Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

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Some of my favorite candies are marshmallows. Actually, I should backtrack a bit and say at the very top of my all-time favorite things to eat are marshmallows. I love their pillowy softness and their tender sweetness with undertones of vanilla. If it sounds like I’m getting a little Proustian for them, you’re right. I recently made several batches for some projects, which not only rekindled my love of them, but when I brought them to a few parties, people were stunned at how good they were and could not stop raving.

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Of course, all compliments are welcome—I’ll take them whenever I can get them. But there’s really nothing complicated about making marshmallows and anyone with a few extra egg whites on hand and a sturdy mixer, can produce world-class marshmallows right at home.

marshmallows

They’re very easy to make – if you can whip egg whites, you can make marshmallows. And it’s pretty fun, too. Once you’ve whipped up the stabilized meringue, you can swirl and spread it on a baking sheet and cut them later, or form them into whatever shapes you want.

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I’ve made all sorts of marshmallows over the years and here’s my basic recipe which I’ve tweaked a bit as I’ve gone along. In America, powdered granulated unflavored gelatin is widely available, which is commonly used there, although people elsewhere in the world use sheet gelatin, so I’ve given directions for both. (At the end of the recipe, I’ve added some links about using various kinds of gelatin.)

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The most important thing about making candy is this: Have fun. There’s kind of a theory in the cookbook world that the minute you ask readers to get out a thermometer, you’ve lost them. But it takes all the guesswork out of candy making and it makes the process foolproof.

Although most people just spread the mixture on sheets and let it cool before cutting it into traditional squares, there’s no reason you can’t simply scoop blobs of the mixtures onto a prepared baking sheet. Once firmed up, you can place them on top of wedges of tangy lemon tart or lime tart. If you really want to impress your friends (or yourself) you could also run the tart under the broiler for a few moments to caramelize the marshmallow mounds, too.

marshmallows

The great thing is that unlike meringue-topped tarts and pies, marshmallows don’t weep. I recently had an ice cream sundae party and we used the marshmallow on top of our ice cream creations, with swirls of sauces and candied peanuts, and an unofficial vote (ie: plates scraped clean) proved that it was a great swap-out for whipped cream.

You can certainly add flavors to the marshmallows, such as spices like cinnamon during the final beating stages, or add a shot of liquor, like absinthe or Armagnac, replacing some of the water used for softening the granulated gelatin. (Or the 2 tablespoons, if using sheet gelatin.) Peppermint oil works well, as does powdered espresso, both of which you can add to taste. For those looking for a chocolate marshmallow recipe, there’s one in The Sweet Life in Paris.

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There’s really just three steps to whipping up a batch of marshmallows; Make a syrup, whip the egg whites, then pour the syrup and gelatin into the whites while whipping. Once that’s done, you can cut or snip them into any size or shape. What are you waiting for?

marshmallows

Marshmallows
25-50 marshmallows

Adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate


I’ve offered instructions for using powdered unflavored gelatin, which is most commonly used in the United States, as well as gelatin sheets, which are what are used elsewhere. There are a few other options that people might wish to use due to individual diets, so I’ve linked to recipes that use agar-agar below.

  • 2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste


Marshmallow Mix
One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)


1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.

2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.

(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.

4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.

5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), while the mixer is running on high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.

6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).

Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.

7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.

8. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.

9. Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.

Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.

Alternatively, you can dust a baking sheet and put scoops of the marshmallow on it, and let them cool, as shown in the post.


Storage: The marshmallows can be made up to one week in advance, and stored in an airtight container.


Tips and Troubleshooting

-If you’re wondering whether the corn syrup is necessary, or another sweetener can be used, please refer to my post Why and When to Use (or Not Use) Corn Syrup. There are also links there which explain the difference between regular corn syrup and the high-fructose variety. I’ve not tried this recipe with other liquid sweeteners so can’t advise or guarantee the results if you do make the substitution.

-If you are looking for an egg-free marshmallow recipe, there is one in my book, The Perfect Scoop.

-Some candy makers use only corn starch, and no powdered sugar, but I find the taste of the corn starch to be a little gunky by itself, so I mix the two. You can use all corn starch if you wish, but I don’t recommend using all powdered sugar as it can dissolve and make the marshmallows a bit damp.

-Should you cook the syrup too far in step #5, no need to toss it and start again; just add a few spoonfuls of water and recook it to the correct temperature.

-If the finished marshmallows are too soft, it’s likely your thermometer isn’t accurate. Test it in a pot of boiling water; if you live at sea level, the temperature should read 212ºF (100ºC).

-If your marshmallows have a wet layer on the bottom after the drying period, if likely means that you did not beat them until completely cool in step #6. You can blot the moisture off with a paper towel and dry them with the damp end up overnight to dry them out.



Related Links and Recipes

How to Use Gelatin

Why and When to Use (or Not Use) Corn Syrup

Candied Ginger

Vegan Marshmallows (Vegetarian Times)

Candied Citron

Vegan Marshmallow Recipe (Vegan Marshmallows)

Wobbly Science (Gelatin strength and “Bloom” explained) (The Age)

Gelatin Sheets (L’Epicerie)

Marshmallows in Paris at Pain de Sucre

Fouquet’s Chocolate-Covered Marshmallows

How to Temper Chocolate

129 comments

  • I love marshmallows!!! I never thought to try and make them, but I guess now I’ll have to!

  • Thank you David! I’m dreaming up pie toppings for my nephew’s wedding reception next month…he asked me to bake a variety of 40 pies and tarts and I will love to, but collecting ideas to make them special is taking some time. Your marshmallows and suggestions for varieties has helped so much. I can’t wait to make homemade marshmallows and will also make in chocolate from your book. As part of the collection of pies I plan to bake your lime-marshmallow pie which is similar to your marshmallows…it is such a great pie….and now I want to also make these individual marshmallows for other pies. Thanks for sharing!!! Great bakers like you help me to be a great homebaker.

  • I too love to make and share marshmallows. I’ve not tried a recipe with egg whites before, so will definitely have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Those marshmallows are gorgeous and very inviting, David! You make it look so easy.
    Love your site, keep up the great work!

  • Being an all-time marshmallow lover, I tried this recipe yesterday. The marshmallows were good and similar in taste to the one you can buy in American supermarkets, about which I am absolutely crazy! I actually ended up using about half maple syrup and half sugar syrup to replace the corn syrup, because I didn’t have any corn syrup, and they turned out just fine.
    I was also wondering: do you think it would be possible to pipe the marshmallow dough (can you call it that?) and then cut it up into pieces for the marshmallows to resemble the US store-bought ones? I think it would also be cool to try and shape them like churros.
    Thanks!

  • Paris by Mouth linked this post, and boy am I glad they did. I am totally with you on the marshmallow love! What’s weird is, this past week, my sister in Colorado made a batch of marshmallows for the first time, she posted the results on Facebook and forwarded me the link to the recipe she used. Now this post pops up, and I’m thinking it’s fate for me to make some! Nothing like a good marshmallow! I am always thrilled when a treat is gluten and dairy free. Yay for me! What I am especially thankful for in your post is the amount of gelatin sheets to use. I was wondering how I was going to convert from the packets to the sheets. Now I know. Terrific!! I’m thinking this is going to be a great Fête Nationale dessert treat this next week when I go to the Katia and Kyliemac 5th Annual Bastille Day Picnic! I better get on the stick with gathering ingredients. And maybe a candy thermometer, too — sounds like I kinda might need one of those. Hmmm, gonna have to check Monoprix orrrrr… well, maybe you have a post on that here somewhere, too. I’ll search it!

    Thank you so much, David!

  • This sounds wonderful. I never knew people could just make marshmallows at home–they always seemed to be one part sugar and one part magic.

    Point of clarification: in the main recipe, does 1 cup (200g) sugar mean regular granulated white sugar? I am a little bit confused because the “marshmallow mix” part calls for powdered sugar. Also it seems like that is the coating and the other part is actually the marshmallow mix.

    Thank you.

  • Meredy: Unless indicated, “sugar” in recipes always refers to white, granulated sugar.

    Christine: Yes, you could pipe the mixture. As you can see, I formed free-form mounds and they set up just fine.

  • Howdy David. How goes it? I checked out the link to the blog about gelatine sheet comparisons–gold, silver, platinum etc. We get our gelatin sheets from Albert Uster and it is bronze! The conundrum continues.
    Love your site and all that you write–give yourself a big pat on the back.
    Letty

  • My favorite payday as a blogger is hearing that something I wrote made someone’s life a litter better.

    Last Saturday, I was recovering from a rather painful eye surgery. I couldn’t see at all well and was terribly uncomfortable. I was feeling horrible for not being able to play with my four little kids- being grouchy and impatient to boot. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t watch TV. I was in a funk.

    Pondering how to improve my spirits, I realized I could probably bake. What would be a joyful thing to bake? I thought of this marshmallow recipe. Marshmallows! How novel, nostalgic and fun.

    My kids thought i was a rockstar. I stopped thinking about the pain for a while. I laughed watching my husband and four kids attack the bowl and whisk and slather themselves in sticky, sweet, white goo. They were delicious.

    Thanks for the healing of a marshmallow recipe.

  • You. Are. So. Cool! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I just got your ice cream book for my birthday, and was floored by the Buttercrunch Toffee recipe this weekend. You inspired me to finally buy a candy thermometer, and I was not disappointed. My mom loves marshmallow, so I’ll have to make this for her next time she is in town. Just wanted to say thanks from a fan. :)

  • What is the gram equivalent of 2 envelopes of powdered gelatin? I have a box of powdered gelatin… no envelopes in there :)

    • Hi Natasha: It’s the same as the sheet gelatin weight. I was trying not to make the recipe and ingredient list look too complicated by listing things too many things & numbers, but I added that to the ingredient list, too.

  • Dear David,

    When you boil the water and sugar and corn syrup together to such a high temperature, aren’t you just using corn syrup to make sugar syrup? I have referred to your article on when and when not to use corn syrup and the purpose of having invert sugar, but given that boiling water and sugar to the temperature already inverts the sugar (although I suppose you could add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice or cream of tartar to aid in inverting), why is corn syrup (or cane syrup: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/pantry-staples-diy-cane-sugar-syrup-131934 ) still needed??? Totally confused.

    • Hi Raelynn: If you’re interest in the science, and hows and whys, of invert sugars (versus regular sugar) I highly recommend On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. He explains the difference in detail in very understandable terms – and it’s the best book I know on the subject of understanding the way ingredients work in cooking and baking.

  • I’ve made marshmallow ‘frosting’ for a chocolate cake (then i used my torch to toast it) and it was amazing. Is the difference in the use of gelatin? otherwise, i think all other ingredients were the same.

  • i love making marshmallows and my recipe is similar to this one but minus the egg whites. i can never get them to toast well though? do you know why home made marshmallows don’t really work for toasting or s’mores? could it just be my recipe?

  • I just made the chocolate ice cream from The Perfect Scoop – to rave reviews, I might add. Am imagining that homemade mini marshmallows and candied peanuts added to your chocolate ice cream would be the world’s most decadent Rocky Road.

  • One for my next camping trip. I always have more egg white than yoke. I’m wondering if you could use frozen egg whites?

  • Thank You! This looks great! Is there any reason not to use cream of tartar in this recipe when beating the egg whites, or can i just use it as normal?

  • Dear David:

    I was wondering if you could replace some (or all) of the water in the recipe for fruit pure and make flavored marshmallows.

    Thank you!

  • Just made these marshmallows last night and tried some this morning. Homemade is always so much better. I resisted buying the corn syrup, but in the end, I agreed with the reasons why you should.

    I added a shot of cognac, but I wish I added more. Also, I agree that adding powdered sugar along with the corn starch makes the powder more palatable.

    The cooking directions are great and having the candy thermometer really did make this process foolproof.

    Thanks for such a great recipe!

  • I actually bought a candy thermometer just for this recipe; so glad I did! Delicious! Next batch will get piped onto home made graham crackers and get covered with chocolate… yum!

  • Hello, I made your marshmallow yesterday but they did not set. I even let them dry 16 hours and nothing…. I live in a warm, humid country (panama) I don´t know if that affects. Also I´m kosher and used Kosher gelatin, wich I don´t consider it to be to good.. I don´t know if I have to use more amount of gelatin…. When I was wipping the marshmallow and waiting for it to cool it never did. It had passed 15 min. and the bowl was still warm… Like I said I live in a hot weather and its very difficult for the marshmallow to cool while wipping. Do you have any tip that could help me???

    • I have not used, nor do I know anything about, kosher gelatin. So perhaps you need to look for a recipe that specifically calls for that. (Humidity is also not the best environment for making candy and may be another likely cause.)

  • I have been on the look-out for the perfect marshmallow recipe, and I can’t wait to give yours a try. While I don’t turn away from a recipe that needs a thermometer, I do feel like mine is not accurate which can make the process frustrating. I always just buy the cheapest candy thermometer I can find, which may be part of my problem, heh heh. Do you have a favorite candy thermometer that you would recommend? Thanks!

  • These look delicious and not that hard to make. I think I’m going to try them this weekend. Thanks for the recipe.