Homemade Marshmallows

marsh1It’s that time of year again where pumpkin spiced everything hits the shelves and overtakes the fall season. One of my favorite things to make this time of year are marshmallows, from scratch. Making something like marshmallows may sound intimidating, but as long as you have a candy thermometer and some patience, you will reap a fluffy, sugary reward.

Oh, and say goodbye to those Jet Puffed marshmallows you have in your pantry. They don’t stand a chance against these homemade bad boys.


  1. Mise en place. This is the French term for everything in its place. Have all the necessary ingredients needed to for making marshmallows prepared and measured, especially when working with hot sugar.
  2. Candy thermometer. You need one. It is imperative to have one when making candy to ensure that the sugar reaches the precise temperature.
  3. Read the recipe a few times through in order to understand the steps and process.
  4. DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE STOVE WHILE THE SUGAR IS BOILING. It can quickly go wrong. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.marsh4
  5. Have the kids help by scraping the bowl or dusting the sugar before the marshmallows setup. Or lick the beaters.
  6. Be creative with the marshmallows by dusting with shredded unsweetened coconut (toasted), or dipping them in chocolate. (See bottom of recipe for suggestions)
  7. Have fun. We’re making candy!


  • While I used Alton Brown’s recipe, I made a few substitutions. Instead of corn syrup, I replaced it with agave syrup. Both corn and agave have a bad rap, it is entirely up to you which to use. I have used both and both worked well. I have also used honey, however, due to crystallization and the amount of water, scientific blah, blah, blah here, the marshmallows texture and flavor vary. The honey marshmallows were good, but had a strong honey taste and had a crunchy exterior. Either way, it didn’t stop us from eating it! If you have a corn allergy, you can use agave or honey.
  • Grain free/Corn free: It is important to note that confectioner’s sugar contains corn starch, but organic confectioner’s sugar contains tapioca starch. I usually use the organic confectioner’s sugar along with arrowroot starch, as a preference. You can use regular confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch if you do not have any food sensitivities.
  • I used refined coconut oil which does not contain the coconut flavor. However, using unrefined coconut oil will give a coconut flavor, in which case, you could dust it with unsweetened toasted coconut shreds and make coconut marshmallows! Yum. Using any neutral oil (grape seed, canola, etc. is fine)
  • Mixing time indicated in the recipe is from 12-15 minutes. I usually set a timer one minute prior to stopping the mixer in order to add the extract. If you stop at the 12 minute mark, you will have a softer marshmallow, while stopping at the 15 minute mark provides a much firmer texture.marsh5

Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

Adapted from Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe


3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divide

12 ounces organic cane sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 cup organic agave syrup*

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup organic confectioners’ sugar*

1/4 cup arrowroot starch*

Refined coconut oil, for greasing the pan*


  1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment ready) along with 1/2 cup of the cold water.
  1. In a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup cold water, sugar, agave syrup and salt. 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. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  1. Turn the mixer on 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(6 to 8 on kitchen aid). 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 pan as follows.
  1. While the sugar is being whipped, combine the confectioners’ sugar and arrowroot starch in a small bowl. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with refined coconut oil using a paper towel. Generously coat the bottom of the pan with the sugar starch mixture using a sieve, making sure that you cover the edges and sides. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  1. 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 starch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  1. 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 mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, if you’re lucky for them to last that long.



To make different flavored marshmallows, I divided my sugar/starch mixture into two bowls. One with the spices added and one without. Follow the dusting process as indicated in the recipe, including the coating on top before they dry. After cutting a few strips, dust in flavored sugar starch mixture. I do it this way so that I could make some plain marshmallows and some spiced ones to please the kiddos and adults. You could add spices while it is being whipped during the last few minutes, but I have never tried it this way.marsh7

      1. Pumpkin spice: add 1 teaspoon (or more if desired) of pumpkin spice to the confectioner’s sugar and starch mixture.
      2. Chocolate cocoa: add 1-2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
      3. Mexican chocolate: 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
      4. Coconut: dust the top with unsweetened toasted (or untoasted) coconut shreds. Grease the pan with unrefined coconut oil for more coconut flavor.

Birthday and Holiday Activity

 marsh8  marsh10
 My boys: Elijah, 2 and Aiden, 6.

This would make a fun activity for a sleepover or a party. The kids could design their own marshmallows by using cookie cutters. Various kinds of candies and sprinkles could be used, as well. A take home treat and lots of fun.


If you made it, Instagram it and tag TBMB (@tbmomsblog) and me (@charleechomps).

Charlee is a Tampa native and currently resides in Valrico with her two boys (ages 5 & 2), and husband, Ben. Charlee is a teacher by day, and recipe developer by mealtime. She loves being in the kitchen and propping her boys on the counter to assist as her sous chefs. She believes that involving her whole family in the process will foster healthy habits and an appreciation of where food comes from. Charlee has a food blog called Little Red Bird Kitchen where she posts recipes and the reactions of her little guys and big guy, too. Charlee enjoys reading, pinning, crafting, and finding tasty local eats. She loves glam vintage, wears Chuck Taylor Converse everyday, and rocks the bow tie. Visit her blog @ www.littleredbirdkitchen.com and follow her Instagram @CharleeChomps.


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