If you’re a chocolate lover that’s been worried about finding allergen-safe brands for your family – worry no more! Food allergies are unfortunately becoming more prevalent, affecting millions of people in the United States. Because of this, food companies are adapting, making an abundance of allergen-free products, like nut free chocolate that you can still enjoy even if you have a food allergy.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual advice. If you have an allergy, always double check labels prior to purchasing and consuming any food. It is possible we may miss an ingredient or that manufacturer formulations can change (as they often do).
What are the food allergens?
The most common allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, wheat, and eggs. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on peanuts and tree nuts, but note that all the options we’ll discuss are also dairy free since our site caters to dairy free families.
Peanuts and tree nuts make up the top 4 most common food allergens in both children and adults. More specifically, in the 2018-2019 year, peanut allergies affected 6.1 million Americans, while tree nut allergies affected 3.9 million Americans (source).
What is the difference between peanuts and tree nuts?
Peanuts and tree nuts are different, and it is possible to be allergic to one and not the other. Peanuts are legumes, which grow underground. On the other hand, tree nuts grow in trees, which is where they got their name.
Nuts that fall under the tree nut category are almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, coconut, beechnut, bush nut, butternut, chestnut, chinquapin, hickory nut, lichee nut, macadamia nut, pine nut, pili nut, and sheanut. Another interesting fact about tree nuts, is that one can be allergic to a specific tree nut and not the other (source).
Peanuts and tree nut allergies can occur simultaneously in a child or adult. This is because the proteins – the part that causes the allergic response – in both peanuts and tree nuts has a similar structure (source). It is important to discuss this with your Allergist and doctor to confirm the specific food allergens you need to avoid – never try a food you’re unsure is safe on your own.
Whether you have a peanut or tree nut allergy, that doesn’t mean chocolate is off-limits. You do need to look carefully for allergen friendly brands though!
Nut Free Chocolate Brands
As mentioned above, there are so many nut free chocolate products on the market. Below is a list of six brands of delicious dairy free, nut free chocolates. Let’s check them out!
(Reminder: always check ingredient labels prior to purchasing, as formulations can change.)
Disclosure: This section includes Amazon affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn a commission on qualifying purchases.
1. Enjoy Life
- Enjoy Life is free from the following allergens:
- Wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, sulfites, lupin, mustard, fish, shellfish and crustaceans
- Products Sold: Chocolate bars and chocolate chips (in addition to many other products, like cookies, protein bites, breakfast bars, etc).
- Are Enjoy Life products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- Yes – at the time of this post, every product made and produced at Enjoy Life is made in a dedicated nut free facility. They also run rapid tests randomly on raw ingredients and finished products to ensure they are allergy-safe.
- Where can I buy Enjoy Life products?:
2. No Whey Foods
- No Whey Foods is free from the following allergens:
- Milk, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, egg, soy, artificial colors and artificial flavors
- Products Sold: Chocolate bars, sunflower butter cups (like peanut butter cups but nut free), choco no-nos (like M&Ms but dairy/nut free), and chocolate truffles
- Are No Whey Foods’ products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- The products made at No Whey Foods are made in a facility that does not process any of the top 8 allergens, and that includes peanuts and tree nuts, at the time of publish.
- Where can I buy No Whey Foods’ products?:
- Free2b is free from the following allergens:
- Peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten, egg, coconut, sesame, soy, mustard, corn, fish, and shellfish
- Products Sold: Chocolate candies (sunflower butter cups and mint cups) and chocolate chips
- Are Free2b products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- Free2b’s products can are made in a peanut and tree-nut free facility.
- Where can I buy Free2b products?:
4. Amanda’s Own Confections
- Amanda’s Own Confections is free from the following allergens:
- dairy, nuts, peanuts, gluten, wheat, soy, eggs, corn, sesame, mustard, shellfish, crustacean, sulfites and lupin
- Products Sold: Chocolate bars, chocolate candies, sunflower butter cups, mini chocolate chips
- Are Amanda’s Own Confections’ products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- The facility where Amanda’s Own Confections products are made is free from the allergens listed above. Amanda’s Own Confections also sources products from nut-free facilities.
- Where can I buy Amanda’s Own Confections’ products?:
- You can purchase Amanda’s Own Confections on their website.
- Pascha chocolate is free from the following allergens:
- Tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, sesame, fish, shellfish, mustard and celery
- Products Sold: Chocolate bars, chocolate chips
- Are Pascha’s products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- According to the most recent information on their website, Pascha Chocolate is produced in a dedicated facility which is free from all eight major food allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, shellfish and fish.
- Where can I buy Pascha Organic’s products?:
6. Safe Sweets
- Safe Sweets is free from the following allergens:
- Peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and gluten (some products are free from other allergens too)
- Products Sold: Chocolate candies, chocolate chips, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bark
- Are Safe Sweets’ products made in a facility that also processes nuts?:
- The facility that Safe Sweets uses is a dedicated peanut, tree nut, dairy and gluten free facility.
- Where can I buy Safe Sweets’ products?:
- Safe Sweets can be purchased on their website.
What to look for when shopping
In addition to the options mentioned above, there may be other brands that arise or small local companies located near you.
Whenever you’re shopping for any products, new or old, it’s important to note that companies may change the formulas of their products. This may result in a product that was previously tree nut and peanut free to contain either allergens, or both. Always check the food label.
On the food label, first look at the ingredients. The top 8 allergens must be listed in either the ingredients section in plain language, OR in the “contains” statement at the bottom of the ingredients. It only has to be located in one of these places, so don’t assume that just because the contains statement is missing that the product does not contain allergens. Look through every ingredient.
If you have a severe allergy, you’ll also want to check for information on cross-contamination. You may see the following types of statements:
- “May contain peanuts and tree nuts”
- “Processed in a facility that uses peanuts and tree nuts”
These are only two examples of the types of “precautionary labeling” you may see. These statements may refer to shared equipment use, or the potential for cross-contamination with other ingredients.
Keep in mind that these statements for cross-contamination are not required by companies – they are actually voluntary (source). If you are unsure if the product is safe for consumption due to possible cross-contamination with an allergen, check the company’s website or contact the company directly. Safety is always of highest importance.
Chocolate recipe ideas
Alright, you’ve got your nut free chocolate in hand – now what to do with it?! Well, of course you can always just snack on it directly to satisfy your sweet tooth – but you can also use those chips or chop up those bars in some of these tasty ways:
- “Dessert” oatmeal – I made up the name for this, but it’s my favorite oatmeal combo because it tastes like dessert. Combine cooked oats with a chopped apple, some seed butter, and some dark chocolate chips. Yum!
- Hot chocolate charcuterie board – During the holidays, combine your favorite dairy-free nut-free ingredients on a dessert platter to make the ultimate hot chocolate. Try using a hot chocolate mix (I make a homemade one with just cocoa powder, salt, and sugar), chocolate chips, marshmallows, orange zest, candy canes, Enjoy Life cookies, and anything else that floats your boat.
- Smores cookies – These are probably my very favorite cookie recipe on the site! They’re nut free as long as you use a dairy-free butter that does not contain nuts, and double check any other packaged ingredients.
- Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies – Similar to above, as long as your ingredients like dairy-free butter are nut-free, then this recipe will work for you!
- Maple glazed nut free trail mix – Make a nut free trail mix using your allergen-safe chocolate chips in this recipe.
A Final Word
Just because you or your child has a nut allergy does not mean that you need to cut out your favorite foods, like chocolate. It may take a little extra work and you may have to take extra precautions when shopping for food, however, it is worth it to find new favorites! 🙂
PS – Don’t forget to pin this post to share with others and refer to again later!