Are Jolly Ranchers Gluten Free? Vegan? Kosher? Full Guide

In situations where you are adhering to a specific diet, keeping track of potential allergens, or striving to make mindful dietary decisions, it is essential to identify which foods are suitable for your needs.

Nutrition labels contain a lot of helpful information, but no one really has the time, so we decided to read and interpret them for you. 

Are Jolly Ranchers gluten free? Yes, Jolly Rancher Hard Candies are gluten free. They are not made with wheat, barley, rye, or other gluten-containing substances. However, since they are not labeled or FDA regulated as a gluten-free product, there is no obligation for the company to prevent cross contamination. 

Keep reading to learn what’s inside Jolly Ranchers, how they fit into dietary restrictions, and what other gluten-free candies you can enjoy. 

Comprehensive Look at Jolly Ranchers

With such a wide range of products in the Jolly Ranchers line, it can be difficult to differentiate which products are safe for consumers with dietary restrictions.

This in-depth look at Jolly Ranchers through the nutrition lens will help you make educated decisions about what’s best for you and your family. 

Jolly Rancher Products

Jolly Rancher is a line of candies and flavorings made by The Hershey Company. Jolly Rancher’s famous fruit flavors, such as Watermelon and Blue Raspberry, are available in the form of hard candies, soft candies, gums, suckers, and liquids. 

Are All Jolly Rancher Products Gluten Free?

While Jolly Ranchers products do not include any gluten-containing ingredients, they are not certified gluten free. This means that there is a possibility for cross contamination with gluten-containing products during production. 

Jolly Rancher Ingredients

Jolly Ranchers are made with very few ingredients that are boiled to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cooled to harden. The ingredients are as follows: 

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar

Contains 2% or less of:

  • Malic acid
  • Natural & artificial flavors (not disclosed)
  • Artificial color (red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, yellow 6)
  • Mineral oil
  • Lecithin

Sugar-Free Jolly Rancher Ingredients

Sugar-Free Jolly Ranchers ingredients are made by the same process but with sugar substitutes. 

  • Isomalt
  • Polyglycitol syrup

Contains 2% or less of: 

  • Malic acid
  • Natural & artificial flavor (not disclosed)
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Artificial color (red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, yellow 6)
  • Mineral oil
  • Lecithin (soy)

Jolly Rancher Food Coloring

Jolly Ranchers contain the following FDA-approved food colorings: 

  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5
  • Blue 1
  • Yellow 6

Are Jolly Ranchers Vegan?

Some Jolly Rancher products, such as Chews and Jelly Hearts, contain gelatin or beeswax. Gelatin contains collagen extracted from various animals, and beeswax is produced from bee glands. 

Other products, such as Jolly Ranchers Hard Candies, contain ingredients like lecithin. Lecithin can be derived from plants but can also contain animal byproducts.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose the source, so there is no way to know for sure whether they are truly vegan. 

Jolly Ranchers explicitly states on their website that their products are non-vegan. In general, there are other candies better suited to a vegan diet. 

Are Jolly Ranchers Kosher?

Kosher certification is difficult to obtain as several rules must be followed to make sure that the food is prepared in accordance with dietary restrictions.

Meat and dairy cannot be collaboratively present in the product; the product can contain no traces of pork, shellfish, or other non-kosher animals; and it must be prepared in the correct manner. 

Some Jolly Rancher products, such as the Jolly Ranchers Bites, are kosher so long as they bear the OU Kosher mark on the packaging.

Other products, such as the Jolly Ranchers Bites Filled Gummies are not kosher because they violate one of the above-mentioned guidelines. 

The best course of action is to look for products that have the OU Kosher mark. This mark means that a certifying agency has tested the product and oversaw production to ensure that dietary standards were met. 

Rows of a variety of Jolly Rancher candy in a store.

Are Jolly Ranchers Halal?

Jolly Ranchers are not certified halal. This is due largely to the presence of gelatin in several of their products. Gelatin is derived from the collagen of cows and pigs.

Since there is no way to tell if these animals were handled in accordance with dietary guidelines, products containing gelatin may be assumed to be haram.

Some products like Jolly Ranchers Hard Candies do not contain gelatin or other animal products, so they’re considered halal friendly. However, cross contamination is a possibility. 

Are Jolly Ranchers Dairy Free?

Hershey lists all allergens, including dairy, on the packaging of their products. Many Jolly Ranchers products, such as their hard candies and suckers, are dairy free. 

Are Jolly Ranchers Peanut Free?

Hershey lists all allergens, including peanuts, on the packaging of their products. Jolly Ranchers products are peanut and tree nut free. Additionally, Hershey has stated that Jolly Ranchers are not created in a plant with these nuts present. 

Are Jolly Ranchers Bad for Your Teeth?

Yes, Jolly Ranchers are among some of the worst candies for your teeth. Weak teeth can crack or chip when trying to chew the hard candies.

Additionally, the high sugar content and prolonged exposure to it dissolves tooth enamel. Dentists recommend opting for sugar-free gum as a substitute. 

Additional Popular Gluten-Free Candies

Many of the brands you know and love offer certified gluten-free candy options. Always double check labels as manufacturing processes and ingredients can change at any time.

Here’s a short list of favorites approved by the Celiac Disease Foundation

  • Heath Bars
  • Hershey Kisses Candies
  • Hershey’s Nuggets Chocolates
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar (includes Aerated Milk Chocolate Bar)
  • Hershey’s Milk Duds
  • Mounds Bars
  • Payday Candy
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (all except Unwrapped Minis and Seasonal Shaped Items)
  • Reese’s Pieces (all except Eggs)
  • Rolo Caramels in Milk Chocolate (all except Minis)
  • York Peppermint Patties (all except York Pieces, Minis, and Shapes)
  • Butterfinger Bar (original flavor only, NOT Crisp, Giant Bars)
  • Goobers
  • Raisinets (including Cranberry and Dark Chocolate flavors)
  • Sno-Caps
  • Wonka Pixy Stix
  • Smarties
  • Sour Patch Kids (including Xtreme, Xploders, Watermelon)
  • Swedish Fish
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

How To Tell if Candy Is Gluten Free

Gluten-free status is typically determined by the presence of a gluten-free certification label. This certification ensures that the candies do not have gluten-containing ingredients above the 20 parts per million limit.

It also establishes that the candies were created, processed, and distributed without the possibility of cross contamination.

However, candy or food can be gluten friendly without the certification as long as no gluten is present in the product. With these items, the risk for cross contamination depends heavily on the presence of gluten in the factory. 

Related Questions:

Are Smarties Gluten Free?

Yes, Smarties are certified gluten-free candy. They do not contain any ingredients in which gluten is present, nor do they process candies in a factory where gluten is present. 

Are Nerds Gluten Free?

Yes, Nerds are gluten free. However, they are not certified gluten free. Since they are made in the same processing facility as other gluten-containing candies, the potential for cross contamination exists. 


Though they are not certified, Jolly Ranchers Hard Candies meet the standard guidelines for several dietary restrictions including halal and kosher. They are gluten free, dairy free, and peanut free.

However, other Jolly Ranchers products may contain allergens and violate practices of veganism or kosher restrictions, or they may be considered haram foods.

Since these products are not certified, cross contamination is possible, and those following a strict diet should opt for better-suited sweets.