Have you ever tried making homemade marshmallows? It’s unbelievably easy, and tastes a lot better than the chalky tasting store bought kind. I have a homemade marshmallow recipe for you below that I’ve been using for over a decade. They’re such a fun treat. And once you make homemade marshmallows the first time, you can get creative with flavors like key lime pie marshmallows, mocha marshmallows, and even chocolate peppermint marshmallows for the holidays. Try them in air fryer s’mores too!
We’ve also included step-by-step photos to guide you through the marshmallow recipe. But if you’re ready to get started, just scroll to the bottom or hit the “jump to recipe button.”
Homemade Marshmallows – A College Treat
First, a little back story about the first time I made marshmallow from scratch. I caught up with my long time friend and college buddy, Eric. In college we had a PR writing class at the godawful hour of 7 am. Which, to actually get a wake-up coffee and a parking space on campus at the university meant I had to be leaving my house dressed, ready, backpack stuffed with all the necessities by 6:00 am. What was I thinking when I signed up for that class? I’ll tell you what I was thinking … I need this class to graduate and it was the only time it was offered!
At least our PR professor was cool. But every once in awhile he’d painfully wake up our sleepy morning-brain with some sort of stressful/deadline/writing type of drill. Writing early in the morning is my typical routine … I just don’t usually push myself to perfection in under an hour. It takes a least a second pot of coffee before I can go back and edit.
This class seems so crazy long ago now. Back when my cell phone was huge and email was dominated by AOL. My friend and I were at the top of our PR class. And now I blog about food and travel and he blogs about toys and games.
The First Time I Made Marshmallow
This same college buddy, Eric, always had some good treats baked up. So when he told me he had a marshmallow recipe I begged him to share! He had me asking … WTF is actually IN a marshmallow? You mean they’re not magically produced by Willy Wonka? There are ingredients I can buy at the store to make these? Awesome!
He suggested instead that I write a recipe post with a themed Halloween breakfast in full costume. Aaaah. No. In lieu of dressing up like Chewbacca and baking wookie cookies, I tried a homemade marshmallow recipe instead. And they’re unbelievably easy! A bit messy, but easy!
The timing was perfect since we finally got our Fall cold spell here in Florida. Hot chocolate and marshmallows is a great morning or afternoon treat and we like to have S’mores in the backyard fire pit with our guests. Yum!
Homemade Marshmallows Recipe With Step-By-Step Photos
Here’s all the ingredients you’ll need and a tried and tested homemade marshmallow recipe to get your fire-roasting-smore-making-hot-chocolate-dipping marshmallow on.
Homemade Marshmallow Recipe – Ingredients
- light corn syrup AND sugar (been to see your dentist lately?)
- cornstarch and powdered sugar (to get the sticky suckers off your fingers)
- salt (just a pinch)
- non-stick spray for the dish/pan
Pour 3 packets of unflavored gelatin in a bowl followed by a 1/2 cup of water. Let it sit while it magically turn into jello-like mini pearls while you make the sugar mixture. It will start soaking up the water and grow.
While your gelatin is expanding … pour 1/2 cup of water, sugar and corn syrup in a small sauce pan on MEDIUM heat.
Stir briefly with wooden spoon, lower the heat to low/medium, then let it come to a low boil. This will take approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
A Candy Making Tip
You want the mixture to reach 240 degrees … and then immediately remove from the stove. Sounds precise and scientific, huh? I know, I told you this would be easy, so here is where I confess …
I’m not a candy maker. Not. At. All. I do love sugar, if that counts. So I didn’t have a candy thermometer. The first time I made marshmallows I used a meat thermometer instead. I was careful though! I really watched the time on the clock to follow Eric’s instructions of “7 to 8 minutes.”
At about 4 minutes, it was at 180 degrees. At 7 minutes it went immediately to 220 degrees … which is the max on my thermometer … so I guessed that meant it was ready and removed it from the heat.
(now my mom sent me a candy thermometer immediately after my first marshmallow making attempt)
CAREFULLY and slowly pour the sugar and syrup into a large bowl on top of your gelatin.
You can use a big fancy schmancy mixer or just a hand mixer. Either will work just fine. A stand mixer makes it a bit easier. But if you only have a hand mixer, place a folded towel on the edge of the bowl to help balance the mixer since it will be there for awhile. Mix for 12 minutes. Yes, I said mix for 12 minutes.
The first time I tried this homemade marshmallow recipe, at about 5 minutes I got impatient thinking, “this isn’t working. It’s clear and bubbly. I must have not let it boil long enough.” **Pouts. Crossed arms. Taps foot.**
Oh, just you wait. When it goes from clear liquid to white marshmallow fluff, it feels like magic. While the mixing is happening, prepare the pan to pour the marshmallow into for it to solidify and form. Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with non-stick spray, such as Pam. You can use either a glass or metal pan. The deeper the pan, the taller the marshmallow. If you want really thick marshmallows, use a square brownie pan. Add a mixture of equal parts powdered sugar and corn starch.
Next, cover the pan with plastic wrap and make sure it has a good seal around the edges.
Press TIGHTLY across the edges. Otherwise your going to have one fun mess to clean up. Also, if you didn’t have one on before, now is a good time to sport an apron.
Shake it. Shake it until the entire surface of the pan is covered in white. It should be evenly coated in powdered sugar and corn starch.
Pour the excess powdered sugar and corn starch blend from the baking pan into a bowl to use later when cutting your marshmallows.
And by the time you’re done prepping the baking pan, your marshmallow mix should have turned into marshmallow! The first time I made homemade marshmallows, I ran around the house shouting, “I MADE MARSHMALLOW” the same way Tom Hanks yelled “I made fire” in the movie Cast Away. After it being yellow/clear/bubbly for so long I was really “wowed.”
The recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla. But my friend said to be liberal with the vanilla so I added 2 teaspoons. Is doubling it going overboard? Naaaaah! It gave it a great vanilla flavor.
Mix the marshmallow and vanilla together until they’re blended well.
Then pour the vanilla mixtures into your sugar dusted pan and smooth out with a spatula.
Now’s a good time to lick the bowl. If you’ve got some Nutella and banana on hand, you could even make a marshmallow sandwich. Mmm! Cover and let the marshmallow sit overnight to firm up. Or, if you make these in the morning they should be ready by the evening for S’mores. When you’re ready to serve the homemade marshmallows, take a knife around the edge of the pan to help lift the marshmallow out of the pan.
The edge will feel a little “spring loaded” so rather than thinking of slicing, think more of separating it from the side.
It should be fairly easy to lift out like one giant homemade marshmallow cake if you did a good job coating the pan in sugar and cornstarch.
Place the big slab of marshmallow onto a cutting board and sprinkle with the left over powdered sugar/corn starch mixture you used to coat the pan. Now here comes the fun part. Slicing marshmallow. It’s a little like trying to nail jello to the wall. You can use a sharp knife, but a pizza cutter works best. Dust the edges of the pizza cutter in powdered sugar and it should help with any sticking.
Once you have your marshmallow squares, roll them around in bowl with the powdered sugar/corn starch mix. This will keep them from sticking to your fingers … the plate … the wall … pretty much anything they come into contact with.
And there you have it … HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS! Enjoy in your hot chocolate, S’mores, or just as a delicious, pillowy vanilla flavored homemade marshmallow.
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup of ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Nonstick spray
- Place the gelatin into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and the salt. Place over medium 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, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
- Turn the mixer on low speed and 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 10 15 minutes). Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.
- While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pan. Combine confectiners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray 13 x 9 inch baking pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and mover around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
- When marshmallow is ready, pour into the prepared pan, spread evenly with the spatula, and dust the top with some of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information provided is only an estimate.
Originally Published Oct 19, 2009. Updated 2022.