Homemade Marshmallows

CATEGORIES: Candy, How To..., Sara

A huge number of my favorite family traditions revolve around food items and certain holidays. My own children are young and I’m constantly trying to think of new, fun things we can incorporate into our holiday celebrations to help them create fun memories just like I have of my own childhood. This past Halloween I decided a new family tradition would be making yeast doughnuts every fall. After an entire day of experimenting with that and I crossed it off the list. The doughnuts were amazing, but I knew I wouldn’t be repeating the day-long experience every year. (Although I think I might try cake doughnuts which look much easier!) When homemade marshmallows started popping up everywhere a couple of years ago I thought that it might be a fun new tradition and I finally got around to trying them out this year. I was pleasanty surprised that while the actual process takes a little time, the individual steps are so simple that this little project is totally doable, and the results are worth it. I’ve made several batches this year and I think it’s safe to say that it will be an official family Christmas tradition! My kids love helping with the kid friendly steps (cutting shapes with cookie cutters, dusting with powdered sugar) and they love eating them even more. And I have to say, that not being much of a marshmallow fan- I did too!

Homemade Marshmallows
adapted from Alton Brown, variations by Our Best Bites

3 packets unflavored gelatin
1 C ice water, divided
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 C corn starch
1/4 C powdered sugar

9 x 13″ pan
non stick spray

Optional for variations:
cocoa powder
peppermint extract
food coloring
dipping chocolate
crushed candy canes

Place the contents of the gelatin packets into the bowl of a stand mixer. (Yes, you’ll want a stand mixer, or someone to trade off holding a hand mixer with you- but don’t blame me if you blow out the motor of your hand mixer, you’ve been warned!) Add 1/2 C of the ice water.

Stir gently to combine and then set that bowl aside.

In a small saucepan combine: remaining 1/2 C water, corn syrup, granulated sugar, and salt. Stir mixture to combine and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then clip a candy thermometer onto the pan. And seriously, if you don’t have a candy thermometer you can grab one for less than 3 bucks at Walmart or even sometimes in the baking isle at the grocery store. It’s well worth the little investment!

The sugar mixture needs to remain on a simmer and come to a temperature of 245 degrees F. It may take 20 minutes or so, so just stir the mixture every once and a while and keep an eye on the temp.

After the mixture reaches 245 degrees, remove from heat. This is where you need to be very careful so you don’t end up cursing my name while treating the third degree burns on your forearms. While your mixer runs on low speed, you need to slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl with the gelatin. Now I don’t know about you, but half the time when I try to pour something directly out of a pan (especially when I’m trying to pour slowly) it ends up spilling down the side of the pan and off the bottom and onto the counter, etc. So I choose to dirty one more dish and ladle the sugar mixture into something with a pour spout, like so:

After you add the entire sugar mixture to the gelatin turn the beater speed up to med-high. Continue to whip for 12-15 minutes, adding the vanilla in the last few minutes of beating.

*Also, immediately put your sticky pan and utensils from the sugar mixture into very hot, soapy water. The quicker you get it soaking the quicker the goo will come off!

While your sugar goo is magically transforming into soft, fluffy marshmallows, prepare your pan.

Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Spray a 9 x 13″ pan with non stick spray and coat the bottom and sides with the cornstarch mixture. Tap excess out and save it.

When your marshmallows are done beating the mixture should be thick and white and luke warm, like this:

It’s kind of like jarred marshmallow cream at this point. Grab a spatula and scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. The stuff is sticky and gooey and it might put up a fight. Show it who’s boss. And don’t worry about getting every last gooey drop because you won’t! Just pull out what you can and then immediately put that dirty dish in the sink with hot soapy water. I found it helpful to spray my spatula with non-stick spray. Once the marshmallow mixture is all in the pan you’ll need to spread it out. A lot of recipes tell you to dip an angled knife into cold water first, but I found it much easier to spray the back of a large spoon with non-stick spray and spread it that way. It will be kind of lumpy, but just keep spraying and patting and get it as smooth as you can. (You can read my notes on variations later in the post to see why my marshmallows are two-toned)

Let the pan sit at room temp for about an hour (to form a dry layer on the top) and sprinkle a couple spoonfuls of the corn starch mixture over the top. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let it sit overnight. Technically, you could cut the marshmallows after 4-5 hours, but I think they work better after sitting overnight.

When they’re ready to cut, just pull the marshmallowy sheet out of the pan. It should pop right out. The bottom side will be much nicer looking than the top side!

At this point you could use cookie cutters if you want some cute little shapes. I think hearts would be adorable for valentines day and stars are darling for Christmas time. If you do use cookie cutters, you can use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the scraps into mini marshmallows so you don’t waste any.

Otherwise, grab a pizza cutter, or a sharp knife if you don’t have a pizza cutter, and cut the marshmallow into cubes. It helps to dust your cutting implement with the cornstarch-sugar mixture. Especially after it gets sticky stuff on it.

Once they are cut, dust each marshmallow lightly with the remaining cornstarch mixture. This makes them easy to handle and keeps them from sticking together.

After cutting you’ll want to keep these in an air tight container or they will dry out just like store-bought ones do. They’ll be good for a couple of weeks if stored well.

So you probably noticed that half of mine are light brown in color. I played around with some flavors and came up with a cocoa marshmallow that’s awesome. They are also yummy with peppermint extract. These particular brown ones are peppermint-chocolate flavored (one of my all-time favorite flavor combos) and they were a big hit. Here’s some notes on my variations:

— Add all flavorings and colorings in the last few minutes of beating.
For Cocoa Marshmallows: add in 3-4 tablespoons of unsweetened cococa powder. If you make cocoa marshmallows, add a spoonful or two of cocoa powder to your cornstarch mixture as well.
For Peppermint Marshmallows: add in 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
For Colored Marshmallows: add food coloring in the last few minutes of beating (think colored fruit flavored marshmallows!)

Another fun thing to do is chocolate dipped marshmallows. Melt 1/2 C chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet or dark because you’re basically dipping sugar squares into it) with 1/2 tablespoon shortening and combine until smooth. The cornstarch coating on the marshmallows makes it a little hard sometimes to have the chocolate stick, so just work slowly and it should work just fine. I sprinkled crushed candy canes on too for extra Christmas cheer!

Think how yummy (and completely adorable) it would be to dip these in chocolate and then sprinkle with crushed graham crackers. Or put a marshmallow between 2 graham crackers and dip the whole thing in chocolate.

Eat them plain or pop them in a hot cup of cocoa. Either way you’ll close your eyes and say mmmm….. these make a super cute gift!


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  1. Homemade marshmallows have been on my "to try with kiddo" list for a couple years. Your post makes it sound more doable than any other "homemade marshmallow" post I've read! I love the variations you listed.

    You know, I bought a pour shield for my Kitchen Aid several years ago. I don't use it often, but it sure is handy to have when I need it. I bet it'd work great for this recipe.

    By the way, I'm a longtime lurker — don't think I've ever commented before. Love your blog!!


  2. Wow, this sounds neat….my kids are now in college, but maybe we'll just try this one of those days they are home 🙂

    I did want to share a "quicky" cheater doughnut "recipe" for a quick fun time with the kiddos. Just use the biscuits in the tubes from the grocery store, split apart, cut out the hole in the middle with the center of your doughnut cutter, deep fry in your fry daddy or in oil in a skillet on the stove top. Turn after a brief time in the hot oil, remove, drain on paper towels…toss with sugar, powdered sugar or whatever you imagination comes up with…yummy 🙂

  3. I like your post but you are missing out on the #1 way to eat a marshmallow imo! You put a few finished marshmallows in a baking pan & broil them under the broiler to "toast" them. There you will see why you went to all the trouble of making them to begin with as all the flavor is just amazing when toasted. Try it!

  4. Soooooo glad you posted this recipe! I have wanted to try this forever!!!!! I cannot wait till I am off work. I have a LOAD of recipes to try.

    Oh and I have a request. Can we (meaning you guys) post a stromboli how to. Pretty prease?

  5. I made homemade marshmallows (out of the Martha Stewart magazine) about 5 years ago, and I swore I'd never make them again. But yours turned out so great, and this looks like a much better recipe. I might try it! 🙂

  6. I've been looking for an *easy* not too tedious recipe for these. You've done all the work for me, right down to the peppermint! THANK YOU! I am going to use my Christmas tree cutter and then dip them in the colored candy melts from Wilton and sprinkle some non-parails for the lights. I may crush up some candy canes and roll some square shaped ones too. What a great post!

    Ally @ High Heels & Aprons

  7. Sara!
    I am delighted you shared this recipe!
    I dream about homemade marshmellows! I sooo want them in my cozy cups of hot chocolate!
    And they look so easy when you show the steps in pictures!
    Thank you!
    You're fabulous!

  8. oh you two are just the best.

    i really want to try this but am sooo scared.

    i burned out my kitchen aid making pretzles a year ago and have been using a hand held mixer for too long.
    this may motivate me to finally bit the bullet and buy one.

    any thoughts on a bosch vs. kitchen aid???

  9. Have you ever made the Martha Stewart recipe for marshmallows? Way too complicated! Thanks for sharing this one.

    I have a request – do you have any good ideas for Christmas breakfast? Make the night before would be best, or super quick to pull together in the morning. Now the tricky part … Eggs cannot be the primary ingredient. My husband is allergic, so all those great egg-type casseroles are out. thanks!

  10. Glenda- I'm glad we pulled you out of lurkerdom!

    Jeanette- I hear ya, I used to be scared too, but believe me- these aren't hard at all!

    Linda- thanks for the fun recipe!

    DLS- you are completely right. I just pulled some out of the broiler and they are amazing!! I need to take some pictures and add them to this post.

    Lolly- Stromboli, check.

    Everything Pink- Kate and I both use KitchenAids so that's what we know. I know I love mine. Although everyone I know who has a bosche loves it too. I don't think you can go wrong with either!

    jfb- email us at general {at} ourbestbites {dot} com and we'll give you some ideas!

  11. You know, we've gained 5 lbs each since I found your website! *Everything* we've tried has been fabulous… and I can see that this will be no exception! We're sending out the carmel corn and the peppermint bark popcorn (both are wonderful) to family, and I'll add these to the list! LOVE YOU BOTH!

  12. Whoa! How could I have not heard about you guys before today?? I came over via a link to your little pies-in-a-jar and spent waaaaay too much time here. Part of that was spent making your chicken pot pies (which are baking away in the kitchen at this very moe) so may be it's not all so bad after all. Love your site and I will be stalking..err I mean following you from now on.

    Tomorrow morning: Overnight cinnamon rolls! yay!

  13. I love you so much for posting this!! I can't wait to make them! My kids are allergic to all the preservatives in store bought marshmallows and they miss them so! Thank you for posting the pictures of the ingredients too!! Very helpful to me! 🙂 Merry Christmas!!

  14. I took the marshmallow leap this evening and they are resting overnight like the recipe suggests.

    I have a question or suggestion. First, do not even try this recipe with a hand mixer because I have a Cuisinart 10 cup stand mixer and she huffed and puffed a bit!

    Second,Sara can all the contact utensils and mixing bowl be lightly sprayed to prevent such challenging sticking? I ask because I slowly poured the hot mixture into the gelatin mixture but there was allot of sticky clear mixture that never got into the 15 minute medium whip cycle…and the clean up was a challenge to say the least…

    I thought about the cornstarch and powdered sugar mix that needed to be spread over the marshmallow once it cooled and crusted a bit would be much easier to spread nicely by using a pastry brush and it was!

    I have to admit that my first batch didn't spread out nice and even like Sara's picture so I am going to rename mine "cloud marshmallows"!

    One last comment. I was thinking of trying the little left over pieces in the Hot Fudge Recipe I made earlier to see if it would kinda be like rocky road…

    I will re comment when I finish the cutting and decorating if they get that far because the 10yr. autistic girl down the street came in to play with my rescue cat and found out I was going to make marshmallows…now the whole block will be at my door for a sample!

    I plan on packaging these with two mugs and powdered cocoa mix for a nice little gift!

  15. Katship- don't even worry about getting every last drop out of the pan. That goes for both the hot sugar mixture, and the marshmallow mixture itself after it's done whipping. It's sticky and gooey and just not worth the fight! Just get what you can and then *immediately* put your dirty dishes into hot soapy water. After a little soak the goo should come right off without a hitch!

  16. Thanks so much for posting! I realized this morning at 8:30 that I was supposed to bring 2 dozen treats to an exchange at 9:30, and I had no butter and no eggs!

    I kicked my husband into the kitchen and we had peppermint marshmallows in no time! (Although I admit he used his own recipe and there was no time to do the chocolate. But he piped them with a flower tip and they looked great that way too!)

  17. I am so in love with these. If I had clear gelatin at home, I would totally be trying these.

    Uh oh – the brain got thinking – I have strawberry gelatin. Hmmm…chocolate covered strawberry marshmallows. Oooo…that sounds good. Have you tried flavored gelatin? Does it work?

  18. Just finished my marshmallows! I am waiting for the chocolate to harden. I did taste a couple and boy are they good. They are almost too sweet for me. I am looking forward to having them with some hot chocolate!

  19. I'm sooo sad… I made these last night and decided to make peppermint marshmallows so I added 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and it was waaay too strong. I was disappointed. I will try them again tonight with just vanilla and hopefully they will be edible! Boy, I can't believe how sticky that stuff is, it doesn't wipe off anything without water.

  20. Wow, these sound fun and easy. If I wanted to use the home made marshmallow for rice krispie squares, could you pour the mix directly from the mixer into the krispies and butter? Or do you think it would need to go in the pan with cornstarch to rest overnight before using?

  21. We LOVE making Homemade Marshmallows. I have not tried adding cocoa. Would you add it to the mixture on the stove? or just when you are beating it? Also when do you add peppermint?

  22. I strongly advise that you NOT misread the ingredients, assume that 1/4 "tea" salt is some kind of brand name and go ahead and put 1/4 a cup of salt in the mixture. While it DOES yield marshmellows, they do not taste good.

    Off to buy more geletin to TRY AGAIN!

  23. ohhhhh no Morgan!! lol. What's funny is that I hardly ever write "tea" I normally just put a "t" but lately people have been leaving comments asking what "t" stands for so I figured I would lengthen the abbreviation! I will go write TEASPOON in the post so that doesn't happen to anyone else!

  24. OK so I tried these and they are great. I had no problem at all. The clean up was a sinch and they look beautiful. I will be making another batch with the choc. pepermint. I was a little scared but I do love to make candy so this was a simple candy to make that I will use for the holidays now! Thanks for ALL of the great recipes I love trying new thinks and haven't been unhappy with anything I have made from here. Merry Christmas!

  25. OK so I tried these and they are great. I had no problem at all. The clean up was a sinch and they look beautiful. I will be making another batch with the choc. pepermint. I was a little scared but I do love to make candy so this was a simple candy to make that I will use for the holidays now! Thanks for ALL of the great recipes I love trying new thinks and haven't been unhappy with anything I have made from here. Merry Christmas!

  26. We just made the plain variety! They look fantastic. We can't wait to try them tomorrow. Now we need to find an amazing hot chocolate recipe. Thanks again for another great post!

  27. This is the very first recipe off your site I have tried. We've got a snow storm in progress and so I trekked to the store in the snow, which was quite a lovely walk I should add, and picked up the ingredients.

    Right now it's setting up and I have to say it went very, very well! Your instrux were easy to follow. The only thing I will say is that I can't stress enough that your advise to soak everything in hot soapy water instantly is no joke, haha!!

    I'm off to tidy up my kitchen so I can make a second batch of peppermint flavored ones 🙂

    Thanks so much for doing what you do and doing it so well.

  28. OK! One quick suggestion…
    Toasted Coconut…
    I just toast the coconut and then sprinkle it in the bottom of the pan, pour the mallows in, then top with more coconut. Then when I sliced them up I rolled the sides in coconut! YUM!

  29. I made these a couple of days ago and they turned out great! Before I made them, my husband asked me why I was going through all this effort for something that's perfectly good store bought…once they were done he understood. I think these'll have to be a Christmas tradition of ours. I'm going to package them up in bags to give out to the family. I can't wait to try the chocolate peppermint variation. Do you still include the vanilla extract when you do that one?

  30. I love this recipe and have made Alton Brown's basic version several times! I'm excited to try some new tasty combinations!
    When you made your peppermint choc variation, did you still add vanilla or just the peppermint extract? Just wondering!

  31. I had the same question about the vanilla in the peppermint variety but I went ahead and used the full tsp of vanilla along with the half tsp of peppermint and it was great!

  32. I made these last year and they turned out great, but I just made them again, and I have to share with you a great tip on how to spread the marshmallows out in the pan. Once you smooth it a bit with a spatula, wet your hand and smooth it out with the palm of your hand. The marshmallow barely sticks to it, and it allowed me to get it so much smoother this year.

  33. We always add more vanilla to this recipe, but it is the best recipe.

    Best way to flatten them, is dip your hands in water and spread them out. Even if you dip your spatula in water while scraping out the bowl, you'll get more than if you use the nonstick spray.

    Hot water, especially from your sink sprayer, cleans this up like nothing.

    If you used peppermint oil like I accidentally did last year, everyone has really fresh breath because they are blasted strong. Peppermint extract should be okay.

    Mocha, we mixed about 5 teaspoons of instant coffee into our water. Looked like sludge, but turned into awesome marshmallows. Rolled them in the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder.

    Toasted coconut, we added 3 drops of coconut flavoring, in addition to the vanilla, and added about 3/4 cup ground up toasted coconut to the mix. Then put whole toasted coconut in the bottom of the pan and on top the marshmallows.

    If you are going to do colored, we like to add the coloring while we are cooking the syrup – gives it a cool pastel color when marshmallowed.

    We have also done raspberry, orange, and whatever other flavorings of flavorings I have at home. (we make lots of candy)

  34. Aren't homemade marshmallows the best!! We make them several times a year and are gradually tweaking our recipe for use with maple syrup, juice, and natural colors for those in our family who have "chemical" issues. And the flavour combinations are limited only by your imagination!!!

    I love the look of your decorated marshmallows. It gives me ideas for Christmas presents especially since we need to bring exchange gifts for what amounts to 4 parties this weekend!

    Thank you for all your hard work and effort you put into this blog!!

  35. I wanted to say thank you for sharing – I had my computer on your page while I made marshmallows for gifts and they came out great! I've linked to your blog on my blog as well! Merry Chirstmas!

  36. I made these last night and they turned out great! Thank you for so many awesome things that me me look very domestic (but I do give you the credit).

  37. Just found this post… I'd ask you to marry me if not for the fact that my husband and baby might miss me! I can't wait to make these!!

  38. I made these for Valentine’s Day last year with my grandkids. This year we took it up a notch. For Easter we made our own “Peeps”. Instead of sprinkling with powdered sugar, I coated the top with yellow sanding sugar. The next day we cut them out using bunny, chick and duck cookie cutters, rolling the exposed sides in the yellow sugar. They turned out so cute and we now have a new tradition!

  39. I really want to make homemade marshmallows. I do not have a stand mixer, so I am awfully tempted to test that hand mixer burnout warning… *sigh*

  40. I made these today (with no 9×13 pan, no stand mixer, and no power in my kitchen, for that matter). I did half vanilla and half cocoa-peppermint. The chocolate peppermint is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten!

    I wonder if I didn’t beat it enough, because mine did not require spreading in the pan. Oh well. Even if it does set, it is delicious enough to each with a spoon!

    My hand mixer was warm, but no more warm than it gets when I whip cream.

  41. After all your warnings, I expected this to be much more difficult! But it was pretty easy, clean-up was no problem at all, and they turned out so great! I just did the plain ones dipped in chocolate. We love them with the crushed candy canes and also did some with chopped up walnuts (a rocky road version). So yummy! Definitely going to try some cocoa/peppermint ones next time!

  42. We made these last year and went a little crazy with the flavors: chocolate, peppermint, peppermint chocolate, coconut & plain. These are SO easy and turn out so yummy! We gave them out in treat bags and got so many compliments. By far the most popular were the coconut ones (we just used coconut flavoring) I am glad to see the recipe is still up- time to start making more for the season!

  43. I’ve also made caramel mashmallows using flavoring I found at a cake decorating store. Also, Cinnamon flavoring makes them taste like red hots, which we found very tasty in hot chocolate.

  44. I know this is an old post, but in case anyone is reading comments still I second the water on the hands tip when smoothing them into the pan and it works wonders. Also, for another flavor variation – we make homemade marshmallows for thanksgiving, add a little pumpkin pie spice, and then use them for the sweet potatoes. Yum!

  45. Thankyou very much, this is great, I am a cooking teacher and I know the kids will love this recipe, don’t you think?
    Klara Meijer The Netherlands

  46. I made these for my family, friends and boyfriend and everyone has LOVED them!! My sugar mixture wasn’t reaching the right temperature at a simmer, so I raised the heat and that helped.

    My question is about the pan where you did half and half. Did you make two batches and let them share the same pan, or how would you take half of the mixture and make the cocoa-peppermint ones?

  47. I’m pretty sure when I did it I was experimenting so I just took out half of the mixture and added the chocolate.

  48. SOOO glad to have stumbled upon your site. It has consumed my snowy Sunday morning! Now I can’t get homemade marshmallows out of my head! Can’t wait to try these and many of the other great ideas here. I have pinned MANY of your great recipes and ideas to Pinterest! Have to share the fun!

  49. I just made these, and they haven’t even set yet, but the fluff is amazing. My 3 year old son is licking the bowl. He has already asked me to make them again! I used almond flavoring this time. I think I will try lemon next. There are so many possibilities with this. Thanks for the recipe!

  50. Made these two years ago and paired them with a container of Girardelli Hot Cocoa for my husband’s coworkers. He has since changed jobs and we’re using these for the new coworkers this year per his request. Thank you for this awesome post!

  51. Can you tell me the volume/weight of the gelatin? We can’t use “regular” gelatine so I need to figure out the conversion so that I can try this with vegan gelatine. Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Brenda –
      I don’t run the blog but saw your question and thought I could help 🙂

      Each packet of gelatin is .25 oz so the total weight would be .74 oz (3/4 an ounce)
      There is another recipe on this site: http://www.raisingjane.org/journal/19727

      And the “gelatin” she uses is 100% vegan, it’s made from Agar-agar kanten, an odorless powdered sea vegetable with superior gelling qualities. I haven’t tried it, but plan on it in the future 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  52. I also made these for husbands boss as a “family” gift – I paired them up with a homemade cocoa recipe (that I named Santa’s Secret Cocoa and told their grandkids that I had gotten the recipe from Mrs. Claus herself) in a pretty tin, I dipped some of them in chocolate with peppermint and crushed canes and put them in little treat cups in a separate tin, a bottle of his wife’s favorite wine and a Quillow (quilt that folds into a pillo) that I made special for them. 🙂 THEY LOVED IT!

  53. I just wanted to say that this recipe was perfect, and the hints you put in where spot on! It was easy to make, and taste amazing! thank you for sharing.

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