It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, and everyone’s eating king cake! If you have a food allergy or sensitivity, though, traditional king cake may not be an option. Thankfully many bakeries offer gluten free king cakes, as well as vegan king cakes. If you are looking for things to do in New Orleans throughout the Mardi Gras season, we have you covered with this list of Mardi Gras events and camps.
Gluten Free King Cakes, Vegan King Cakes and Allergy Friendly King Cakes
If you’re worried you won’t eat enough king cake this Mardi Gras season, New Orleans bakers are making it easier than ever. With new deliciousness and specialty options added each year, we are officially entering the king-cake-for-breakfast season. And now, in 2023, there are truly king cake options for everyone, including those with food sensitivities, dietary preferences, and even still-intact New Year’s resolutions. Side note, if you want to try your hand at making a gluten free king cake at home, this recipe is the bomb.
So here’s the dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free scoop on where to find a king cake that unchecks all your boxes.
(Of note: As much as we believe in love at first sight, please get to know more about your king cake before committing. Especially when food allergies are involved.)
Vegan King Cakes
A lot of people ask where you can find a vegan king cake in New Orleans, and the great news is that there are actually several choices now. Yes, you can have your vegan king cake and eat it, too!
Breads on Oak makes vegan king cakes in a variety of flavors. This year they’re offering four vegan king cake flavors, including a delicious Almond Cream. As is everything else for purchase at Breads on Oak, their king cakes are 100% vegan. (Visit Breads on Oak in the Riverbend area of New Orleans or in the CBD.)
Bywater Bakery boasts an extensive king cake menu, including one vegan option: Bywater Bourbon Cinnamon. This king cake is made with a sweet potato dough and a cinnamon bourbon filling. In New Orleans, we may be ready to cut back on our animal products, but don’t touch our booze. (Visit Bywater Bakery in the… yep, you guessed it.)
Falaya Bakehouse is a 100% vegan bakery that makes a vegan king cake like no other: a “boudin” stuffed king cake with bac’n. If that’s a little too wild, opt for one of their more-traditional-yet-still-vegan flavors like Bavarian Cream or Berry Chantilly. (Order in advance for pick-up at New Orleans Food Co-Op or Mandeville Trailhead Market.)
Vegan and Gluten-Free King Cakes
The School Bakery offers made-to-order king cake cupcakes that can accommodate a range of dietary needs, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. In addition to promoting party-inclusivity for all kiddos, this bakery will drop off deliciousness right at your kid’s school… or your office, your mom’s house, you name it. (Local pickup and delivery in New Orleans, plus delivery to St. Charles Parish, the Northshore, and the Westbank. Use discount code THENOLAMOMSROCK15 for an especially sweet deal.)
Creme Confectionary offers a king cake that’s vegan and gluten-free, in addition to being nut-free and oat-free. (A corn-free option is also available, upon special request.) Hurry, because these king cakes can be hard to come by, as they sell out quickly online. (Find them in-person at local farmers markets and coffee shops; check their facebook page for all the details.)
Van Friendly specializes in allergy-friendly options, including both king cake and king-cake adjacent creations (think: king cake donuts). All products leave out the “top 9 allergens” and the icing on top includes naturally-colored, homemade sanding sugars. (Van Friendly has two pick-up locations on many-the-shore: Green Fork in Covington and Grounded Coffee on Jefferson Highway.)
Modern Vegan Mom prepares scrumptious vegan food on a rotating menu each week. Throughout this year’s Mardi Gras season the menu features king cake bites: a healthy spin on energy bites made from simple and clean ingredients. The king cake variety pairs vegan vanilla protein powder with cinnamon and maple syrup and is topped with a drizzle of organic sugar glaze. (Order by Sundays for Tuesday delivery or Wednesday pick-up.)
Gluten-Free King Cakes
The NOCCA Marketplace is selling three types of king cake this year, including a gluten-free, dairy-free option (not vegan, it does have eggs). This king cake is a bit different than what you may have in mind, as it is not iced and has a different texture than your usual brioche pastry. But, if you’re looking for gluten-free it won’t disappoint. Bonus points for edible glitter and for supporting NOCCA’s culinary arts program. (Pick up advance orders at Press Street Station in the Bywater.)
NOLA Sandwitch is a gluten-free pop-up serving sandwiches and delicious baked goods.
They offer king cakes for pick-up or local delivery in a variety of flavors, including this season’s special: Neapolitan, with chocolate cake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla creme. (Pick up advance orders in Gentilly, or you can request delivery to New Orleans proper. NOLA Sandwitch also has a special delivery day on 1/27 to the Northshore.)
Waffles on Maple has an extensive menu of gluten-free king cake options, including key Key Lime, Wedding Cake, and Lavender Infusion. They are also certified Kosher, and as an extra bonus they offer shipping. (Visit their uptown location on Maple Street, or their Metairie location on W. Esplanade.)
Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free
Everyday Keto to Go offers king cakes in multiple flavors and sizes, all of which are gluten-free and sugar-free. Their website lists ingredients and nutritional info for all of their sweet, yet sans-sugar, items. You’ll find creative flavor options like Coffee & Cream and Give Me Samoa. (Visit Everyday Keto to Go in Old Metairie.)
Hold the Peanuts
A nut allergy is nothing to joke about. If you’re specifically looking for a peanut-free option, the following bakeries can accommodate. However, they may have tree nuts at the facility so please confirm details with each location.