You never know when a marshmallow substitute will come in handy while baking, so I have listed all of the top marshmallow alternatives! When you're craving something sweet you don't have to run to the store, these easy marshmallow substitutes will work in all of your favorite dessert recipes!
The Best Marshmallow Substitutes
The sugary substance that binds a rather bland cereal and makes a delicious gooey treat. The white little puffs that top a cup of hot cocoa. The large cloud-like confections slide perfectly onto a stick to roast over a campfire.
Whatever your favorite way to use these ooey-gooey clouds of delight, many favorite treats wouldn’t be the same – or even possible – without marshmallows.
- The Best Marshmallow Substitutes
- What are Marshmallows?
- Finding Your Best Substitute for Marshmallows
- 1. Marshmallow Fluff
- 2. Marshmallow Cream
- 3. Sugar-Free Marshmallows
- 4. Vegan (Gelatin-Free) Marshmallows
- 5. Zephyr (Russian Marshmallows)
- 6. Honey + Peanut Butter
- Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Honey
- 7. Grilled Fruit
- 8. Grilled Brie
- 9. Cream Cheese + Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 10. Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
- 📋 Recipe
What are Marshmallows?
Today’s marshmallows are made from a wonderful concoction of sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, and gelatin. If you want to get fancy, they can also include food coloring and even flavoring.
While it seems like these little sugary delights are the invention of the 1950s, they have been around a bit longer. As long as Ancient Egypt to be exact.
The original marshmallows that go as far back as Ancient Egypt are how the name of this food came to be. Before the convenience of corn syrup and other modern confections, marshmallows were made from the mallow plant.
The nectar of the mallow plant was mixed with honey to create an ancient sweet treat that resembles today’s modern mallow.
Finding Your Best Substitute for Marshmallows
Even if you love marshmallows there are plenty of reasons you may need a substitute. You may just be out of marshmallows and have a late-night hankering for a sweet treat. In this case, you can get creative with ingredients around the house (even ones that taste nothing like marshmallows).
On the other hand, you may have realized these squishy little treats don’t match your new vegan diet. Moreover, you may simply want something with a bit less sugar and corn syrup. Great news! There are vegan-friendly and sugar-free marshmallows!
1. Marshmallow Fluff
While not quite as old as marshmallows, marshmallow fluff has been around for over 100 years!
It is made from many of the same ingredients as marshmallows such as sugar and corn syrup. In addition, it is made with vanilla extract and egg whites. The whipped egg whites are what give it a fluffy and airy texture (they also mean it is not a vegan food).
The fluffy texture of marshmallow fluff is great for replacing melted marshmallows in recipes. It can be used in Rice Krispy treats, on top of coca, and mixed into different desserts.
Replace 1 cup of marshmallows (or 8 large mallows) with ½ cup of fluff.
2. Marshmallow Cream
Marshmallow cream is not as popular as marshmallow fluff. It has many similarities though and is an equally wonderful substitute for marshmallows.
Made from corn syrup, sugar, and egg whites it has the same base as fluff. The main difference is the addition of cream of tartar and xanthan gum. These two ingredients change the consistency.
Marshmallow cream has a sticky texture and is a lot like melted marshmallows. Therefore, it is the perfect substitute for any recipe that calls for melted marshmallows. It can also be used as a topping
Replace 1 cup of marshmallows with ½ cup of marshmallow cream.
3. Sugar-Free Marshmallows
Sugar-free marshmallows are made by replacing the sugar and corn syrup with several sugar-free alternatives. These provide a similar sweetness to the real thing. However, the alternative sweeteners do not melt the same way as regular sugar.
There are pros and cons to these not melting well. Pro, they are great for making s’mores because they will stay on the roasting stick! Con, they don’t melt the way you need for Rice Krispie treats.
Use sugar-free marshmallows in a 1:1 replacement for regular marshmallows.
4. Vegan (Gelatin-Free) Marshmallows
The gelatin used to make marshmallows is an animal by-product. Therefore, not a vegan ingredient. Thankfully, there is a plant-based substitute for gelatin that works just as well.
Agar-agar comes from seaweed and has the same texture and consistency as gelatin. In fact, it is commonly used to make vegan homemade vegan Jell-O.
Vegan marshmallows may be harder to find in mainstream grocery stores. However, they are easily available at most health food stores or online.
Vegan marshmallows can be used in a 1:1 exchange for regular marshmallows in any recipe.
5. Zephyr (Russian Marshmallows)
Zephyrs are basically the Russian equivalent of a marshmallow. So, they are less likely to be the substitute you have at home right now.
If you want to try a new type of marshmallow though, these sweet confections from Russia are a wonderful substitute.
They are made from egg whites, sugar, apple puree, and gelatin. The apple puree acts as a sweet binding agent like the corn syrup in marshmallows. The result is a delightful treat that has a similar flavor and texture to marshmallows.
Zephyrs can be used in a 1:1 exchange for marshmallows in any recipe.
6. Honey + Peanut Butter
No, honey and peanut butter do not taste like marshmallows. However, they are a rich and creamy combination that can replace the sweetness of marshmallows. Moreover, when heated up these two ingredients create a similar chewy consistency to melted marshmallows.
This concoction is perfect for making a new Rice Krispies treat! Measure equal parts honey & peanut butter and add just a touch of salt:
¾ cup honey + ¾ cup peanut butter + ¾ teaspoon of salt.
(The above measurements will replace the marshmallows in the classic Rice Krispies Treat recipe).
Place the honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer until it becomes a thinner consistency. Turn off the heat and add peanut butter and salt. Stir well.
It is important to heat the honey! Don’t just mix them together like a peanut butter and honey sandwich. The heating helps create the chewy consistency. Yum!
Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Honey
Like the mixture above you can add chocolate to create a fun new flavor. This mixture (and the one above) can be used to bind many ingredients that marshmallows were needed for.
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup chocolate (this can be a broken up chocolate bar or chocolate chips)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
Add the honey to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer. Before removing it from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until it melts. Then remove from heat and add peanut butter and salt.
Another option is to follow the original peanut butter + honey directions and then melt the chocolate on its own and spread on top as a chocolate topping.
- Nutella + Honey
Nutella is sweeter than peanut butter so you may want to use ¼ cup honey + ¾ cup Nutella.
- Almond Butter + Honey
- Cashew Butter + Honey
7. Grilled Fruit
While peanut butter, chocolate, and other nut butters have Rice Krispie treats covered – what about s’mores?
S’mores are a favorite for many families. If you don’t want to eat marshmallows though, you may feel left out of the fun. Rather than miss out just grab your favorite fruit to grill!
Peaches, pineapple, and strawberries are all delicious when grilled! Skewer your favorite fruit and hold it over the fire until it gets juicy. Then add it to your graham cracker with a piece of chocolate. Grilled fruit is also tasty on its own.
8. Grilled Brie
This substitute is a bit of a flavor change. It adds a savory element to everyone’s favorite campfire treat.
Brie is a lovely soft cheese that has a wonderful rich flavor when cooked. It is often paired with apples and other fruits as the perfect sweet and savory combo.
If you want to replace the chocolate and marshmallows around the fire, cut up some pieces of brie. You can easily grill big chunks of brie and then eat on a cut-up apple (or other favorite fruit).
For a savory s’more, simply replace the marshmallow with the brie and keep the graham cracker and chocolate.
9. Cream Cheese + Sweetened Condensed Milk
Cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk are no strangers to the dessert world. these two ingredients are often used to create rich and creamy fillings and toppings. When mixed, they form a new creamy goodness called “cheese cream.”
Cheese cream is a great choice for when you need to find a marshmallow filling replacement. It can also be used as a marshmallow topping.
Mix equal parts of sweetened condensed milk and softened cream cheese. Add a splash of vanilla extract. To get the best consistency, whip using an electric mixer.
The ratio will vary depending on the recipe you are making. In many recipes, you will be able to use a 1:1 ratio of cheese cream to replace melted marshmallows or marshmallow cream.
In addition to cheese cream, other creamy confections can also be used to replace marshmallow cream or filling.
- Whipped Cream - Use in a 1:1 ratio.
- Vanilla Frosting - Frosting is much sweeter than marshmallows, begin with ½ the amount and add more as needed.
- Vanilla Pudding - Use in a ¾:1 ration (¾ cup pudding to 1 cup marshmallow).
10. Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
If you are not in a hurry and want the real deal, consider making your own marshmallow fluff! While it is not difficult to make, keep in mind that it does not have the same structure as a traditional marshmallow.
To make marshmallow fluff (also called 'marshmallow spread') you will need:
- ⅓ cup water
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup (or honey)
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
How To Make Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
- In a medium saucepan, combine ⅓ cup water,¾ cup granulated sugar,¾ cup corn syrup. Stir and set your spoon aside. *From here on out, tilt and swirl the pan to prevent burning, do not stir.
- Place a candy thermometer on the side of your saucepan (touching the bottom of the pan) and heat the syrup over medium-high. Wait to move on until it reaches 225°F (107°C).
- While you wait, grab your stand mixer or a mixing bowl and utensils. Be sure that all tools are clean and free of grease because even 1 speck of grease (or a drop of egg yolk in the whites) will prevent your egg whites from whipping properly. (*See note).
- When the syrup reaches 225°F (107°C), add 3 room temperature egg whites and ½ a teaspoon of cream of tartar to the bowl of your stand mixer or mixing bowl. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 3-4 minutes).
Combine Syrup, Egg Whites & Cream of Tartar
- Once the syrup reaches 240°F (116°C), remove it from heat and turn your mixer to medium speed. Gently pour the syrup into your whipped egg whites. (*See note).
- After all of the syrup has poured into the egg whites, turn the speed up on your mixer to medium-high. Continue mixing until your fluff is thick and fluffy.
- Mix for an additional 6-7 minutes, then pour in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Continue whipping until the marshmallow fluff has cooled completely. Once cooled, it can be used as an equal substitution for marshmallows in any recipe.
Choose a marshmallow substitute from this list and you will be whipping up sweet treats in no time! Tell us which substitute worked best in your recipe by leaving us a comment below!
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir and set your spoon aside. From here on out, tilt and swirl the pan to prevent burning, do not stir.⅓ cup water, ¾ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup corn syrup
- Place a candy thermometer on the side of your saucepan (touching the bottom of the pan) and heat the syrup over medium-high heat until it reaches 225°F (107°C).
- Meanwhile, grab your stand mixer or a mixing bowl and utensils. Be sure that all tools are clean and free of grease because even 1 drop of grease (or a drop of egg yolk in the whites) will prevent your egg whites from whipping into stiff peaks. (*See note).
- When the syrup reaches 225°F (107°C), add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of your stand mixer or mixing bowl. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 3-4 minutes).3 large egg whites, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- At this point, your syrup should be about 240°F (116°C). Turn the mixer to medium speed and once the syrup reaches 240°F, remove it from heat and gently pour the syrup into your whipped egg whites. (*See note).
- After all of the syrup has been added, turn the speed up on your mixer to medium-high. Continue mixing until your fluff is thick and fluffy.
- Continue mixing for 6-7 minutes, then add the vanilla extract. Continue whipping until the marshmallow fluff has cooled completely. Once cooled, it can be used as an equal substitution for marshmallows in any recipe.2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Clean your tools with white vinegar or lemon juice to ensure no residue is on them that can affect your whipped egg whites.
- Pour the syrup in a thin, steady stream. Aim to pour into the center of the bowl to prevent the whisk from splashing the hot syrup.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!