Put smores back on the campfire menu with this vegan marshmallow recipe. We’ve removed the animal products and replaced them with plant-based alternatives. Add them to dairy-free hot chocolate or eat them for a quick on-the-go treat!
Did you know that marshmallows originated in Ancient Egypt? The Egyptians extracted a sweet substance from the mallow plant that grows in a marsh. The “marsh-mallow” was boiled with honey to create a thick, sweet, sticky substance.
From the 1800s to the 1900s, French confectioners improved on the marshmallow. They whipped it and added ingredients such as starch and gelatin to create a candy that’s similar to what we have today.
However, because of the added ingredients like gelatin, most commercial marshmallows are not vegan-friendly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own marshmallows.
Tips to make this vegan marshmallow recipe
For our marshmallows, we’ve replaced the gelatin with a plant-based gelatin alternative called agar-agar. Agar is extracted from seaweed and has properties that are similar to gelatin. You’ve probably seen chefs use agar-agar for molecular gastronomy on specialist cooking shows.
Instead of egg whites, we use aquafaba, the water from canned chickpeas or white beans. Interestingly, aquafaba mimics the meringue-making properties of egg whites. Whipped with cream of tartar, it forms a marshmallow consistency.
Looking for more recipes that use aquafaba? Try our Vegan Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse Recipe or if you want the liquid but don’t know what to do with the chickpeas, try our Vegan Tuna Casserole Recipe.
Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect marshmallows.
Keeping mixing the aquafaba until it makes soft peaks
It might be tempting to reduce the mixing time to make the aquafaba meringue-like mixture, but keep your mixer going for the 9 minutes. This will make sure that your marshmallows are fluffy.
Turn down the heat when adding the sugar to prevent burning
Sugar burns very easily, so be sure to turn the heat down after bringing the water and agar-agar mix to a boil. Keep stirring constantly while adding the sugar to prevent it from burning in the middle of the mixture.
Cover the baking pan with parchment paper before adding the marshmallow mix
Cover the bottom and sides of the square or rectangular baking dish with parchment paper. If you forget to do this, the marshmallows will be stuck to the dish. Make sure that the sides of the parchment paper stick up so that you can lift the set marshmallows out of the dish.
Use a sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares
Once the marshmallows have set, use a sharp knife to slice them into squares. You can decide on your preferred marshmallow size. Store them in an airtight container.
Vegan Marshmallow Recipe
- ½ cup aquafaba (the liquid of 1 can of chickpeas)
- ½ t cream of tartar
- ½ cup water
- 1 T agar-agar powder
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Mix the aquafaba with the cream of tartar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. This should be about 9 minutes.
- In a saucepan, bring the water and agar-agar to a boil while whisking constantly. Cook for 3 minutes, reduce the heat and slowly add the sugar and continue to cook. Keep whisking the syrup mixture for 7 minutes.
- Set the electric mixer to low speed, and gently pour the syrup and vanilla into the aquafaba.
- Cover a square or rectangular dish with parchment paper and pour in the marshmallow mixture.
- Let it sit for at least 1 day at room temperature. The next day, cut it into squares using a sharp knife.
- Store the marshmallows in an airtight container.