Is Baileys Gluten Free?

Baileys is a type of alcoholic liqueur called Irish cream (1).

Irish cream was first developed in 1974 in Ireland. It is traditionally made from Irish whiskey and dairy cream with added chocolate and vanilla flavors (2).

Baileys is designed to be drunk neat (without ice or mixers) or used as a flavoring in foods like Irish coffee, ice cream toppings, baked goods, and confectionery.

People who follow a gluten-free diet may wonder if Baileys is a safe product to drink and use in recipes.

This article explains if Baileys Irish cream is gluten-free.

Irish cream liqueurs like Baileys typically contain cream, sodium caseinate, sugar, alcohol, flavors, colors, and emulsifiers (3).

According to the official website, Original Baileys Irish Cream contains Irish whiskey, Irish dairy cream, and chocolate and vanilla flavors. However, it’s likely that not all additives are listed (4).

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 2.5 fl oz (74 mL) serving of Baileys Original Irish Cream (4):

  • Calories: 235
  • Carbohydrates: 16.5 grams
  • sugars: 13.5 grams
  • Fat: 10.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 6 grams
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Alcohol: 10.5 grams (17% alcohol by volume, or ABV)

In the United States, one standard alcoholic drink contains about 14 grams of alcohol. Therefore, a 2.5 fl oz (74 mL) serving of Baileys is about three-quarters of a standard drink (5).

Aside from the Baileys Original Irish Cream, there are a variety of other Baileys flavors and products sold, the availability of which varies by region and season.

Flavored varieties include:

  • Strawberries & Cream
  • Salted Caramel
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • Espresso Creme
  • Apple Pie
  • colada
  • Chocolate Cherry
  • Vanilla Cinnamon
  • Chocolate Luxe
  • Birthday Cake
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • coffee
  • caramel
  • Orange Truffle

Additionally, there is a lower calorie version called Deliciously Light, made with 40% less sugar and 40% fewer calories than the original Irish cream. It is also slightly lower in alcohol at 16.1% ABV.

Finally, there is a dairy-free, vegan variety called Almande. It’s made with almond milk, almond oil, almond essence, purified water, and vanilla. It’s even lower in alcohol at only 13% ABV.

Summary

Original Baileys Irish Cream contains Irish dairy cream, Irish whiskey, and vanilla and chocolate flavors. It likely contains other additives that aren’t listed. There are also other flavors available, including dairy-free and reduced-sugar varieties.

Gluten is a term for types of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelled, Kamut, and triticale (6, 7, 8).

Baileys contains Irish whiskey, which is made from gluten-containing grains.

However, due to the processing that the grains undergo during distillation, whiskey and other distilled spirits are considered gluten-free, according to the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (9).

The other known ingredients in Baileys are also gluten-free, and the company website itself states that Baileys is made from gluten-free ingredients (10).

However, the company also states that it cannot guarantee that any Baileys product is gluten-free, and people should talk with a healthcare professional before consuming Baileys if they’re gluten-sensitive (10).

That means Baileys products haven’t gone through the official process of verifying that they contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which would allow the products to officially labeled as gluten-free (9).

But according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just because a food doesn’t have a gluten-free label doesn’t necessarily mean it contains gluten. In fact, there are many foods that are naturally gluten-free that are not labeled as such (11th).

Overall, Baileys is likely to be gluten-free. However, as not all additives are listed, it’s difficult to assess if all flavors and varieties are gluten-free or completely safe from any gluten contamination.

If you need to restrict or avoid gluten, be sure to talk with a healthcare professional before consuming Baileys.

Summary

Baileys states that the company cannot guarantee its products contain no gluten but that the ingredients used are gluten-free. It’s possible that the ingredients lists don’t include all additives, so it’s difficult to know which products contain gluten.

There are a variety of health conditions that require following a gluten-free diet, including celiac disease, wheat allergy, gluten ataxia, dermatitis herpetiformis, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (7, 12).

However, while conditions like celiac disease only affect between 0.5–1% of the world’s population, studies have shown that in as many as 7% of people follow a gluten-free diet in some populations (6, 13, 14).

That includes people who do not have any diagnosed condition relating to gluten but who choose to avoid gluten for perceived health benefits or other reasons.

Therefore, whether or not Baileys is suitable for you may depend on for what reason and how strictly you’re following a gluten-free diet.

For the strictest, medically necessary gluten-free diets, Baileys may not be suitable since it’s not specifically verified and labeled as gluten-free and may contain some potentially gluten-containing additives that aren’t disclosed.

But for people who can tolerate some gluten, Baileys could fit into a limited-gluten diet.

Summary

For people on very strict gluten-free diets, Baileys may not be suitable given the lack of gluten-free certification. However, the information available suggests Baileys is likely to be gluten-free, so people who can tolerate some gluten could still choose to have it.

While it is likely that Baileys Original Irish Cream is gluten-free, some people may find it safer to choose a labeled alternative.

The vegan, dairy-free, and certified gluten-free variety of Baileys called “Almande” may be one such option. It is made from almond milk and can be used in place of regular Baileys.

There are many other brands of Irish cream liqueur, some of which are certified gluten-free. Many also provide full ingredient lists on the bottles, which makes it easier to determine if they are gluten-free.

Before drinking Baileys or any commercial Irish cream liqueur, it may be best to talk with a medical professional to make sure the product is safe for you if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten.

Finally, Irish cream can also be made at home, where you can be sure that it contains no gluten.

Simply combine cream, whiskey, and condensed milk with flavors like chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. There are many recipes available online — just make sure the flavors you add are also gluten-free.

Summary

Gluten-free alternatives to regular Baileys include Baileys “Almande,” other brands of Irish cream with full ingredient lists, or homemade Irish cream liqueur.

Baileys is a popular liqueur made from Irish whiskey and cream.

The known ingredients in Baileys are gluten-free. However, it’s possible that not all exact ingredients for all flavors and varieties of Baileys are listed, so it’s tricky to know for sure which final products are free from all gluten contamination.

For those following a very strict gluten-free diet, a good alternative may be the Baileys “Almande,” which is certified dairy- and gluten-free.

Alternatively, you could look for brands that list all their ingredients on the bottle or who maintain a gluten-free certification.

Irish cream is also easy to make at home if you want to ensure there are no gluten-containing ingredients or contaminants.

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