Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy, light-as-air homemade marshmallows come together with a few ingredients for the ultimate treat. Learn how to make your own with this easy-to-follow recipe then, use the marshmallows for topping hot cocoa, roasting into s’mores, or melting into rice krispie treats!

A pile of cut marshmallows on a blue counter dusted with powdered sugar.

I first made homemade marshmallows more than a decade ago, but I’ve been making this new recipe for at least five years now; it is far and away my favorite!

If you’ve never treated yourself to homemade marshmallows, let me start off by saying yes, they are absolutely, positively, a million times better than any store-bought marshmallow you’ve tasted. The homemade version is fluffier, tastier, and not as cloyingly sweet…. AND they’re not very difficult to make, either!

Marshmallows are made from whipping water, sugar, and gelatin into a soft, fluffy consistency. Often used to top hot chocolate or melted down into other sweet treats such as s’mores or rice krispie treats, they haven’t always been used as a dessert.

Marshmallows were originally created by boiling the sap from a mallow root with honey to create a lozenge to help soothe coughs and sore throats. Later the mallow root sap was whipped, instead of boiled, with sugar, egg whites, and water to create a spongy candy more similar to the marshmallows we know today. While the mallow root was eventually replaced with corn syrup and gelatin the name marshmallow stuck.

A top down photo with a wooden cutting board in the middle with fresh marshmallows and a rolling cutter in the bottom right corner.

Why we LOVE these Homemade Marshmallows

What’s not to love about a fluffy, light-as-air marshmallow? Here are some of the reasons we love these soft, gooey confections:

  • Better than store-bought. Seriously there is no competition when it comes to homemade vs. store-bought marshmallows. The texture, the flavor, the fluff!
  • Melt-in-your-mouth pillowy soft. The texture of these marshmallows is beyond anything you will find at the store.
  • Customizable. You can cut them, shape them, dip them, and dress them up any way you want.
  • Keeps forever! Okay well not exactly forever but if you store them properly they keep soft and spongey far longer than any open bag of marshmallows on the shelf.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for marshmallows on a grey counter with purple labels over the ingredients.
  • Powdered sugar + cornstarch: Used to coat the marshmallows to prevent them from sticking to each other.
  • Water: Activates the gelatin and helps make a syrup mixture with the sugar.
  • Unflavored gelatin: Allows the marshmallows to set properly.
  • Corn syrup: Prevents the crystallization of the sugar, which allows for a spongey finish.
  • Sugar: Sweetens the marshmallows without making them too sweet.
  • Salt + vanilla: Balances out the sweetness and adds a light vanilla flavor.

Step-By-Step Directions

Step #1: Prepare the Homemade Marshmallows

  • Prepare for marshmallow forming: Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, enough so that excess foil hangs over the sides of the pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
  • Activate gelatin: Pour ½ cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until the gelatin becomes very firm, about 15 minutes.
Side by side images of the steps for making marshmallows. The left photo shows the number 1 with powdered sugar and cornstarch mixed in bowl with a spoon. The photo on the right shows the number 2 with a mixing bowl filled with water and gelatin.
  • Make corn syrup mixture: Combine the remaining water and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan and add the salt.
  • Boil corn syrup mixture: Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, gently swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture reached 240°F, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Mix the syrup with the gelatin: Turn the mixer on low speed and carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, avoiding the side of the bowl as much as possible.
  • Whip until thick and glossy: Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Flavor with vanilla: Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Two side by side pictures of the steps to make marshmallows. The one on the left shows the number 3 with a saucepan and sugar mixed with water. The one on the right shows the number 4 with the hot syrup mixture mixed into the gelatin mixture.

Step #2 Set and Shape Marshmallows

  • Pour into the prepared pan: Working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan using a spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Smooth and top with powdered sugar: Smooth the top into an even layer. Sift 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar mixture over the pan.
  • Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.
Two side by side pictures of homemade marshmallow prep. The left shows the number 5 and a mixing bowl with marshmallow fluff. The right shows the baking pan with poured marshmallow fluff dusted with powdered sugar.
  • Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar: The next day, turn the marshmallow slab out onto a cutting board and peel off the foil. Sift 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar mixture over the slab.
  • Cut into squares: Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, cut into 1-inch strips one way, then across the other way for square marshmallows.
  • Toss with powdered sugar: Working with 3 or 4 marshmallows at a time, toss them in a ziplock bag with the remaining powdered sugar mixture, then toss in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess powder.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Two side by side photos of the prep for making marshmallows. The left shows the number 7 and a cutting board with homemade marshmallows before cutting with a pizza cutter to the right. The right photo shows the cut marshmallows in the powdered sugar bag being coated in the mixture.

Cutting and Shaping Homemade Marshmallows

While it’s easy (and traditional) to cut the marshmallows into squares, you could use cookie cutters to make just about any size and shape. Here are a few different ways to cut and shape these fluffy homemade marshmallows.

  • Make “mini” marshmallows by spreading the mixture into a half sheet pan so they are shorter.
  • Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make them for Valentine’s Day.
  • Make round marshmallows by cutting with a small circular cookie cutter.
  • Use a small star-shaped cookie cutter for patriotic-themed marshmallows.

Serving Suggestions

Once cut or shaped, you are ready to serve these fluffy marshmallows up in a variety of ways.

  • Drop them in a fresh cup of hot chocolate.
  • Roast them over the fire for a delicious s’more.
  • Melt them into an ooey gooey rice krispie treat.
  • Dip them in chocolate and give them as gifts at the holidays.
A baking pan lined with parchment paper with cut squares of marshmallow.

Storage, Shelf-Life, and Freezing

If you want your homemade marshmallows to stay fresh as long as possible, here are my tips for storing them.

  • Storage: Keep stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freezing: To freeze, place in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible. Wrap the bag in aluminum foil and store for up to 3 months.

Troubleshooting Marshmallows

How do you handle the stickiness of homemade marshmallows?

The powdered sugar mixed with cornstarch used to top the marshmallow mixture coats the marshmallows to prevent them from sticking to one another.

My second tip for handling the stickiness is to use non-stick spray. Be sure to coat the pan you pour the marshmallow mixture in as well as any utensil you use to spread or cut the marshmallows to prevent them from sticking to the surface before being cut.

Why are my homemade marshmallows wet?

If the sugar in the corn syrup mixture does not get hot enough, 240°F, they will not set properly and be a bit wet or soggy. Be sure to use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature of the mixture reaches the proper heat to prevent a wet marshmallow.

Try these homemade treats next:

A white up of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and marshmallows on the blue counter around it.

Light as air and absolutely delicious, these homemade marshmallows are the ultimate treat! Pop them into a warm cup of cocoa, roast them into the most incredible s’mores, or eat them plain, there is no wrong way to enjoy them!

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

Homemade Marshmallows

Servings 118 marshmallows
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Resting time 11 hours 20 minutes
Total 12 hours
Course: Sweet
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

Learn how to make a light and fluffy batch of homemade marshmallows with this easy-to-follow recipe. Perfect for hot cocoa, smores, and more!

Ingredients:

  • cup
    powdered sugar
  • cup
    cornstarch
  • 1
    cup
    cold water
    (divided)
  • tablespoons
    unflavored gelatin
    (about 3 (0.25-ounce packets))
  • cup
    light corn syrup
  • 2
    cups
    granulated sugar
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 2
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil, enough so that excess foil hangs over the sides of the pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
  3. Pour ½ cup of the cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until the gelatin becomes very firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining water and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan and add the salt. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, gently swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Turn the mixer on low speed and carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, avoiding the side of the bowl as much as possible. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
  6. Working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan using a spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Smooth the top into an even layer. Sift 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar mixture over the pan. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.
  7. The next day, turn the marshmallow slab out onto a cutting board and peel off the foil. Sift 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar mixture over the slab. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut into 1-inch strips one way, and then across the other way for square marshmallows. You could also use round cutters to cut them out as well.
  8. Place the remaining powdered sugar mixture in a large ziploc bag. Working with 3 or 4 marshmallows at a time, toss the marshmallows in the bag with the powdered sugar mixture, then toss in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any excess powder. Marshmallows can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes:

  • Storage– Keep stored at room temperature in an airtight container or bag.
  • Shelf-Life– These homemade marshmallows will keep for up to 2 weeks as long as they are properly stored.
  • Freezing- To freeze, place in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible. Wrap the bag in aluminum foil and store for up to 3 months.
Nutritional values are based on one marshmallow

Nutrition:

Calories: 23kcal
Sodium: 6mg
Carbohydrates: 5g
Sugar: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Dee Frances.