Homemade marshmallows are sweet, soft, fluffy pillows that melt-in-your-mouth. homemade marshmallows are 1000 times better than store-bought and a lot easier to make than you think. Flavor your marshmallows with different extracts, food coloring, mix-ins like dried nuts or freeze-dried fruit. The options are endless!
Take your s’mores up a notch at your summer BBQ or gift them with hot chocolate bombs for a Holiday treat.
HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS VS STORE BOUGHT
You may not think that there is much difference between homemade marshmallows and storebought and if you look at the ingredients, they might look very similar. I picked up a bag of marshmallows at my grocery store and recognized most things aside from tetrasodium pyrophosphate and blue 1.
But the texture, the TEXTURE is totally different. We all know what a regular marshmallow tastes like. Sweet, a little like vanilla, and chewy. I thought that was normal.
Then I had my first homemade marshmallow and I was shocked. It literally dissolved in my mouth. There was no chewing. Like a creamy kind of cotton candy, it just melted away. The vanilla bean and the touch of honey add so much more flavor dimension. I cannot wait to experiment with more flavors.
HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW INGREDIENTS
Homemade marshmallows are made from only a few ingredients. Sugar, water, corn syrup, gelatin, salt, and flavoring. They get their light texture from whipping the sugar and incorporating lots and lots of air.
Honey and corn syrup are types of invert sugar, meaning that they inhibit sugar crystals from forming and keep things moist. Too much and you’ll have a sticky, melty mess but a little can work wonders. You don’t have to use honey and corn syrup though, you can use any kind of invert sugar such as glucose, golden syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, or even molasses if you wanted to make gingerbread marshmallows!
HOW TO MAKE MARSHMALLOWS FROM SCRATCH
Step 1 – Get everything ready. Once you start making marshmallows, there isn’t any time to prep anything. Pre-measure all your ingredients, get out all your tools, prep your pans. Scrape your vanilla bean pod.
Step 2 – Brush a 9″x9″x2″ pan with canola oil with a pastry brush. Make sure you get into the corners, the sides and the top edges, do not miss any spots. I don’t recommend using vegetable oil or any kind of oil with a flavor because it transfers to the marshmallows.
Step 3 – Line the pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper going in opposite directions.
Cut the 1st piece of parchment paper to be 9″x13″ and the 2nd to be 9″x 20″. The longer piece is going to fold on top of the marshmallows later on. Oil the parchment paper as well. If you don’t oil your pan and parchment paper, the marshmallows will stick.
Step 4 – Add the gelatin and cold water to the bowl of your stand mixer and let it absorb for 15 minutes while you make your sugar syrup.
Step 5 –Add the corn syrup, honey, sugar, and water to a medium saucepan. Stir together to combine, then turn the heat on to medium-high to bring it to a boil. Do not stir the mixture again.
Step 6 – Cover the pot with a lid. Once it reaches a boil, let the condensation gather on the lid for 5 minutes then remove the lid and attach a candy thermometer. The condensation helps brush any rogue grains of sugar down from the sides which can cause crystalization.
Step 7 – Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking the sugar until it reaches 240°F (115°C). Whatever you do, DO NOT STIR!
Pro-Tip: Do not be alarmed if your mixture is staying at 225°F for a while, it will remain here while the water is evaporating from the sugar syrup. Once steam stops rising, the temperature of the syrup will rise quickly so don’t walk away!
Step 8 – Once the sugar reaches 240°F, carefully remove the pan from the heat and take off your candy thermometer. With the whisk attachment, start your mixer on low to break up the bloomed gelatin, then slowly pour in the hot syrup between the blades and the side of the mixer while mixing on low.
Step 9 – Add in the vanilla and salt.
Step 10 – Turn your mixer up to high and whip for 8-10 minutes. When the mixer bowl is slightly warm to the touch, not hot or cold, it’s done. Once it’s done, move very quickly as the marshmallows will start to set up almost immediately.
Step 11 – Grease a spatula (and your hand) with canola oil and pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan. This can be challenging, it helps to have a 2nd person to hold the bowl while you scoop out the marshmallow fluff.
Then oil your hands or spatula again and spread the fluff out to the sides of the pan. It will be very sticky. Cover with the long end of the oiled parchment and smooth to the edges with your hands.
Step 12 – Let the marshmallow sit at room temperature for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight. The longer you let them rest, the easier they will be to cut.
Step 13 – Once set up, lift the sides of the parchment paper to remove the marshmallows from the pan. Then peel off the top layer of parchment paper and dust the top with powdered sugar. Dust your surface with powdered sugar as well, remove the bottom parchment paper from your marshmallows and place the square on your prepared surface. You really can’t have too much powdered sugar. It prevents sticking and we will brush off the excess later.
Step 14 – Coat your bench scraper, knife, or scissors with a layer of canola oil to help prevent sticking. I found that a 10″ long bench scraper worked the best for cutting marshmallows. Clean your bench scraper with a warm washcloth in between cuts for less sticking and more precision. If you don’t have a bench scraper, you can use a taping knife or something similar.
Cut your marshmallows into 2″ squares (or whatever size you prefer).
Coat each marshmallow in more powdered sugar to prevent sticking and store at room temperature for up to 4 days.
I highly recommend toasting homemade marshmallows to use in s’mores or dipping some in chocolate to use in a cup of hot cocoa. So freaking delicious!
HOW TO KEEP HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS FROM STICKING
- Canola oil and powdered sugar are your best friends when it comes to homemade marshmallows. Coating everything in oil from your pan, parchment paper, bench scraper, knives, and even your hands will help the sticking problem.
- Don’t cut your marshmallows for 24 hours.
- Dust your work surface liberally with powdered sugar as a base for cutting your marshmallows.
- After you cut the marshmallows into squares, it’s best practice to roll them in powdered sugar to prevent the sides from sticking to each other.
- Let your marshmallows dry out at room temperature for 24-48 hours to develop a skin which keeps them from sticking together and makes them easier to toast.
HOW TO MAKE MARSHMALLOWS WITHOUT A SUGAR THERMOMETER
Using a candy thermometer is the easiest way to make marshmallows. I like to use this candy thermometer, or an infrared heat thermometer from Thermo works. That’s great because then nothing has to touch the sugar syrup and you can get an accurate reading without the mess!
If you absolutely cannot get a thermometer, you can try to do the softball test. If you haven’t done this before, I would only recommend it for seasoned professionals. About every 5 minutes, take about a teaspoon of the sugar syrup and place it into a bowl of cold water. If the sugar comes together in the water and you can form it into a firm ball with your fingers without it collapsing, then it’s ready. It will be pliable and able to hold its shape when you press it with your fingers. If it dissolves or flattens then the syrup is not ready yet.
WHY ARE MY MARSHMALLOWS DENSE?
If your sugar syrup goes over 240 even a couple of degrees, your sugar will be too firm and will cause your marshmallows to be hard instead of fluffy.
Keep a close eye on your thermometer and take it off the heat the second it gets to 240ºF and immediately pour into your gelatin.
Also, check to make sure your thermometer is reading accurately. Insert your candy thermometer into a pot of water and bring it to a rolling boil. The bubbles should be constant and vigorous. At sea level, the boiling point for water is 212º F or 100 C; this will be our baseline. Leave your thermometer in the water for five minutes to give it time to get an accurate reading. If it reads 212ºF it’s accurate. If not, it may need calibration or you need a better thermometer.
MARSHMALLOWS WITHOUT GELATIN
Gelatin is an important ingredient in getting homemade marshmallows to have that fluffy texture. You can use agar agar powder (telephone brand) instead of gelatin, but it will not have the same consistency. Check out this highly rated recipe for vegan marshmallows.
HOW LONG DO HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS LAST?
Store homemade marshmallows in an air-tight container and they basically last forever! Pop them in the freezer to keep them fresh and prevent them from drying out.
Homemade Marshmallow Recipe
- 21 grams (21 grams) unflavored gelatin (3 packs) I use knox gelatin powder, you can use agar agar to make them vegan but it won't have the same texture.
- 4 ounces (113 g) cold water (1/2 cup) for the gelatin
- 6 ounces (170 g) corn syrup (3/4 cup) or honey, golden syrup or maple syrup
- 2 ounces (56 g) honey (1/4 cup) or corn syrup
- 12 ounces (340 g) granulated sugar (2 cups)
- 4 ounces (113 g) water (1/2 cup) for the sugar syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 whole vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (113 g) canola oil (1/2 cup) for brushing utensils
- 4 ounces (113 g) powdered sugar (1/4 cup) for dusting
- Candy Thermometer
- Stand mixer with the whisk attachment
- 9"x9"x2" square pan (Width x Length x Height) You can use a 9"x13" pan as well, but your marshmallows will be much shorter.
- Bench scraper or long knife for cutting
- You have to move quickly with marshmallows, as they set up very fast. Pre-measure all your ingredients, scrap your vanilla bean. Also have your candy thermometer, mixer and tools ready to go.
- Cut the 1st piece of parchment paper to be 9"x13" and the 2nd to be 9"x 20". The longer piece is going to fold on top of the marshmallows later on. Line the pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper going in opposite directions. Oil the parchment paper as well. If you don't oil your pan and parchment paper, the marshmallows will stick.
- Add the gelatin and cold water to the bowl of your stand mixer and let it absorb for 15 minutes while you make your sugar syrup.
- Add the corn syrup, honey, sugar and water to a medium sauce pan. Stir together to combine, then turn the heat on to medium-high. Don't mix it again. Cover the mixture with a lid and let the condensation gather for 5 minutes to wash down the sides of the pot and dissolve any rogue grains of sugar.
- Remoce the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Carefully attach your candy thermometer. Continue heating but do not stir! Heat until it reaches 240°F (115°C). Do not be alarmed if your mixture is staying at 225°F for a while, it will remain here while the water is evaporating from the sugar syrup. Once steam stops rising, the temperature of the syrup will rise quickly.
- Once it reaches 240°F, carefully remove the pan from the heat and take off your candy thermometer. Turn your mixer on medium and slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the mixer. Aim the stream so it goes between the whisk and the side of the bowl. If you pour onto the whisk you'll end up with hard bits of sugar in your marshmallows.Add in the vanilla and salt.
- Turn your mixer up to high and whip for 8-10 minutes. When the mixer bowl is slightly warm to the touch, not hot or cold, it's done. Once it's done, move very quickly as the marshmallows will start to set up almost immediately.
- Grease a spatula (and your hand) with canola oil and pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared pan. This can be challenging, it helps to have a 2nd person to hold the bowl while you scoop out the marshmallow fluff. Then oil your hands or spatula again and spread the fluff out to the sides of the pan. It will be very sticky. Cover with the long end of the oiled parchment and smooth to the edges with your hands.
- Let sit at room temperature for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight. The longer you let them rest, the easier they will be to cut.
- Once set up, lift the sides of the parchment paper to remove the marshmallows from the pan. Then peel off the top layer of parchment paper and dust the top with powdered sugar. Dust your surface with powdered sugar as well, remove the bottom parchment paper from your marshmallows and place the square on your prepared surface. You really can't have too much powdered sugar, it will help prevent sticking.
- Coat your bench scraper, knife or scissors with a layer of canola oil to help prevent sticking. I found that a 10" long bench scraper worked best for cutting marshmallows. Cut your marshmallows into 2" squares (or whatever size you prefer).Coat each marshmallow in more powdered sugar and store at room temperature in an airtight container. They can last for months!
- I highly recommend toasting them to use in s'mores or dipping some in chocolate to use in a cup of hot cocoa.
- Leave your cut marshmallows at room temp for 24-48 hours to dry out a bit. Store in an air tight bag or freeze.
- It is important to measure all of your ingredients by weight instead of converting to cups. A kitchen scale is very easy to use, just place a bowl on top, hit tare and pour in the ingredient. Check out my blog post on how to use a scale for more information.
- You MUST use a thermometer when making marshmallows
- Do not stir your sugar syrup while it's heating up, that could lead to crystallization.