Are jawbreakers gluten free?

Jawbreakers are a classic candy that many people enjoy. As someone who avoids gluten, a common question is whether jawbreakers are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. The good news is that most jawbreakers are gluten-free! Here’s a comprehensive look at the gluten status of various jawbreaker brands and styles.

What are Jawbreakers?


Jawbreakers are a hard candy ball that you suck or lick over time as the layers dissolve in your mouth. They come in a variety of sizes from miniature to jawbreaker-sized. Traditional jawbreakers have multiple layers like a gumball, while filled jawbreakers have a soft liquid or cream center. Jawbreakers are often brightly colored and flavored with fruit or mint flavors. Popular brands include Jaw Busters, Ouch! Bubble Gum Balls and Dum Dums Poppers.

Are Jawbreakers Naturally Gluten Free?

The main ingredients in basic jawbreakers are sugar and corn syrup. Sometimes natural flavors, citric acid and colorings are added too. None of these core ingredients contain gluten. So plain jawbreakers without additional ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

While jawbreakers themselves don’t contain gluten, there is some risk of cross-contamination during manufacturing if gluten ingredients are used on shared equipment. Many jawbreaker brands are made in facilities that also process wheat-based candies, raising the potential for cross-contact. Individual tolerance levels vary, but for those highly sensitive, cross-contamination risks should be considered.

Which Brands and Flavors Are Gluten Free?

Here are some of the major brands and which jawbreaker varieties they report as gluten-free:

  • Dum Dums – Their regular jawbreaker pops and mini pops are labeled gluten-free on the package. Discontinued flavored jawbreakers may have contained gluten.
  • Jaw Busters – All of their standard jawbreaker candies are gluten-free, but some seasonal products may contain gluten.
  • Ouch! Bubble Gum Balls – All bubble gum balls are gluten-free according to the manufacturer.
  • Tootsie Roll Industries – Most classic jawbreaker roll pops are gluten-free, but some may contain wheat flour so verify flavors.
  • Wonka – Nerds and Gobstopper jawbreakers are all labeled gluten-free except ones with cookie dough or other wheat-based flavors.

Safest Bet: Opt for plain fruit or mint flavored jawbreakers from gluten-free verified brands and facilities. Steer clear of exotic fillings or flavors that may add gluten. When in doubt, check labels or call the manufacturer.

Are There Any Exceptions?

The main exceptions are flavored or filled jawbreakers that contain ingredients derived from wheat, barley or rye. For example, jawbreakers with cereal or cookie dough fillings likely contain gluten. Some chocolate or caramel coated jawbreakers also may use wheat. As with any food item, it’s important to read the ingredient list and nutrition labels carefully. When unsure, contact the brand to inquire about gluten-free status.

Checking Labels When Buying Jawbreakers

To identify gluten-free jawbreaker brands and flavors:

  • Review the allergen information – Most labels clearly state contains wheat or gluten if present.
  • Check the ingredients list – Look for wheat, barley, rye, malt or ambiguous terms like starch.
  • Contact the manufacturer – Many brands have helpful customer service teams to answer questions.
  • Buy from dedicated facilities – Seek out brands made in gluten-free facilities when possible.
  • Check for certifications – Some products display official gluten-free seals from GFCO or other certifiers.

Enjoying Jawbreakers Safely on a Gluten-Free Diet

The good news is most traditional, fruit-flavored jawbreakers are naturally gluten-free and safe to enjoy in moderation on a gluten-free diet. Just be diligent about double checking labels and ingredients lists, especially for flavored varieties. When in doubt, choose plain jawbreaker options from brands that manufacture in dedicated gluten-free facilities. With a few precautions, you can still satisfy your jawbreaker sweet tooth!

My Suggestion as a Dietitian

As a dietitian advising clients on gluten-free diets, I would say that plain fruit or mint flavored jawbreakers from reputable brands that manufacture in dedicated gluten-free facilities are generally safe to consume in moderation. However, I always advise carefully checking labels, contacting manufacturers about gluten-free status, and avoiding flavored or filled jawbreakers that may contain gluten. With the right precautions, most traditional jawbreakers can be part of a gluten-free diet, but individual factors like sensitivity levels should be considered.


In summary, most traditional jawbreaker candies without extra fillings or coatings are naturally gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to consume in moderation. Plain fruit and mint flavored jawbreakers tend to be the safest options. However, it’s important to be aware that some flavored varieties may contain sources of gluten like wheat-based ingredients.

To enjoy jawbreakers safely on a gluten-free diet, be diligent about thoroughly reading ingredient labels, verifying gluten-free status with manufacturers, and choosing reputable brands that manufacture in dedicated gluten-free facilities whenever possible. Also be cautious of cross-contamination risks if the brand produces other candies containing gluten on shared equipment.

While jawbreakers can satisfy a sweet craving on a gluten-free diet, those who are highly sensitive should take extra precautions and opt for plain options from trusted brands. As with any food, individuals should consider their own tolerance levels and reactions when making dietary choices. With the proper care in selecting gluten-free jawbreaker varieties, most people avoiding gluten can still enjoy these nostalgic candies in moderation.

Related Posts