How to Make Homemade Marshmallows (without corn syrup)
Homemade marshmallows that are healthier use honey or maple syrup instead of corn syrup and high-quality, grass-fed gelatin. They’re gluten-free, corn-free and paleo-friendly. The perfect sweet treat for the holidays or any time of year.
Tis the season for marshmallows, isn’t it? There’s something about cooler weather and seasonal changes that send a signal to my brain to start whipping up homemade marshmallows.
If you’ve never made homemade marshmallows before you’re in for a treat, because these are healthy homemade marshmallows.
Well, healthy in the sense that they don’t use nasty ingredients like corn syrup or questionable supermarket gelatin. But let’s be honest, there’s still a cup of sugar in these babies so I definitely wouldn’t eat them with abandon. Just consider them a much better (and tastier!) option than anything you can buy in the store.
What are marshmallows made of?
Homemade marshmallows rely on two main ingredients – gelatin and sugar. And when it comes to gelatin, I always use Vital Proteins because their gelatin is pasture-raised, grass-fed, non-GMO and gluten-free.
Gelatin, similar to collagen (which I’ve talked about before) has many health benefits…assuming you’re using a high-quality product. So the more I can sneak gelatin into a recipe, like these homemade marshmallows, a panna cotta or coconut yogurt recipe, all the better.
In terms of sugar for this recipe, you need one cup of honey, maple syrup or a mix of both. In the video below you’ll see I use a full cup of honey, but I probably prefer a 50/50 split. Unfortunately, I’d just used up all my maple syrup on another recipe, so honey it was!
In terms of preventing stickiness, traditional homemade marshmallows use a combination of powdered sugar and corn starch to dust the outside. But in this recipe I’m using a combination of organic powdered sugar and arrowroot powder. You could also use all arrowroot powder or all organic powdered sugar, it’s up to you.
Tips for Homemade Marshmallows
Homemade marshmallows are easy to make, but I do have a few tips if you’re a marshmallow newbie.
First, when you heat your sugar/water mixture you can stir it for the first minute, but then don’t stir it again. Stirring actually promotes bubbles and can cause it to boil over. And speaking of boiling over, do keep a close eye on it because if it gets too hot it most definitely will boil over.
You’ll heat the sugar to 240 degrees fahrenheit (the “soft ball” stage), but I find that for some reason it gets up to 220 degrees quickly, then takes a bit longer to nudge up to 240. Don’t worry, that’s normal.
Second, once you’re beating your marshmallow fluff be careful not to over-beat it, which allows it to cool too much. As soon as it starts to cool it almost immediately turns into a taffy-like consistency…which means you may be eating marshmallow fluff straight from the bowl (as you won’t get it out).
In the video below I probably let my marshmallow fluff go about a minute longer than I should have (the perils of video multi-tasking), so it’s a bit thicker than normal. Either way, it’s gonna be super tacky, so make sure you have a hand towel near by. You’ll definitely get your fingers all sticky and if you’re anything like me, probably get marshmallow on your body somehow (and in your hair). It’s a talent.
And lastly, because these marshmallows have fresh ingredients and no preservatives they’re best eaten within a day or two. Just keep them in a sealed container on the counter (and don’t refrigerate them).
Alright, now that you’re all healthy homemade marshmallow experts, what are you going to do with these beauties? I’ve got so many leftovers from making this video that I’m gonna whip up my red wine hot chocolate. Because red wine, chocolate and marshmallows sound like a fab combo, don’t you think? Enjoy!
PS – this is the same marshmallow recipe that’s used for my Salted S’Mores Bites.
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How to Make Homemade Marshmallows
- 1 cup water, divided
- 3 tbsp gelatin
- 1 cup honey, or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer (remove the beaters for now) and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Allow the gelatin to bloom for at least 10 minutes.
- While the gelatin is blooming, add the remaining 1/2 cup water, honey and salt to a small pot with a candy thermometer. Heat on medium-high and stir the mixture for the first minute only, keeping a close eye that it doesn't boil over (*stirring later in the process may contribute to the sugar mixture boiling over). Cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees fahrenheit (the "soft ball" stage). This should take approximately 12-15 minutes.
- Turn the stand mixer on low to break up the gelatin and slowly and carefully pour the sugar mixture on top. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has tripled in size, resembles marshmallow fluff and is cool to the touch. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes. In the last minute, add the vanilla bean or vanilla extract.
- While the marshmallow is beating, line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper. Stir the powdered sugar and arrowroot powder together in a separate bowl and sprinkle onto the parchment paper.
- Pour the marshmallow onto the pan and quickly flatten the top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle some powdered sugar mix on top and allow to set a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
- Remove the parchment paper from the marshmallow, then invert the marshmallow onto a cutting board, dusted with more powdered sugar mix.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the marshmallow into squares. Add more powdered sugar mix as necessary to prevent sticking.
- Eat the marshmallows immediately or place in a storage container for 1-2 days.
- I have a separate video showing you how to make powdered sugar (at home!) in your Vitamix. It's super easy.
Thank you to Vital Proteins for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post was originally published November 2016, but updated to include new information.