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Is brown sugar gluten-free? Find out the answer to this question and learn more about this pantry staple before your next baking project.
If you're new to gluten-free baking, you've probably wondered if some of your baking staples are gluten-free. Whether you went gluten-free because you've been diagnosed with celiac or want to bake something for a gluten-free loved one, it's essential to know which baking staples are and are not gluten-free.
Brown sugar is a pantry staple used in many recipes because it's great at adding moisture and flavor to baked goods and even recipes like sauces and marinades. It is one of those ingredients that my pantry is never without.
Don't worry; brown sugar is naturally gluten-free, but it can become contaminated so keep reading to make sure you know how it can happen.
What is brown sugar?
If you read the ingredient list on most bags of brown sugar at the grocery store, it will usually read as brown sugar or sugar and molasses.
Both sugar and molasses are usually derived from sugarcane or sugar beets. If you see these, even without a gluten-free label, the brown sugar should be gluten-free and safe to consume for someone who is on a gluten-free diet.
What is the difference between light and dark brown sugar?
The only difference between light and dark brown sugar is the amount of molasses that has been added to the sugar. Light brown sugar contains about half as much molasses, about 3.5%, whereas dark brown sugar has about 6.5%. This, of course, could vary by brand.
What brands of brown sugar are gluten-free?
Does brown sugar contain gluten? Brown sugar is naturally gluten-free, but not all brands go through the certification to have the certified gluten-free labeling on their packages.
- Wholesome Sweeteners Brand all have their packages labeled gluten-free.
- Great Value Brand (sold at Walmart) is labeled gluten-free.
- Imperial Sugar Brand According to their site, all Imperial Sugar does not contain any gluten from wheat, barley, or rye.
- The same parent company owns Domino Brand, C&H, and Florida Crystals brands. All of their brown sugars are considered gluten-free.
See below for how some brands label their brown sugar.
When is brown sugar not gluten-free?
Brown sugar is naturally gluten-free; however, it can become be considered not gluten-free because of cross-contact with gluten. How does that happen?
- Brown sugar can become contaminated in your kitchen by someone using the same measuring cups in flour and then in the sugar or brown sugar. The residual gluten that was on the measuring cup has now contaminated the other ingredients. Therefore it is crucial to store and measure your ingredients to help ensure cross-contact does not occur to keep the brown sugar safe.
- Did your brown sugar go hard? It's common practice to store brown sugar with a piece of bread in it to keep it moist. This practice will keep your brown sugar moist, but it will also make it no longer considered to be gluten-free. A better way to keep your brown sugar moist is to use a brown sugar saver instead.
If you think your brown sugar has been contaminated with gluten, it's best to start with a new package. Be sure to clean any container it was being stored before storing a new package.
Yes, brown sugar is made from sugarcane, and it does not contain any wheat, barley, or rye ingredients. That makes brown sugar a great ingredient to use for individuals on a gluten-free diet.