7 things you need to know about homemade marshmallows

This week I woke up to snow on the ground for the first time all season. You know what that means? TIME FOR HOT BEVERAGES, FOLKS.

We all know how I go on about hot mulled cider. But today, I’m singing a different tune. The sweet, sweet song of hot cocoa, with smooth, melty marshmallows on top. (a.k.a. sugar + sugar + chocolate. How can it be bad?) And true to form, I’m gonna recommend you make these things from scratch, friends, because homemade cocoa tastes so good . . . and homemade cocoa with homemade marshmallows? It’s like a party in your mouth.

I’ll share my favorite recipes at the bottom of this post, but first: a few things you need to know about homemade marshmallows. Because I really think you should get to know homemade marshmallows.

Homemade marshmallows

1. They are full of sugar.

There’s no two ways around it. Homemade marshmallows contain three different kinds of sugar (granulated sugar, corn syrup, and powdered sugar for dusting). This is not a health food, so enjoy in moderation. Although, on the bright side, your homemade ones won’t contain any artificial colors or flavors like the store-bought ones can.

2. But they are also full of awesome.

You will not be sorry for making homemade marshmallows; in fact, I suspect that you, like me, will decide that you will never buy the store-bought ones again. The recipe itself is quite simple, and just requires a mixer to attain the proper fluffiness. They are spongy and sweet, and it really impresses people when you say you made them yourself, because they assume you used magic.

3. They can be made jumbo or tiny.

You’re making the marshmallows, so you’re calling the shots. The size of the marshmallows will depend on the size of the container you pour the whipped batter into (wider container=thinner marshmallows), and how thick you slice them after they’ve set.

4. You don’t really want to make a double batch.

I made a double batch the first time I made marshmallows. I was making JUMBO ones for a family camping outing with four dozen people, so I figured I needed A LOT.

You remember how the last time you bought a big bag of jumbo marshmallows,  you brought them to a bonfire expecting to run out, then used six total, and the rest of the bag came home with you and sat in the pantry? Yeah, that’ll happen. Even though they’re delicious . . . marshmallows go a long way, because they’re very, very rich. Especially the first time you make them, you may THINK you want to make two batches . . . but you don’t. Start with just one batch, and I bet you’ll be surprised how long they last.

5. They freeze really, really well.

If you DO make my mistake and make too many marshmallows, just pop them in the freezer. They’ll stay fresh and delicious, and taste exactly the same when you pull them out again.

6. You can roast your homemade marshmallows over a campfire.

Use a small-ish container to set the batter so they’re a good inch and a quarter thick. Then—this is critical—allow a lot of time (several days) for them to dry out, especially after they’ve been cut into cubes. If you don’t let them dry long enough, the edges will melt as soon as they come near the heat, and you’ll lose the whole thing to the flames. It’s very sad, and I don’t want this to happen to you. Or your children.

7. If you can make marshmallows, you can make marshmallow creme

Marshmallow creme, also known as marshmallow fluff, is simply what happens when you make marshmallows and stop before drying them out. You have a thick white, gooey mixture that can be used for many delicious treats. In college, my roommate and I would eat peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. Or try these dipped smores as a party treat, or plop some on top of a banana cream pie.

My favorite cocoa recipes for a chilly day


Want more ideas for household and pantry basics you can make instead of buy? Check out my ebook, I Don’t Buy That.

  • Jessi

    Alton Brown’s looks sassy with the cayenne! Sounds like a great gift in a jar with a ribbon, with a few marshmallows in a bag :)

    • It is! (I added a little too much cayenne when I made the mix yesterday…oops.) Good call, on the gift in a jar!

  • catherine

    I made the decision to make peppermint vodka, hot chocolate mix, and (embarrassingly, store bought) marshmallows as gifts for some new coworkers, but apparently we will be making marshmallows VERY soon!!! Thanks :)

  • Abigail Dupuy

    How long can you freeze your homemade marshmallows?

    • Good question Abigail…I froze mine for about 3 months, and they were good as new when I took them out. Since they’re made primarily of sugar, I don’t think there’s much chance of spoiling at any point, it would more be freshness that might suffer after a long period of time. If I found 12-month-old marshmallows in my freezer, I’d probably make a plan to eat them soon or toss them.

  • Kate Kelly-Mcgarrity

    I made Halloween Frankenstein pops using chocolate to decorate. A lot left so will they keep until next Halloween if I freeze them?

    • That sounds adorable! That’s a good question….I’ve never stored them for a whole year before. If they already have the chocolate on them, I suspect it would get brittle and/or fall off after such a long time. Let me know how it goes!

  • Ella McNish

    Hi, I just wanted to know how you freezed you marshmallows? Should I use freeze lock bags or foil?

    • Either one would work, I’m sure. I froze mine wrapped in plastic and put in a hard-sided container so they wouldn’t get smooshed by other stuff in the freezer.