Category : Holidays & Celebrations

10 Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free Easter Candies

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Every time we turn around there’s another holiday or celebration just around the corner, and buying season-specific treats can become pricey quickly. Add on to this the restriction of buying gluten free and usually the expense adds up even faster, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

In our home, we are always on the lookout for gluten-free products that look good, taste good, and are inexpensive. While we try to make good choices about extra chemicals in our treats via coloring, additives, and preservatives, we also make exceptions on holidays. If we were to get all-natural, organic food for everything our kids ingest, we’d go broke. So, we try to make the best choices we can given our set of circumstances.

Believe it or not, there are a ton of easy, gluten-free choices in terms of candy. However, those with Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and other allergies should always be cautious, especially around the holidays.

Stay AWAY from molded chocolates!

As a rule, I find that molded chocolates are a NO GO. Yes, I’m afraid that means no more Cadbury Eggs, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, and basically any other Chocolate egg you can find. Bunnies, my friends, are OUT too!

These types of specialty chocolates are difficult for manufacturer’s to maintain as gluten free. Some of the additives needed to ensure the chocolate fits the molds and stays together by the time it gets to the consumer contain gluten. Also, the many of the production facilities that the candy is produced are not gluten free, so the risk of cross-contamination goes up.

Since no one wants a sick kiddo for a holiday, it is best to just stay away from these products in grocery stores. Some local stores may provide GF chocolate bunnies, but you are really going to have to search to find them. Also, you can always check out Etsy, as independent chocolatiers have shops on there and sometimes offer gluten-free novelties. Be aware of this Price Warning though: these items are not going to be cheap. If they are a must-have in your Easter baskets, then they might be worth it for you. At a $20+ price tag, they are not a necessity in our baskets.

Thankfully, my kiddos never noticed that the “Big” Chocolate Bunny was replaced with a plush version instead, so all is well in my home!

Plenty of Other “Candy” Choices

Now, that you know what to generally stay away from, let’s talk about what you can include in your Easter baskets. It sounds like I say this ALL THE TIME, but it always bears repeating.

Please Double Check!

Please double check all of the products you pick up and make sure that the allergens that you are personally trying to avoid or to take out of your child’s diet are not on the ingredient list. For a quick check, I always scan for the “Gluten Free” stamps on the labels.

Always be sure to double check for the Gluten Free notation on the product’s label. If it’s not there, it’s probably NOT safe.

1. Jelly Beans

Hooray! What would Easter be without jelly beans? Most of the manufacturers of these candies list gluten free on there packages. Jelly Belly are the favorite in our household, because of their unique flavors.

(ASIDE: If you haven’t tried Bean Boozled with your family yet, you have to give it a try. You’re kids will love it! It’s a fun, quick game where you have to try to pick the good tasting jellybean over the identically-looking gross one. So, it definitely bring out the laugh in our house. We LOVE this game for car rides or long lines.)

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2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

That’s right, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are on the “No List,” but the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that are regular sized and miniature sized are on the “SAFE” list. YAY! 🙂

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They even have some wrapped in spring colored foils, so your Easter treasure hunter will still get to enjoy some chocolate and peanut butter goodness. Prior to going gluten free, Peanut Butter Eggs were my kiddos favorite treat, so these cups are a good substitute for him.

3. Peeps (Bunnies & Chicks)

Missing that BIG chocolate bunny in the Easter basket? Well, you might be leaving the chocolate behind, but don’t forget the bunny! Peeps are an excellent way to include the bunny in your basket without the risk of gluten.

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4. Pez

Easter Pez Dispensers

Do you have a Pez dispenser collector in your home? If so, this is a great treat to pack in that kiddo’s Easter Basket. Of course, Pez has Easter themed dispensers, like the ones pictured above. I always pick up a refill pack or two of the candy, so the novelty of the dispenser lasts a bit longer.

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5. Double Bubble Egg-Shaped Gum

Are you missing the idea of little candy eggs in your child’s basket? Well, Double-Bubble Egg-Shaped Gum is a great choice for you then. These egg-shaped gum balls are a wonderful addition to Easter Egg Hunts as well. My kids devour these. Plus, they are both gluten- and peanut-free, which is a nice bonus!

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6. Tootsie Roll Eggs

Not interested in gum in your house? That’s OK, because Tootsie Roll, has an Easter Candy alternative that may work for you! These “eggs” are Tootsie Rolls with pastel-colored candy shells. They are perfect for baskets or for stuffing in eggs for a hunt!

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7. Charms Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails Cotton Candy

OK, I’m not sure how the cotton candy keeps its form in these bags, and I’m guessing I don’t want to know. However, these bags are adorable additions for any Easter Basket. With the lack of a giant chocolate bunny, these bags take up plenty of room and the cottontails are always a hit with my kiddos. So, instead of biting of the the ears first, my kids get to chomp on the tails! 🙂

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8. Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks

For an Easter Basket addition that can also (conveniently) serve as a packed lunch addition, grab some of these Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks. They are sized just right for stuffing into Easter Eggs for a hunt prize!

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9. Tootsie Roll Easter Basket Mix

Tootsie Roll also makes a mix pack of gluten-free and peanut-free treats that you can put into any Easter basket. The mix includes Tootsie Roll, Juniors, Snack Bars, Mini Dots, Tootsie Pops, and Tootsie Fruit Chews. All of the candy is wrapped in pastel colors and make cute additions to any Easter Basket.

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10. Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses In Easter-Colored Packaging

Thank goodness that there is some chocolate that is safe! Plain milk chocolate kisses wrapped in Easter-Colored foils are a GO! These bite-sized yummy treats are perfect for both Baskets and for hunts, so make sure to grab some. BE CAREFUL though, some of the “other” flavor may not be gluten free, so please double-check the packaging on these.

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OR… How’s this for an easy option?

At the end of the day, time is tight, and maybe you are looking for the easiest solution with some easy gluten-free chocolate options. If that is the case, you might like this pre-made Easter Basket solution for your gluten-free kiddo!

Happy Easter!

With our next gluten-free adventure just around the corner, look for more gluten-free content coming soon. Want to stay up-to-date on when new content is published? Please LIKE and FOLLOW me at

Ultimate Gluten Free Carrot Cake

***** Much like most blogs, this blog contains affiliate links. I do not mention products that I don’t personally consume (or give to my family).  For more information, please visit my Privacy Policy page. Thanks for reading  *****

Two and a half years ago, my husband and I started piecing together that our then 8-year old son reacted negatively to gluten. After weighing the options of having him run through a slew of non-exact testing or eliminate gluten from his diet, we decided on the latter.

For over two years, my oldest was on a gluten-free diet. At the start of this year, my husband and I decided that it was time for our son to go through testing for Celiac’s Disease. Next year, he’ll start middle school, and he’s now old enough to understand the purpose of the tests. In the fall, we started taking a monthly drive to see a pediatric gastroenterologist whose practice is about two hours away. Due to the progression of the tests, and, finally his endoscopy, we made the trip three times this month alone! It’s been a lot to say the least.

Well, long story short little did we know that all this investigating for our son would lead to my husband’s gluten issues surfacing. My husband has had to eliminate gluten from his diet too, because it looks like he probably has Celiac’s Disease.

Well, this wife’s heart aches, because he takes such good care of himself. He watches what he eats, he works out, and he even takes supplements. It was a total shock to find out that he could be sick too. Armed with this newfound knowledge, he didn’t waste any time “going” gluten free. As I mentioned before, our home has been predominately gluten free for over two years now, so making the switch was as easy as deciding to do it.

However, the timing couldn’t be worse, as he found out this information two weeks before his birthday. This man, who takes uber care of himself only eats cake once a year–on his birthday, of course. This wouldn’t be such a hard adjustment, if he would eat normal cake, but no, he loves carrot cake.

All of my baker friends out there know that this is a particularly challenging cake to replicate, since there are so many elements that build its flavor.

Honestly, I felt defeated before I even got started, because I was sure this was going to end badly (as so many of my first time GF recipes do). I took a look at my go-to recipe for Carrot Cake from the 2004 Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl. Could I just substitute Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour in place of the recipes flour? I took a couple of days to ponder this, because honestly: I HATE WASTING FOOD and MONEY. When I fail at a recipe, I really beat myself up. (My chickens are usually happy, but, quite honestly, I’d rather the humans in the house enjoy the treats over them.)

As I thought about the recipe, I wondered what could go wrong with the cake if I just substituted the flour. As my GF Tribe knows, it could be too grainy, it could fall apart, it could taste kind weird, and the list goes on… With carrot cake, there are so many flavors to pull from, that I wasn’t too concerned about the cake tasting blah. I was concerned that it would be dry and grainy though. Recently, I have figured out how to make moist cupcakes that are impossible to keep in my house, because they get devoured so quickly. The trick is super simple… I use a banana and cut down on the other sugar in the recipe. So far, no one has noticed the banana. They are too busy inhaling the goodies. So, I figured it was worth a shot in this recipe too. I also used another moistening trick that my father-in-law figured out by accident, use sesame oil. Now, because of the depth of the flavor and the price, I only use a fraction of this oil and supplement with vegetable oil (from Wegmans) to make up the difference.

Well, I took a chance on these substitutions and something amazing happened! I was able to convert my traditional carrot cake recipe, with a few modifications, to this new Ultimate Gluten Free version. 😊😍😊😍 I’m tooting my horn here, friends, it tastes amazing!

Last week we had a dinner party for my husband, and everyone loved the cake, even the non-gluten freers wanted seconds. My heart is full that I was able to replicate one of my hubby’s favorites and still give him a ton of birthday love. #glutenfree #gffamily #gfrecipes 🎂💕🎂

So, here’s what I did. Please remember to check all of your labels to ensure the ingredients are gluten free. Most of these items are naturally gluten free, but it is worth a double check . If you are cooking this for someone who has Celiac Disease, they might need you to use separate cookware, utensils, and prep areas to ensure that there is no cross contamination. Good luck and please let me know in the comments below how it turns out for you.

Ultimate Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Moist and delicious cake choke full of extras makes this gluten free treat a stand out among others. With cream cheese frosting and pecan crumbles,  this cake is a must try. 
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


For Cake

  • 2 cups Bob’s GF 1-to-1 Baking Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 banana ripe
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (~3/4 pound)
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

For Frosting & Finishing

  • 2 pkgs (8 oz) cream cheese softened
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 3/4 cup pecans


  • 2 9X2 inch round cake pans


To Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Put a rack in the center of the oven.  Grease and flour two 9-inch pans. 
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to make sure everything is incorporated. Set aside.
  • On low level, using a stand mixer or hand mixer cream together the ripe banana (yes, use a brown one) and the sugar until it is a smooth, gooey liquid.
  • Keeping the mixer level on low, add the eggs, sesame oil, vegetable oil, vanilla, carrots, pecans, coconut, and pineapple and mix well.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while the mixer continues to mix. Push down the sides as the batter creeps up the edges to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed together.
  • Take the bowl containing the batter off of the mixer and fold it a few times. Then divide the batter evenly and pour it into the 9-inch pans.
  • Bake on the center rack for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and invert on a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting and Finishing the Cake:

  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer set on medium-high, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until it’s a fluffy consistency similar to whipped cream.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar.
  • Place cake layer bottom-side up on the cake plate. Spread some frosting on top of this layer. Make sure to cover the whole layer. Then place the remaining layer right-side up on top and spread the rest of the frosting all over the cake.
  • Taking small handfuls of the pecans set aside for frosting, press them into the frosting around the sides of the cake.


NOTE on Pan Greasing: I use shortening, complete cover the pan with it using a paper towel and then sprinkle Bob’s GF 1-to-1 to flour in the pan. Once I make sure that the pan is completely covered in flour I discard the excess in my sink. This step make it easier for the cake to pop out of the pan when it has cooled.)
NOTE on Creaming Bananas and Sugar:  I usually run the mixer while I sift the dry ingredients. You can’t over mix it at this point.
NOTE on Adding Confectioner’s Sugar to Frosting:  Make sure to add the Confectioner’s sugar to the mixture slowly.  Otherwise, your kitchen will look like a sugar bomb was set off in it!  🙂
NOTE on Prepping Ahead:  This cake keeps well on the counter and fridge, if covered, so feel free to make it a day or so ahead of your event.
Keyword cake, carrot cake, dessert, gluten free

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