Ready to decorate some cookies and wondering if icing sugar is gluten free?
Keep reading to learn if it’s safe to eat on your gluten free diet and why icing sugar sometimes isn’t just sugar...
What is icing sugar?
Icing sugar is a fine, fluffy sugar that is typically used for making frostings and cake decorations. It can also be sprinkled on desserts, like gluten free ladyfingers, to add a bit of sweetness and visual interest. The fine texture of icing sugar is also perfect for making a sweet and flaky crust for gluten free pop tarts or gluten free butter tarts!
Icing sugar goes by many names - it’s also called powdered sugar or confectioners sugar.
It’s made by milling granulated sugar until it is a fine powder, then an anti-caking agent may be added to prevent clumping and enhance flowability. (Which makes it all spill out of the bag when you open it. That happen to anyone else?!)
Granulated sugar is naturally gluten free, but it’s the added anti-caking agent ingredients that may cause issues for anyone on a gluten free diet.
Is icing sugar gluten free?
Icing sugar is gluten free, but be sure to check the labelling to see if any anti-caking agents are added to the product to prevent clumping. Typically, corn starch, tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) or tricalcium phosphate are added which are all fine for anyone on a strict gluten free diet.
Pure icing sugar is also available, which has nothing added. It's gluten free, but also prone to clumping. If you’re using pure icing sugar in your baking, be sure to sift it first.
Specific brands of icing sugar
Is Great Value powdered sugar gluten free?
Yes! Great Value powdered sugar is gluten free, as it only contains sugar and cornstarch.
Is Aldi powdered sugar gluten free?
Yes, Aldi’s powdered sugar (under the name Baker’s Corner) is gluten free.
Is C&H confectioners sugar gluten free?
Yes, C&H powdered sugar is gluten free. It only contains cane sugar and cornstarch.
Is Redpath icing sugar gluten free?
To all my Canadian friends out there - Redpath icing sugar is gluten free! The only ingredients are sugar and cornstarch.
Is Domino confectioners sugar gluten free?
Yep, Domino confectioners sugar is safe for anyone on a gluten free diet.
The difference between icing sugar and caster (superfine) sugar
Are icing sugar (powdered sugar) and caster (superfine) sugar the same thing? No, they definitely aren’t.
While they are both versions of granulated sugar, icing sugar is milled much more finely than caster sugar. This means icing sugar has a lighter, powdery texture when compared to caster sugar.
Since caster sugar and icing sugar have a different texture, don’t substitute them for each other. If your recipe calls for a specific sugar, there’s a reason for that. Trust the recipe!
Homemade icing sugar
Did you know you can make your own icing sugar at home? Since icing sugar is just granulated sugar that has been ground to a fine powder, a high-powered blender or coffee grinder can do the job!
Add granulated sugar into the blender or coffee grinder and process until it becomes light and fluffy. It’s that easy!
Since this homemade version doesn’t contain any anti-caking agents, be sure to sift it before using. (You could also add a few tablespoons of cornstarch into about 2 cups of granulated sugar to help with clumping.)
How to use icing sugar
Now that we know icing sugar is safe for anyone on a gluten free diet, here’s how you can use it…
- Sprinkle it over gluten free ladyfingers to add a touch of sweetness to these perfectly light and airy cookies!
- Icing sugar is on double duty when you make a batch of gluten free pop tarts. It sweetens the dough and makes the perfect royal icing to hold all those sprinkles!
- Speaking of royal icing, you can use powdered sugar to decorate your very own gluten free gingerbread. Cut out cookies, or make an epic gingerbread house!
- Make a batch of gluten free dairy free sugar cookies, then use dairy free butter and icing sugar to whip up some dairy free buttercream. You won’t regret that you did!
Other common baking questions
- Is sugar gluten free? Sugar is from sugarcane or sugar beets, so it is naturally gluten free. Always check product labelling to make sure no gluten ingredients have been added or any warnings of cross contamination.
- Is butter gluten free? Check out this post to find out!
- Is brown sugar gluten free? This post will tell you all you need to know.
Enjoy your sweet, sweet baking adventures!