How To Make Marshmallows From Scratch
Thick, pillowy, fluffy homemade marshmallows made from scratch are one of the very best (and surprisingly easy) treats you can make for yourself or your loved ones this holiday season. The recipe makes a ton, and they last for weeks when stored properly. You’ll never want to go back to store-bought marshmallows again!
These are perfect to add to a holiday cookie box this season – they’re actually much simpler to make than you would think. Or at least than I would think. The recipe falls into two parts in my mind – the sugar syrup part, which is strictly an adult only job. Then comes the marshmallow spreading part which would be a great way to involve the kiddos in holiday baking!
My mom also says that these are the best marshmallows she’s ever had, and she’s clearly not biased in any way. ;)
Light Corn Syrup
Vanilla Extract (or an optional secret ingredient)
Flavor: the flavor of these is like any marshmallow you’ve ever had, but somehow also, more? They’re incredibly rich and decadent and thanks go my secret ingredient they’ve got a strong vanilla flavor.
Texture: they’re soft and chewy with just a little bit of resistance when you bite into one. If you want an even softer marshmallow, you can leave the out one of the packets of gelatin. The marshmallows will still be set up enough to cut, but just barely.
Ease: I’d give this recipe a 5/10 on the easiness scale, and the only reason it’s not a 3/10 is because of the boiling sugar mixture part of the recipe. Anytime you’re working with hot sugar, all of your focus needs to be on it, and making sure it doesn’t spill and burn you. A sugar burn is far worse than a burn with boiling water.
Expert Tips and Tricks
When boiling the sugar, make sure to keep a close eye on it, and always stir very carefully. Whenever I’m making anything that requires me to boil sugar, I always make sure my pets are put away and that my husband knows not to come into the kitchen. Better safe than sorry.
Use a candy thermometer. There are some tutorials out there about how to know when you’ve gotten to the soft-ball stage with the sugar, but having a thermometer takes all the guesswork out of it. I use a Thermopop thermometer, and it’s one of those things that I just can’t live without.
You’ll need a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. I don’t want to say that this recipe can’t be made without those things, but I can only say that I wouldn’t want to attempt it. The marshmallows whip for -5-10 minutes and that would end up probably being 10-20 minutes with a hand mixer.
Secret Ingredient: for the fanciest marshmallows, replace the vanilla extract with vanilla bean paste. If the cost is an issue, you could do half and half paste and extract. Those little specks in the marshmallows show everyone that you’re a Very Serious Baker. 😊
Are marshmallows vegan? They are not. The gelatin contains animal by-products. I haven’t tested this myself, but there is a product called agar-agar that is vegan and apparently works very similarly to gelatin.
Do these marshmallows toast well? They sure do! Just like any store bought marshmallow, all it takes is a little heat, and they get nice and brown and toasty!
How many marshmallows can you get from this recipe? Depending on how big you cut them, anywhere from 48-72.
Can you substitute the corn syrup? Absolutely! You could use maple syrup or honey, both of which would flavor the marshmallows and make them totally different and delicious. You could do half and half molasses and corn syrup which would give you a sort of gingerbread-y flavor. Trying new things is what it’s all about!!
Cut the marshmallows into your desired shape, and then store any leftovers in an airtight container. They can take on the flavor of a plastic container, so use a glass container if you can. Layer sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper between the layers to avoid sticking.
How To Make Marshmallows From Scratch
Marshmallows from Scratch
- 3 (7 gram) packages of unflavored gelatin (most boxes come with 4 packets)
- 1 cup of cool water, divided
- 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Confectioners' sugar (to sprinkle on top)
How To Make Marshmallows from Scratch
- Start by combining all three packets of gelatin and half the cool water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the whisk attachment for about 15 seconds, or until combined, and then set aside.
- In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water. Cook this over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
- Raise the heat to high and cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 240 F on a candy thermometer. This could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on your stove. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Set the mixer with the gelatin on low speed (it's fine if the gelatin has gotten clumpy since you originally whisked it) and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl.
- Once all of the sugar mixture has been mixed in increase the speed of the mixer to high and let it whip until very thick and fluffy, and the marshmallow has cooled to lukewarm. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. You basically just need to be able to touch it with your hands without burning yourself.
- While the marshmallows whip up, grease a 9x13" glass baking dish. Once cool enough to touch, pour the mixture into the baking dish. Wet your palms thoroughly, and use your hands to spread and smooth it out. This is great place to have the kiddos help out!
- Sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar and let the pan sit out for at least 3-4 hours until completely cool.
- Cut into squares and serve or share with friends!