Are Marshmallows Vegetarian?

Committing to an animal-free lifestyle is a hard work. It means taking time to read food product labels and watching out for not so obvious ingredients. A vegetarian diet can be strictly vegan whereby all animal-based products are excluded, while some types of vegetarian diets include eggs and dairy, but exclude meats, fish and poultry. Then what about marshmallows? Can a vegan eat them? Let’s find out.

Are Marshmallows Vegetarian?

In most cases, marshmallows are not vegetarian. They are made using gelatin to give them the characteristic texture. Gelatin is a meat byproduct made from collagen extracted from bones and animal skin. Because gelatin is a meat product, which disqualifies it from vegetarianism, any marshmallows made with it are not vegetarian.

However, some marshmallows are made using plant-based gels in place of gelatin. The gels made from seaweed such as agar-agar and carrageenan help to make marshmallows with a texture that is similar to those made with gelatin. Other ingredients of the non-gelatin marshmallows include soy protein, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla extract. By excluding gelatin, these marshmallows pass the test of veganism.

Where to Buy Vegan Marshmallows

If you are worrying about "are marshmallows vegetarian", find the vegetarian versions from the following stores.

1.     Dandies

Dandies vegan marshmallows are made in Chicago by a company owned by Ryan Howard and Dan Zieglar who are both vegans. The company began producing vegan marshmallows in 2008 after Howard searched for vegetarian marshmallows for his vegan son without success.

2.     Sweet & Sara

Sarah Sohn, owner of Sweet and Sara, began making vegan marshmallows while she was still in employment. She quit to go into the business full time.

3.     Ananda Foods

Ananda Foods is an online British brand that sells vegan marshmallows and other related products such as marshmallow lollipops and cookies with a marshmallow center.

4.     Trader Joe’s

Rising customer demand influenced Trader Joe’s to start stocking vegan marshmallows.

5.     Suzanne's Specialties

Suzanne’s Specialties produces Ricemellow Crème used to make easy desserts such as marshmallow rice treats. You can get the product from stores or online.

6.     Smucker's

Smucker’s vegan marshmallow is perfect for topping ice creams, cookies, or even between cookies.

7.     Freedom Confectionary

Freedom Confectionery produces Freedom mallows in various flavors including classic, vanilla and strawberry.

8.     Angel Food

If you are more of a DIY person, Angel food has the perfect offer – a kit to help you prepare vegan marshmallows of your own. 

How to Make Vegan Marshmallows at Home

If you are still searching and wondering "are marshmallows vegetarian", why not just make your own?


For marshmallows

  • Agar powder – 2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 cup (200g)
  • Chickpea brine (canned) – ½ cup (120ml)
  • Syrup - 1/3 cup (100g)
  • Guar or xantham gum - ½ tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice - ½ tsp
  • Water – ½ cup (120ml), and ¼ cup (60ml)

For dusting

  • Powdered sugar – 1 cup (100g)
  • Corn starch – 1 cup (120g)


  • Put ½ cup (120ml) water into a saucepan and add the agar powder.
  • Stir to dissolve and put it aside.
  • Mix the ¼ cup water, sugar and syrup in a saucepan with a fitted candy thermometer.
  • Place the second mixture on a fire and when it starts boiling, continue cooking over high heat for around 6 minutes, until its temperature rises to 248°F (120°C).
  • Place the agar and water mixture on a fire and cook for 1 minute after it starts boiling. Keep stirring until you switch off the fire.
  • As the syrup is boiling, mix the guar gum, chickpea brine and lemon juice in a heat-insulated bowl and beat the mixture for two minutes, add the vanilla and continue beating until the mixture gets stiff (about two more minutes).
  • Gently pour the boiling syrup into the stiff chickpea brine mixture and keep beating. If you do this right, the mixture will stay fluffy.
  • Beat for further two minutes to mix everything completely.
  • Pour in the agar mixture and continue beating until the combined mixture cools down (about five more minutes). The mixture should still be fluffy and remain stiff when you take out the beaters. Further beating will produce firmer ribbons.
  • Combine the starch and powdered sugar and sift the mixture.
  • Using a third of the starch and sugar mixture, dust an 18cm X 28cm or 7inch X 11inch rectangular pan, or an 8inch X 8inch square pan, making sure to cover the whole bottom.
  • Gently pour your marshmallow mixture into the dusted pan.
  • Set it aside to cool and set for about 2 hours (don’t put it in the refrigerator).
  • Pour more of the starch-powdered sugar mixture onto the marshmallow.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut it into your chosen shape.
  • Roll your marshmallow in the remaining starch-powdered sugar mixture to stop the stickiness.
  • Put on baking sheet and set it aside to dry for about 24 hours. Once their outer surface is dry, you can store your marshmallow in airtight containers.

More Common Foods That Are Not Vegetarian

Besides asking "are marshmallows vegetarian", you may be surprised to know that the following foods are not vegan.

  • Some Sugar. Most sugar, including white, brown and powdered is not vegan because it is refined in a process that uses animal bone char. To be sure your sweetener is vegan, choose agave nectar or syrup. You can also look out for vegan sugar made by certified vegan sugar manufacturers.
  • Candies. Many candies are not vegan. They get their glazed appearance from a resin made from secretions of the lac bug.
  • Red Foods. Many red colored foods, except those that are naturally red, derive their color from a red pigment produced from cochineal insects (female).
  • Sauces and Dressings. Many sauces and dressings contain anchovy. To make sure you are buying vegan, research carefully and read the label.
  • Peanuts. You can’t be sure the peanut you purchase is vegan because preparation may include addition of gelatin.
  • Chips. Chips are usually not vegetarian because they may be exposed to chicken fat during preparation.
  • Cake Mix. Don’t assume cake mixes are vegan. They may contain non-vegan sugar, lard and milk solids.
  • Refried Beans. Traditional refried beans are not vegan because they are prepared with lard. Go specifically for vegan refried beans.
  • Margarine. While the main ingredient of most margarine is vegetable oil, they are likely to contain animal products such as milk protein (casein), gelatin or whey.
  • Orange Juice. Wondering how come orange juice is not vegetarian? Well, some brands are fortified with omega-3 from fish.
  • Beer and Wine. This is not common knowledge. Many beers and wines are not vegan because they are filtered using a membrane made with bladders of some tropical fish. Seek information online to ascertain a brand is vegan.