Sweet, soft and perfectly fluffy pillows of deliciousness – these homemade marshmallows have only 3 healthy ingredients that are whipped to perfection. Sweetened with honey, these marshmallows are Paleo, Primal and GAPS compliant. Roast them around the fire or top your hot cocoa with these homemade marshmallows!
Homemade Marshmallow Recipe
Storebought marshmallows have a weird dry shell and are nothing but high fructose corn syrup with no redeeming health benefits. But these homemade marshmallows are light as air, delicate and perfectly gooey.
Best of all, they are made with nothing but healthy and nourishing ingredients: sweetener, gelatin and air. That’s right – though air isn’t technically an ingredient, it’s an important component to get that perfect pillow-y marshmallow texture.
These healthy marshmallows are ready to be enjoyed around a campfire or in a mug of nourishing hot cocoa. Rest assured, knowing that these squishy delicacies are made with the most wholesome clean ingredients.
This version is truly the most organic and real marshmallows you can get.
If you want to read more in depth about the health benefits of gelatin, read my post on The When, How and Why of Aspic. Even though aspic is meat jello, the main gelatinous component is the same as one used in this marshmallow recipe.
In the interest of all things healthy, a question that gets asked very often is: How can I make homemade marshmallows without gelatin?
Gelatin has an important role in healthy marshmallows. It serves as a setting agent much like in jello. To make these marshmallows vegan, you can use agar instead, which has a very similar profile. Personally, I’ve never substituted agar for gelatin but from my research, you can easily sub powdered agar for gelatin using a 1:1 ratio.
Are marshmallows gluten-free?
Marshmallows are not only gluten-free, but by some accounts they can also be considered a health food. When made with the best quality ingredients such as grass-fed gelatin and a real sweetener, these marshmallows are indeed a healthy treat.
Better yet, these real food marshmallows are paleo, primal and even GAPS diet friendly. That’s because they are sweetened with honey, the only sweetener allowed on the GAPS diet.
What are the ingredients in marshmallows?
Gelatin – When considering what gelatin to use, be sure to source only grass-fed gelatin. I love Perfect Supplements Bovine Gelatin for many reasons and the reasonable cost is one of them. One bottle will last you a long while, even with frequent marshmallow-making.
But most importantly, Perfect Supplements gelatin is fully lab tested as being completely glyphosate free. Being that cows are ruminant animals grazing on grass – this is incredibly important to me. Also, their gelatin has no fillers or flow agents – just pure collagen protein.
Water – This is used to bloom the gelatin and kick start the setting process of the gelatin.
Honey – Even though, the benefits of raw honey are lost during the heating process, it is still a better sweetener than sugar and light years better than corn syrup. You may sub maple syrup for honey but just note, the end product won’t be a stark white that we all know marshmallows to be.
The arrowroot powder is a very helpful ingredient to dust the marshmallows as it makes handling them easier. And sea salt always brings out more flavor in any sweet treat. Additionally, you may add a little bit of vanilla powder or extract but that’s not necessary.
That’s it! Those are the main ingredients to homemade marshmallows. And lots of love and air.
Even though these homemade marshmallows can be considered healthy, it’s still wise to enjoy them as a treat since they are still high in sugar. But I won’t judge you if you eat a few too many.
How to Make Homemade Marshmallows
The process to make homemade marshmallows is rather simple: it’s all about whipping air into sugar. Marshmallows start with water and cooked sugar (or honey in this healthy version), then during an intense whipping process the air is pushed into the pockets of sugar molecules creating this fluffy wonder.
Take extra care adding cooked honey and water to bloomed gelatin. Because gelatin loses some of its setting properties at high temperatures, it’s best to let the honey cool down just a smidge before adding it along the wall of the mixer bowl in a thin stream. This will cool down the sweetener even more while still melting the gelatin to create a uniform consistency.
The hardest part in making homemade marshmallows is admittedly waiting for the marshmallow base to “cure”. That should be at least 4 hours but overnight is even better. Don’t rush this part. you want your homemade marshmallows to have the right consistency and that can only be achieved after it has set properly. I’ve also found that the longer the marshmallow sets, the easier it is to cut it.
Bloom gelatin with water in a stand mixer bowl and set aside while it sets slightly.
In a saucepan with thick bottom, heat honey and additional water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then gently simmer for approximately 12 minutes.
Transfer the bloomed gelatin to the stand mixer and turn on low speed. Gently, pour honey mixture in a thin stream, taking care to make sure it pours down the sides of the bowl and not directly into the gelatin mixture.
Once all honey mixture is added to the gelatin, turn the speed to high and mix until it turns to marshmallow fluff consistency, approximately 15 minutes.
Transfer the marshmallow fluff into a shallow baking dish and spread evenly. Set aside to completely “cure” for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.
Dust marshmallow with corn starch or arrowroot powder. Remove from pan. Cut in half crosswise, then cut lengthwise to make 1″ strips. Then, cut crosswise to create 1″ cubes. Toss all marshmallows with additional starch and transfer to a closed container for storage.
Tips to making homemade marshmallows
- You can add flavorings to your homemade marshmallows. Any real food extracts will work but it’s best to add them towards the end of the whipping process. My favorite add-in is vanilla bean powder. I prefer the powder since it’s super concentrated and gives off lovely brown specks of vanilla bean. Though a little pricey, a little goes a long way and a small bag of vanilla bean powder can last you years.
- For extra sweetness, you can add a bit of powdered sugar into the arrowroot powder for the dusting.
- To make mini-marshmallows – use a baking sheet with a large surface area. Spread out the marshmallow fluff as evenly as you can. After marshmallow sets, cut into pieces of desired size.
- Homemade marshmallows should be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature. Do not be tempted to keep them in the refrigerator as they will harden and turn into a sticky mess.
Equipment & ingredients needed to make homemade marshmallows
- Stand mixer – it makes the whipping process much quicker and easier since it’s literally hands-off.
- Thick bottom Sauce Pan – this one is stainless steel and has a spout which makes the pouring easier.
- Spatula – This icing spatula works great to spread out all the marshmallow fluff across the sheet.
- Gelatin – my favorite brand is Perfect Supplements. Use PREPARE10 for a 10% OFF.
- Real Honey – I prefer to use a light-colored honey for marshmallows so the end product is very light.
- Vanilla Bean Powder – this stuff is potent. You need just a 1/4 teaspoon for the entire recipe and it will give a lovely vanilla aroma.
- 9×13 Pan – I love this one since it already has a lid making it easier to store marshmallows. If making mini-marshmallows, use a large baking sheet such as this one with a bigger surface area.
- Prepare 9x13 pan by lining it with parchment paper both directions. Allow the sides to drape over for easy handling. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/4 cup of filtered water and sprinkle gelatin over the water to "bloom." Set aside.
- In a thick-bottom saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining water (1/4 cup), honey and salt together. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Continue to simmer honey mixture over low heat for approximately 12 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't overflow. Watch the honey mixture carefully so it remains contained.
- Assemble stand mixer with whisk attachment and position the bowl with bloomed gelatin. Turn mixer on low setting.
- Gently in a continuous thin stream, pour hot honey mixture directly over the bloomed gelatin while mixer is running on low speed.
- Gradually turn mixer to high setting and continue whipping until mixture has increased in volume and is thick and glossy. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
- Transfer marshmallow fluff to prepared pan and spread evenly across with spatula. Metal icing spatula works best for marshmallow.
- Set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
- Dust top of the marshmallow with arrowroot. Remove the marshmallow by lifting the parchment paper flaps on the sides and transfer to large cutting board. Carefully, remove paper from marshmallow edges and coat the edges with more arrowroot for easier handling. It should release easily.
- Flip over the marshmallow and sprinkle the bottom side with arrowroot. Cut to desired size. Gently toss all marshmallow pieces in loose arrowroot powder.
- Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- When pouring in the cooked honey into the bloomed gelatin, be sure to pour in a continuous thin stream. This will cool the hot sweetener and will not compromise the setting properties of the bloomed gelatin.
- You can add flavorings to your homemade marshmallows. Any real food extracts will work but it's best to add them towards the end of the whipping process.
- Don't rush the setting phase. You have to let the marshmallows "cure" for at least 4 hours. This will create the perfect texture for cutting them.
- For extra sweetness, you can add a bit of powdered sugar into the arrowroot powder to dust the marshmallows.
- To make mini-marshmallows - use a baking sheet with a large surface area. Spread out the marshmallow fluff as evenly as you can. After marshmallow sets, cut into pieces of desired size.
- Store marshmallows in an air tight container at room temperature. Never in the fridge as they will harden if you do so.