allergy-free desserts for birthdays
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School Safe Snacks: Allergy-Free Desserts for Birthdays

Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD on February 16, 2024


As a child, it’s a fun tradition to celebrate your birthday at school with your friends and share a birthday treat together. But now many schools require allergy-free treats for birthday celebrations (if they allow them at all), due to the increasing number of kids with allergies.

Finding a school-safe snack that everyone can still enjoy can be a challenge, but there are many options out there for a special surprise, both homemade and store-bought.

Allergy-Free Birthday Treats for School

There are nine foods that are considered the most common allergens. These are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, milk, shellfish, soy, wheat, egg, and sesame. Peanut and tree nut allergies are the most common in children, therefore peanut-free birthday treats are typically recommended in most schools. 

If you’re unsure about the other allergies in the classroom, it is always best to ask ahead of time. This can help avoid the treat being sent back or not enjoyed due to potential allergic reactions. 

Nut-Free Birthday Treats

While it might be easy to avoid treats that have peanuts or tree nuts as a featured ingredient, depending on the severity of the allergy, sensitive children may also react to products made in a facility that uses nuts. Therefore it is always best to check the label before bringing something to school to ensure it truly is a completely allergy-free treat. 

Here are some ideas for nut-free birthday treats that you can make or that are easily accessible in most stores.

Marshmallow Crispy Treats

These traditional treats are made with just rice cereal, marshmallows, and butter. You can make them more “fun” for a birthday celebration by topping them with sprinkles or frosting. They can also be purchased pre-packaged, making for a simple treat you can send with your kid to school. 

Ice Pops

Ice pops are typically made with simple fruit ingredients and are enjoyed by most kids. Consider making a healthier homemade version, by blending up your favorite fruit and then freezing overnight. Watermelon and kiwi are great choices for ice pops. Alternatively, purchase store-bought low-sugar versions to enjoy as an allergy-free birthday treat for school.

Jello Cups

Jello is not only nut- and peanut-free, it also comes in a variety of colors and flavors. Individually portioned jello cups are an easy way to share a colorful birthday treat that is also shelf-stable. 


Popcorn is a high-fiber snack that can be provided in individual bags for kids to enjoy. Popcorn can also be found in different flavors such as white cheddar or caramel corn for variety. Be sure to consider the age of the kids in the class, as for younger children (generally under age five) popcorn is a choking hazard. 

Apples with Caramel

Sliced apples with caramel dipping sauce are an easier treat to enjoy than a traditional caramel apple, but just as tasty. Caramel can be found in individual cups, so kids can each get their own along with a bag of sliced apples. 

Nut-Free Snack Mix

Snack mix can be made without including nuts. Start with a base of rice cereal, like Chex or goldfish crackers. Add raisins, dried cherries, apple chips, or small bites of candy. Package it in cute, colorful baggies for an easy-to-enjoy nut-free treat. 

Marshmallow Sticks

Marshmallow sticks are similar to cake pops but are just marshmallows covered in melted chocolate. Start by melting chocolate and mixing it with a little bit of shortening to help it stick. Put a large marshmallow on a stick and dip it into the chocolate. Top with sprinkles for a fun treat. 

Homemade Gum Drops

These quick and easy homemade gumdrops are a fun way to provide an allergy-free treat in different shapes and colors. Use molds to cut out different shapes. This recipe is for raspberry-flavored gumdrops, but you can always get creative by experimenting with different flavors. 

Allergy-Friendly Cookies

Many brands are focused on allergy-friendly treats that are nut, peanut, and gluten-free. For example, Made Good has a line of gluten-free and nut-free cookies that are also made in a nut-free facility. This can give you peace of mind when sending in treats the whole class can enjoy. 

Non-Food Treats

Kids love little goodie bags filled with small toys, stickers, and other trinkets. Consider providing a non-food treat as a birthday surprise, so everyone can enjoy it without any concern of allergies. 

Allergy-Free Treats

Due to the concern over allergens, most schools have either outlawed birthday treats completely or require them to be 100% store-bought. This limits what can be brought in for birthday celebrations, but there are still options for treats kids can enjoy. 

If you need ideas for store-bought snacks that are also allergy-friendly, check out our list of 32 best allergy-friendly snacks. If you need more support around packing an allergy-friendly school lunch, we have even more ideas here.

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