It is a familiar scene. You are sitting around enjoying a campfire with friends and family then somebody passes around a bag of marshmallows – after all, what’s a campfire without toasting a few delicious marshmallows? Then you have to pause and ask yourself “Wait, are marshmallows vegan?”
The answer, unfortunately, is often no. Most popular brands of marshmallows contain a gelling agent called gelatin which is derived from collagen. Anything containing gelatin is definitely not vegan; however, there is hope for those who wish to enjoy marshmallows without breaking their vegan diet and I can help. Below I will provide instructions on how to make vegan marshmallows and offer a list of vegan marshmallow brands that I enjoy.
Vegan Marshmallows Recipe
Unfortunately, most vegan marshmallow recipes struggle to replicate the texture and taste of non-vegan marshmallows. Often, they will melt rather than puff up under heat. Luckily, there is a solution. In 2009, after finding himself frustrated with the poor quality of other vegan marshmallow recipes, Dave Soleil set out to create a recipe that would allow vegans to create a gelatin-free marshmallow they could use in recipes or enjoy on their own. Following Soleil’s now-famous vegan marshmallow recipe allows you to make the perfect homemade vegan marshmallows.
Use a small 8×8 baking pan for really thick vegan marshmallows, or an 8×12 pan if you want something a little smaller. Mix 2 tablespoons of vegan powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch together. Cover your pan with oil and dust with the sugar/cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
- 5 Tbsp Soy Protein Isolate (soy protein powders are available at many health food stores as well as on Amazon.
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp Guar Gum
- ¾ Cup Cold Water
- 1.5 Cup Raw Sugar
- 1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
- ½ Cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Vegan Gelatin Substitute (See below)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
What is a Vegan Gelatin Substitute?
There are a few vegan gelatin substitutes on the market. I have had positive results using Agar Agar Powder, which is natural vegetable gelatin derived from seaweed and algae. It has no animal products in it and is available on Amazon.
To make the fluff, mix the dry ingredients first in a stand mixer. Add the water and whip with a whisk for 10 minutes until you get stiff peaks and an increase in volume. Although the volume will not increase dramatically and fill the bowl, you will see some increase and it should form stiff peaks.
To make the sugar syrup, mix the vegan gelatin substitute with raw sugar in a saucepan. Then, add the water and whisk quickly. You should have a thick mixture. Next, add the corn syrup. Stir and heat, monitoring the temperature with a candy thermometer until it reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit. By this time, it should be thick and gooey. The mixture should start to gel as one large mass and you should be able to start seeing the bottom of your saucepan as you keep stirring. When this happens, remove the pan from the heat stir in the vanilla.
Fair warning, this is recipe can be messy. It’s very gooey and sticky so use a splatter shield on your mixer if you have one. Otherwise, you should expect to invest some time into the cleanup process. Do not let the mess put you off, it will be worth it in the end to have delicious homemade vegan marshmallows you can be proud to share.
Turn the stand mixer on high and whisk the fluff as you quickly add the sugar syrup. The sugar gel is so sticky that it can gum up your mixer attachment. Dump the mixture into the mixer with it running as fast as it will go. Let whip for 10 minutes. Use a rubber scraper and pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Cover with a sheet of wax paper and push down the mix so it gets into the sides of the pan. Remove the wax paper and let cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
When cool, place the marshmallow block on a cutting board and cut squares in the size you like. When done, coat them more of your corn starch/powdered sugar mix.
Depending on the size you choose to cut the squares, this recipe typically yields about 30-35 marshmallows.
Now that you have made your very own vegan marshmallows, you no longer have to feel left out around the campfire. The best part about the above recipe is the resulting marshmallows will actually puff up as they roast. A common complaint with vegan marshmallows is that they liquefy and break down under heat.
These vegan marshmallows are delicious on their own and can also be used as a substitute for marshmallows in your favorite recipes. Whether you want to use your creation as vegan sweet potato casserole marshmallows, in delicious vegan rice crispy squares, or as the perfect topping for a vegan-friendly hot chocolate, you are now ready to indulge in the sweet stickiness of an animal-free, homemade vegan marshmallows.
Buying Pre-made Vegan Marshmallows
Perhaps you do not have the time to make your own vegan marshmallows or you just want the convenience of pre-made marshmallows that are animal-free. Luckily, there are plenty of options available to you. While it is difficult to beat anything homemade, there are some great options out there. To make things easier, I will take you through a list of some of my favorite brands and explain where to buy vegan marshmallows.
First, we should get a few misconceptions out of the way. There are many marshmallows on the market that most people assume are vegan-friendly. Often, this is because they are marketed as being gluten and dairy-free. For example, we could ask are Jet Puffed marshmallows vegan?
They proudly claim they contain zero traces of dairy; however, when we take a look at the ingredient list, we see that Jet-Puffed marshmallows contain gelatin, which as we discussed previously is an animal byproduct. Although they can be difficult to find, there are some delicious vegan options available on the market.
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
Dandies are one of the most well-known makers of vegan-friendly marshmallows for good reason. Not only do they contain absolutely zero gelatin or other animal products, but they are also manufactured using dedicated vegan equipment. They completely delicious and Dandies vegan marshmallows behave just like a traditional marshmallow. They even catch fire rather than melt, making them the perfect vegan-friendly campfire treat. Did somebody say S’mores?
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows can be found on Amazon.
Trader Joe’s Vegan Marshmallows
Trader Joe’s recently released a vegan marshmallow option and they are delicious. As we have all come to expect of the vegan products available at Trader Joe’s, these marshmallows are really high quality. They are soft and fluffy which makes them a perfect ingredient for delicious rice crispy squares.
The real beauty of Trader Joe’s offering a vegan marshmallow is the accessibility. While there are plenty of tasty vegan marshmallow options, they are generally only available at specialty stores and can be a little on the pricey side. Trader Joe’s vegan marshmallow is an affordable and readily available option for vegans with a sweet tooth.
Ananda Foods Vegan Marshmallows
Ananda’s vegetarian and vegan marshmallows are handcrafted in the United Kingdom. The company prides itself on the use of the highest quality ingredients available. The great thing about Ananda’s vegan marshmallows is the wide variety of flavors they have available to customers.
While most vegan brands only offer white marshmallows in standard vanilla flavor, Ananda’s has several flavors on offer. Using natural flavors and vegetable colorants, Ananda’s has created delicious vegan marshmallow flavors such as caramel, raspberry, and coconut. These taste great and you will want to try them all. Did I mention they come in a re-sealable container that is perfect for camping?
Find Ananda’s Vegan Marshmallows on through their website HERE.
Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
Although not a traditional marshmallow, the marshmallow spread offered by Smucker’s is tasty and makes a great topping for marshmallow lovers. Although it may be more by accident than design, according to PETA, Smucker’s marshmallow topping is a vegan product. The beauty of this is that Smucker’s products are available everywhere. Having a vegan marshmallow option available at stores like Wal-Mart is a big plus.
Smucker’s marshmallow topping can also be purchased through Amazon HERE.
Freedom Confectionery Vegan Marshmallows
Freedom Confectionery’s ‘Freedom Mallows’ are a delicious vegan marshmallow option. In addition to the classic vanilla flavor, Freedom Mallows come in a delicious strawberry option. They are even available with a vegan chocolate coating. The colorful packaging and bite-size shape of Freedom Mallows make them an excellent choice for parents seeking out a vegan marshmallow option for children.
Suzanne’s Specialties Ricemellow Creme
Suzzane’s Specialties offers a product called Ricemellow Creme. It is essentially a vegan-friendly version of Fluff, the popular marshmallow flavored spread. The spread is delicious on cookies and works well as a vegan ingredient in many desserts. Again, it is not a traditional marshmallow, but it is undeniably delicious.
Sweet and Sara Vegan Marshmallows
Although the marshmallows offered by Sweet and Sara are more expensive than most of the options listed above, they are delicious. Much like Dandies, these marshmallows are sometimes available in mainstream stores. At one point they were the only vegan marshmallows available at Whole Foods.
Nuts.com Vegan Vanilla Marshmallows
Online snack retailer Nuts.com manufactures its own house brand of vegan marshmallow. Coming in at a relatively low 100 calories per serving, the vegan marshmallow offered by Nuts.com is the lightest option on this list. Having a lighter option that still adheres to a vegan diet is a great choice for those with a sweet tooth who still want to watch their waistline.
No matter whether you choose to cook up your own marshmallows using the above recipe or you would prefer to leave the hassle to someone else, there are options available to you. Maintaining a vegan diet does not mean you should have to give up on such a sweet and fluffy treat.
Make some S’mores by the campfire, throw some marshmallows on top of your favorite sweet potato casserole recipe, or just enjoy them on their own. Marshmallows are a tasty addition to a hot chocolate on a winter’s day or a fun accessory to summer’s camping trip. A vegan lifestyle no longer has to prevent you from enjoying this delicious year-round treat!