Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows
Homemade Marshmallows

Monday I brought you homemade graham crackers. Well, nothing goes better with graham crackers than marshmallows. That’s right. I made marshmallows, a food DIY project I’ve been meaning to attempt for some time. This is another recipe from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it and Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon, which I can’t say enough good things about. Marshmallows are one of those things that that are hard to imagine homemade – they come in a bag and you use them to make s’mores, or to go with hot chocolate. But what are they actually made of? I never put much thought into it. Now I can tell you that marshmallows are made from corn syrup, sugar, and gelatin. Yup. How does that combination yield something that is light and fluffy and delicious? Magic is the only answer. Making them really is a kind of alchemy.

You allow the gelatin to soften in water while you stir corn syrup and sugar to 240F. Then you add that to the gelatin along with a bit of vanilla and stir, stir, stir until it turns into a thick, white, sticky substance (watching the transformation is the magical part). Pour that into an oiled baking pan and allow to set. That’s it. I really recommend using a stand mixer if you have one, but I am proof that it can be done the old-fashioned way. With my husband’s grandmother’s hand beater and a fair amount of elbow grease (ok, my husband and I took turns), we whisked our way to marshmallowocity. I know the holidays have passed, but these make incredible gifts any time of year. They’re also fabulous just to have around.

4.9 from 7 reviews
Homemade Marshmallows
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Making marshmallows at home is easier than you think. And once you try these fluffy little pillows it'll be hard to return to store-bought.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Yield: Makes 16 to 36 marshmallows (depending on size)
  • ⅔ cup water, divided
  • ¾ ounces unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  1. Lightly oil the inside of an 8 by 8-inch pan (mine was slightly bigger) with vegetable oil. Generously coat with confectioners' sugar and set aside.
  2. Pour ⅓ cup of the water into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan combine the remaining ⅓ cup water with the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and cook until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Very carefully add the hot syrup to the softened gelatin.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix for 8 to 13 minutes, until the mixture becomes very white, stiff, and sticky. (A stand mixer is really the best tool for the job but I used an old-fashioned hand beater and a lot of elbow grease.)
  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan using a lightly oiled spatula. Set aside for at least 1 hour, or until the marshmallows are firm and cool.
  7. Run a wet knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the marshmallow sheet and remove it from the pan.
  8. Using a sharp, wet knife, cut into squares.
  9. Toss each marshmallow in the confectioners' sugar until completely coated (or use cocoa powder or shredded coconut!).
  10. Store separated by parchment or wax paper in a container. They should keep for at least a month. Do not refrigerate.
Gluten Free, Parve, Vegan, and Vegetarian (with animal product-free gelatin)


39 thoughts on “Homemade Marshmallows

  1. Liz

    Glad you guys are keeping busy over there — and I’m impressed that you beat these by hand! There aren’t any gelatin-free marshmallows sold in Israel, so we can’t buy them … and the one time we did find vegan marshmallows, Eitan didn’t even like them! But if we ever want to have marshmallows again, I’ll probably have to make them.

    • Katherine

      Huh! I was under the (naive?) assumption that because the gelatin I purchased was parve that it must not contain animal products. Some quick research just showed me that is not necessarily the case…so interesting! And confusing.

    • Katherine

      Thanks! I’ve had it in my head to try making them for some time and was pleased at how simple the process was! Of course, there’s no escaping the fact that they are made of corn syrup and sugar, but that’s the way things go.

    • Katherine

      My sister was telling me about her book!! Thanks for the link, I want to try her recipes! Her marshmallow recipe is different from this one, next time I’ll try it out.

    • Katherine

      I was the same way! I can tell you that I was relieved at how simple they were. Another friend of mine just tried and she was also shocked at how great they came out. Give it a go! And let me know how it turns out 🙂

  2. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Happy New Year Katherine! Looking at your DIY recipes make me convinced that I’m a super lazy cook. I get store bought marshmallows and never even thought of making it from scratch. You are such an amazing cook!

    • Katherine

      Oh stop it Nami! I couldn’t even imagine making some of the incredible things you make! You are an incredible cook, so coming from you it’s a huge complement 😀

  3. easyfoodsmith

    Thanks for sharing this recipe Katherine. They are not very popular in India hence not easily available. But I was always intrigued with their texture and their taste when I saw them being used in baked goods.

    • Katherine

      You are welcome! I can imagine they are not big in India. They have a wonderful texture, especially the homemade version, which is more pillowy and light.

  4. Rose

    Hi Katherine,
    Thank you so much for posting this!
    I tried your recipe (which is delicious, by the way!) but I’m having some (a lot) of trouble getting it fluffy enough.
    The first time I tried it was with a hand mixer, but my poor thing started to overheat after about 3 minutes, it had gotten so hard that I could barely wrestle it out of the bowl, and came out kind of “gummy worm” consistency.
    The second time I tried it (with less gelatin, interestingly enough the 1/4 oz packages are closer to 1/2 oz) I used my brand spanking new stand mixer, and that worked better, but still never aired up enough, no matter how long I left it on.
    I’m thinking next time I might try it with the hand mixer over a double boiler, so the candy portion doesn’t seize up so much, but I’m worried that that might have some unintended effects.

    Any advice for a complete novice?

    • Katherine

      Hi Rose – I’m so happy you decided to try the recipe and apologize for your trouble! It’s a good thing you weighed the gelatin and found out the package is off! First, are you heating the corn syrup-sugar mixture to 240F? If it gets much hotter than that it could cause it to seize up later on. Second, when you mix you won’t get to the consistency of marshmallow – that happens once its allowed to rest. After mixing it should be quite sticky and thick and if you pull the beater out will form ribbons. Then pour it into a prepared baking pan (it will be very sticky and a lot will stick to the bowl) and allow it to sit for at least an hour or overnight. Once it’s rested THEN you should be able to cut into it to form marshmallows. Sound like you did anything differently? I hope it comes out better next time! Let me know 😀

      • Samara

        I finally got around to making the marshmallows. I used a vegan gelatin and the measurements were different. Each packet was .3 oz. I used two which is short of the 3/4 oz. I am going to let them sit overnight to see if they harden enough. If not, I will definitely try to make these again. We had fun licking the spatulas though. 🙂

        • Katherine

          That’s awesome that you were able to find vegan gelatin! I imagine that they’d need the full amount, but I’m curious to hear if they set. I think if you got them to the ribbony stage they should! Thanks for reporting back Samara 🙂

          • Samara

            No such luck. 🙁 It never went past the taffy stage. But I will try again with more gelatin and a scale. If it works, may I post on my blog?

        • Katherine

          Oh well! I’m glad you’re going to keep trying 🙂 I would love if you posted about it on your blog, that would be awesome! Let me know when you do!

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