown sugar brands include Domino Light Brown Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar, Big Tree Farms Organic Brown Coconut Sugar, and Wholesome Sweet Organic Fair Trade Light Brown Sugar.
Others include Great Value Brown Sugar, Natural Earth Organic Light Brown Sugar and Organic Dark Brown Sugar, Imperial Sugar Dark Brown Sugar, and Relative Foods Organic Brown Sugar.
You should be able to find brown sugar from these gluten-free brands in a grocery store near you or any store that sells cooking and baking ingredients. Alternatively, you can buy it online if you are having a hard time finding it in a local store.
Can You Make Your Own Brown Sugar?
In case you can’t find labeled gluten-free sugar from a store near you, you also have the option of making yours at home.
You simply need to find gluten-free white sugar, which you will combine with molasses to make brown sugar.
You will mix the two in a food processor or bowl until they are uniformly blended to make brown sugar.
You can vary the amount of molasses to add, depending on whether you want dark brown sugar or light brown sugar. From there, you can proceed to use it in all your gluten-free recipes that require this type of sugar.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker