How Are Vegan Marshmallows Made?

Vegan marshmallows have taken the culinary world by storm, providing a delectable alternative for those who choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle. But how are vegan marshmallows made?

In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating process of creating these fluffy, sweet treats that are free from animal-derived ingredients. From the essential ingredients to the magical transformation, we’ll explore it all.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Marshmallows and Vegan Marshmallows?

Regular marshmallows and vegan marshmallows differ primarily in their ingredients and the production process. Here are the key differences:

  1. Gelatin vs. Plant-Based Ingredients:
    • Regular marshmallows typically contain gelatin as a key ingredient. Gelatin is a protein derived from animal collagen, often sourced from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals, such as cows or pigs. Gelatin is used to give regular marshmallows their signature chewy texture.
    • Vegan marshmallows, on the other hand, are made without gelatin and instead use plant-based ingredients to achieve a similar texture. Common alternatives to gelatin in vegan marshmallows include agar-agar, carrageenan, or tapioca starch.
  2. Sweeteners:
    • Both regular and vegan marshmallows contain sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup to provide sweetness. The type of sweeteners used can vary by brand and recipe, so it’s essential to check the ingredient list if you have specific dietary preferences or restrictions.
  3. Flavoring and Coloring:
    • Both types of marshmallows may contain flavorings and colorings to enhance their taste and appearance. These additives can vary by brand and recipe.
  4. Allergen Considerations:
    • Regular marshmallows are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans due to the use of gelatin from animal sources.
    • Vegan marshmallows are plant-based and do not contain animal-derived ingredients, making them suitable for vegans and vegetarians. However, individuals with certain food allergies or sensitivities should check the ingredient list for potential allergens, such as soy or nuts, which can be present in some vegan marshmallow brands.
  5. Taste and Texture:
    • Regular marshmallows tend to have a traditional marshmallow flavor and texture, with a slightly chewy and fluffy consistency.
    • Vegan marshmallows can vary in taste and texture depending on the brand and the specific ingredients used. Some vegan marshmallows closely mimic the taste and texture of traditional marshmallows, while others may have a slightly different texture or flavor profile.

In summary, the main difference between regular and vegan marshmallows lies in the use of gelatin in regular marshmallows versus plant-based alternatives in vegan marshmallows. Vegan marshmallows are suitable for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and do not consume animal-derived products, while regular marshmallows contain animal-derived gelatin and are not suitable for such diets.

Related: Crafting Delicious Delights: How Are Vegan Cookies Made?

Ingredients: The Building Blocks

To understand how vegan marshmallows are made, let’s start with the fundamental ingredients that replace their non-vegan counterparts.

  1. Agar-Agar: Agar-agar, derived from seaweed, is a key ingredient in vegan marshmallows. It serves as a gelling agent, replicating the role of gelatin in traditional marshmallows.
  2. Aquafaba: The liquid found in a can of chickpeas or other legumes, known as aquafaba, works as an excellent egg white substitute. It provides the necessary structure and stability to vegan marshmallows.
  3. Sugar: Just like in traditional marshmallows, sugar is a crucial component in vegan marshmallow making. It contributes to the sweetness and structure of the marshmallow.
  4. Vanilla Extract: To enhance the flavor profile, vanilla extract is often added. It brings a delightful aroma and taste to the marshmallows.
  5. Cornstarch and Powdered Sugar: These are used for dusting and coating the marshmallows to prevent them from sticking together.
  6. Cream of Tartar: This ingredient stabilizes the aquafaba, helping it whip up into a fluffy foam.

Now that we have our ingredients in place, let’s delve into the process of making vegan marshmallows.

The Vegan Marshmallow-Making Process

  1. Preparing the Aquafaba: The first step in making vegan marshmallows is to drain the liquid from a can of chickpeas or other legumes. This liquid is the aquafaba, which will serve as the egg white substitute. To make the aquafaba more stable, a pinch of cream of tartar is added. It’s then whipped until it reaches stiff peaks, just like egg whites.
  2. Making the Sugar Syrup: In a separate saucepan, sugar and water are combined to create a syrup. The syrup is heated until it reaches the soft-ball stage, which is around 240°F (115°C). This stage is crucial as it ensures that the marshmallows will have the right texture and consistency.
  3. Combining Agar-Agar: Agar-agar is dissolved in water and brought to a boil. It is then added to the hot sugar syrup and mixed thoroughly. This step is essential for setting the marshmallows.
  4. Mixing the Components: The hot agar-sugar mixture is poured into the whipped aquafaba while it’s still being beaten. The combination of these two mixtures creates the base for vegan marshmallows. At this point, vanilla extract is often added for flavor.
  5. Whipping and Cooling: The mixture is whipped continuously until it becomes thick, glossy, and forms stiff peaks. This can take about 10-15 minutes of whipping. Once the desired consistency is achieved, it’s time to transfer the marshmallow fluff into a prepared baking dish dusted with a mixture of cornstarch and powdered sugar. This prevents sticking.
  6. Setting and Cutting: The marshmallow mixture needs time to set, usually for several hours or overnight. Once it’s firm, it can be sliced into squares or other desired shapes. The marshmallows are then coated with more cornstarch and powdered sugar to prevent sticking.
  7. Enjoying Vegan Marshmallows: Now that you know how are vegan marshmallows made, you can savor them in a variety of ways. They can be toasted over an open flame, used in hot cocoa, or incorporated into various recipes, such as vegan s’mores and crispy rice treats.

The Versatility of Vegan Marshmallows

Vegan marshmallows have gained popularity not only among vegans but also among individuals with dietary restrictions and those looking for a cruelty-free alternative. Their versatility in both flavor and application makes them a staple in many kitchens.

  1. Flavor Varieties: Vegan marshmallows come in an array of flavors, much like their traditional counterparts. You can find classic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and even seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice. This variety allows for creativity in your recipes.
  2. Dessert Creations: Vegan marshmallows can be incorporated into countless dessert creations. From topping cupcakes and brownies to filling cookies and pies, their fluffy texture and sweetness add a delightful touch to various sweets.
  3. Campfire Classics: Camping enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors can rejoice in the fact that vegan marshmallows can be roasted over a campfire, just like traditional marshmallows. Vegan s’mores are a beloved treat for campers, offering all the gooey goodness without the animal-derived ingredients.
  4. Hot Cocoa Bliss: A cup of hot cocoa is never complete without a marshmallow topping. Vegan marshmallows melt beautifully into hot beverages, providing that familiar creamy texture and sweetness that elevates your cozy drink.
  5. Ingredient Substitution: Beyond enjoying vegan marshmallows on their own, you can also use them as an ingredient substitute in recipes. For instance, you can make rice krispie treats using vegan marshmallows, or add them to your favorite cereal bars for a delightful twist.

Incorporating Vegan Marshmallows into Your Culinary Adventures

As you explore the world of vegan marshmallows, you’ll discover that they are more than just a tasty treat—they’re a versatile ingredient that can elevate your culinary adventures. Here are some creative ways to incorporate vegan marshmallows into your recipes:

  1. Vegan S’mores: Let’s start with the classic campfire treat. Vegan marshmallows toast beautifully over an open flame, becoming gooey and caramelized. Pair them with vegan chocolate and graham crackers for the ultimate s’mores experience.
  2. Vegan Hot Cocoa: Top your favorite vegan hot cocoa with a handful of vegan marshmallows. Watch them slowly melt and create a creamy, sweet layer on top of your drink. It’s the perfect way to cozy up on a chilly day.
  3. Vegan Rice Krispie Treats: Recreate the beloved childhood classic by using vegan marshmallows instead of the traditional ones. Combine them with vegan butter and rice krispies cereal for a delightful, chewy treat.
  4. Vegan Rocky Road Brownies: Add a twist to your brownie recipe by mixing in chunks of vegan marshmallows, nuts, and vegan chocolate chips. The marshmallows will melt slightly during baking, creating pockets of gooey goodness in every bite.
  5. Vegan Ice Cream Toppings: Take your vegan ice cream to the next level by sprinkling crushed vegan marshmallows on top. They’ll add both texture and sweetness to your frozen treat.
  6. Vegan Stuffed Cookies: Create stuffed cookies by enclosing a vegan marshmallow within the cookie dough before baking. As the cookies bake, the marshmallow will melt and create a delightful surprise center.
  7. Vegan Marshmallow Fondue: Melt vegan marshmallows and serve them as a fondue dip alongside fresh fruit, pretzels, and graham crackers for a fun and interactive dessert experience.
  8. Vegan Marshmallow Crispy Cakes: Mix vegan marshmallows with rice krispies cereal and a bit of vegan butter to create crispy rice treats. Shape them into bars or fun shapes for a delightful snack.
  9. Vegan Marshmallow-Stuffed Pancakes: Make your breakfast extra special by stuffing pancakes with small pieces of vegan marshmallows before flipping them on the griddle. The marshmallows will melt inside the pancakes, creating a delightful surprise.
  10. Vegan Marshmallow Milkshakes: Blend vegan marshmallows into your favorite vegan milkshake for a sweet and creamy treat. Top it off with more marshmallows and a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce.
  11. Vegan Marshmallow Brownie Pie: Create a decadent dessert by baking a brownie pie with a layer of vegan marshmallows on top. The marshmallows will puff up and turn golden brown in the oven, creating a delightful contrast to the fudgy brownie base.
  12. Vegan Marshmallow Frosting: Whip up a fluffy vegan marshmallow frosting to adorn your cakes and cupcakes. It adds a sweet, airy topping that’s sure to impress.


In the world of confectionery, vegan marshmallows have carved out their own sweet spot. The process of how vegan marshmallows are made involves replacing traditional ingredients with plant-based alternatives to create a cruelty-free, fluffy, and delicious treat. From aquafaba to agar-agar, these ingredients come together in a magical transformation that mimics the texture and taste of traditional marshmallows.

The versatility of vegan marshmallows allows for endless culinary creativity, whether you’re indulging in classic flavors, creating delectable desserts, or relishing campfire classics. So, the next time you bite into a perfectly roasted vegan marshmallow or savor one in your hot cocoa, you can appreciate the art and science behind how these delightful treats are made. Enjoy the sweet satisfaction of indulging in vegan marshmallows, guilt-free!


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