Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

It’s hard to believe that these factory-formed, gluey gobs, destined for flaming twigs, were originally handmade masterworks formed one at a time in the finest confectionery shops of Paris. Fast-forward to present day, more and more people are making their own — and they’re actually quite easy to prepare. Once you have my base recipe down, the possibilities are endless (for example add peppermint oil for a holiday-spin or cocoa for chocolate lovers).

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  1. 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  2. 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  3. 12 ounces granulated sugar
  4. 1 cup light corn syrup
  5. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  8. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  9. Nonstick spray
  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. When the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  2. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or knife dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
ALTON BROWN http://altonbrown.com/
Alton Brown's Homemade MarshmallowsMiniature Marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.

When ready, scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Cut into 1/2-inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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  1. 2

    117? Could you please show your work? I tried to make 117 portions and I could not get it. I kept coming up with even numbers – go figure. Anyways, I have now made it 113 times and I am about ready to call it. Standing by!

  2. 3

    Hey April, if it takes too long for the mixture to cool down, maybe put some ice cubes in a bag and hold it against the outside of the bowl while beating?

  3. 4
    April Michelle Bloise Lewis

    Can this be over whipped? I’ve had it going for 15 minutes and the bowl is still hot, but the mix is lukewarm as it says in the recipe… Just wondering if I should let it keep going or take it out now.

  4. 5

    I want to make these but only have a large canister of gelatin. The recipe calls for ‘3 packages of gelatin’ what is the actual amount? How many tablespoons or cups, etc?

  5. 10

    I’m concerned about the high levels of sugar so I substituted granulated sand for half of the sugar. I also wanted to avoid animal products so I used melted plastic bags instead of gelatin. I didn’t have any corn syrup so I used Ms. Butterworth instead. The marshmallows were grainy and tasted like burnt plastic. This recipe is awful.

  6. 13

    I make chocolate peppermint ones, and pipe them onto a cookie sheet with wax paper. Then coat with icing sugar so,they don’t stick. You can call it snowman poop and package it as a joke.

  7. 14

    This looks great but it seems absurd to market it as the original or the above the factory puffball marshmallow recipe and not include marshmallow leaf or marshmallow root, which has mild antihystamine properties and of course lead to the creation and name of the treat. It’s cheap and can be bought in bulk, harvested locally if you know your plants well enough, and found commonly in tea still today.

  8. 15
    Mary Haire

    Hey vegan, and sugar free people there is this thing called Google! Try using it and stop wasting other people’s time and expecting Alton and his people to be responsible for your issues.

    • 19

      My thoughts? Well I guess anything short of “Thank you. It looks wonderful.” is considered a waste of “other people’s time”. So I should probably keep my thoughts that perhaps those with food issues (or attempting to accommodate the food issues of loved ones) might be actually be helping others with their inquiry to enjoy a treat with minor recipe changes and should be welcomed and accepted. Likewise, my suggesting that use of the scroll bar to skip over such comments that don’t interest you would save more time than posting a smart remark to put down others is probably wasting other people’s time too. In the time it took me to post this, many of you could probably have looked up “The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions” and ordered it from Amazon. (not that it can address the specific issues of a recipe and obtain the thoughts of those experienced with this type of cooking, which is what was being sought here). Sorry for wasting so many people’s time.

    • 22

      The “interference” sugar is an important part of making candy — adding a sugar with a different molecular structure than the table sugar (sucrose) prevents the table sugar from crystallizing too quickly and making the final product grainy. Corn syrup like Karo is almost pure glucose, and works very well in this capacity. I’d highly recommend sticking with red-label Karo for this recipe.

      If you’re worried about HFCS, don’t be. Karo and HFCS are very different beasts. Karo has no fructose at all, let alone “high” amounts of it. =)

    • 23

      You could use sorghum syrup, molasses, or even honey to substitute but the flavor will be different and you’ll probably get some odd colors.

    • 24

      On this question — since corn syrup is a fairly modern invention, how did the confectionaries in Paris make marshmallows lo those many years ago?

      • 25

        There are other inverted sugars that you can use to stop sugar crystals from forming. You can use a squeeze of lemon juice, or cream of tartar as some examples

  9. 26

    When I made a batch they turned a little grey and there was a layer of geleten on the bottom. They weren’t what I expected. I probably did something wrong. Maybe the heat or perhaps I should have used a glass pan instead of metal. Any ideas?

    • 27
      Julie Biggerbear

      Definitely the pan, with regard to the discoloration. Your best bet will be to use either a glass, ceramic, or non-stick (though don’t believe the hype about the non-stick part for these little darlings, and coat that thing with the powdered sugar mix like Alton said, or you will be soaking this thing for a bit to get the goo out 😉 ).

    • 29

      If you fill the 9×13 pan and then cut accurate 1 inch squares, you would have 117 marshmallows. If you trim your edges or don’t spread all the way to the corners, you will of course have slightly less.

    • 30

      Well, since it makes a block of marshmallows and you then cut them up yourself…. it makes somewhere between 1 giant marshmallow and 1239218133^100 marshmallows.

  10. 32

    If you like easy fun recipes go look up Gemma Staffords Bigger Bolder Baker .
    She does it all, has a lovely Irish Accent and she replies to your emails personally .
    Scanning thru the comments , I sadly noticed no one received a reply from Alton.
    I like when celebs take the time to acknowledge the fans who made them celebrities .

    • 33

      I like it when people refrain from hijacking comment threads to promote something/someone else while backhandedly insulting the original article’s author.

  11. 35
    Jessica Clear

    I would be forever grateful if you posted a vegan marshmallow recipe! The store-bought ones are tough to come by and when you do find them they are SO EXPENSIVE!

    • 39

      If only there were some kind of engine that could be used to search information online. I imagine this engine would take words that are crucial to the information being looked for, and then use those to return a list of results that contain answers. We can dream….

  12. 42

    If I remember right the sugar syrup recipe Alton is using is the same basic one from his caramel recipe (minus the cream and removed from heat at a much earlier stage). The reason the corn syrup is added is so that as the sugar boils down it concentrates and there is a chance that the syrup can clump and re-crystalize. With the corn syrup that’s not possible since the corn syrup is a different type of sugar from the regular sugar used. If your allergic to corn watch his episode of good eats where he makes caramel to see how much of the table super he substituted for corn syrup and just add the table sure back in (in proportion to the recipe of course). Just know before hand that you need to have your pans extra clean and not to agitate the pan as the syrup forms to prevent crystal growth and you will have to watch it closely.

  13. 43

    OMG!!!! POOR ALTON! These questions must hurt your sciency brain! Did any of you people even take a basic science class?? You are asking some of the dumbest effn questions I have ever had the brain cramp to read.

    • 45

      Chocolate Popcorn? Yuk… But, make the recipe’s as he states. Once the chocolate marshmallows are done pop popcorn. Youll basically follow the Rice marshmallow treat things but with popcorn. Get creative, that is a simple substitution.

      For popcorn, I would stick with the good old’ caramel corn ball. But that is just me.

  14. 47

    To the person who keeps talking about ages CS versus corn versus dextrose, fructose, etc. There are some people who are allergic to corn no matter what form is in. My husband is one of the people. Dextrose IVs cause “failure to thrive” for him among other problems with corn products of any kind. Karo is corn syrup. This includes cornstarch, maltodextrin, the list of things. Finding things that are tasty with good consistency/texture to replace corn products is hard.

    • 52

      Or, to actually answer the question…unfortunately not. You have to melt the sugar to a certain stage and temp (here, 240) for it to set properly within the gelatin. Artificial sweeteners have a different chemical makeup and a lower burn threshold, so stevia/truvia would actually caramelize before regular sugar. Hope this helps!

    • 54

      Rice products tend to work well for corn free baking. Brown Rice starch and Brown Rice syrup these days can be found at many grocery stores but you may have to go to a specialty store.

    • 55

      Yes you can substitute the corn starch for Karo syrup or honey, it is just in the syrup mixture to prevent the sugar from recrystalizing.

  15. 57
    Ellen Matthewson

    My family has been making marshmallows since I was a kid, lo so many years ago. Joy of Cooking has a recipe for them but my mom had a recipe for them maybe 60 years ago. They are the best! So many people don’t even know you can make them. Glad you are sharing the joy.

  16. 58

    I’ve always hated marshmallows with a passion. One day while visiting our local French bakery, La Baguette Magique I was offered one that was made there. Mon Dieu! They were little sweet cloud puffs, an entirely different and yummy treat and worth making.

  17. 59
    Wade Loofboro

    Hi Alton!

    Thanks as always for your insight on making food great and fun. I have a practical question about these marshmallows. My son is allergic to corn and gluten, so I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to adjust this recipe accordingly. I know arrowroot starch works pretty well as a substitute for cornstarch in many cases. Is that the same here? What do you suggest? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!
    Wade Loofboro

  18. 60

    Has anyone had luck making these vegan? We tried using Agar powder but ended up with a gooey mess. My sister won’t eat gelatin so we need another option if there is one. I would love suggestions. Thanks!

  19. 64

    I am definitely going to make these. I tried the salted caramel reciepe from the Good Eats show. They were amazing. My mother, who is not a fan of caramel, just fell in love with them. I can only imagine homemade marshmallows being absolutely amazing!

  20. 65

    I made Coffee Marshmallows by adding some espresso powder to the gelatin soaking water, and they were a big hit. I used the powder rather than just soaking the gelatin in coffee for the extra dense flavor (since the syrup and air would dilute it), and also because I think it’s safer and I wasn’t sure if the high heat from the boiling syrup would burn the coffee making it taste bitter.

  21. 71
    Alex C

    Seems a lot of people here are confusing HFCS (which is 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose) with regular corn syrup (which is 100 percent glucose). White sugar is split 50-50 between glucose and fructose.

  22. 73

    I am going ti have to try these. I can not eat standard marshmallows because of the gelatin, but I have sourced some thatis allowed for me. I have read that you can substitute corn syrup for 1 cup sugar dissolved into 1/4 cup water. I will be trying that too, as I do not prefer corn syrup.

  23. 75
    LyNel Gross

    Looks like a yummy recipe. Can’t wait to find a way to try it. I’m vegan & don’t use gelatin. Do you know of a vegan gelatin or brand? I can make my own corn syrup that is safe to use.

  24. 77

    you can use agave syrup as a corn syrup substitute. nothing else is as closely approximate and behaves the same way according to my sources. you can turn them into untoasted s’mores by mixing chocolate morsels into the marshmallow just before popuring it into the pan and lining the pan with graham crackers and putting more crackers on top of the marshmallow goo and pressing down on them. there are lots of ways of playing with the recipe. try using toasted coconut or slivered almosnds to line the pan and press into the top of the warm mixture. or dip them into ganache or other chocolate glaze when you cut them. variations are endless.

  25. 78
    Ruth Henager

    Found it! This is a substitution for corn syrup. The cream of tartar keeps the sugar from crystallizing.
    2 cups of sugar
    3/4th cup water
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    dash of salt

    • 79

      this makes Invert Sugar. From reading a Belian pastry chef’s blog (name I can’t remember ” last week, he published the same recipe. It was not clear if it was an exact replacement for CS. Be interesting to try and see.

    • 82

      This is probably too late to be helpful, but I’ve find that these don’t toast very well. The gelatin melts before the marshmallow toasts. To remedy this, I created a hybrid recipe from this one and David Leibowitz’s (which uses a meringue) to improve the toasting characteristics. It turned out quite well, but I don’t think I wrote anything down or I would post it here.

  26. 85
    Alex B.

    what does actual marshmallow roots taste like? The internet is highly illusive when it comes to telling me this? Is it similar? I almost always assume that stuff has to taste like licorice, like star anise does, and wormwood to an extent. If it’s an odd unusual root based ingredient, I almost assume they have a bitter taste to it. With that said, how would you incorporate it into this ingredient (what’s it replacing or is it being added)? Does it taste vastly different than store bought Kraft stuff (or is it Mondeleza now? Don’t know how that spilt works).

    • 86

      I have marshmallow root in my medicine bag. Use it for stomach and bladder problems. It is powdery and fibrous at the same time. I have been contemplating using some for marshmallows. I certainly have not had any marshmallows for a long time–most especially because of the corn syrup. I was disappointed to find corn syrup in Alton’s recipe–but he is not a food purist in the fullest extent of the definition. (Corn syrup does funny things to my metabolism and makes me feel very ill in a very odd way–same with HFCS). So I did find a web recipe for marshmallows without CSand one using m. root. They are on my list to try in the new year. They are best made in dryer weather. You can buy marshmallow root at mountain rose herbs on the net. Best quality of what I have tried, but don’t know if it will be best for marshmallows. Happy eating.

    • 90

      Try light agave or honey. Both are relatively high in fructose, which is what the corn syrup is providing (a different sugar structure from the sucrose to help inhibit crystallization) as well as the liquid inherent in a super-saturated solution. Honey varies in fructose content based on what the bees have been foraging. A honey that is not crystalized is likely higher in fructose (however, most store-bought honey is cut with a quantity of corn syrup, so you need to trust your honey source – support your local beekeepers!). Of the two, agave will probably result a less pronounced flavor in the finished marshmallows.

      • 91
        Tony Sanders

        You are confusing corn syrup with high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup which one normally uses in the kitchen is dextrose, which is chemically the same as glucose, not fructose.

        • 92

          Not confusing the two at all, and I doubt the others are. By way of very serious health issues (sores in nose that would not heal, eye issues, etc.) I learned through an elimination diet that I cannot eat anything GMO. I first thought that it was HFCS because that was the biggie, but I figured out, at least at that time (2013) that there were some corn products used in commercial foods that were GMO and some that were apparently not. But no way to tell and sometimes a product would change on me, so I have had to just eliminate anything with a corn or soy ingredient. Can I tell you how hard that has been? I am still totally amazed when I read something online telling me how good GMO is for me, and how stupid the people against it are. Knowing the long list of disorders, some more serious than others, that I suffered from, I daresay that probably everyone else is affected by GMO as well. They just don’t know it because a doctor is telling them it is something else. No confusion on my part at all, Tony.

  27. 95
    Robert C.

    Made these tonight but haven’t had a chance to try them yet because they are still cooling. Anyone know of a way to smooth the marshmallow out after its poured into the pan? I tried my best to get the top smooth but it kept sticking to the spatula so its a little wavy in places. Not a big deal I guess.

  28. 102

    i started making these last Christmas and have since made them more times than I can count. Love them!! Will NEVER eat another store bought marshmallow again! I have made peppermint, strawberry, orange, and root beer versions, as well as chocolate. I have used cookie cutters to make different shapes for different holidays, and then dipped in dark or milk chocolate, or white chocolate. This year I am making my own s’mores. The hardest part of the whole process, for me anyway, is getting the “goo” out of the bowl and into the pan. Still leave a lot behind.

    • 108
      Amanda Sheren

      someone mentioned on the facebook post that you could use Agar Agar, I know nothing about that ingredient but they said it would work (whereas pectin wouldn’t work at all, as multiple people stated after having tried)

    • 110

      Agar Agar powder works as a vegan alternative to gelatin. 1 tsp = one sachet of gelatin. I have not tried this recipe with the Agar yet, but I am planning on trying it today. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  29. 112

    I have used this recipe many times and the marshmallows are great. I have also made them using brown rice syrup and even though they come out ok, they are not as fluffy as the original.

  30. 114

    Love this recipe – I’ve made them once before using his recipe. I didn’t have a stand mixer so I used an electric hand mixer – I ended up with the marshmallow cream down my elbows which was an interesting experience! I sent bags to friends for the holidays and they were a big hit.

    Don’t fear giving it a go! The ingredients are inexpensive and it is a fun process.

    • 119
      Kehnin Dyer

      You are really looking for the fructose in the corn syrup as it prevents crystalization. because of this both honey and simple syrup are out. If you have some agave nectar could probably work, as it has a boat load of fructose in it as well.
      (children don’t fear the fructose, nor do the wind nor the sun nor the rain)

      • 120

        There is no fructose in corn syrup. This is from the FDA’s website.
        “When corn starch is broken down into individual glucose molecules, the end product is corn syrup, which is essentially 100% glucose. To make HFCS, enzymes are added to corn syrup in order to convert some of the glucose to another simple sugar called fructose, also called “fruit sugar” because it occurs naturally in fruits and berries.”

    • 122

      The problem with trying to substitute honey for corn syrup is that honey will not only alter the taste but it has a lot of it’s own suagr. Corn syrup, with it neutral flavor, is really the best choice because it also acts as a buffer against crystallization of the sugar in your mixture. Crystalized sugar, even just small pieces, are a good way to ruin the whole batch. Simple syrup is just water and sugar anyway, so adding that wouldn’t do anything except throw off the ingredients and add a lot more sugar. If you’re worried about making “high fructose corn syrup”, adding corn syrup to sugar and water is not how to do it. Happy marshmallow making!

    • 123
      Amanda Sheren

      Hi! I saw on his facebook post of this that someone made these with honey, coconut sugar and a few drops of cinnamon doTerra oil and they turned out great. So I would wager even just subbing in the honey would work. Good luck!

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