Is Milky Way Gluten-Free?

No, Milky Way bars are not advised for celiac or people on a gluten-free diet. Most Milky Way bars have nougat, which contains malted barley.

Imagine your gluten-free self walking into the candy aisle and you saw the enticing packs of Milky Ways.  You’ve been left questioning, “Is Milky Way gluten-free?”

Sadly, Milky Way candy bars’ nougat is glutenous as it contains barley malt extract. That’s your main enemy on your gluten-free diet. 

Do you want to learn more? Let’s get to the bottom of this. This article dives into the Milky Way’s ingredients and potential gluten contamination.

What is Milky Way Chocolate

An image of Milky Way chocolate bars

Do you have a thing for irresistible layers of nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate? Well, that’s Milky Way chocolate for you!

The nougat is a soft, chewy filling made from sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, and sometimes milk powder. It gives the bar a creamy texture.

On top of the nougat lies a layer of caramel, made by heating sugar and adding things like cream and butter. That gives the Milky Way its sweet richness.

Finally, the whole bar is coated in milk chocolate, which provides a smooth, creamy outer shell. It’s made from cocoa powder processed, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.

Can Celiacs Have Milky Way Chocolates

An image of wrapped Milky Way chocolate bar

So, are milky ways gluten-free and can be enjoyed by celiacs?

As a person with celiac disease, you must avoid some chocolates because they contain malted barley or wheat flour filled with gluten. 

Unfortunately, this includes standard Milky Way bars. Even though there are gluten-free versions of Milky Way, you should still be careful.

Always remember to: 

  • Check product labels to ensure they’re specifically labeled as gluten-free. Only assume a product is safe with checking. 
  • Be aware of potential cross-contamination during production. Even if a product is labeled gluten-free, it might come into contact with gluten-containing ingredients.

Milky Way Ingredients

An image of sliced Milky Way chocolate bar

It’s always crucial for your health to check the ingredients when asking, “Are these candy bars gluten-free?” 

When looking at the Milky Way’s ingredients, you’ll find a variety of components that contribute to the natural and artificial flavor of Milky Way bars. 

That includes sugar, milk chocolate, and the potentially problematic malted barley. The barley is a source of gluten, which can be harmful if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Here’s a breakdown of the main ingredients of a Milky Way bar:

IngredientComponentPotential Problems
Milk Chocolate CoatingSugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy lecithinSoy allergies
NougatCorn Syrup, Sugar, Malted BarleyGluten allergies
Caramel LayerSugar, Corn Syrup, Skim MilkLactose intolerance

Malted Barley in the Milky Way

An image of Malted Barley

Malted barley, a common ingredient in your favorite candy bar, can be a concern if you’re sensitive to gluten. 

This ingredient is found in the nougat filling of Milky Way bars. You might be wondering why it’s there. 

It’s part of a malting process, which involves soaking, germinating, drying, and roasting the grains.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Malting Process

  • Soaking: The grains are submerged in water to initiate germination
  • Germinating: The grains start to sprout
  • Drying and Roasting: The germinated grains are dried and then roasted

For those with celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance, it’s best to steer clear of Milky Way bars.

Milky Way Gluten-Free Options

While you may be disappointed to learn that regular Milky Way bars aren’t safe for those with gluten intolerances, don’t lose hope.

Milky Way does provide some alternatives that are generally considered gluten-free. Let’s explore these options, namely the Milky Way Caramel and Milky Way Dark.

Milky Way Caramel

An image of Milky Way Simply Caramel Mini

You’re better off with Milky Way Caramel bars, as they don’t contain malted barley, making them a potential gluten-free option.

However, checking the label and confirming with the manufacturer is always critical. Understanding the gluten-free status of any product can take time and effort. 

Let’s break it down:

  • Ingredients: Milky Way Caramel bars differ from the classic Milky Way as they don’t include malted barley.
  • Verification: Always verify by checking the product label. If in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer to confirm the absence of gluten.

Milky Way Dark

An image of wrapped Milky Way Midnight Dark

Imagine savoring dark chocolate’s rich flavor with the familiar caramel and nougat filling. All while being confident that it’s gluten-free.

Unlike its classic counterpart, the Milky Way Midnight Dark variant doesn’t contain malted barley. That makes it a suitable treat for those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance. 

However, it’s essential always to verify the ingredients, as manufacturers can change their recipes without notice.

Cross Contamination in Production

Even if Milky Way bars didn’t contain gluten ingredients, there’d still be a risk of cross-contamination during production. 

It’s critical for you to understand as someone dedicated to serving others, especially those with dietary restrictions. Cross-contamination can occur in various ways:

Shared Equipment:

  • Machinery used to process both gluten and gluten-free products
  • Utensils not cleaned adequately between uses

Storage and Handling:

  • Gluten-free and gluten products stored closely together
  • Staff not trained in correct handling procedures

Are These Mars’ Chocolates Gluten-Free

You may wonder about other Mars’ chocolate offerings, specifically Butterfinger, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers.

Just like the Milky Way bars, these treats also have ingredients that could contain gluten. Let’s delve into whether these popular chocolate bars are safe for those with gluten sensitivities.


An image of two packs of Butterfinger chocolate bars

Unlike Milky Way bars, Butterfinger’s changed its recipe to include gluten-free alternatives. 

This shift is a game-changer for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who also have a sweet tooth. Now, you can enjoy the crispy, crunchy, peanut-buttery goodness without worrying about gluten.

Here’s what you need to know about Butterfinger’s transition to gluten-free:

The recipe change

  • The traditional wheat flour was replaced with a gluten-free alternative.
  • The new formula maintains the same great taste, but it’s now safe for those with gluten intolerance.

The impact

  • It increases the options for gluten-free candy bars on the market.
  • It sets a precedent for other brands to consider similar changes.


An image of bunch of Snickers Mini Chocolate Bars

Snickers bars aren’t a safe choice for your diet if you’re dealing with celiac disease or severe wheat allergies due to wheat flour in the nougat filling.

 It’s essential to understand the risk this poses to your health.

Just a small amount of gluten can trigger symptoms if you’ve celiac disease. Even if you aren’t showing signs, consuming gluten can still damage your small intestine. 

So, avoiding products like Snickers that contain wheat flour is crucial in managing your condition.

3 Musketeers

An image of bitten 3 Musketeers Chocolate bar

Despite the lack of wheat ingredients, it’s still crucial to be cautious with 3 Musketeers bars due to the risk of cross-contamination. 

As a consumer, you should be aware that even if a product doesn’t contain gluten ingredients, it may still not be safe for those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance.

Take into consideration the following points:

Risk of Cross-contamination:

  • The 3 Musketeers bars are produced in facilities that also process gluten-containing products.
  • This situation can lead to cross-contamination, where gluten particles may inadvertently get mixed with the product.


  • Although 3 Musketeers bars don’t contain wheat ingredients, they aren’t labeled as gluten-free.
  • This absence of a label is due to the risk of cross-contamination.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’re looking for popular chocolate brands offering gluten-free options. Brands like Hershey’s, Dove, and Enjoy Life produce certain gluten-free products. 

Always check labels to ensure you’re picking up the suitable variant.

How Does the Manufacturing Process of Milky Way Bars Introduce the Risk of Cross-Contamination?

Milky Way bars are produced in facilities where other gluten-containing products are made. It introduces a cross-contamination risk, making them unsafe for those with gluten intolerance.

Besides Malted Barley, What Other Ingredients in Milky Way Bars May Contain Gluten?

Besides malted barley, Milky Way bars may contain wheat flour. It’s also produced in a facility where cross-contamination can occur. 

So, you should avoid it if you’re sensitive to gluten.

Are There Any Official Certifications or Labels That Indicate a Product Is Gluten-Free?

Yes, there are official certifications. Look for labels that read “Certified Gluten-Free” or similar. 

These labels ensure you’re buying a product tested and confirmed to be gluten-free by a recognized authority.


So, is Milky Way gluten-free?

Unfortunately, Milky Way bars aren’t gluten-free due to malted barley. Cross-contamination during production also poses a risk.

However, don’t despair; other Mars chocolates are safe for those following a gluten-free diet.

Want to know more about the gluten content in other food and drinks? Check out my full list here: What Is Gluten In?

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John Benedict
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