Have you ever wondered, is brown sugar gluten-free? You're not alone! Find out the answer to this and more in this article all about brown sugar as it relates to the gluten-free diet and celiac disease.
Brown sugar is a staple in any gluten-free baker's kitchen. It adds great moisture and flavor to baked goods that may otherwise be lacking. If you're new to the gluten-free diet or baking gluten-free foods for someone who is, you may be wondering if your ingredients, like brown sugar, contain gluten.
Straight to the point... yes, brown sugar is gluten-free, but keep reading for a more in-depth look at this ingredient and one thing to consider in your home.
What is Brown Sugar?
Most of the brown sugar available in grocery stores is simply granulated sugar that has been mixed with molasses. Molasses adds richness, moisture, and a depth of flavor which is what makes it so tasty and delicious in baked goods.
Both granulated sugar and molasses are derived from sugar cane and are naturally gluten free. While sugar is not a health food, it is considered safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
The only difference between light and dark brown sugar is the amount of added molasses. Light brown sugar contains 3.5 percent molasses and dark brown sugar contains 6.5 percent.
Natural brown sugar is a less processed form of brown sugar. It comes from unrefined sugar that has some residual molasses content leftover. This type of brown sugar is not as widely available.
Take a look at the list of ingredients on a bag of brown sugar and you will see the ingredients listed in one of two ways: brown sugar or sugar and molasses.
Either way, brown sugar is basically one ingredient, since both the sugar and molasses are derived from sugar cane or sugar beets without the addition of any other ingredients.
Even still, it never hurts to double-check labels to ensure companies are not adding anything else into the product.
Does Brown Sugar Contain Gluten?
Brown sugar is naturally gluten-free. It comes from sugar cane, not wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Some products may be labeled gluten-free, while others may not, but all brown sugar available in the U.S. is safe to consume on a gluten-free diet. Take a look at these popular brands:
- The Domino, C&H, and Florida Crystals brands are all owned by the same parent company, ASR Group. Their sugar products are produced in sugar mills across the country. Domino brand states none of its sugars contain gluten. Also, except for the corn starch used in powdered sugar, no ingredients other than cane sugar are used in any of their products.
- Great Value brown sugar is labeled gluten-free.
- Imperial Sugar also states it's products are gluten-free.
- Wholesome Sweeteners sugar is labeled gluten-free as well.
In the Home
While we have established that brown sugar is gluten-free, you should however check whether or not your specific container of brown sugar is gluten-free.
There are a couple of scenarios in which your brown sugar could have cross contact with gluten. Such as:
- Using the same scoop or measuring cup to dip into the flour bin and then into the brown sugar bin.
- Using a slice of bread in your sugar canister to keep it fresh. (P.S. Use this instead.)
If you have done either of these, your brown sugar is likely contaminated with gluten at this point and should not be used for gluten-free eaters. Make sure to discard or give away that sugar and clean the container before adding a fresh bag.
The Bottom Line
Yes, brown sugar is gluten-free. It comes from sugarcane, not wheat or other grains. That sweet ingredient is gluten-free and safe to use in your gluten-free recipes! Just double-check that your container at home has not had cross contact with flour and you're good to go!
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