Is it Vegan?

Are Marshmallows Vegan? The Answer, Plus Our Easy Recipe

Are Marshmallows Vegan?
Phil McDonald/Shutterstock

Most marshmallows aren’t vegan, but vegan options are becoming easier to find. Learn what to look for, and check out our own homemade vegan marshmallow recipe.

Squishy, yet fluffy, it’s hard to beat the tempting texture and flavor of marshmallows. These treats never seem to get old when campfire season comes around, but you might be wondering … are marshmallows vegan?

Most marshmallows you find in major grocery chains are not vegan since they contain gelatin, an animal protein. However, there are several popular brands of marshmallows on the market that don’t use gelatin and are completely vegan.

Another pesky non-vegan ingredient you should be on the lookout for is albumen (egg whites). While it’s not typically found in regular marshmallows, it is a common ingredient in marshmallow creme or fluff (the stuff that comes in jars).

Vegan Marshmallow Brands 

As you can see, whether marshmallows are vegan can be a gray area. Luckily, if you’re on the hunt for a guilt-free sweet snack, we might have just the thing for you. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the best vegan marshmallow brands.

Dandies Marshmallow Mini 

Dandies vegan marshmallows
Photo courtesy of Dandies

One of the best known vegan marshmallow brands is Dandies, a Chicago-based company that sells “all natural marshmallows.” The vegan gelatin substitute they’re using is carrageenan (also known as Irish moss), which is completely vegan as it comes from dried red seaweed. Dandies are also free from common allergens, such as nuts. 

Trader Joe’s Mini Marshmallows 

Trader Joe's mini marshmallows
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’s

Both gelatin and gluten -free, the Trader Joe’s Marshmallows are another popular choice for vegans. Interestingly, the ingredients for Trader Joe’s marshmallows are exactly the same and in the same order as Dandies:

“Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor.”

Coincidence? Maybe, but I suspect there’s a good chance Dandies supplies Trader Joe’s with their marshmallows (just speculating).

How to Make Vegan Marshmallows At Home

Another option is to make vegan marshmallows. (Yes, it’s possible!) The process is surprisingly simple, and it only requires a few basic vegan ingredients.

homemade vegan marshmallows on a cutting board
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

For this vegan marshmallow recipe, you’ll need aquafaba (chickpea water), cream of tartar, vanilla extract, agar agar powder (not flakes), water, sugar, and powdered sugar. You’ll also need a standing mixer, parchment paper, aluminum foil, and 8×8 baking pan.

Alternatively, if you have an 8×8 dish with an air-tight lid, you can use this and forgo the aluminum oil.

If you don’t have a standing mixer, a hand mixer works just as well. Just be ready to put your arms to work!

vegan marshmallow recipe ingredients
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

First, line the baking pan with parchment paper. Generously dust the parchment with powdered sugar.

pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with powdered sugar
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

In a large bowl, combine the aquafaba and cream of tartar.

aquafaba and cream of tartar in a bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Mix on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until fluffy and white. The mixture should form stiff peaks.

mixing marshmallow ingredients in a bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Add the vanilla. Beat for another 4 minutes until blended. Set aside.

mixing marshmallow ingredients in a bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine the water and agar agar powder. Bring to a light boil, mixing frequently to prevent the agar agar from sticking to the bottom. Cook for 3 minutes or until thick.

Add the sugar. Lightly boil for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

boiling marshmallow mixture
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly add the agar agar to the aquafaba mixture, beating on low. Mix for 30 seconds until thick and combined.

mixing marshmallow mixture in a bowl
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Pour into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover tightly and chill for at least 3 hours.

vegan marshmallows chilled in a pan
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

After 3 hours, sprinkle another layer of powdered sugar. Prepare a shallow dish or bowl with powdered sugar, and dust your knife with powdered sugar as well. This will help keep your marshmallows somewhat fluffy and reduce stickiness.

Slice the marshmallows into squares.

slicing vegan marshmallows in a pan
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Carefully remove each square, and add to the dish of powdered sugar. Generously coat each side with sugar.

These marshmallows are best when used immediately, so only cut and coat what you plan to use.

dusting vegan marshmallows with powdered sugar
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Serve with hot chocolate, s’mores, or eat them on their own!

Tip: Due to the nature of these marshmallows, making s’mores will call for a different strategy. Simply sandwich a marshmallow between graham crackers (Nabisco Original Graham Crackers are vegan) and add a piece of dairy-free chocolate. Microwave in 30-second intervals until warm. The marshmallows won’t melt like normal marshmallows, but they’ll definitely be delicious.

Store the pan of marshmallows in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.

vegan marshmallows on a cutting board with coffee and s'mores
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Vegan Marshmallows

Even if you follow a vegan diet, you can have your s'mores and eat them too! Make these vegan marshmallows with agar agar, chickpea water, and vanilla extract.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: vegan marshmallows
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 184kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba a.k.a. chickpea water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon agar agar (powder) not flakes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more as needed

Instructions

  • Line the baking pan with parchment paper. Generously dust the parchment with powdered sugar.
  • In a large bowl, combine the aquafaba and cream of tartar. Mix on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until fluffy and white. The mixture should form stiff peaks. Add the vanilla, then beat for another 4 minutes until blended. Set aside.
  • In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine the water and agar agar powder. Bring to a light boil, mixing frequently to prevent the agar agar from sticking to the bottom. Cook for 3 minutes or until thick. Add the sugar. Lightly boil for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, slowly add the agar agar to the aquafaba mixture, beating on low. Mix for 30 seconds until thick and combined.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover tightly and chill for at least 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours, sprinkle another layer of powdered sugar. Prepare a shallow dish or bowl with powdered sugar, and dust your knife with powdered sugar to reduce stickiness. Slice the marshmallows into squares.
  • Carefully remove each square, and add to the dish of powdered sugar. Generously coat each side with sugar. (The marshmallows are best when used immediately, so only cut and coat what you plan to use.)
  • Store the pan of marshmallows in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • You can use a standing or hand mixer for this recipe. A standing mixer will be more convenient, but a hand mixer works great too. Be prepared to put your arms to work!
  • Once you’ve combined the agar agar and aquafaba mixtures, you’ll have to work quickly. It will become sticky as it cools. To moves things along, we recommend keeping the dusted pan and spatula near your mixer.
  • Nutrition information for this marshmallow recipe is an estimate calculated by the Spoonacular food database.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!

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