Vegan marshmallows should be part of any plant-based kitchen – for s’mores, hot cocoa, or just for snacking.
Vegan marshmallows homemade in my own kitchen. I have to say, I never thought I’d see the day.
You see, marshmallows and I have a long history. I’m not gonna lie. They’re kind of a gross food. In the sense that it’s a sugar overload. Like way too much.
but also just enough.
Despite their overly sweetness, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hidden a stash of mini marshmallows in my desk drawer and just munched on them while working on something. I mean, who does that? Granted, it only takes like 2 little handfuls before I have a full-on bellyache and my mouth is coated in an artificial powdery substance.
Yet I still keep doing it to myself over and over.
In fact, marshmallows are one of the few foods I have held onto since going vegan. And I know I could go pick up a bag of store bought vegan marshmallows, but that means going to a store that’s out of my way and also paying quite a bit more than a couple bucks for the mini marshmallows I’m used to. So I just haven’t made the transition.
But first let’s talk about marshmallows.
What brands of Marshmallows are Vegan?
I know Trader Jos has started offering a gelatin-free marshmallow. Dandies is another popular brand as well. But I know both of these options can be difficult for those who don’t live in larger cities and have a TJs in their area.
Are Kraft Marshmallows vegan?
Unfortunately, not even a little bit. The gelatin in them makes them not vegan at all… so let’s talk about that.
Why is gelatin not Vegan?
Most conventional store-bought marshmallows contain gelatin. And I know what you’re thinking. Gelatin is no problem. There’s no meat in my Jell-o. I totally get it. I didn’t realize this until my brother-in-law told me and ruined all jello, gummy bears, and fruit snacks for me. Thanks dude.
But yeah, back to gelatin. So it’s pretty gross when you think about it. Gelatin comes from pork… specifically the tendons, skin, bones, cartilage… you know – all the extra part you really don’t want to think about. And most of us don’t. But man, if you’re wanting to rid yourself of animal products, gelatin seems like a great place to start, cause blegh. I want nothing to do with a little piggie’s cartilage or other extra parts. And I definitely don’t need that in order to give my marshmallows and other treats that squishy texture we love so much.
So then what do we use instead?
Agar powder. Or agar agar. It’s a weird one. I know.
And I don’t like using products that are off the wall to you, but sometimes you just gotta place an order on Amazon and make it happen. I had a hard time finding it local, even at the specialty health stores, but I heard that it’s readily available at most Asian markets.
What exactly is agar powder and why do you need it in this vegan marshmallow recipe?
Agar actually comes from seaweed! But don’t worry – there’s no fishy flavor going on here. No flavor. No smell. No color. In fact it is very similar to gelatin in most aspects except for where it comes from.
It does differ in the fact that agar sets more firmly than gelatin (which may be a good thing if you’re trying to keep something firm and gelatin-like on a warm day). I mean, you don’t want your marshmallows to melt all over the place until you have them on a stick over the fire, right??
I’ve tried just whipping up aquafaba and using a sweetened foam-like mixture for marshmallows, like in my vegan s’mores dessert and my s’mores meringues, but it’s just not the same. Without the use of agar powder, you’re not getting the stability and jiggliness you’re looking for in a marshmallow.
I’m already looking forward to all the different ways I could use agar powder. Think vegan gummy bears. Vegan panna cotta. Vegan custard… a creme brulee maybe? Oh man, I’m getting excited already. What do you think I should use agar for?
So to sum it up on these amazing completely plant-based vegan marshmallows:
- shelf stable
- perfectly sweet (but not too much)
- real ingredients
- super easy
And I know you’re wondering the most important thing about these homemade vegan marshmallows.
Do they toast up like a regular marshmallow??
YES! They so do.
Are vegan marshmallows good?
Because this so matters… they taste just like a toasty marshmallow you’re used to from your childhood. I couldn’t believe how similar the flavor was.
In fact, I didn’t even get that nasty belly-aching sugar-coating situation with these marshmallows! Total win!
You can bet your bottom dollar that every mug of hot cocoa and every s’more will be complete with the addition of these vegan marshmallows.
What are you waiting for?!
One of my very favorite ways to enjoy marshmallows is sandwiched between two cookies, and the chocolatey the better. I’d definitely smash a mallow between these triple chocolate cookies without a second thought!
Or woah – what if you stepped it up a notch and put a marshmallow on my favorite vegan brownies?! WINNING!
NOW THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS, IT’S TIME TO SNAP A PIC AND LOAD IT ONTO INSTAGRAM (TAGGING ME OF COURSE @HAPPYFOODHOLLY) SO I CAN SHARE YOUR CREATION!
RECIPE UPDATED 7/10/2019
- vegetable shortening, to grease pan
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons agar agar
- 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup cold water, divided
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup corn syrup
- pinch salt
Grease bottom and sides of an 8x8 pan. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cornstarch. Use a few spoonfuls of the mixture to coat the pan on all sides and corners. Set the pan aside and save the remainder of the mixture until your marshmallows are completely set and ready to cut.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine agar agar powder and 1/2 cup water until dissolved. It should come together like a thin applesauce. Set aside.
In a 4 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in 3/4 cup water. On top of the water, pour the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and the pinch of salt. Do not stir. Bring to a rapid boil until the mixture has reached a temperature of 247 - 250 degrees F. This takes at least 15 minutes for me, but you definitely want to keep a watchful eye. To prevent sugar crystals from forming, keep a bowl of water nearby, and use a pastry brush to carefully brush water around the inside of the sauce pan, creating condensation. Once the sugar mixture has come to temperature, remove from heat.
Turn the stand mixer on to low and cover with a towel to prevent any of the boiling hot sugar to splatter on you, causing burns. Carefully and slowly pour hot syrup down the side of the bowl and into the agar mix while the mixer is on low. Then gradually increase the speed until you're finally comfortable with it on high, as soon as possible. Just keep it covered with the towel to prevent splatters.
Whip the mixture for 10 minutes until thick - almost like a shiny soft-serve ice cream consistency.
Immediately transfer the whipped mixture to the prepared 8x8 pan and set out for 12-18 hours, uncovered. You want the tops to be completely dried out and not gooey at all. Once they are dried and feeling solid, I suggest, placing them in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing into squares. Please see notes regarding temperature requirements.
Once you have cut a marshmallow, toss it in the powdered sugar + cornstarch mixture so it's coated in all sides. This will prevent it from becoming a sticky mess.
At this point, you can s'more it, roast it, or drop it in your hot cocoa.
Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
- It's best if you have the stand mixer all ready to go with the covered towel and everything when the sugar mixture has come to temperature so you're not letting it cool down at all. You want to be able to move quickly.
- When slicing, I will be 100% honest - these guys are very temperamental. Too cold and they're hard like taffy. Too soft and they just melt. I have made these no less than 15 times and while I believe this is the best ever vegan marshmallow recipe, I am still frustrated with how they behave. You will have to decide at what temperature to cut them. And do not cut them until you are ready to use them. Otherwise, you run the risk of them running all over the place and becoming a massive mess and them you leaving a nasty comment on my site, and well, that would just suck.
- Another tip for cutting these. Run a knife through cold water every couple of cuts so it doesn't get too gooey.
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Habor 022 Meat Thermometer, Instant Read Thermometer Digital Cooking Thermometer, Candy Thermometer with Super Long Probe for Kitchen BBQ Grill Smoker Meat Oil Milk Yogurt Temperature
Agar Agar Powder: Vegetable Gelatin 100% from Red Algae, Dietary Fiber Thickener | Vegan, Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Kosher, Halal | Desserts, Snacks for Kids and Pets | LIVING JIN [4/12/28oz]
KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, Onyx Black (K45SSOB)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1
Don’t like the sugary version? I also have a vegan marshmallow recipe that I’ve made with some success that using aquafaba as the main ingredient. It does work, but is slightly less stable. I’ll include that recipe here for those who want to give it a try as a “healthier” vegan marshmallow option.
Aquafaba Vegan Marshmallow
- 3/4 cup aquafaba , (liquid from can of chickpeas)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp agar powder
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
- Line a 9×13 pan or baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust with a thin layer of powdered sugar and set aside to prepare marshmallows.
- Add the liquid from a can of chickpeas in the bowl of your stand mixer (see notes). Add cream of tartar and mix on high with the whisk attachment for 6 minutes. It should be very fluffy at this point.
- Add the vanilla and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water and agar powder. Bring to a slow boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then add the sugar. Slowly boil for an additional 3 minutes while stirring constantly.
- Pour the agar+sugar mixture slowly into the aquafaba mixture while beating with your mixer on low.
- Beat for 30 seconds on low until it is all incorporated and becomes slightly shiny.
- Immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet or pan, spreading evenly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (see notes).
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into small squares or using cookie cutters to cut into different shapes.
- You can use a bowl and hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer. There’s just a lot of mixing, so your arm will get a good workout.
- The powdered sugar is optional. Without it, the marshmallows will just have more of a sticky or gelatinous feel rather than a soft and fluffy touch.
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