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.
Watch my video and learn how to make marshmallows
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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.
Anyone reading this; try pure vanilla powder! I always use that, never liked the alcohol vanilla taste, just tastes kinda fake to me. Vanilla powder is just only pure vanilla too! And I don’t have to ever scrape beans. It’s so good and I add it to smoothies, hot chocolate and pretty much anything I bake 😋
These are amazing. Unfortunately I did not have arrowroot powder on hand, so I used corn starch. It worked great, came out tasting amazing, and not overly sticky. Plus I used our homemade maple syrup, so tasty. Thank you for sharing this recipie
Glad your marshmallows turned out great with this recipe Karla!
is there a way to make with less sugar? i don’t want to use any artificial sweeteners.
Unfortunately no, you need the sugar to make the marshmallows.
Hi Lisa! Question for you: I’ve made these marshmallows countless times and every time I make them, they set beautifully. But after a few hours, they always get a sticky, kinda goopy outside to them. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong? Still tastes amazing, I just want them to be perfect and stay dry! Thanks!
You may need to beat the mixture just a smidge more. Also, make sure you’re using plenty of powdered sugar or arrowroot powder on the outside. Mine are always fairly well coated! You can also store them in the freezer in a freezer safe container (which prevents them from getting sticky), then thaw to enjoy!
Thanks for the reply! I will definitely try that. Also love the freezer idea, awesome idea to have some in the freezer and use as needed! Thank you!
Can I melt these to make rice krispy treats?
Excellent recipe. I’ve made it a few times with either honey or maple syrup or a combination of the two. However, when I tried to melt the marshmallows to make Rice Krispies the marshmallow separated. I was left with a liquified, sugary mess of Rice Krispie cereal. I thought next time I would try adding the cereal when it reached the fluffy stage in the mixer. Any thoughts?
This sounds great! My kids and I do limited sugar and are looking for a low sugar recipe, which this is not, but does use much healthier sugars. Do you know if it would work with xylitol or is the liquid form of the sweetener necessary? If not, I’ll still try it with the 50/50 suggestion.
Also, we don’t have a stand mixer. Could I use my Vitamix instead? Do you have any guidance as to what number on the Vitamix would be equivalent to high on a stand mixer? If a Vitamix can be used, is the point for stopping seeing that it’s tripled in volume? Thanks for any guidance you may have.
Hi! I don’t know if this recipe would work with alternative sugars, as I haven’t tried. But I don’t think it would work with the vitamix. It’s a completely different blending mechanism and too high-powered and not the right type of blade.
Hi. Thank you for this. I only use fish gelatin. Will it work? Thanks so much.
Yes, marine gelatin works great as well!
Hey, Lisa! So, I’ve been wanting to make homemade “rice crispy” treats for my boys, as they have never had them! Do you think I could use this marshmallow recipe and add organic puffed rice?! If so, at what stage in the recipe?! Or, if you have a current recipe for these treats, I would love to try it! Best!
Hi Stephanie – yes, you could definitely use this recipe! I would mix them together right before you add them to the pan. :) Hope they turn out great!
Great recipe but took two goes to get it right. I definitely over did the beating in my first attempt and although the result tasted wonderful, it was impossible to spread in the tin and looked like a fluffy mess. Could do with more guidance on when to stop beating as only took 6mins on my second try and that seemed to do it. I will be experimenting with some more flavours and hopefully I will get it right in time for Christmas presents !
Hi Lisa. Does the sweetener have to be sticky? Can’t use sugar?
Do these melt like real marshmallows?
Yes, they do. :)
Do these melt like normal marshmallows? Can’t wait to try!
Yes, they do!
Made them for the second time today and they turned absolutely perfect. ❤️ Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Glad this recipe turned out perfectly :)
Hi there, this recipe looks great! Just wondering if you’ve tried freezing and thawing these?
great video- we needed more info on when to pull the marshmallow cream. Ours was whipped too long, definitely not spreadable, but was not “cool” as described. Will work better next time though, I’m sure!
Hi Allie – yeah, that switch between warm and cool happens quickly as well, and just an extra 30 seconds of beating can firm it up a bit too much. I’m sure your next try will come out perfect!
Can you freeze these?
Hi Christy – It’s best to use these fresh or after a few days
Hi! These look so good! I’ve been trying to scour the internet for this answer but can’t figure out, can I use collagen powder for these? Or gelatin? I can’t seem to find a gelatin specific powder, but I do have collagen powder
Hi Jasmine – no, you cannot use collage powder for these, they won’t firm up. You do need gelatin for this recipe.
Can you dip these marshmallows in chocolate? I make alot of home made candy , this would be wonderful.
Yes, I believe you can :)
Halved the recipe; I cut it to make 20. I used half maple syrup and half honey and I used toasted coconut instead of powdered sugar. These turned out awesome! We will use them for s’mores tomorrow night. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy them at the store with corn syrup as the first ingredient. This was my first attempt, and it wasn’t bad at all. I borrowed a candy thermometer from a friend and it was so easy. I had another recipe from an unrefined sugar cookbook, but this one looked simpler and I had all the ingredients. Two thumbs up!
Hi Melissa- Glad your first batch of marshmallows came together perfectly!
Have you tried to make it with Agar Agar powder?
Hi Shayla – I haven’t personally tried that yet.
If I am trying to cut the recipe in half or by 2/3 do I still heat the mixture to 240 degrees?
Yes, you would still heat it to the same temperature.
Just whipped a batch, it’s looking good so far. Now they need to set. Got some fluff in my hair, though – as recommended in the recipe steps above :D
Hi Micaela – Wonderful! I hope you’re marshmallows are nice and fluffy :)
I I don’t have arrowroot what can I use?
You can use all powdered sugar and omit the arrowroot.
I made these and everything is great but the honey flavor is so strong . Our is a local , thick kind. I did the recipe in 2/3. Is it possible to reduce the honey or just use white sugar ?
I just tried this and have a puny amount of gnarled fluff that doesn’t even cover the bottom of the same pan in the video. It never doubled in size. I followed the recipe exactly. What could have gone wrong?
Hi Juanita – it’s hard to know what might have gone wrong without being there. I’d recommend watching the video above and seeing if you can pinpoint any differences.
Could I use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?
Yes, you could. Just keep in mind you’ll need to beat for about 10 minutes. :)
Great. Thanks. Just made these. Now do I let them set on the counter or in the fridge?
Hi Tara – You can leave these on the countertop for about 2 days. Don’t refrigerate them!
Why won’t these last like traditional homemade marshmallows? Honey never goes bad, and real maple syrup is just as stable as sugar. I’ve made marshmallows with sugar and corn syrup, and with allulose, and both lasted over a month stored in an air tight container.
Regular homemade marshmallows dont have any preservatives added, other than sugar, and yours have just as much sugar (albeit in the form of honey or maple syrup) so they should last equally well.
Honey and maple syrup have more moisture more than regular white sugar, so they tend to go soft and sticky over time. That’s why they’re best eaten within the first few days.
I’m so glad I found this recipe!!! I’m currently doing a recipe book for my grandma (who’s allergic to cane sugar, corn, cow/goat milk, chicken eggs and much more). She is going to love these!!! Thanks!!!
Hi Alicia – That is so sweet of you to do for your grandma! This recipe will be perfect to add to the book :)
Hi! Would these melt and burn over a fire for s’mores like traditional marshmallows!?
Hi Lili – Yes, these marshmallows are perfect for a campfire! :)
Any tips for making without a thermometer?
I’ve wanted to make homemade marshmallows for so long now, but always end up chickening out. Your description doesn’t make them sound too daunting, though. Yours came out so perfect and fluffy looking!
Hi Lauren – You should definitely give them a try, they are so much easier than they look!
Those marshmallows look absolutely perfect! Love that you make it seem so easy to make them at home!
Thanks Emmeline, I hope you enjoy the recipe!
I am definitely going to have to try this. It looks so much easier than I thought it would be.
Hi Dannii – yeah, give it a try! Let me know how it goes!
I have always wanted to make my own marshmallows! It will be such a fun treat for the kids! Thanks for this great recipe, I am definitely giving it a try!
Hi Beth – Yes, my niece and nephew love these. I hope your kids love them as well!
I love how these homemade marshmallows not only look prettier than what you can buy in the store but are also a healthier option too.
Hi Kelly – Yes, just simple and easy ingredients in the homemade version. I think they are prettier too! :)
Do these melt well? Can I use these for Rice Krispie treats?
I haven’t tried making rice krispie treats with them, but they should work the same as traditional marshmallows. If you try it, let me know how they turn out! :)
Made these marshmallows today and made Rice Krispie treats… oh my word DELISIOUS! Thank you so much for this recipe
Oh yay! I’m so happy they turned out for you. Thanks for sharing! x
How fun! Do you think these could be used as the topping on a “sweet potato casserole”? Would they melt and brown up a little bit? Trying to do a muuuuuch healthier Thanksgiving this year but I don’t want to rock the boat too much on my family. haha My little guy has a lot of food allergies so I’m trying to make it as safe for him as we can and he can’t do any store bought nasty marshmallows.
I haven’t tried them as a topping but I think they’d definitely work. Let me know how it turns out! :)
Thanks for the recipe and video. Can I use agar powder instead of gelatin? How would I have to change the recipe?
Hi Jeanette – Glad you like the recipe and video! I’ve heard that yes, you can make marshmallows with agar powder, but unfortunately I haven’t yet tried it myself so not sure what would need to be modified. I do have it on my to-do list for next year though! :)
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Which ingredients make them only last a day or two? I was hoping to make several batches as Christmas gifts ahead of time. Is it the grass fed beef gelatin, the honey or another ingredient?
Hi Tricia – they’ll definitely last up to two weeks in a sealed container. In fact, I just ate some from another batch that had been in a container on the counter for two weeks. :) But I personally think they’re at their lightest and fluffiest in the first few days after making…and that they become a bit more chewy/sticky (due to the maple and/or honey) the longer they sit. Of course, climate and humidity can greatly influence that as well. If you do find that they get sticky, just give them another dusting of the powdered sugar/arrowroot mix. Have fun making them! :)
Sweet! Thanks for the quick reply – I’m looking forward to making them!
LOVE this homemade marshmallow recipe! The ones in stores are about as useful and tasty as packing peanuts in shipment packages ;) Thank you for the tutorial video as well, since it’s definitely a tedious process (but a worthy one).
As for an upcoming hot chocolate recipe… may I put in a request that you healthify the Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate creations? They make peanut butter hot chocolate, white chocolate hot chocolate, etc.
You made me laugh out loud with the packing peanuts comment – ha! And you know I’m always open to requests. I’ll definitely look into those hot chocolate creations! Happy to spread a little positivity wherever possible…the more we spread it the more it’ll take hold! :) Thanks Liz! xo