is cracker jack gluten free

Many people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease often wonder if Cracker Jack, the popular snack that comes with a surprise inside, is gluten free. And the answer is, unfortunately, no. Cracker Jack contains gluten, which can cause issues for individuals with gluten-related disorders. If you are following a strict gluten-free diet, it’s best to steer clear of this classic treat.

The Ingredients of Cracker Jack

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients of Cracker Jack to understand why it contains gluten. The main components of Cracker Jack include:

  • Caramel-coated popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Molasses
  • Sugar
  • Popcorn
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil

While these ingredients may seem harmless, it’s important to note that the caramel coating and some other additives in Cracker Jack contain gluten-containing substances.

Gluten-Containing Ingredients in Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack contains gluten in some of its ingredients, including:

  1. Barley malt syrup: This sweetener, derived from barley, contains gluten.
  2. Wheat starch: It is used in the caramel coating mixture, and wheat is a gluten-containing grain.

These gluten-containing ingredients make Cracker Jack unsuitable for those who need to avoid gluten.

Gluten-Free Alternatives to Cracker Jack

If you’re looking for gluten-free alternatives to Cracker Jack, there are plenty of options available:

  • Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps
  • Smartfood White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn
  • Boomchickapop Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten Free Mini Pretzels

These snacks provide a similar satisfying crunch and flavor without the gluten.

Reading Labels and Cross-Contamination

When searching for gluten-free snacks, it’s essential to read labels carefully. Even if a product doesn’t contain gluten in its ingredients, it may still be manufactured in a facility that processes gluten-containing products, leading to potential cross-contamination. Look for specific “gluten-free” labels and certifications to ensure safety.

Caramel-coated popcornNo
Vegetable oilYes
Barley malt syrupNo
Wheat starchNo


In conclusion, Cracker Jack is not gluten free due to the presence of barley malt syrup and wheat starch in its ingredients. Individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should avoid consuming this snack in order to prevent adverse effects. There are numerous gluten-free alternatives available in the market that can satisfy your snack cravings without compromising your dietary restrictions.