Question: Is eggnog gluten-free? Which brands are considered gluten-free?
Answer: Traditionally enjoyed at holiday time, true eggnog has just a handful of naturally gluten-free ingredients: milk/cream, sugar, vanilla, eggs and spices. As it turns out, the majority of the eggnogs you'll find on supermarket shelves are considered gluten-free as well, even if they contain more than just those basic ingredients.
It's even possible to find gluten-free vegan "eggnog," although in that case, the ingredients will be far from traditional!
Here are the details on popular regional and national brands of eggnog you'll see in stores around the holidays — I've included information on which eggnog varieties are tested for gluten cross-contamination (some people find they react to products that are not tested).
Meanwhile, if you prefer to make your own eggnog, skip to below the list of store options for some great gluten-free eggnog recipes and tips.
Gluten-Free Status of Eggnog Brands
- Bolthouse Farms Holiday Nog. This product, which you'll find with Bolthouse Farms' other single-serve smoothies and drinks, is considered gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million of gluten, or GF-20 levels. Note that it contains soy protein isolate as an ingredient.
- Earth Balance Organic Soy Nog. All of Earth Balance's products are considered gluten-free to GF-20 levels, and its holiday soy-based nog is no exception. The nog is also vegan, certified organic, lactose-free and non-GMO verified. It (obviously) contains soy.
- Hood EggNog. Hood, a company with deep New England roots that now distributes its dairy products nationally, makes seven different flavors of holiday eggnog: Golden EggNog, Light EggNog, Vanilla EggNog, Cinnamon EggNog, Pumpkin EggNog, Caramel EggNog, and Sugar Cookie EggNog. All (yes, including the Sugar Cookie Eggnog) have been confirmed gluten-free (to GF-20 levels), according to the company's Frequently Asked Questions.
- Horizon Organic Eggnog. According to a customer service representative, all Horizon Organic products are considered naturally gluten-free, and no gluten-containing ingredients are used by the company in any product, including the seasonal eggnog.
- Lactaid Eggnog. If you're lactose intolerant, Lactaid's holiday eggnog might be a good option. According to the company's Frequently Asked Questions, the eggnog is considered gluten-free (to GF-20 levels). Lactaid only makes one gluten-containing product: its Cookies and Cream ice cream.
- Organic Valley Certified Organic Eggnog. Organic Valley's eggnog is made with just organic milk, cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg, with a bit of organic locust bean gum thrown in as a stabilizer. The eggnog is considered "naturally gluten-free," according to the company. However, Organic Valley says it "cannot absolutely guarantee the absence of gluten in our products."
- Silk Nog. Another soy-based "eggnog," Silk states that it meets gluten-free standards: "all Silk products are gluten-free and can be suitable for people with gluten allergies. We have extensive testing protocols in place to detect and prevent contamination by gluten or gluten components." Silk does not use gluten ingredients in any of its products.
- So Delicious Dairy Free Nog. This coconut milk-based "eggnog" is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which tests to below 10 parts per million (GF-10) levels. Note that it contains annatto for coloring (annatto seems to bother some of us).
- Southern Comfort Eggnog. Hood makes Southern Comfort eggnog products on the same lines as Hood-branded eggnog. According to a Hood customer service representative, Southern Comfort brand eggnogs are considered gluten-free to GF-20 levels. They're non-alcoholic and do not contain any actual Southern Comfort whiskey (although they apparently taste as if they do).
- Trader Joe's Egg Nog. T.J.'s makes at least two different varieties of eggnog — premium and light are sold at the store I frequent. According to Trader Joe's No Gluten Ingredients list, none of the eggnog products is made with gluten ingredients. Note that Trader Joe's does not test for gluten and will not guarantee that its products come in below the generally accepted "gluten-free" standard of 20 parts per million.
- Turkey Hill Egg Nog. Turkey Hill, which makes a wide variety of gluten-free ice cream flavors, also makes seasonal eggnog. Both options — plain and light vanilla — are considered gluten-free to GF-20 levels, according to the company.
Gluten-Free Eggnog Recipes
It's actually really easy to make your own eggnog. Here are a couple of good recipes from around the About.com network you can try:
- Non-Alcoholic Eggnog Recipe (this recipe requires constant stirring for up to an hour, but it's worth it!)
- Easy Eggnog Recipe (no cooking involved here, but this super-simple recipe does use raw eggs)
- Eggnog with Brandy, Rum or Bourbon (Note: Although bourbon — usually made with gluten grains — is considered to be gluten-free because it's distilled, many of us will still react to it. If that's the case for you, stick with brandy or rum for this recipe. See Is Bourbon Gluten-Free? for more details.)
All these recipes call for vanilla and spices (usually nutmeg, but sometimes cinnamon and cloves). If you're looking for safe spices, check out my list here: Gluten-Free Spices. As for vanilla, I recommend Singing Dog Alcohol-Free Vanilla. Enjoy, and happy holidays!