Homemade Marshmallows are an absolute treat with a wonderful vanilla flavor and a supremely soft, fluffy texture. They are perfect for melting in hot chocolate in the winter or making s'mores in the summer! The only problem is that the store bought marshmallows will never taste the same again!
I avoided making homemade marshmallows for years because I thought they would be too difficult or result in a sticky mess without tasting any better than the ones from the store. Oh boy was I wrong!
These are so easy to make! And they aren't messy at all! And most importantly, they really do taste 1,000x better than store-bought marshmallows. Sorry, Jet-Puffed.
I like marshmallows in things (like S'mores Bars, Rocky Road Cookies, and S'mores Cake), but I'm not one to just eat a marshmallow plain. Until now. I even made a peppermint version, they were so good!
These will last for weeks and are the perfect homemade gift with some homemade hot cocoa mix and a cute mug. Plus, they ship really well and you don't have to worry about them crumbling or going stale like cookies.
Why this recipe works
- A generous pour of vanilla gives them a wonderful flavor and depth.
- The mixer beats air into hot sugar syrup and gelatin, creating thick, fluffy clouds as it cools and increases in volume, giving the most velvety, incredible texture that somehow still has substance to it.
- Use these homemade vanilla marshmallows the same way you would use the large store-bought variety. Toast them, melt them, dip them in chocolate, or just eat them plain!
- Gelatin powder: You will need 3 envelopes of the unflavored gelatin powder for this recipe. It's easily found right by the Jello boxes at the grocery store.
- Corn syrup: You want light corn syrup here for bright white marshmallows. Corn syrup prevents crystallization of the granulated sugar and I don't have a good substitute for corn syrup for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract: This is the primary flavor of the 'mallows, so use really good vanilla extract or even try Mexican vanilla for a slightly different (but delicious) vanilla flavor!
How to Make This Recipe
Start by "blooming" you gelatin powder in a bowl of cold water. Just stir the powder in, then let it sit for 5 minutes until it firms up into a gelatinous, rubbery puck. Sounds appealing, I know, but stick with me.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you hit 235 to 240°F on a candy thermometer clipped to the side of the pot.
Please note that if you live at high altitudes, you should decrease the target temp by 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level.
Dump the lump of gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, then start whisking at medium speed. Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over the gelatin in a thin stream over about a minute or two until it has all been added, then increase the speed to high and beat for 10 minutes until thick, fluffy, and more than doubled in volume.
Scrape the marshmallow mixture into a 9x9-inch baking dish lined with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Use a rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray to nudge the marshmallow into corners or smooth out the top, if needed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch to create a dusting powder, then cover the top of the fresh marshmallow mixture with a couple tablespoons of the dusting powder sifted through a fine mesh sieve. Let the marshmallows rest for 4 hours or overnight to set up completely.
Once the 'mallow mixture is set, flip it out onto a clean surface and peel off the plastic wrap. Dust the exposed sticky side with more of the powdered sugar mixture, then slice or cut the slab into six columns with a greased pizza cutter or pair of kitchen scissors.
The freshly cut marshmallow will want to stick to itself, so just separate them and dip them in some of the excess powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture, dusting more on occasionally as needed.
Cut the long strips into 1 ½-inch cubes for 36 marshmallows. Toss them one more time in the dusting powder so they are fully coated, then shake a few at a time in your sieve to knock off excess powder before storing in an airtight container.
Some do, but this recipe does not. I think these are even better than the ones made with egg whites, and they are easier too. But if you want an egg white version, you will just beat 2 egg whites to stiff peaks in your mixing bowl before adding the bloomed gelatin and hot sugar syrup.
Yes, these homemade marshmallows are naturally gluten-free!
If you have small cookie cutters, you could grease them really well and use those to cut out different shapes like hearts or stars.
Yes, although the marshmallows will be thinner and not as tall. But it would be easier for cutting out shapes with cookie cutters than the thicker 'mallows.
- Storage: Keep your marshmallows in an airtight container on the counter. They will be good for at least a couple of weeks.
- Tools: Don't try making these with a hand mixer. It will likely burn out the motor. You'll need a strong stand mixer that can stand up to the thick marshmallow mixture. You'll also need a reliable candy thermometer. I have found that the cheap ones are my favorite over the fancy electric gadgets.
- Don't rush the setting time: They really do need 4 hours to firm up before you cut into them so the marshmallows can cure.
- Use cooking spray: As long as you coat things in cooking spray, you should end up with a sticky mess. Also, be generous with your dusting mixture, which makes it easy to handle the marshmallows.
- Strawberry or Raspberry Marshmallows: Add ½ ounce of freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries that have been ground into a fine powder in a spice grinder or food processor during the last minute of mixing. This will flavor the fluffy squares themselves, or you could just add the powder to the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture to flavor the outside only.
- Chocolate Marshmallows: Add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder to the marshmallow base with the vanilla extract, as well as another 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar and cornstarch dusting powder.
- Lemon Marshmallows: Add 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest + ½ teaspoon lemon extract with the vanilla extract.
- Eggnog Marshmallows: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon rum extract (depending on how much you love rum flavor) and a pinch each of nutmeg and cinnamon to the marshmallow base with the vanilla extract.
- Peanut Butter Marshmallows: You can either add ¼ cup of creamy peanut butter during the last minute of mixing or dollop 2-4 tablespoons of peanut butter on top of the marshmallow mixture right after pouring it into the pan and swirling it in.
- Churro Marshmallows: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ cup of granulated sugar to your powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture to coat the outsides of the marshmallows.
More Candy Recipes
- Easy Homemade Peppermint Bark
- Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
- Creamy Easy Chocolate Fudge
- Homemade Peanut Brittle
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- ¾ cup water, divided
- 3 (.25-ounce) packages unflavored powdered gelatin (2 ½ Tablespoons)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (200g)
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Line a 9x9-inch square pan with plastic wrap, then spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray as well to use later. Set aside.
- Stir all of the powdered gelatin into ½ cup of the water in a small bowl, then let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom. Once the gelatin is a firm lump, dump it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Combine the remaining ¼ cup of water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a heavy duty medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 235 to 240°F on a candy thermometer stuck on the side of the pan.
- Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the gelatin in the mixer while it is running on medium speed over the course of 1-2 minutes. Once all of the liquid has been added, increase the speed to high and beat for 10 minutes, until fluffy and the marshmallow mixture has more than doubled in volume. Add the vanilla extract during the last minute of mixing to flavor the marshmallows.
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared baking dish using the rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray to scrape it all out of the ball and to smooth it into the corners of the pan as needed.
- Whisk the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a medium bowl, then sift about 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture over the marshmallow in the pan to cover the top. Reserve the rest for later.
- Let the pan of marshmallow rest for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Turn out the pan of marshmallow onto a clean surface. Peel off the plastic wrap, then dust generously with more of the powdered sugar mixture. Spray a pizza cutter or pair of kitchen scissors with cooking spray and cut the slab of marshmallow into six columns, then across in six rows to create 36 large marshmallows. Dust generously with the remaining powdered sugar mixture while cutting to prevent the fresh marshmallows from sticking to each other.
- Shake off excess powder before storing in an airtight container. I find it easiest to throw a handful of the marshmallows into a fine mesh sieve and shake them around in it to get the excess powder off. Enjoy!
- Storage: These will stay fresh and delicious in an airtight container on the counter at room temperature for about 2 weeks.
- Mini marshmallows: If you want smaller marshmallows, just cut each of these cubes into 8 mini marshmallows.
- Flavored marshmallows: You can add any extract to the marshmallows along with the vanilla to flavor them. The amount needed will depend on the strength of the extract and flavor you are going for. You can also add food coloring to the marshmallows during the last minute of beating, or swirl it in after adding the marshmallows to the pan before it has a chance to set up.