It can be very frustrating trying to find chocolate milk at the grocery store that doesn’t have carrageenan and other nasty additives. Luckily, there are a few decent options to be found at the store. That being said, none of the chocolate milk without carrageenan choices listed below are truly additive and gum-free. Your best bet for the healthiest and tastiest glass of chocolate milk comes from your own kitchen! See below for the full recipe.
What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a food additive used to thicken, stabilize, and emulsify food and drinks. It’s derived from Irish Moss, a type of red seaweed.
Carrageenan is most frequently found in:
- Chocolate Milk
- Ice Cream
- Cottage Cheese
- Bottled Milkshakes/Smoothies
- Heavy Cream
- Dairy-free cheeses and spreads
- Nut milks and soy milk
- Deli meats
- Infant formula
Why should I avoid it?
Carrageenan has been linked to inflammation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, glucose intolerance and even colon cancer. Though some of these links are certainly disputed, it’s still a good idea to limit your exposure to food additives, especially when they are not particularly necessary.
Chocolate Milk without Carrageenan (+ other additives)
Organic Valley’s Organic Low-fat Chocolate Milk has gellan gum and is also fortified with Vitamins A & D. This milk is still a good choice, and they use fair-trade cocoa powder. It’s also conveniently available nationwide.
Maple Hill Creamery
Maple Hill Creamery’s shelf stable Organic Reduced Sugar Chocolate Milk is fortified with Vitamins A & D and also contains the additive gellan gum. They also use fair-trade cocoa powder.
Cocoa Metro’s Organic European Chocolate Milk is available in some Whole Foods and health food stores. It’s made with single-origin Peruvian cocoa. It does have gellan gum and carob bean gum as additives. The brand also makes an instant chocolate milk powder that works with cold milk (or non-dairy milk) to transform it into chocolate milk. It has only 4 simple ingredients. I highly recommend this option if none of these refrigerated chocolate milks are available near you.
Horizon has a shelf-stable Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk, which does not have carrageenan, but it does have gellan gum. This is still a decent option for chocolate milk on the go.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Whole Milk is made with fair trade cocoa and is relatively additive-free. The cocoa powder mix used in this milk does have gellan and guar gum in it, though this should be a pretty small amount.
Straus Family Creamery
This organic chocolate milk actually has the cleanest ingredients on this list, with no gums or other stabilizers. But, this milk isn’t available throughout most of the US. Straus Family Creamery products are available in California and states west of the Rockies. If you can find it, it’s a great choice!
Clover Sonoma’s chocolate milk has no carrageenan, but it does have three other additives: acacia gum, gellan gum, and guar gum. Also, this brand is only available in the Western US.
Publix brand Greenwise Organic Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk has gellan gum in it, and is fortified with Vitamins A & D. This is still a good, carrageenan-free choice. This brand is only available in and around Florida, though.
Making it Yourself
Natural Chocolate MilkCourse: DrinksDifficulty: Easy
3-6 tbsp Chocolate Syrup* (Santa Cruz Chocolate Syrup is a good one)
2 cups Whole Milk, highest quality you can find
- Mix the chocolate syrup and whole milk until thoroughly combined. Add more syrup if you like it more chocolatey.
- *You can also make your own chocolate syrup by mixing together 2 tbsp hot water with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. When a paste forms, add 1/4 cup hot water.