Fluffy, bouncy, soft, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth treats, these eggless orange marshmallows are fairly easy to make. Don’t fear – all the tips are right here! This post is loaded with info but if you want to skip it, just hit the jump to recipe button above.
Table of contents
Why make marshmallows at home?
Though it sounds cliché, homemade marshmallows really are so much better than store-bought. Try making them at home and you’ll never want to buy them again.
- They’re softer and fluffier
- They melt in your mouth
- They’re a lot of fun to make
- So much natural flavour
- They make a wonderful gift for the festive season – get the gift tag.
- So much natural flavour
- They toast and melt perfectly
What’s more, you know exactly what is in them and you can choose how big you want to make them. Eat them straight from the jar, add them to hot chocolate or, if you really want to be good to yourself, toast them!
These orange marshmallows can also be adjusted to other flavours easily – see more about that below.
Ingredients in homemade orange marshmallows
Marshmallows don’t use a lot of ingredients and you should have most in the pantry right now.
Click here for ingredient quantities.
- Orange juice: Orange marshmallows start with orange juice. You can use freshly squeezed or bottle OJ but I suggest using real orange juice not concentrate. You can even use blood oranges or tangerines when in season.
- Orange zest: You don’t absolutely need orange zest but I do highly recommend it. The zest has a lot of intense orange flavour and works beautifully in these marshmallows.
- Water: Part of the liquid in the recipe is made up with water. We’ve all got that right?!!
- Sugar: You’ll need two types of sugar – white granulated and icing (powdered) sugar. Granulated in the marshmallows and icing sugar to coat them.
- Glucose: You can use glucose or light corn syrup and while you could skip it, I suggest using it, especially if you haven’t made marshmallows before. More on that below.
- Gelatine powder: I prefer measuring the gelatine out in spoons so you know you have exactly the right amount.
- Vanilla extract: You just need a little vanilla as it enriches and balances the flavour. Don’t use essence though which is a synthetic flavouring as opposed to natural vanilla extract.
- Cornflour: Cornflour (aka cornstarch) is used with the icing sugar to coat the marshmallows at the end.
Tools you’ll need
- A candy thermometer: I’ll give tips on how to make it without below, but using a thermometer makes the process much simpler and they’re very cheap.
- A heavy based saucepan (non-reactive): I always recommend a heavy based saucepan as it distributes heat more evenly. Make sure your saucepan is made of a non-reactive material. Stainless steel is perfect.
- A 9 inch square baking tin: I use a 9 inch but you can also use a 9×13 inch tin, however the marshmallows will be thinner.
Before you start
Make sure your equipment is clean before you start.
Of course, you would use a clean saucepan but sometimes the smallest particle of grease can cause issues when making a sugar syrup so before you start, give the pan and your spoon a good wash with washing liquid and water, then rinse well.
How to make marshmallows from scratch
See the recipe card below for the full recipe details.
Bloom the gelatine
- Start by blooming the gelatine. This is basically just softening the gelatine powder in liquid. Scatter it over some water in the bowl of a stand mixer (photo 1) making sure it all gets wet.
Make the orange syrup
- Place the remaining water, orange juice, sugar and glucose into a saucepan (photo 2) over medium heat. Give it a gentle stir to dissolve the sugar, clip a thermometer to the side, then bring it to a boil (photo 3) – it will boil for about 15 minutes until it reaches a temperature of 130C / 260F.
IMPORTANT! Once boiling, do not stir the syrup. You can very gently swirl the pan a couple of times during the process to make sure it’s cooking evenly but don’t be vigorous and definitely don’t stir.
As the syrup boils, you’ll see it morph from thick fluffy white bubbles (photo 3) to huge clear/orange bubbles (photo 4), then smaller bubbles but still clear around about the time it’s ready (photo 5, below).
I always cook my syrup to 130C / 260F which is around “hard-ball stage”. This means if you drop a small bit into cold water, you’ll be able to form a ball which won’t flatten but you can shape.
Technically, this recipe can work if you get the syrup just to firm-ball stage (121C / 250F), but I always take it to hard-ball and it’s successful every time.
Combine the syrup and gelatine
- Remove the pan from the heat and with the whisk in the stand-mixer running on low, slowly pour the syrup into the gelatine mixture.
- Once all they orange syrup is added and the mixture looks to be all smooth (photo 6), turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix for about 12 minutes or until the mixture is white and starting to look like it has strings pulling away from the sides (photo 8).
Stand mixer speeds: I use a Kitchen-aid stand mixer which does have a very strong motor. Medium high on a kitchen-aid is about level 6 or 7. For other mixers, you may need to turn it all the way to the highest setting.
Adding the flavour
These orange marshmallows have orange in two natural forms – juice and zest. The juice is already in there but now we need to add the rest.
- Once the marshmallow is looking white and voluminous, add the vanilla and orange zest (photo 9). Mix it through with a little orange colouring if you want your marshmallows more coloured, then you’re ready to set it.
The marshmallow starts to set very quickly at this point so you need to move quick to get it into your tin to reduce sticky mess. Don’t worry though, if things get sticky, it’s quite normal with marshmallow making and water will dissolve it very quickly.
Setting the marshmallows
- Scrape your marshmallow into a greased 9 inch square tin (photo 10) then you can use lightly damp hands to press it out flat (photo 11, below).
- Let it set 8 hours or overnight (best). Then drop the marshmallow out of the tin onto a chopping board. Use a greased knife to cut it into squares (photo 13), then dust them in a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour (cornstarch) (photo 14).
A ‘solid’ grease like butter or solidified coconut oil seems to work better than oil for a quick release of the marshmallows. If you do use oil to grease your pan, you may need to gently dig your fingers under the marshmallow and lift it, all the way round, before turning it out onto the chopping board.
Dusting the marshmallows stops them from being sticky and makes them easy to handle. This coating doesn’t soak in, so once they’re dusted they’ll stay that way.
Tips and tricks
- It starts setting quickly: Once the marshmallow is ready, it will begin to set very quickly and get more difficult to work with so move as quickly as you can to get it into the tin.
- The right tin: I use a 9 inch tin but the size of the tin doesn’t matter too much. The more important consideration is how big you want the marshmallows to be. An 8 inch tin will make much thicker marshmallows, while a 9×13 inch tin will make much thinner ones.
- Grease the tin: Once the marshmallow is ready it will stick to anything. Make sure to grease the tin and your spatula when transferring it from the bowl to your tin.
- Sticky is part of the fun: Yes, it will stick to your hands and anything that’s not greased properly, including the bowl it was mixed in but don’t worry, marshmallow dissolves very quickly in water. Once you’ve transferred it to your setting tin, just rinse everything in water and it will come straight off.
How to store marshmallows
You should store these orange marshmallows in an airtight container in a cool place like the pantry – not the fridge. Storing marshmallows in the fridge will make them sticky.
These marshmallows will keep for 7-10 days due to the use of fresh juice and zest in them. If making one of the other extract flavoured options mentioned below, they’ll keep for much, much longer.
Part of making marshmallows from scratch is making a thick sugar syrup, almost a caramel. When cooking sugar like this, crystallisation can be an issue – this is basically when the melted sugar reverts back to it’s crystallised state, meaning no smooth syrup.
Crystallisation can be caused by miniscule grease particles, a wayward sugar granule, changes in temperature or agitation of the syrup. Even humidity can cause it.
While it’s not a 100% guarantee of no crystallisation, glucose or corn syrup are inverted sugars, which will help to ward off crystallisation of the sugar and make it much less likely. If you’ve never made a caramel or marshmallows before, I recommend keeping the glucose or corn syrup in the recipe.
Technically, yes but it is more difficult. A candy thermometer will give you the exact temperature at any time so you know exactly when you get the syrup to the right temperature.
Without a thermometer, you’ll need to use the ball method. This means dropping a little of the syrup into ice water then rolling it into a ball. If you can’t, it’s definitely not ready. If you can roll it into a ball that won’t flatten but is pliable or shapable, then it’s ready.
This recipe has not been developed with agar, which is a vegetarian solution to gelatine. As agar does not act the same way as gelatine, it’s not a straight swap.
For these orange marshmallows, its best to stick to white granulated or white caster sugar. Brown sugar will also work but the flavour is not as good with the orange.
You can treat these marshmallows like any other. They will toast perfectly – see below – and are also perfect in hot chocolate.
These orange marshmallows are egg free. Adding egg whites to marshmallows just like I have in these ones, makes them even lighter and fluffier but is not necessary for a perfectly springy and soft marshmallow. If you want to add egg whites, you’ll need to whip them first. See the other recipe for the right process.
The marshmallow as soon as it’s been mixed is lovely but it doesn’t get that perfect combo of firm but soft and springy until it’s had a chance to set for at least 8 hours.
Don’t feel like orange marshmallows? No problem. Swap the orange juice for water, leave the zest out and add extracts as you like. Peppermint is great at Christmas, aniseed at Halloween maybe, or just add more vanilla. There are so many flavours to choose from and you can make them all using this recipe.
Want to gift these marshmallows? Free printable gift tag here. Copy them over and over into a Word or Google doc, then cut out and tie onto pretty jars.
Full of fresh orange flavour from real oranges, these orange marshmallows are zesty and bright, sweet and so fun to make. If you’ve never tried making homemade marshmallows I definitely recommend giving these a try.
If you try this orange marshmallows recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you and it helps other readers too! You can also take a photo and tag @sugarsaltmagic on Instagram.
More recipes you’ll love
- Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Homemade Raspberry Marshmallow Slice
- Caramel Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie Bars
- Caramel White Chocolate Rocky Road
- S’mores Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake
- No-Bake Marshmallow Easter Egg Slice
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- Pour ½ cup of water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, then sprinkle the gelatine over the top and leave it to soften.
- Place the remaining water, orange juice, sugar and glucose into a medium heavy-based non-reactive saucepan. Give it a little stir to start the sugar dissolving. Sit a candy thermometer into the pan and place it over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to boil.
- Once it reaches 130C / 260F on the thermometer (after 10-15 minutes), take it off the heat. Let the bubble start to subside.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the sugar syrup into the gelatine mixture, until combined.
- Turn the mixer up to high and beat for 10-12 minutes until white and tripled in volume. It’s done when you can see strings of marshmallow pulling away from the side. See the images in the post for the texture.
- Add the vanilla, orange zest and a drop or two of orange colouring if using. Beat just to combine.
- Grease a 9 inch sqaure baking tin with butter then scrape in the marshmallow. Use damp hands to gently flatten down the top. You can keep dampening your hands as you notice it starting to stick but don’t have them very wet. If you add too much moisture, the marshmallow will start to melt.
- In a small bowl combine the icing sugar and cornflour, then sprinkle a little over the top of the marshmallows reserving the rest in a sealed container for later.
- Allow it to set in a cool place (not the fridge) for at least 8 hours or overnight (better) with a larger pan over the top. When ready, slice into squares and dust well with the remaining sugar mixture.
- Store in an airtight container in the pantry – not in the fridge.
- You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe
- Marshmallow set best overnight. Let it cool completely before placing the tin into a large airtight container.
- To cut clean square slices, use a sharp knife with a greased blade to make decisive cuts. You may need to rinse and re-grease from time to time.
- Keeps in an airtight container for 7-10 days.
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