are cracker jacks gluten free

Yes, Cracker Jacks are not gluten free. While they may have that nostalgic appeal, unfortunately, individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease should avoid consuming this classic snack because it contains gluten.

What Ingredients are in Cracker Jacks?

Cracker Jacks are a popular caramel-coated popcorn and peanut snack mix that has been enjoyed for over a century. To understand why they are not gluten free, it’s important to take a closer look at the ingredients that comprise this tasty treat. The main components of Cracker Jacks include:

  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Caramel
  • Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Artificial Flavoring

While these ingredients may seem innocent enough, gluten can be found in a variety of unexpected places, including flavorings, seasonings, and even caramel coatings.

Why Aren’t Cracker Jacks Gluten Free?

There are a few specific reasons why Cracker Jacks are not considered gluten free:

  1. Popcorn: Popcorn itself is naturally gluten free, but cross-contamination can occur during processing or packaging, making it necessary to verify the gluten-free status of each brand. In the case of Cracker Jacks, the caramel coating poses a potential risk for gluten contamination.
  2. Caramel: The caramel used in Cracker Jacks typically contains gluten. It’s important to note that different brands of caramel can vary in their gluten content, but in the case of Cracker Jacks, the caramel used is not gluten free. This is a significant factor for individuals with gluten sensitivities.
  3. Artificial Flavoring: The artificial flavoring used in Cracker Jacks may include ingredients that contain gluten. Although the specific ingredients are not disclosed, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid this snack if you follow a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-Free Alternatives to Cracker Jacks

If you are avoiding gluten and craving a similar popcorn and nut snack, there are several gluten-free alternatives available:

  • Look for gluten-free caramel popcorn and nut mixes at health food stores or online retailers.
  • Make your own gluten-free caramel popcorn at home using gluten-free ingredients and your preferred nuts.
  • Consider snacking on air-popped popcorn and adding your favorite gluten-free seasonings or toppings.

By choosing these gluten-free alternatives, you can satisfy your craving for a caramel-coated popcorn and nut snack without the worries of gluten contamination.


In conclusion, Cracker Jacks are not gluten free due to the presence of gluten in the caramel coating and potential cross-contamination in the popcorn. It’s essential for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease to be vigilant about reading ingredient labels and exploring gluten-free alternatives to enjoy similar snacks safely. By understanding the ingredients and potential sources of gluten in Cracker Jacks, individuals can make informed choices about their snack options.