How to Make Bourbon Marshmallows ~ these plush vanilla bean marshmallows are spiked with bourbon, add them to hot cocoa for a sweetly indulgent nightcap.
Making homemade marshmallows has to be one of the most rewarding diy projects you’ll ever do. Not only is the recipe straightforward and surprisingly mess-up proof, the result is so much better than anything you can buy. And anyway, when was the last time you saw bourbon marshmallows at the supermarket?
Making homemade marshmallows takes only about 20 minutes, but then they’ll set for at least 4 hours (I prefer overnight) before you cut them up. Let the kids help, or at least watch you do this, it’s magical.
What you will need to make homemade marshmallows ~
- You will need a stand mixer. I say this because you need to beat the mixture on high speed for 12 minutes. A stand mixer makes it happen.
- A candy thermometer. You need to heat your sugar and corn syrup to a precise soft ball stage (238F) and for that you’ll need one of those thermometers that clips onto the side of your saucepan. I use mine for deep frying and candy making. Keep one in the drawer so it’s there when you need it.
- You will also need unflavored powdered gelatin. This recipe is formulated for Knox gelatin, which is an animal product. For a vegan substitute you could try agar agar, which is derived from seaweed.
- Corn syrup. I don’t use corn syrup very often, but it’s an integral part of making these marshmallows. Corn syrup helps prevent the sugar from crystalizing.
- Bourbon. I chose bourbon to spike these marshmallows, but it could be whiskey, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, etc. So many options.
Once you’ve got the right tools, the rest is a cinch, I promise. Follow the directions precisely and your marshmallows will turn out perfectly.
Those are vanilla bean specks in the mixture…you can’t beat them for gorgeous vanilla flavor, and it works so well with the bourbon.
Every time I make marshmallows I’m surprised at how easy they are. They slice like a dream, and once you coat them lightly with powdered sugar they don’t stick at all. It’s actually a fun and oddly relaxing process ~ positively therapeutic during the hectic holidays.
Do these marshmallows really taste like bourbon?
- Yes, the flavor is subtle to moderate, and lingers on the palate. You can use a little more or less bourbon in the recipe to customize the flavor.
Can I toast homemade marshmallows?
- Yes! These bourbon marshmallows will toast just like regular marshmallows over an open flame and they are SO GOOD! In fact, I highly recommend making them in the warmer months so you can enjoy some epic bourbon spiked s’mores!
How long will my homemade marshmallows last?
- Homemade marshmallows have a surprisingly long shelf life, about a month. That means you can make them ahead for gift giving, or keep them around for many weeks of indulgent hot drinks. Keep them in an airtight container or zip lock baggie at room temperature.
Can I freeze marshmallows?
- Yes! How cool is that? You can make a batch and then freeze them so you can enjoy your homemade bourbon treats all winter long. Just lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze for an hour. Then load them into heavy duty zip lock freezer bags. They’ll last 3-4 months, just long enough to get you through til spring 🙂
Can I make marshmallows without corn syrup?
- Yes, you can, you can substitute agave syrup, honey, or golden syrup. Even maple syrup should work.
Can I make these marshmallows without the bourbon?
- Absolutely, just leave it out and use the same amount of water. Or try another alcohol or liqueur, the sky’s the limit.
Now that you’ve got a fresh batch of homemade marshmallows, here are some fun ways to use them ~
Peanut Butter Cookies S’mores
The Ultimate Hot Chocolate
Chai Spiced Cocoa
Chocolate Atole, Mexican Hot Chocolate
There you have it, this recipe makes enough for 5 or 6 gifts, but if I were you I’d keep some for yourself.
How to Make Bourbon Marshmallows
- Vegetable oil, for brushing your parchment paper
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 4 envelopes Knox original unflavored gelatin, 3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhanging paper on the ends so you can easily lift out the marshmallows after they've firmed up. Brush the paper LIGHTLY with oil so the marshmallows won't stick.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, put 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup bourbon. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and let it sit. Add the vanilla bean seeds on top.
- In a medium saucepan, put the sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Begin heating it, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then stop stirring and let the sugar syrup come up to 238 degrees F, which is the soft ball stage in candy making. It will boil for a while before it gets there.
- Turn the mixer on low, and let it blend the gelatin for a few seconds, then slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin. When it's all in, gradually increase the speed until it is on high. Be careful because the mixture is very hot, and you don't want to get splattered.
- Beat on high for 12 minutes until the mixture is stiff. Beat in the vanilla.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish, smoothing it out evenly with an offset spatula.
- Let sit, uncovered, for 4 hours (or overnight.)
- Turn out the marshmallow block onto a surface coated with confectioner's sugar. Peel off the paper and dust the whole top surface with more confectioner's sugar. Use a strainer to sift the sugar down on the marshmallow.
- Slice the marshmallows into squares using a sharp, oiled knife or pizza cutter. As you cut each strip, turn it to coat the cut ends with sugar, and as you cut each individual marshmallow, do the same. All the sides should be well coated and not sticky.
- Store marshmallows at room temperature in an airtight container or pack in cellophane bags for giving. They will last about a month.
Make these bourbon marshmallows your own ~
Cut your marshmallow slab into shapes with cookie cutters. Small, simple shapes work best.
Use other flavor extracts like peppermint, You can swirl crushed peppermint candy into to your marshmallows before you add them to the pan. I’ve made chocolate marshmallows here.
Questions and Reviews
Hi.. for us over the Sea in Europe what would the equivalent be for (envelopes ?… Knox original unflavored gelatin as there are different sizes or gelatine can be in powdered form let’s say of 11 g sachets .. please help as the gelatine is a vital component of your recipe
33g is what you’ll need.
Hi question. If you were to swap out the corn syrup and use maple syrup how would you adjust the recipe? I wasn’t sure if the maple sugar would also require reducing the sugar in the recipe. B/c doesn’t Bourbon Maple Syrup Marshmallows sound fabulous? Thanks!
Hi Annie, I’d check my maple syrup marshmallows for reference, and yes, bourbon maple marshmallows do sound awesome!
Hi! I noticed after making these that they dry out quicker compared to the classic recipe – the outer shell dry but the inside moist! Is this typical of bourbon marshmallows?
I don’t remember that from mine Rochelle, so I’m not sure. As soon as they’re cut I usually put them in an airtight container, so that seems to keep them soft, but the outside always gets drier than the inside, for sure.
What I learned from my first attempt making these is that I need a new candy thermometer! Everything set up perfectly but because I didn’t get my sugar mixture to the correct temperature, I ended up with marshmallows that were slightly crunchy. This afternoon I will attempt another batch – cannot wait!
It’s a sad fact, candy thermometers don’t last that long, I guess it’s because they take such a beating in the high temperatures.
I have my mom’s. It’s well over 50 years old and I still use it. I guess they don’t make them like they used to.
Help! I tried to make these and failed. (Pictures of the steps might have helped me.
1st when you stir the sugar mixture is it supposed to stay white, kinda pastel, and grainy? Cause I couldn’t get it to melt.
2nd I not sure if it was the right stiffness after the 12 min on high
3rd I kept mixing it for another 30 seconds after adding in the vanilla extract cause you didn’t say how long.
After 24 hours of sitting I got a flat, shinny, grainy, block. If this let me post pictures I would.
What did I do wrong?