What Are Marshmallows Made Of?

There’s nothing I love more than camping! Unless it’s at Camp Crystal Lake. You just can’t relax there knowing that the diabolical Jason Vorhees could be lurking behind every corner. Whenever I’m not running for my life from a masked killer, my favorite thing to do is make s’mores. And the thing that holds s’mores together are my favorite squishy sweets, marshmallows. But have you ever found yourself wondering what is a marshmallow? What are marshmallows made of? Read on to learn what a marshmallow is.

What are marshmallows made of?

We all know that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is made of marshmallows, but what are marshmallows made of? What exactly is in marshmallows that makes them so gooey, soft, squishy and delicious? Marshmallows are made of sugar, corn syrup (which is pretty much sugar), water, gelatin, and air. Wait, how can air be an ingredient? It just can, shut up! Marshmallows are made of a sugar and gelatin scaffolding filled with a network of air bubbles. They’re like an airy meringue made with gelatin instead of egg whites. If you don’t know how to make meringue, that was a useless analogy. 

So how do you make marshmallows? 

Put some gelatin and water in a bowl. Add sugar, corn syrup, and more water to a saucepan, stir, and heat that sucker up until the sugar dissolves and your candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees. Don’t eat your candy thermometer, it’s a thermometer used to make candy, not a thermometer made of candy. Slowly pour that mix into the dissolved gelatin and whisk away. Whip that mix for around 10-15 minutes. Use a stand mixer with a whisk unless you want to get a crazy arm workout. You can add vanilla, powdered sugar, cornstarch, or anything else to the recipe to personalize your marshmallow.

Are marshmallows gluten free? Do marshmallows have gluten?

Marshmallows are, indeed, gluten free. Paired with a gluten-free graham cracker you can have yourself a GF s’more!

Do marshmallows have dairy? Are marshmallows vegan?

The basic ingredients needed to make marshmallows are sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin, and air. There are no dairy products in there, unless you live in some weird barn situation where cows are spraying milk into the air all the time so that the air is dairy. Let’s assume that’s not the case. So, marshmallows are dairy-free! But notice there is gelatin in there. Gelatin is made with collagen, the connective material in animal tissues. That means that a typical marshmallow is neither vegan nor vegetarian since it is made with animal products. But there are some vegan and vegetarian marshmallow options out there. Instead of gelatin, they use agar, which is a seaweed-based gelatin. Don’t worry, they don’t taste like seaweed. They have the same great marshmallowy taste but aren’t quite as fluffy. 

Marshmallows are my favorite squishy, airy, fluffy snack that are great by themselves or as part of something bigger like a s’more or rice krispy treat. It has always been a dream of mine to someday meet the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and eat him. If I stay in school, I may one day accomplish my dream.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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