Springy, Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows {corn syrup free recipe}

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A tray of food, with Marshmallow and Chocolate

Homemade marshmallows melt into a mug of hot chocolate like nothing else. The chocolate becomes a foamy, sweet and frothy drink that is irresistible to me.

These are sweet, fluffy, chewy, homemade marshmallows with flecks of vanilla bean throughout each bite. It is pure decadence and I’ll admit I’ve made more hot chocolate this week than I have in years.

Have you ever tasted a homemade marshmallow? They are amazingly different from the store bought version in the plastic bag. I used to ignore store bought marshmallows in the cupboard for months (or I’ll admit it might have even been years) at a time. Store bought marshmallows simply don’t tempt me like these do.

I made marshmallows for the first time a few years ago and now it’s my tradition to make them at Christmas. This year, I was determined to figure out a substitute for the corn syrup that is used in most homemade marshmallows. I’ve seen recipes that use honey, but personally, I don’t want a honey flavor to my marshmallows.

A close up of a plate of food and a cup of coffee, with Marshmallow and Sugar

The recipe initially looks like a horribly long process, but it really isn’t as time-consuming as it seems at first glance. Read the recipe start to finish a few times before starting and you shouldn’t have any problems with it. Basically, soften the gelatin, make the sugary syrup, pour over the gelatin and mix until fluffy. Beat the egg whites, combine them with the sugar mixture and chill. Then cut, roll in powdered sugar and enjoy!

I’m including two different corn syrup free options below. You can use brown rice syrup, which I found at our local health food store. Or, you can make your own substitution for corn syrup by simply combining sugar and water in a 4:1 ratio. I made both versions this week to test them and both of them were a success.

The all sugar marshmallow was sweeter than the rice syrup version. The flavor was exactly like Jet Puffed marshmallows, with a slighter better texture than any store bought marshmallow.

This version is much stickier when it is removed from the pan, but after the powdered sugar coating it was comparable to the original homemade version. This marshmallow is a bright white, as shown in the last picture at the bottom of this page.

My personal favorite and the ones that I could not stay away from are the marshmallows made with brown rice syrup. With a milder flavor that was not quite as sugary-sweet as traditional marshmallows, these were tempting me to sneak tastes all weekend, as they were waiting in their jar on top of the counter.

This marshmallow made with brown rice syrup is slightly more of a cream color, as pictured at the top of this page and here with the hot chocolate.

A close up of a piece of bread

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Springy, Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows {corn syrup free recipe}

Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Smitten Kitchen via Gourmet, December 1998
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Ingredients 

  • About 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin about 3 1/2 envelopes
  • 1 cup cold water divided
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or an additional 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped or 1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Grease the bottom and sides of a square-edge 9x13 rectangular pan with butter or flavorless cooking oil. Generously dust the sides and bottom of the pan with powdered sugar. Set aside. Pour half a cup of cold water in the bowl of a standing mixer. (The marshmallows can also be made in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, but it will likely double the times involved.) Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand to soften.
  • In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, syrup, 1/2 cup cold water and the salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and boil the mixture until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the sugar mixture over the gelatin, stirring until the gelatin has dissolved.
  • MIXING OPTION 1: Beat this mixture on high speed until thick, white and almost tripled in volume, at least 6 minutes. Grease a second mixing bowl and then transfer the sticky white mixture to the greased bowl. Clean the beaters and used bowl well and then whip two egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and then transfer the fluffy sugar mixture into the beaten egg whites. (The sticky white mixture should just slide or roll out of the well-greased bowl.)
  • MIXING OPTION 2: Beat this mixture on high speed until thick, white and
  • almost tripled in volume, at least 6 minutes. In a seperate bowl, with a second handheld mixer or immersion blender whisk attachment, whip two egg whites until
  • they hold stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and then transfer the beaten egg whites into the fluffy sugar mixture.
  • Beat the egg whites into the sugar mixture, just until combined. Scoop this mixture into the greased and powdered baking pan and spread it out to fill the pan. Do not worry about it if you don't get every last bit out of the mixing bowl. Sift 1/4 cup powdered sugar evenly over the top of the marshmallows. Chill at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • The brown rice syrup version was ready to cut at 3 hours. The all sugar version was still quite sticky at the three hour mark, so I left them in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, they were still a bit more sticky than I expected, but they did pull out of the pan just fine.
  • Run a knife around the edges of the pan and then invert the pan over a large cutting board. Lift up one corner of the pan and use your fingers to release the marshmallow from the pan and place it on the cutting board. Dust the top again with powdered sugar if it is very sticky. With a pizza cutter, or a large knife, (I HIGHLY recommend the pizza cutter if at all possible, it makes cutting them a breeze!) trim the edges of the marshmallows and then cut the marshmallows into approximately 1" cubes.
  • Sift the remaining powdered sugar into the now-empty baking pan. Roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before placing them in an airtight container. They will keep well at cool room temperature for at least 1 week. Enjoy!
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{originally published 11/29/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 9/12/16}

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Magnolia Verandah says

    I have never made marshmallows – I am not a big marshmallow fan probably put off by the synthetic shop bought ones. But these ….my goodness they look good, now I could be tempted especially in hot chocolate.

  2. Tricia @ saving room for dessert says

    Mary – you and I must be working from the same book somewhere – these are on my bucket list and can't wait to make them! I am confused about the corn syrup thing however. I read about a lot of people that don't want to use it but thought that only applied to high-fructose corn syrup used in manufactured products. Is Karo corn syrup the same thing as high-fructose corn syrup? Sorry to be such a dummy on this subject 🙂

    • Mary says

      Karo corn syrup is a slightly less modified version of the same corn product. High fructose corn syrup goes through an additional process to make it sweeter than standard corn syrup. However, because most corn derivatives are made with GMO corn, my family has chosen to avoid it altogether. I've heard mentioned that Karo does now have an organic syrup available, but I have never seen it.

      Because we don't generally purchase products with HFCS in the label, it's easiest for me to just avoid corn syrup in general. Does that help or are you even more confused now? Have a great day, Tricia!

  3. Koni says

    Can you freeze them to make them last longer? Or do you just have to suck it up and eat them all in a week? (which should NOT be a problem). Just wondering!

    • Anonymous says

      HAHA…yes, that is a legitimate question in my mind! 🙂 I'd love to know if they can be refrigerated/frozen to keep longer. It's just two of us at home, and we're being so good about mindless snacking…these look dangerous!
      /s/TiaChocolate

    • Mary says

      YES! You can freeze them, but I only use them straight from the freezer into hot chocolate after they are frozen. I hope that helps!

    • Gramma Sue (former professional cook. says

      The hot syrup cooks the egg whites. No worries about salmonella. The syrup is cooked to 240 degrees and salmonella is killed at 165 degrees. As long as you use the syrup right away and don't allow it to cool, the egg whites will be safe.

    • Jenna Kreisler says

      I just read a new study this week that said that egg that is mixed with sugar…. the sugar binds to the raw egg and creared a barrier for bacteria– so it is much safer than what was once thought.

  4. momentary lapse says

    I just finished putting the mixture into the prepared pan. I chose to do the brown rice version. Everything seemed like it should be except when I added the sugar mix to the egg whites. Now it's lumpy like large pieces of cottage cheese. Is this normal or did I do something wrong?

    Thanks for any help!

  5. Anonymous says

    So .. i tried to make marshmallows from another recipe and it looked like a jelly mix ..that recipe didnt have any egg whites. after beating it it looked the same with no increase in volume :/ .. and then i searched for your recipe and tried to recover it by adding egg whites ..eh it remanined the same . I used up a lot of ingredients and i dont think i can waste them . im kinda hopeless now and i put it in the refridgerator and my mix's all-sugar . i cant really waste this mixture 🙁 so can you please tell me how i can recover it somehow OR i can make something else with this mixture ?Pleaaaase reply .. i really need help.
    Sincerely a 15 year old girl and i love you <3

    • Mary Younkin says

      I'm sorry I can't be of help here. I have no idea what is already in the mix or what might have gone wrong. If you beat it for the recommended time and it didn't work for that recipe, adding the egg whites that I use here probably wouldn't have helped it. I hate wasting ingredients as well, but I can't think of a way to fix it. I hate kitchen disappointments too!
      Mary

  6. Anonymous says

    I just added the hot sugar mixture to the gelatin and now I have a lump of hard candy/gelatin and the rest of the syurp mixture that wont mix in…. what can I do?

    • Mary says

      I've never had that happen. The two mixtures should have dissolved into each other. Was the hot sugar mixture at the correct temperature when you poured it in? and then did you stir (or attempt to stir) it immediately? It still wouldn't combine with the mixer? I'm very sorry it didn't work for you. I don't know what would have caused the gelatin mixture to turn into a hard candy. I haven't heard of that happening before.

  7. Anonymous says

    Try coating the marshmallows in corn starch instead of sugar. They are less sweet, less sticky, and closer to taste to Jet puffed but much better. Thanks for the brown rice syrup suggestion, I had never heard of it and would love to replace the corn syrup.

  8. lovemyqtkids says

    I'd like to make rice krispy treats with these marshmallows. Do you think I can just skip the chilling option and add the cereal? Or should I just make your marshmallows and then use the regular treat recipe. Thanks!

  9. Unknown says

    I've been looking for a good corn-free recipe for marshmallows, and am trying this one this weekend, if I can source the ingredients I need. My younger daughter is allergic to corn but has a negligible reaction to organic corn. So I use powdered sugar with either organic corn starch or one that uses a different starch alltogther, which can be hard to find locally. I do a lot of mail-order for basic ingredients!

  10. Valerie McCarthy says

    I made marshmallows using the option 1 process this morning. They taste amazing and my kids can't wait for us to cut them up into different shapes. Thanks for the detailed info, it's really appreciated!

  11. emma rogers says

    do you have any further feedback on how long these keep? was thinking about making them for christmas presents but want to be able to tell them, plus be sure they'll last from when i can make them til when i get to gifting back at home!!

    • Mary says

      I've kept them in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. For gifting, I try to make them within a day or two of sending them.

  12. Anonymous says

    it would really be nice if you would put the recipe on Facebook page so we can like it and share it and save it to our wall