Appalachia Appalachian Food

Homemade Marshmallows

How to make marshmallows at home

Are you a marshmallow fan? I’ve always liked them-toasted over the campfire, thrown into a dessert, or even in their cream form smeared on a piece of bread with peanut butter to make a sandwich.

The Deer Hunter is not a fan. He claims marshmallows hurt his teeth-what? How could something so soft and pillowy hurt your teeth? At least his dislike means he can toast all my marshmallows as we sit around the fire, he’s especially good at getting them just right.

A few weeks before Christmas I noticed homemade marshmallows were all the rage on social media sites. I decided to find out if the hoopla was deserved. I found a recipe here that seemed simple enough. I also consulted this recipe. I ended up using a mixture of the 2 recipes.

Home made marshmellow

To make about 2 dozen marshmallows (the amount really depends on how you cut them and how thick you make them) you will need:

  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 3 envelopes of plain gelatin powder (you can find this with the jello on the grocery shelf)
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or peppermint extract if you’d prefer)
  • 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • food coloring-your choice of color (optional)
  • non stick spray
  • candy thermometer
  • a stand mixer, a really strong arm or a helper who will trade out with you during the mixing part

Place the gelatin in the bowl of the mixer and pour 1/2 cup of the water over it, let this sit while you continue with the recipe.

Mix the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.

Easy marshmallow recipe

In a saucepan combine the remaining water (1/2 cup), the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place covered pot over medium high heat and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lid and place your candy thermometer in the mixture. You need to cook the mixture until it reaches the 240 degrees mark. One recipe said this would take about 8 minutes, but it was more like 15 minutes for me.

How to make marshmallows

As soon as the mixture reaches the 240 mark remove it from the heat. Turn your mixer on low and quickly drizzle the hot mixture into the mixer. I got totally panicked on this part the first time I made them, but just take your time. Every time I’ve made the marshmallows some of the mixture begins to harden before I can get it all in the bowl and the recipe has still turned out ok for me.

Once the hot sugar mixture is in the mixer turn the speed up to high and allow it to mix until the mixture becomes very thick and lukewarm. One recipe said this would take 12 minutes the other said 6 minutes. Mine took about 8 minutes. In the last few minutes of mixing add the vanilla or the peppermint which ever you prefer. If you use peppermint oil instead of extract only use a drop or two.

While the mixer is doing the hard work, use cooking spray to grease a pan. One recipe suggested using a 13 X 9 pan one said to use a 8 X 8 pan. If you use a larger pan your marshmallows will be thinner, more like mini-marshmallows. If you use a smaller pan your marshmallows will be thicker. The first time I used a larger pan, but quickly decided I liked the thicker marshmallows better so I’ve used the smaller pan since then.

Once you’ve decided on a pan size and sprayed it, pour the cornstarch confectioner’s sugar mixture into the pan and slosh it around covering all sides. Pour the excess back into the bowl for later use.

Marshmallow recipe

Pour the marshmallow mixture into your pan quickly. Again-I panicked the first time I made them because the mixture was so sticky. It’s been super sticky every time and they’ve still turned out great. Once the mixture is in the pan you can drop your choice of food coloring on the top and use a case knife to swirl it in or leave the food coloring completely out.

Dust the top of the marshmallows with part of the leftover cornstarch/confectioner’s sugar mixture. You’ll still have some left, keep it for when you cut the marshmallows.

Set the pan uncovered at room temperature overnight or at least 4 hours according to one of the recipes. I’ve always waited overnight.

Making marshmallows at home

The next day flip your marshmallows out onto a cutting board. Mine needed a little tugging before they came out. Using a pizza cutter cut the marshmallows into the size you prefer.

Toss cut marshmallows with the left over cornstarch mixture or just dip the cut sides in it.

Marshmallow recipe thats easy to make

Once cut and dusted, store marshmallows in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks-if they last that long around your house.

Grannys hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows

If you’ve got a sweet tooth the marshmallows are good just to eat out of hand. They have a different texture than store bought ones. My favorite way to use them is to pop one into a cup of Granny’s Hot Chocolate-which is the perfect drink for the cold weather we’ve been having this week.


*Sources: A Beautiful Mess, Food Network

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  • Reply
    January 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

    What fun, these will be great to make with my grandson! He loves marshmallows:) Thanks for the recipe

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Have always wondered how marshmellows were made!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull, PhD
    January 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Tipper: I would love to share this recipe with my ‘third’ grandson – but his mama would probably not appreciate it. He loves to cook but still can not crack an egg shell gently on the side of a bowl! He thinks I am so clever when he watches me ‘crack’ the egg!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Marc Kruger
    January 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Tipper, Originally marshmallows were made from the root of the herbal plant marsh mallow. Below are the ingredients but the process using these ingredients is labor intensive. Your method is much better.
    4 tablespoons marshmallows, roots
    28 tablespoons refined sugar
    20 tablespoons gum tragacanth (or gum arabic)
    2 cups water (Water of orange flowers for aroma or instead of plain water)
    1 -2 egg white, well beaten

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Dolores-YES they are tastier than store bought ones! They are softer and fresher too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

    My husband is good a toasting marshmallows too – I like them evenly toasted, almost to the point of burning, all the way around – – there is an art to it!!
    My now sister-in-law would have loved to have had this recipe 45 years ago. She was a foreign exchange student in Brazil and got a hankering for marshmallows – her host family had no clue what she was trying to describe and she couldn’t find them anywhere. Her mom found a recipe in an old cookbook and sent it to her. I’ll have to see if she still has it and how it compares.
    Did you know that marshmallow cream now comes in toasted marshmallow flavor? That cool discovery was put to good use at a “campout” we sponsored for the area nursing home. We made s’mores with graham crackers, toasted marshmallow cream, and ice cream fudge sauce – they were quite a hit!
    My Dad likes marshmallows in his apple salad so when I know he’s coming for a meal, I always add them. At a family dinner he was sitting next to his oldest great granddaughter and as her served her a couple spoonfuls of apple salad her mother said – “don’t bother, she won’t eat fruit.” Child immediately digs in and eats everything he’s served her. Turns out he’s picked out the marshmallows and only given her marshmallows!!
    One more thought – bet dutch cocoa could be added to the cornstarch mixture, or maybe replace the cornstarch and added to the powdered sugar for the dusting powder.
    You’ve layed down a challenge – – gonna have to try this.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

    That was interesting; I never thought of making my own marshmellows. Were they sweeter/more tasty than the store bought ones? The Deer Hunter probably has sensitive teeth and the amount of sweetness is what bothers him. It’s nice, however, of him to roast them for you and let you enjoy the benefits.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I love marshmallows…any flavor, shape, color or size. I stumbled on a recipe for marshmallow frosting in a Better Homes And Gardens magazine just before Thanksgiving. It called for simple ingredients and was so easy to make.
    The Deer Hunter could be right about marshmallows hurting his teeth. My sister arrived at work a little early and decided to sit in her car, eat a snack and make a call. She told about having to call in work and tell them she was headed to the dentist to an emergency appointment to fix a broken tooth. I asked what she was eating and she said marshmallows!
    Carol, I thought my mom made up the ‘gome’ word! I still slip and say it every once in a while.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Wow, Tipper, you have more energy than a greyhound! I would love to eat one of these but I would not begin to try to make them!!! I was fascinated to read that you took a “case knife”….my family has always used that term also. I looked it up and Wikipedia says that it is a name used throughout the American South to refer to a table knife. Then I was reading today’s comments and I was stunned to read Ken’s use of the word “gomey” because I honestly thought that my Mom had made that up!! Is this an Appalachian term does anybody know??

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    January 22, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Tipper. these look delicious and I dearly love marshmallow I love smorges: graham cracker, marshmallow and a block of Hersey bars heated.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I like marshmallows, but I be danged if I’d work that hard for them! They are pretty–and I would try them if they were already made!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 22, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Try dipping them in melted dark chocolate. Delicious. I usually dip twice.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Interesting Candy, homemade rocks.
    Tipper, I only like marshmallows on a stick roasted, or on top of a sweet potato casserole. It sounds like a lot of work making them at home. I don’t think I will be trying this one, but I loved reading about them. Something I did not think you could make at home.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 22, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Wow Tipper, you sure come up with some neat things to try. I’m with the Deer Hunter, I just can’t eat marshmallows plain. I like them in fruit salad but that’s about it. If I was there when you made them I’d taste them just to see how they are different from store bought ones.
    A couple of days ago I tried your Buttermilk Biscuit Cake recipe. It was outstanding! Thanks so much for that.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 22, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I’ve never developed a taste for these
    things. My daughters and granddaughters love them toasted. For Thanksgiving they were here and opened my wood stove and pretended they were all camping.
    Theirs was orange, like pumpkins. I
    never seen such a sticky, gomey mess
    of something to eat, but it looked like they were all having fun.
    Yours look nice and colorful…Ken

  • Reply
    Candy Eaton
    January 22, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Did you know that marshmallows thrown from back of a speeding pickup truck can have almost the same impact on innocent pedestrians as rocks of the same mass?

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