Candy and sugary desserts are not a food eaten very often by my family. My husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, and we attempt to avoid sugar as much as possible. But occasionally when the kids are craving sweets, or if we’re out somewhere where candy and other junk food are around, I try to find a healthier alternative for them. This healthy, homemade marshmallow recipe came about because of that need.
We actually got the idea when watching a cooking show with the kids, and since I was not going to use the corn syrup and processed sugar that the TV recipe suggested, the healthy marshmallow experimenting began!
It’s a sticky process for sure but really fun for the kids to watch the gelatin turn into fluffy white goo … and with a little practice not much trouble at all. Homemade marshmallows aren’t sickeningly sweet like store-bought marshmallows and have a better texture and flavor too (in my opinion!).
Healthy Marshmallows? Is It Possible?
Maybe you’re wondering … isn’t she always saying how sugar is bad? In a word, yes, and I have a stricter policy for myself on even natural sugars than I used to. For the kids, though, I don’t worry about an occasional treat as long as it meets several qualifications:
- All of the ingredients have to come from healthy sources and not be made chemically in any way.
- The ingredients should have some health-boosting properties (like gelatin or probiotics, etc.).
- It needs to taste good! After all, that’s the point!
With these goals in mind, the kids and I got to work on our experiment. I had a few failed marshmallow batches that luckily still tasted good and could be used as a marshmallow cream. Finally, I found a marshmallow recipe that I was happy with (and so were the kids!).
This recipe contains all GAPS-friendly ingredients, which is great for those trying to reverse food allergies. (We were working on a dairy allergy at the time with my son.) The gelatin and optional probiotics are gut-soothing and supportive of skin, hair, and nail growth. And if you use some of the variations below, you can work in even more health-boosting ingredients.
- More on the marshmallow root option – Since I came up with the first marshmallow recipe, I came up with a way to add marshmallow root for additional health benefits. This anti-inflammatory herb is known for its soothing, cooling effects and is great on a sore throat. Using it is entirely optional (I indicate this in the recipe), but if you’re going to have sugar, might as well have anti-inflammatories with it! I also think it makes it a little more authentic.
- Matcha Marshmallow – Try my matcha marshmallow recipe for a different healthy marshmallow option. I originally came up with this one day when contemplating how to color the marshmallows to make them more festive. Of course, I didn’t want to use artificial food dye, and my eye fell on our powdered matcha tea. Bingo! Delicious, colorful marshmallows with the additional health benefits of matcha tea.
- Elderberry Marshmallow – No kid will turn down this remedy! Immune-boosting elderberry syrup makes these marshmallows the perfect soothing treat when cold season hits.
- Marshmallow “fluff” – Reduce the gelatin for a thinner consistency. I got the “fluff” texture when I used around 2 tablespoons of gelatin.
Healthy Marshmallow Recipe
- 1 TBSP marshmallow root powder (optional)
- 1 cup water (warm, divided)
- ¼ cup gelatin powder
- 1 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 2 tsp vanilla (or mint or lemon extract, cocoa powder, etc.)
- 4 capsules probiotics (optional)
- If using marshmallow root powder, combine 1 cup of warm water with the 1 marshmallow root and set aside for 5 minutes (or as long as overnight in the fridge).
- Stir well and strain. Make sure that the liquid makes a whole cup.
- Pour ½ cup of the prepared marshmallow root mix into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the gelatin. Whisk slightly to incorporate and set aside. If not using marshmallow root simply pour ½ cup warm water into mixing bowl, add gelatin, and whisk slightly and set aside.
- Pour the other ½ cup of water and 1 cup of honey, and cocoa powder if using, into a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
- Slowly bring the water and honey mixture to a boil while stirring. If you have a kitchen thermometer (and I recommend it), you want it to reach at least 240°F. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, just keep boiling, stirring constantly for 8 minutes.
- Turn on mixer with water/gelatin mixture to medium speed and whisk while slowly pouring the honey/water mixture into the mixing bowl.
- When add honey mix is added, turn the mixer to high and whisk for another 10-15 minutes or until it forms a stiff cream like the consistency of marshmallow cream. It should form soft peaks.
- Add the probiotics and any flavor ingredients for the last 2 minutes of mixing.
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with coconut oil or line with parchment paper, leaving some on the sides to be able to pull up.
- When marshmallows are whipped, pour into the lined/greased dish and smooth evenly.
- Let rest at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
- Flip onto a cutting board and cut with a well-oiled pizza cutter or knife.
- Store in an airtight container on the counter.
Have you ever made a dessert like this? Will you try these? What flavors would you add? Share below!
Discussion (306 Comments)
Made a batch of these today and also a double-batch of your homemade jello. So my question is – what else do you use the gelatin for? I purchased two containers of it on amazon, and not sure what else I can use it for. Would love your suggestions.
I actually dissolve a teaspoon a day in hot tea… great for skin, hair, nails. It also is great for thickening sauces, or making pudding…
Good for kids too? How much? Thanks!
my kids get 1/2 tsp plus a day 🙂
I use it as part of my cure tooth decay diet. I put some in 1yo’s blended soup for nutrients. Leftovers went in fridge. The next day I pulled it out for lunch and it was soup jello! (Duh.) It was so much easier to feed than liquid soup! I put it in all kinds of homemade baby food now.
Claudette Harmon Tooley
I know what gelatin is made from. No thank you.
Yes, from animal bones. That’s why it has so many health benefits. Making broth from bones is so nutritional and would help feed families when they didn’t have many options. Humans have been living off of animals for thousands of years!
Just because bone broth has so much nutrients, doesnt mean the collagen from the bones (gelatin) is going to carry all those nutrients also.
Humans have been using bones to get nutrients for thousands of years. They would put the bones in a pot over a fire and use the broth for days when they didn’t have meat. It would provide them with the nutrients they needed. That is why this method is still used today. Just curious, but why do you believe this not to be true?
Im not disputing the health benefits of bone broth, only pointing out that gelatin by itself isnt going to contain all the same good stuff thats in bone broth, like iron and such.
“Although gelatin is 98-99% protein by dry weight, it has less nutritional value than many other complete protein sources. Gelatin is unusually high in the non-essential amino acids glycine and proline (i.e., those produced by the human body), while lacking certain essential amino acids (i.e., those not produced by the human body).” <-wikipedia
I see what you mean. I don’t plan to use this as a complete protein source or even for its nutrients, especially for making marshmallows and fruit snacks. I will give my kids bone broth if I want to achieve that. The fact that it’s healthy and not something like corn syrup is why I think so highly of it and enjoy using it in recipes like this.
Not to mention that gelatin is great for joints, bones, healing, etc. Much better than zero nutritional value corn syrup, that’s for sure.
Glycine is anti-inflammatory and life-extending (reduces risk of death from heart problems particularly, but in rat studies it extended life of considerably compared to controls – fewer deaths from all causes). The “non essential” label it has can be misleading, all that means is that technically the body can make enough of it for survival. Does not mean body can make enough for what we really need. Glycine is absolutely essential for health, being a major component of healthy skin and bones, as well as regulating insulin/metabolism, promoting healthy sleep and mood, and it also gets used up in the process the body uses to down-regulate inflammation. If you don’t get enough dietary glycine – and most people don’t – you will experience various aches and pains that you think are normal (like from exercise or various ailments or age), but are actually a shortage of glycine. Glycine is in fact what gives bone broth its anti-inflammatory qualities. The body *can* make glycine, but does not typically make enough to really keep down inflammation. It needs to be consumed in food form for that (like from bone broth or gelatin). Glycine is actually sold as a supplement for these purposes (reducing inflammation and pain; improving sleep and mood; etc) as a pure powder and also as the branded supplement “SweetAmines.” SweetAmines is expensive, so I just buy the pure powder at the supplement store near me. It’s half the price. Or I take gelatin dissolved in my tea (four packets of gelatin is the serving size I use, contains roughly the same amount of glycine as two teaspoons of the pure powdered glycine). Whenever I am feeling achy or sore the gelatin or glycine is wonderful to get rid of the stiffness. Pure glycine has a sweet taste like sugar, by the way, so if I put that in my tea instead of gelatin I don’t need honey to have sweet tea 🙂 I also sometimes will make “glycine lemonade” – carb free!
what tea infuser do you use?
Mine always end up wet on the bottom why would that be?
If you’re talking about your marshmallows separating, or being wet on the bottom then the wet mixture needs to be whipped for longer. The bowl should be cool to the touch and the mixture should form peaks when you pull the whisk up.
I was really suprised to see honey being heated up in this recipe… I was under the impression that was a huge no-no because it denatures it and makes it toxic. I’d love to try this, but I’ll stick with maple syrup. Thanks for sharing!
It is also excellent for older people to rebuild cartilage and strengthen joints.
Do you think this recipe would work good for s’more, or would it melt too much?
Catie Meyer Schamel
I add it to soups, and mugs of bone broth at breakfast. My husband adds it to his smoothies/post workout protein drinks.
I also buy gelatin in bulk. I’ve used it to make homemade fruit gummy candies, which were great. I also add a bit of gelatin when I’m making beef stew. It gives the broth a silky richness.
Sort of disappointed … was hoping it actually had real marshmellow root or something in it. But still a better alternative to the regular ones 🙂
One of the ingredients IS marshmallow root…
However, John wrote their comment almost a year before you did, and that addition is listed as an update.
I’m curious how you’re trying to reverse your son’s milk allergy? With the full GAPS diet? I am waiting for my GAPS diet book to arrive and hopefully will be able to do this with my son as I think he has dairy and wheat sensitivities. I definitely know he has severe egg allergy.
How old is your son, by the way? Mine is just now 12 months and I’m thinking it will be easier to do this diet with him now while he’s younger as opposed to waiting…
Mine is two… I wish I’d started at that age!
With the GAPS intro and full GAPS. It has been an amazing transformation, even in his mental/emotional development as he was a preemie and was struggling to hit a couple of milestones until GAPS>
Sounds awesome!!! Definitely gonna try this!
I love that this has healing ingredients like gelatin and probiotics! How creative! Plus it’s GAPS and egg free? I think I will be trying these this afternoon!
I need to try this as a way to get probiotic into my son’s system. He’s a VERY picky eater, and I have a hard time getting him to try new things. Maybe he’ll try these though. Thanks so much.
My kids can be very picky too. It’s like every highly processed and sugary thing out there is all they want. Another good way to give your child probotics is in their drinks. I can’t get my sons to eat chewables so I buy the powder that you keep in the fridge (which they carry at my local health food stores) and mix it in their favorite drink. Some stores have ones especially for kids but if not the adult probotics usually have age dosing and you’d cut the dose in half from 1 teaspoon to a 1/2 a teaspoon most likely.
I use Flora-Balance from O’Donnell Formulas— it has absolutely NO taste. I love it.
Ana Hoff Kinner
adding mint and dipping in dark chocolate…. peppermint patty anyone??
Yes, please! 🙂
YUM!!! That sounds delicious! I might do that… 🙂
Did you add mint and how did it turn out?
Oh My goodness – did you make your peppermint patty recipe???
Please please tell us how it turned out? That was totally genius.
I read your comment and said OH MY GOD so loud that my husband is still making fun of me.
Lol!!!! Just imagined the scene hahaha
If you’re using these for rice krispie treats do you need to let them firm up, or can you go ahead and use them without firming them? Because you would just melt them again anyway, right?
my recipe is almost identical to this but I never thought of putting probiotics in them, what a great idea! Thanks!
do they roast liek regular marshmallows?
If they are hardened enough, but if they are still soft, they can fall off a roasting stick…
How do you store marshmallow root and for how long?
I have been looking for this type of recipe for so long and i finally found it!thanks wellness mama!
Whole root – In a mason jar in the cupboard – keep it dry and ideally out of the sun. (This should work fine for powder, too. I just haven’t bought it that way.)
Can I add more marshmallow root? How does that effect the overall texture, I was thinking of making a sort of antacid marshmallow for my sister in law Bc she’s not super keen on tea.
Wonderful! My kids were begging me for marshmallows at the store the other day. We will definitely make these soon. I made some years ago, but they were the typical unhealthy version. Very impressed with this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing! I love it!
I cannot get my marsmellows to fluff or peak. And the do not seem to be white?…