Healthy Marshmallows Recipe

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Store-bought marshmallows can be a fun treat, but they are riddled with corn syrup and other unwanted ingredients. This healthy marshmallows recipe shows you how to make delicious marshmallows at home without all the extra junk.

It may seem like it’s not worth it to go through the trouble of making your own marshmallows, but I’m here to tell you, it’s as easy as making a simple batch of cookies. And if you make them yourself, you can do so without adding any of the corn syrup or other unhealthy ingredients that come in the store-bought variety.

Three square marshmallows are stacked on a white, marble surface.

According to the National Confectioners Association, Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows each year. And each summer more than 50 percent of all marshmallows sold are eventually toasted over a fire, with the majority of all marshmallows being sold during October and December.

CandyUSA

Homemade Marshmallows

Believe it or not, marshmallows are actually fun to make. As I mentioned above, it’s very much like making a batch of cookies, only you don’t have to actually turn on the oven. All you need is an electric mixer and a casserole dish, and you’ll have homemade marshmallows in no time!

What Are Marshmallows Made Of?

Generally speaking, homemade marshmallows consist of water, gelatin, and sweetener. Everything else is just flavoring.

Can You Make Marshmallows Without Corn Syrup?

Absolutely! As long as you have another liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, it will work just fine.

A stack of three marshmallows cut into squares, sitting in front of a mug of hot chocolate.

Are Marshmallows Healthy?

Not the store-bought varieties, no. They are generally full of “shelf-stable” preservatives and corn syrup. But homemade marshmallows are another story altogether. While they are certainly a treat, they don’t have to be made with bad-for-you ingredients. You have two things to consider with homemade marshmallows.

  1. The sweetener – You can opt for honey or maple syrup. Those who eat low carb can use a low carb, liquid sweetener. Nature’s Hollow has a great xylitol-based honey. (Not paid to promote them)
  2. The gelatin – After the sweetener, the next important consideration is the gelatin you use. Gelatin is a processed product. There is no way around that. However, there are better quality gelatins out there. The best one I’ve used is the Great Lakes brand. They’ve been around a long time and have a dependable, good quality product. (Not paid to promote them, it’s just what I usually use).
  3. Everything else – Other ingredients can be pure extracts or pure spices.

Benefits of Grass-Fed Gelatin

Gelatin can actually be quite beneficial to the body if it’s of good quality. Some of the benefits can be:

  • Better digestion
  • Better intestinal health
  • Better joint health
  • Better cartilage health

Need some help choosing the right gelatin? This article is very helpful.

How To Cut Homemade Marshmallows

The key to successfully cutting homemade marshmallows is starch. I use arrowroot powder because it’s the easiest on my blood sugar. But you can also use cornstarch or tapioca starch if that’s what you have handy.

Use this liberally. Dust all sides of the marshmallows before cutting and after. Dust your work surface and even your knife. The more you use, the easier the cutting will be. (It’s not difficult, just sticky without the starch)

Are Marshmallows Gluten-Free?

I can’t vouch for store-bought marshmallows. Like most things, you’d probably have to look for a package that is labeled gluten-free. But this particular recipe is gluten-free if you make sure you purchase gluten-free ingredients.

Just cut marshmallows sit on a white cutting board with a knife sitting to the left behind them.

Dairy Free Marshmallows | Eggless Marshmallows | Fat Free Marshmallows | Gluten Free Marshamallows

This recipe for homemade marshmallows is dairy-free, eggless, fat-free, and gluten-free. And if you use a low-carb sweetener, they can be sugar-free too!

How To Make Marshmallows Vegan

To make these marshmallows vegan, you’ll have to substitute the gelatin with agar flakes and substitute the honey for maple syrup.

Can I Roast These Healthy Marshmallows?

Yes, you can! You can roast these like you would roast any other marshmallow!

Marshmallow Recipe Substitutions

The only things you can change about this recipe are the sweetener and the flavoring. Outside of that, all elements are essential. See below for flavoring suggestions.

Are Homemade Marshmallows Better Than Store-bought? 

If we are talking about flavor, in my opinion, they are definitely better. Most homemade things are.

If we are talking about texture, that depends on what you mean by “better. Homemade marshmallows are naturally a bit softer and spongier than store-bought. But otherwise, exactly the same.

Why Are My Homemade Marshmallows Sticky?

Surprise! Marshmallows are sticky! That is until you dust them with lots of starch. Do not underestimate the need for starch. This can make or break your finished marshmallows.

A single, square marshmallow floating in a mug of hot chocolate.

How To Make Sugar-Free Marshmallows

As I mentioned earlier, you can absolutely make sugar-free marshmallows if you don’t mind using a sweetener that is processed. While the focus of my recipes always has been, and always will be, on whole foods and recipes made from scratch, sometimes we make exceptions to suit our own lifestyle and needs.

I make this exception because of my blood sugar. So when I make these, I use xylitol-based honey made by Nature’s Hollow. It works great and I can enjoy my marshmallows without my blood sugar skyrocketing. If this doesn’t suit your eating plan, stick to honey or maple syrup. Do what works for you!

Can You Use These To Make Healthy Rice Krispie Squares?

You can! Simply purchase puffed brown rice from a health food store and stir it in before you let it sit and gel in the casserole dish.

Marshmallow Flavor Variations

If you want to play around with the flavors a bit, you can try one of the following:

  • Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows – Add 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice to this recipe
  • Chocolate Marshmallows – Add 1 tbsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder to this recipe.
  • Peppermint Marshmallows – Add an ⅛ to a ¼ tsp. peppermint extract to this recipe.
  • Lemon Marshmallows – Add ¼ to ½ tsp. lemon extract to this recipe. You can also add 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon zest if you wish.
  • Orange Marshmallows – Add a ¼ to a ½ tsp. orange extract to this recipe. You can also add 1 tbsp. of fresh orange zest to this recipe.
  • Banana Marshmallows – Add a ¼ to a ½ tsp. of banana extract to this recipe.
  • Rum Marshmallows – Add a ¼ to a ½ tsp. rum extract to this recipe.
  • Maple Marshmallows – Substitute the honey for maple syrup and add a ½ tsp. of maple extract to this recipe.
Healthy Marshmallows Recipe ingredients in individual, white bowls on a white surface.

What You Need To Make Healthy Homemade Marshmallows

6 tbsp. water – Filtered water is best.

2 packets unflavored gelatin – If using gelatin that comes in bigger containers, use 5 teaspoons.

1 cup honey – This can be any type you like. Or you can substitute with another liquid sweetener such as maple syrup.

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract – I used bourbon vanilla, but any vanilla will work as long as it’s the real stuff. Avoid vanilla flavoring.

How to Make Homemade Healthy Marshmallows

Water and gelatin mixed together in a white bowl.

Stir gelatin into the water in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.

All the Healthy Marshmallows Recipe ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.

While that’s in the microwave, pour your honey into a stand mixer mixing bowl. Add vanilla and the warm gelatin mixture.

The mixed marshmallow fluff in the electric mixer bowl.

Blend with the whisk attachment for 12-15 minutes until the mixture is white and fluffy and has quadrupled in size.

An oiled and well starched, white casserole dish sitting on a white surface.

Coat a casserole dish with cornstarch.

The marshmallow fluff added to the starched casserole dish.

Scoop marshmallow mixture into an oiled and well-starched casserole dish and smooth top so it’s level with a spatula. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours. Overnight is best. It will be sticky but spongy to the touch when it’s done.

The dried marshmallows turned out of the dish and onto a starched, white cutting board.

Turn out onto a surface dusted with cornstarch.

The finished marshmallows, cut on a white cutting board.

Slice into the desired size. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Recipe Supplies

Recipes For Using Healthy Marshmallows Without Corn Syup

Healthy Marshmallows Recipe Card + Video

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
Three square marshmallows are stacked on a white, marble surface.

Healthy Marshmallow Recipe

Made with or without pumpkin pie spice, these marshmallows are clean and totally delish!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 3 hours
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 35 marshmallows
Calories: 30kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • 1 Electric mixer

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used bourbon vanilla)

Instructions

  • Stir gelatin into water in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds.
    Water and gelatin mixed together in a white bowl.
  • While that's in the microwave, pour your honey into a stand mixer mixing bowl. Add vanilla and the warm gelatin mixture.
    All the Healthy Marshmallows Recipe ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Blend with the whisk attachment  for 12-15 minutes until the mixture is white and fluffy and has quadrupled in size.
    The mixed marshmallow fluff in the electric mixer bowl.
  • Coat a casserole dish with cornstarch.
    An oiled and well starched, white casserole dish sitting on a white surface.
  • Scoop marshmallow mixture into an oiled and well-starched casserole dish and smooth top so it's level with a spatula. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours. Overnight is best. It will be sticky but spongy to the touch when it's done.
    The marshmallow fluff added to the starched casserole dish.
  • Turn out onto a surface dusted with cornstarch.
    The dried marshmallows turned out of the dish and onto a starched, white cutting board.
  • Slice into desired size. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
    The finished marshmallows, cut on a white cutting board.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1marshmallow | Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Potassium: 5mg | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted on 10/2/2009.

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37 Comments

  1. What a great recipe! I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of marshmallows but I LOVE the idea of them sweetened only with agave. Definitely a a great ideas for clean eater’s who love them. And so much better for the kids!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Wendy,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! This recipe is definitely better for kids. Perfect for this time of year too!

      Take care,
      Tiffany

  2. I am so excited by this post!!! With summer here I have been craving a way to make smore’s with little guilt. Now just figuring out the grahamcracker aspect!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Carthey – I’m working on a graham cracker recipe. Hope to have it out soon!

  3. Hi Tiffany! Any idea how this could be transformed into a marshmallow fluff recipe? I have a friend who loves fluff as a fruit dip, but the store bought stuff is so awful, and this recipe is so easy! I was just curious! Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Court – Fluff = chemicals. I can try to figure something out, but I’m not sure it’s possible. I’ll try though!

  4. I was thinking maybe less gelatin, and more liquid, but I don’t know! I will have to try when I get home I suppose, I personally won’t touch the gross stuff, but a friend asked for help, so I figured I would ask! Thanks again!

  5. To make it vegetarian/vegan, would it work to substitute agar-agar and/or kuzu root powder for the gelatin? It works in faux-Jell-O. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Charlena – I tried it once and it was an epic disaster. But at the time, I didn’t understand how to work with agar-agar. Now that I have a better understanding, I may try again. But I think that agar-agar produces something that won’t be as light and “fluffy” as gelatin. I’ve never tried kuzu root. I’ll keep working on it!

  6. ChellBellz says:

    Oh wow! This just made my life! Now i can have something in my hot chocolate this winter. !!

    1. Anonymous says:

      CB – Enjoy! I recently found out that gelatin is not exactly clean. BUT, this recipe is FAR healthier than anything you can buy. So it’s a good way to splurge.

    2. Anonymous says:

      CB – Enjoy! I recently found out that gelatin is not exactly clean. BUT, this recipe is FAR healthier than anything you can buy. So it’s a good way to splurge.

  7. MaryellenFish0605 says:

    Have you tried using these in place of marshmallows in any recipes? I’d love to make some healthy “Rice Krispy Treats” without having to using any nut butter– my daughter and I LOVE peanut butter but my husband… does not 🙂 I am wondering if I can use these marshmallows instead???

    1. Anonymous says:

      Maryellen – Wow. I can’t believe I’ve never tried! I’m so sorry, I wish I could tell you. I may have to try that soon to find out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ashley – Agreed. I would love that. But at least these are bit healthier than the regular ones.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stephanie – Let me know! I thought about it, but since the marshmallows aren’t technically clean, I thought the better of it. Does sound yummy though!

  10. Old_Warhorse says:

    Here’s a thought: what about boiling up some marshmallow root power or even just shredded marshmallow root and using the filtered mucilage that results, considering that the gelatin was a replacement for the marshmallow root. Just be aware that the marshmallow root will coat your stomach and may slow or stop the absorption of any medications you take for a few hours afterward.

    1. Anonymous says:

      OW – Now that’s an interesting suggestion! Might have to try that, thanks!

  11. graciouspantry says:

    Amber – Ya, these are not normal marshmallows with tons of preservatives. I wouldn’t keep them longer than a week. You could try freezing them, but I’m not sure if that would work as I’ve never tried.

  12. graciouspantry says:

    Ya, you just want a regular mixer for this one. Sorry. Good news is, the little hand-held mixers are cheap at Target.

  13. graciouspantry says:

    It’s not about the source of the gelatin (although that plays a part), it’s about the process it goes through to become the powdery stuff in the package.

  14. These look fabulous. Going to make them into marshmallows and also make rice crispy treats with puffed quinoa.

    Question, living overseas. Can anyone give me the weight of “a package” of gelatin? We only have gelatin sheets and I need to know the weight so I know how many to use. Thanks 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Penny – I’m in Ireland right now, so hopefully somebody will be able to tell you. If not, email me and I’ll check it out when I get home.

  15. I used 1/3 cup (warmed) frozen raspberries and 2/3 maple syrup (in place of honey or avgar)and made raspberry marshmellows. Yummy!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lisa – Oh my! That sounds crazy good!

  16. Hi Tiffany,

    I am new to clean eating and I love your website!
    I was just wondering why agave is not clean?

    Thanks so much!

  17. There is grass-fed bovine gelatin that is clean-eating, even my strictest GAPS friend uses it: Great Lakes brand. You can buy it on Amazon. It’s actually a great nutritional supplement for joint health (and high in protein). Be sure to buy the red one, the green one won’t “gelify” (it’s really just considered a supplement).

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Eva – I’ve been meaning to do more research on this. I know that mainstream gelatin is highly processed. But I know there are better ones on the market. I’m just not sure how they are made. I’ll definitely check it out! Thanks!

  18. Loved these marshmallows! I did learn an important lesson, though: gelatin based marshmallows will not toast! They just melt and caramelize. Still worked out in the long run for the recipe I was making, but not as initially intended.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alyssa – Ya, I have a feeling the change in sugars is what does that. Sorry. :/

  19. Hi, I really want to make this but my son is allergic to corn so I can’t use cornstarch. Also allergic to wheat, coconut and tree nuts so not sure what flour I can use to help them not stick (and also not taste nasty). Do you have any ideas? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mandy – Can you have arrowroot powder?

  20. Do you think adding less gelatin or not allowing it to sit out would create marshmallow fluff? I’ve searched and searched the Internet for a clean version and there’s one on Pinterest, but they use a specific type of gelatin and I’m wondering if just using unflavored like you did would create fluff. Any ideas?

  21. Hi, really want to Make this. Is the oil necessary for the pan?

    1. D – It certainly helps when it’s time to get the marshmallows out of the pan. It also helps the starch stick to the sides of the pan where you want it. But you can try it without.

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