Homemade Marshmallows

The taste of homemade marshmallows is unbelievably rich compared to the store-bought variety. And with the opportunity to flavor or shape them as you desire, who wouldn't want to try this fun treat? While dealing with the sugar syrup is clearly a job for grownups, spreading the marshmallow in the pan and cutting them out is one kids will enjoy.

Prep
25 mins
Total
3 hrs 25 mins
Yield
about 4 dozen 1 1/2" squares
Homemade Marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix briefly to combine; set aside.

  2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

  3. Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

  4. With the mixer set on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 3 to 10 minutes (depending on the mixer and attachment you use; a stand mixer using the whisk attachment will work more quickly than a hand mixer equipped with beaters). The mixture should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers, about 95°F. Add vanilla towards the end of the mixing time.

  5. Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows.

  6. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Dipping the knife or cutters in cold water before cutting helps reduce any stickiness.

  7. For gift-giving, wrap marshmallows individually in twists of waxed paper, and store at cool room temperature. For storage, place in a closed container, the layers separated by waxed paper or parchment paper.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For softer, "creamier" marshmallows (though still stiff enough to cut), reduce the amount of gelatin to 2 packets.
  • For gingerbread marshmallows: Instead of light corn syrup use dark corn syrup, which provides a more nuanced, caramel flavor closer to molasses. If you really love the rich, dark taste of molasses, you can replace half or even all of the corn syrup with molasses by volume. In addition, omit the vanilla and add 2 teaspoons ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon cloves (or 1 to 2 tablespoons Gingerbread Spice) to the stovetop syrup before cooking for a dose of wintry spice. 

    For eggnog marshmallows: Follow the recipe as written, adding 1 teaspoon nutmeg to the syrup mixture before cooking. If possible, use freshly grated nutmeg instead of ground; the flavor is much brighter, fresher, and more vibrant. Add 1/2 teaspoon rum extract in addition to the vanilla, if desired. 

    For chocolate-dipped marshmallows: Once marshmallows are cooled and cut, dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate and let rest for a few minutes to set. You can also sprinkle peppermint crunch, toasted nuts, or cacao nibs on the dipped chocolate section before it sets for some added flair. See our post on dipping chocolate for details on how to prepare.

    Looking for even more flavors? Check out our recipes for Peppermint Crunch Marshmallows and Maple Marshmallows.