These homemade marshmallows, made with confectioners’ and granulated sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, vanilla, and cornstarch, are actually quick and easy to make and soooooo much better than store-bought.
Grilling marshmallows may have been the only thing I enjoyed about summer camp. They came in wax-paper–wrapped boxes and then, later, in bags with “jet-puffed” printed on them, but they were always a mystery. What was this white, spongy stuff, and why didn’t any mom know how to make it? Well, we know now. Make these not-overly-sweet marshmallows and grill them at the end of a barbecue, toast them around a campfire, and add them to s’mores or just pop them in your mouth (after letting them cool, which is actually the hardest part about this recipe).–David Leite
☞ Table of Contents
- Oil for greasing the pan and the knife or pizza cutter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar plus more for dusting
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- Three envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Drop of food coloring (optional)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Slick a 9-by-13-inch pan with oil and sprinkle it with a little confectioners’ sugar.
☞TESTER TIP: A nonstick pan works especially well.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, and the corn syrup. Cover and bring to a boil without stirring. Uncover, place a candy or deep-fry thermometer in the pan, and heat the syrup to 240°F (115°C), or the soft-ball stage. This will most likely take 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the syrup starts to boil, pour 1/2 cup water in the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the whisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface, and stir well until the gelatin is completely wet. Let the gelatin soften at least 1 minute.
- Slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin in a steady stream, beating at low speed. Increase the speed to high and beat, frequently scraping the sides of the bowl, until the mixture turns white and begins to thicken, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract. If you care for pretty pastel marshmallows, add a drop of food coloring now. Continue beating on high until the mixture is quite thick.
- Scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface Let rest at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- Using a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle a little confectioners' sugar over both the marshmallows and a sheet of wax paper at least as large as the pan. Oil a knife and slide it around all sides of the pan to loosen. Invert the pan onto the paper and pry out one corner with the knife until the rest follows. Dust what was formerly the bottom of the slab of marshmallow with more confectioners' sugar.
- In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine the 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with the cornstarch.
- Oil a knife or pizza cutter and slice the marshmallow crosswise into 10 strips (or more or less depending on the size preferred). Cut 1 strip into 8 pieces (again, more or less to preference) and toss them in the confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat completely. Shake off excess in a sieve or colander and repeat with the remaining strips. (If you have leftover confectioners’ sugar mixture, store it in a sealed container and save it for your next batch of marshmallows.)
☞TESTER TIP: You’ll need to wipe and re-oil the knife in between cuts.
- Devour immediately or store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These marshmallows were really good and easy to make! I made them for my godchildren to take on their trip to Disney World. The kids commented that they were “so good and taste a lot better than the regular ones!”
They were amazed that I actually made marshmallows and had several questions about the making of them, seeing as it’s not something that people really think about making at home. They weren’t overly sweet, were perfectly fluffy, and the vanilla flavoring really came through nicely. I didn’t add food coloring to this batch, but can’t wait to get creative by adding colors.
This was my first time making homemade marshmallows and it was so much easier than I thought. It took a little work to get the mixture to stay in the corners of the pan.
Be sure to oil and sprinkle powdered sugar in your pan very generously. My marshmallows were a little tricky to get out of the pan. After finally getting the marshmallows out of the pan, everything was easy. A pizza wheel works fantastic for cutting. I sprayed mine with cooking spray once and was able to cut all the marshmallows.
These would be great gifts to give for any occasion. I can see substituting the vanilla for peppermint extract for holiday gifts. The possibilities are endless as to the flavors and colors you can make.
At first glance, I wondered why there needed to be yet another homemade marshmallow recipe. They’re really easy to find online and truly they are all very similar. But where this recipe shines—and it really does—is in the directions, especially towards the end when it’s time to get them out of the pan and cut them up. Other recipes do leave you hanging at that point without much direction and really, it’s not all that intuitive. But this recipe makes its easy. Additionally, I have never tasted a better marshmallow. These are fantastic.
There’s also a nice touch at the very end whereby you toss the cut up marshmallows in a little more powdered sugar so as to hit their edges.This is brilliant! That step give you the added option of stacking them in a cello bag (for gifts) without them sticking on the edges if they fall around.
Additionally, I made these twice and the second time I added a 1/4 t of kosher salt (Morton). This really brought out their flavor. Also, the second time I did not use the cornstarch in the final dusting (only the confectioner’s sugar) and this worked fine.
I cut larger pieces for 40 total. This is personal preference. You could easily get 80 smaller marshmallows.
This recipe makes pretty good marshmallows. The instructions are clear and timings are accurate.
I did not think the end result was as fluffy as I like. This is more of a personal preference, I think.
The 1/2 cup water wasn’t enough to hydrate the gelatin. I was left with a good bit of dry “powder” so I added about 3 more tablespoons to get all of it hydrated.
Servings: a LOT. I did not count, honestly, but at least 80 as the recipe suggests. Enough for a whole lot of hot chocolate.
I actually make marshmallows a lot for my business (s’mores bar!) and although this recipe has more sugar and more water than my standard recipe, it works very well and there’s no reason not to recommend it. The instructions are clear and everything is straightforward and primarily hands-off.
I might back off the vanilla a tiny bit, as the flavor seemed slightly overwhelming and out of balance, and I am not convinced that the cornstarch is necessary (my standby recipe uses only confectioner’s sugar and I can’t discern a difference in quality or storage). Otherwise, these come together beautifully and taste very good, proving how much better homemade marshmallows are than store-bought versions. Once you try these, you’ll never go back to the bag! For what it’s worth, these are great for toasting and they also freeze quite nicely!
I cut mine in 1 1/4-inch squares that were 1/2 inch thick, yielding about 40 marshmallows. The recipe suggests 80 small marshmallows, which is entirely possible!
I have made homemade marshmallows several times before and each time seems so much easier. This recipe came out great. I used wax paper lightly sprayed with oil to smooth out my marshmallow mixture when I poured it into the pan. I also usually spray my spatula so it sticks less. I dusted my cutting board with confectioners’ sugar like you would do with flour for dough and used my pizza cutter instead of a knife. They turned out great, much better texture and taste than store-bought. Great for s’mores but also perfect for hot chocolate!
Originally published March 20, 2020