Are Milk Duds Gluten Free?


Kurt Olsen

The Hershey Company’s Milk Duds are a delicious confection that combines milk chocolate with caramel and is one of the company’s most popular candy products. These delectable bite-sized treats are delightful small balls of caramel wrapped in a chocolate covering. They mix the silkiness of the chocolate with the chewiness of the caramel in one delicious bite. People who adhere to a gluten-free diet may wonder whether they can consume this dish.

Milk Duds are a candy that does not contain gluten. They do not include gluten-containing components like rye or barley, so you may eat them without worry. Corn syrup and refined sugar are two examples of the highly processed ingredients included in Milk Duds. Lily’s Sweet Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate and Cocomels Chocolate Caramel Bites are excellent choices for those looking for a Milk Duds replacement that is both more nutritious and gluten-free.

In this piece, we’ll discuss the origins of Milk Duds, the process by which they’re manufactured, and a few interesting facts about the confection. In addition, we will go into why they are not healthy snacks and provide you with some alternative brands that you may try out to satiate your desire for sweets. Let’s get started!

How Milk Duds are made

The first step is to manufacture the caramel mixture, which is done in batches weighing around 30,000 pounds each. This batch mixture is then allowed to settle for about an hour before being transferred into six different kettles for cooking.

After cooking, the caramel mixture is cooled with water and cooled further by blowing cold air. Finally, the caramel mixture is brought to room temperature by stirring it. Getting it back to room temperature won’t even take you a minute of your time!

At long last, the caramel is shaped into an irregular “dud” form, followed by applying a chocolate coating on top. The production of this candy quantity takes around four hours to complete!

Are Milk Duds Unhealthy?

Milk Duds are a snack that should be avoided due to the many harmful components utilized in their creation. Let’s have a look at a few of them at this time:

Each and every cell in your body makes use of glucose, the most fundamental type of carbohydrate. Corn syrup contains fructose, which is a problem-causing sugar. For your body to use this fructose as a source of energy, it must first convert it into glucose. This conversion requires your body to undergo a procedure that raises the chance of having fatty liver disease, an elevated risk of being obese, and a significant possibility of acquiring diabetes.

The milk chocolate candy known as Milk Duds contains sugar that has been refined and processed. This kind of sugar is also associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and diabetes and an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Hydrogenation is a technique performed on palm oil before it is created for use in food production. This indicates that the structure of the oil has been changed chemically, which results in the oil having a higher concentration of trans fats. Trans fats are inflammatory for your body and may cause your bad cholesterol to rise while simultaneously lowering your good cholesterol. Both of these effects are variables that contribute to the development of heart disease.

Milk Duds are one of the worst sweets to consume, particularly for parents concerned about their children’s oral health, since the chewy caramel is very difficult to remove from between the teeth. Milk Duds, in addition to containing these components, are often loaded with sugar and saturated fats. There is 18% of the recommended daily amount for fat consumption included in only one serving, which is just 36 grams in size.

Are there any allergies in Milk Duds?

Even though we have verified that Milk Duds are a candy alternative that does not include gluten, we would still want to know how these chocolate-caramel morsels compare to other well-recognized allergies.

Milk Duds are a kind of candy that should be avoided by those who are allergic to dairy products. However, since soy is also included in Milk Duds, individuals who are allergic to soy should seriously consider whether or not they should consume this candy.

Milk Duds are not a sweet treat that you should consider advantageous to your lifestyle if you also adhere to a vegan-centric diet. This is because Milk Duds include dairy and chocolate, both of which contain ingredients that are produced by animals.

Milk Duds Nutritional Information


  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil (Cocoa Butter, Palm, Shea, Sunflower, And/Or Safflower Oil)
  • Dextrose
  • Nonfat Milk
  • Reduced Protein Whey (Milk)
  • Chocolate
  • Contains 2% Or Less Of Brown Sugar, Whey (Milk), Mono And Diglycerides, Sodium Bicarbonate, Milk Fat, Salt, Resinous Glaze, Soy Lecithin, Tapioca Dextrin, Vanillin, Artificial Flavor

Nutrition Facts (for 36-gram serving):

  • 160 – Calories
  • 6 g – Total Fat
  • 3.5 g – Saturated Fat
  • 0 g – Trans Fat
  • 0 mg – Cholesterol
  • 95 mg – Sodium
  • 26 g – Total Carbohydrate
  • 0 g – Dietary Fiber
  • 19 g – Sugars
  • 1 g – Protein

Alternative caramel and chocolate candy brands

There are a few alternatives to Milk Duds, that are sweets that are better for you. Even though all candies should be consumed in moderation, the following manufacturers provide candies with specific higher-quality components and adhere to the recommendations for avoiding allergens.

Lily’s Sweets Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate

The caramel milk chocolate produced by Lily’s Sweets is free from gluten and GMO milk components and has a balanced combination of sweet and salty flavors.


  • Unsweetened Chocolate
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Erythritol
  • Chicory Root Fiber
  • Dextrin
  • Whole Milk Powder (rBST Free)
  • Milk Fat (rBST Free)
  • Natural Flavor
  • Sea Salt
  • Sunflower Lecithin
  • Stevia Extract
  • Vanilla Extract

Nutrition Facts (for 30 gram serving):

  • 130 – Calories
  • 11 g – Total Fat
  • 6 g – Saturated Fat
  • 0 g – Trans Fat
  • 5 mg – Cholesterol
  • 75 mg – Sodium
  • 17 g – Total Carbohydrate
  • 10 g – Dietary Fiber
  • <1 g – Total Sugars
  • 5 g – Erythritol
  • 2 g – Protein

Cocomels Chocolate Vanilla Caramel Bites

Cocomels is a kosher, organic, dairy-free, and gluten-free brand of chocolate and caramel candy. Additionally, it does not include any high fructose corn syrup and is vegan.


  • Chocolate Liquor
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Coconut Milk
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Cane Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Madagascar Vanilla Extract

Nutrition Facts (for 5 pieces / 20 gram serving):

  • 90 – Calories
  • 4.5 g – Total Fat
  • 3 g – Saturated Fat
  • 0 g – Trans Fat
  • 0 mg – Cholesterol
  • 20 mg – Sodium
  • 11 g – Total Carbohydrate
  • <1 g – Dietary Fiber
  • 7 g – Total Sugars – Includes 7 grams added sugars
  • <1 g – Protein

Freakin’ Wholesome Chocolate Covered Caramel Almond Bites

The Freakin’ Wholesome chocolate pieces are devoid of gluten, dairy, palm oil, and genetically modified organisms, and they are made with natural, unprocessed ingredients.


  • Almonds
  • Cocoa Mass
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Dates
  • Hazelnuts
  • Coconut Nectar
  • Pea Protein
  • Vanilla Flavor
  • Natural Cocoa Powder
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Natural Vanilla Bean Powder

Nutrition Facts (for 1 piece / 20 gram serving):

  • 110 – Calories
  • 6 g – Total Fat
  • 2.8 g – Saturated Fat
  • 0 g – Trans Fat
  • 5 mg – Cholesterol
  • 10 mg – Sodium
  • 11 g – Total Carbohydrate
  • 0 g – Dietary Fiber
  • 4 g – Total Sugars – Includes 4 grams added sugars
  • 3 g – Protein

UNREAL Dark Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Bars

The UnReal chocolate caramel bar is “nothing to snicker at!” since it is made with certified chocolate from fair trade, organic peanuts, and pea protein. It includes no soy components, corn syrup, or sugar alcohols. The bar has forty percent less sugar than the leading chocolate caramel candy brands.


  • Organic Cassava Syrup
  • Cocoa Beans
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sunflower Lecithin
  • Vanilla Beans
  • Organic Peanuts
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Organic Palm Oil
  • Almonds
  • Organic Pea Protein
  • Organic Powdered Sugar
  • Less than 0.5%:
  • Cashews
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • Organic Spelt Flour

Nutrition Facts (for 1 bar / 34 gram serving):

  • 160 – Calories
  • 8 g – Total Fat
  • 3 g – Saturated Fat
  • 0 g – Trans Fat
  • 0 mg – Cholesterol
  • 65 mg – Sodium
  • 19 g – Total Carbohydrate
  • 2 g – Dietary Fiber
  • 11 g – Total Sugars – Includes 11 grams added sugars
  • 3 g – Protein

Which chocolates do not contain gluten?

The chocolates you’ve listed, such as Hershey’s Almond Joy, Heath Bars, Hershey Kisses Candies, Hershey’s Nuggets Chocolates, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey’s Milk Duds, Mounds Bars, and Payday Candy, do not contain gluten. However, it is important to note that some other products from Hershey’s, including some seasonal or limited edition products, may contain gluten, so it’s always best to check the ingredient label or reach out to the company for more information.

It’s worth noting that many other chocolate manufacturers also offer gluten-free options, but it is important to check the ingredient list carefully before purchasing. Some chocolates may have cross-contamination with gluten, since they are processed in the same facility with gluten-containing ingredients. Also, it’s always better to check the label that says gluten-free, or reach out to the company for more information.

Are milk duds healthy?

Milk Duds are a sweet treat that can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s important to note that they are not a particularly healthy snack.

A snack-sized container of Milk Duds is relatively small, weighing only 36 grams, but it does contain a relatively high number of calories and a significant amount of saturated fat. It contains 160 calories, of which 6 grams come from total fat and 3.5 grams come from saturated fat. Saturated fat is the type of fat that should be consumed in limited amount as part of a healthy diet, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 5-6% of daily calorie intake should come from saturated fats. So, 18% of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat would be relatively high.

It is also important to note that Milk Duds are not a significant source of vitamins or minerals, and they are relatively high in added sugars, with 19 grams of total sugars per serving. As always, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming any type of candy or sweet treat, and to consider how it fits into your overall diet.

Are MILK DUDS vegan?

Milk Duds are not vegan as they are made with milk and milk products like nonfat milk and reduced protein whey (milk).

Milk Duds ingredients list includes dairy based ingredient such as nonfat milk and reduced protein whey. While some chocolate candies may be vegan, most chocolate candies contain dairy-derived ingredients such as milk, cream, butter and whey. Additionally, Milk Duds have “Milk” as part of the product’s name which usually indicates that it contains dairy products.

It’s worth noting that most of the chocolate candies contain milk and their derivatives, and it would be difficult to find a vegan option of Milk Duds, however, it’s always better to check the label or reach out to the company for more information if you’re looking for vegan option or if you’re following a vegan diet.

How long does it take to digest a milk dud?

It’s important to note that Milk Duds are not a type of dairy, they are a type of candy made with caramel and chocolate coating, and are not directly related to dairy digestion time.

The digestion time of a food depends on various factors such as the individual’s metabolism, the presence of any digestive disorders, and the other foods consumed alongside it. For most people, Milk Duds would be considered a high-calorie, high-sugar food that would take around 45 minutes to 2 hours to digest. However, this can vary depending on the individual’s overall diet and health.

It’s also worth noting that consuming high-sugar foods such as Milk Duds regularly can have negative effects on your overall health and on digestion by contributing to weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and other health issues. These candies should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet and in combination with nutrient-dense foods.

How many calories are in one MILK DUDS?

According to the nutrition information on the package, one serving size of Milk Duds is 36 grams, and it contains 160 calories.
This serving size is relatively small and it may be easy to consume more than one serving, especially if you are not measuring it.
It’s important to keep in mind that Milk Duds are a sweet treat, and to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming them to keep track of total calorie intake and maintain a healthy diet.

Are Twix gluten-free?

In addition to other items, Mars produces the following items that contain gluten: Twix. Maltesers. The popular candy bar Mars Bars does not include wheat, but they do have barley malt.

Are Milk Duds bad for you?

Milk Duds. Even though it’s just 36 grams, a snack-sized container of Milk Duds packs in a whopping 160 calories and 18 percent of the saturated fat suggested for daily consumption.

Why are Milk Duds illegal?

According to the standards that govern food labeling enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration, these modified recipes that do not include cocoa butter are not allowed to be legally characterized as candies covered with milk chocolate. Instead, they are described as “chocolate candy” or as having “chocolate coating.”

Why is it called Milk Duds?

MILK DUDS It was difficult for the candy’s creator to shape the chocolate-covered caramels into precisely round balls, so he referred to the finished product as “duds.” Hershey is the current owner of the Milk Duds candy brand and the manufacturer.

Are there bugs in Milk Duds?

In fact, likely, you have previously consumed insects. Shellac is a material obtained by collecting the secretions of the lac insect. It is used in various sweets, such as jelly beans, Whoppers, Milk Duds, and candy corn, to give the candies a shiny appearance. It is also called resinous glaze or confectioners’ glaze in certain circles.

Final Thoughts

Milk Duds are a famous chocolate and caramel sweet delight. Because they do not contain gluten, those with celiac disease or a gluten allergy may eat them without risk. However, candies made from Milk Duds do not have any beneficial components to your health. If you feel guilty about giving in to your desires for sweets, give some thought to providing one of the alternative brands a go since they are all featured in this piece.

Contact Us

For more information or to make comments and suggestions, please contact:
Kurt Olsen
Dairy Development Coordinator, Missouri Department of Agriculture
Phone: (573) 291-5704
E-mail: [email protected]