Hello there! If you're wondering whether marshmallows are vegan or not, you've come to the right place. The short answer is: it depends on the ingredients used to make these fluffy treats. But let's dive into the details and find out more.
Marshmallows, traditionally, are not considered vegan. We’re talking about the usual Jet-puffed variety you find at your local grocery stores. They contain gelatin, a substance derived from animal bones, skin, and connective tissue. Gelatin is commonly used in many foods, including regular marshmallows, as a thickening and stabilizing agent. The process of making gelatin involves boiling animal parts in water, extracting the collagen protein, and then processing it into a powder or sheets. Woof. I’m glad we have all the unpleasantness out of the way.
On to the good news! So, if you're a vegan, you might want to avoid the usual store-bought marshmallows made with gelatin, however, not all marshmallows are made with gelatin. Some companies use alternative ingredients that are vegan-friendly.
For example, Dandies marshmallows are vegan-friendly and made without any animal products -- and are in my opinion the best vegan marshmallows. Instead of gelatin, they use a combination of tapioca starch and carrageenan to achieve the same texture and consistency as traditional marshmallows. Other brands, such as Trader Joe's marshmallows and Smashmallow, also offer options, using plant-based ingredients.
Ingredients for Dandies vegan marshmallows are: Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor.
It's important to note that while all vegan marshmallows are gelatin-free marshmallows, they are not all created equal. Some may still contain ingredients that you may choose to avoid, such as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Always check the ingredient list before buying any marshmallow product, and make sure it meets your dietary requirements.
Are you looking for vegan marshmallow fluff?
If it’s marshmallow fluff, aka marshmallow creme, you’re after you’ve lucked into one of those “accidentally vegan” options, with Smucker's Marshmallow Fluff. I’m not going to pretend it’s healthy, as it’s mostly corn syrup, but it is vegan!
Make Your Own Vegan Marshmallows
If you're looking to make your own vegan marshmallows at home, it is possible! There are plenty of recipes available online that use vegan-friendly ingredients. Some popular substitutes for gelatin include agar-agar, carrageenan, and even aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas).
Making your own homemade marshmallows can be fun, but it does require some skill and patience. Vegan marshmallows can be a bit trickier to make than traditional marshmallows, as they may not set as firmly or have the same texture. But with a bit of practice, you can achieve a delicious and vegan-friendly marshmallow treat.
If you want to make homemade marshmallows, we recommend this recipe from Make it Dairy-free.
Ingredients: powdered sugar, cornstarch, aquafaba, cream of tartar, agar agar powder, corn syrup, cane sugar, vanilla extract
In addition to gelatin, some marshmallows may also contain other animal-derived ingredients, such as honey or beeswax. While these ingredients are not always present, it's important to check the label to ensure that the marshmallows you're consuming align with your dietary preferences.
How to make a vegan s'more
While we’re on the subject of marshmallows, s’mores naturally come to mind, all warm and toasty over a campfire. Here are our favorite ingredients for building a top-notch vegan s'more! Try swapping your plain 'ol chocolate bar with an Unreal Peanut Butter Cup next time. Nabisco Grahams are another one of those "accidentally vegan" products.
Fun Vegan Marshmallow Treats
And just for fun, try these vegan marshmallow candies from Mallow Puffs! They're incredibly good. Too good.
In conclusion, marshmallows are not inherently vegan, as they often contain gelatin, an animal-derived ingredient. However, there are now many vegan-friendly marshmallow options available on the market, as well as recipes for making your own at home.
Being vegan doesn't mean you have to miss out on your favorite sweet treats. With a bit of research and creativity, you can find or make vegan-friendly alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth. So go ahead, indulge in some vegan marshmallows or try making your own.