How to Make Bourbon Marshmallows

Bourbon Marshmallows in hot cocoa

How to Make Bourbon Marshmallows ~ these plush vanilla bean marshmallows are spiked with bourbon, add them to hot cocoa for a sweetly indulgent nightcap.

A row of homemade bourbon marshmallows

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?

A mug of hot cocoa with bourbon marshmallows

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.

Homemade Bourbon Marshmallows with a glass of bourbon

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.

kitchenAid Stand Mixer

  • 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.

corn syrup for making homemade marshmallows

  • Bourbon. I chose bourbon to spike these marshmallows, but it could be whiskey, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, etc. So many options.

Bourbon for Bourbon Marshmallows

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.

Whipping up bourbon marshmallows in a stand mixer

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.

sprinkling powdered sugar on homemade Bourbon Marshmallows

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.

Slicing a slab of homemade bourbon marshmallows

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!

Cutting homemade bourbon marshmallows

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 🙂

a platter of homemade bourbon marshmallows

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.

a mug of cocoa with bourbon marshmallows

Now that you’ve got a fresh batch of homemade marshmallows, here are some fun ways to use them ~

There you have it, this recipe makes enough for 5 or 6 gifts, but if I were you I’d keep some for yourself.

A plate of homemade bourbon marshmallows
4.41 from 30 votes

How to Make Bourbon Marshmallows

Easy, plush SPIKED homemade marshmallows are better than anything you can find in a store!
Course candy, Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sue Moran


  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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.

homemade marshmallows topped with powdered sugar.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    5 stars
    I’m very excited to try this recipe! I have been a bartender for many years and am now looking for ways to make boozy food items to sell. My question, I see you mix 1/4 cup bourbon and 1/2 cup water then sprinkle the geletan…what if I upped the boubon and lost some water? I want these to be as boozy as they can be without ruining it. I guess what I’m really asking is how important is that water?

    • Reply
      April 18, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      I think that should work fine, the important thing is the amount of liquid.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Just made my first batch, (impatiently) waiting to be able to cut them! I used Irish cream whiskey and vanilla bean paste – the batter tasted wonderful and the recipe was so easy to follow! Next up – a vegan batch for my son and daughter-in-law, using agar agar, maybe agave syrup, and regular Irish whiskey (or whatever he brings me).

    I LOVE your recipes!!!! Happy holidays to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Donna L.
    December 13, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Hi Sue – I can’t wait to try this recipe! Quick question: can I use bourbon extract instead of real bourbon? If so, how much extract would you use? Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      I’ve never worked with bourbon extract, but you would use a small amount, I would guess, and add it in as the syrup is being whipped. Substitute water for the bourbon in the recipe.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Sue – I love making marshmallows and want to try these. Quick question: can I use 1T of vanilla bean paste instead of the vanilla extract and eliminate scraping a vanilla bean? Thank you.

    • Reply
      January 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, absolutely!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Hi Sue, I’ve never previously had problems with any of your posted recipes except when I tried the Bourbon Marshmallows. When I combined the sugar and corn syrup in the saucepan it formed a very thick unstirable pastey mass that I feared to heat. The amount of sugar seems high. I’ve made marshmallows sucessfully before and the recipe I used previously requires water, sugar and corn syrup to be combined before heating. Did I need to add any water?
    Thanks Much, I adore your salads,

    • Reply
      February 27, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      I’m wondering the same and I don’t see a comment. Did you make these without the water? How did they turn out if you did? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      For this recipe I didn’t use any water, and the sugar and corn syrup melt just fine for me…start on a low heat and stir as they melt. Not sure what could have happened with yours C.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 28, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Dreamy marshmallows, I love the bourbon!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    These boozy marshmallows look amazing! Is there anything that you can’t make at home?? You are so talented, Sue.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Awww shucks…thanks and enjoy the holidays Angie <3

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    December 20, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Well these are just incredibly brilliant! I want some and have bourbon ready and waiting. If I don’t get to these before Christmas, you can bet I’m making them next time we get some snow! Merry Christmas Sue and Grant, and Molly too

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Hi Sue, Just read the recipe for home-made marshmallows! sounds great! I think I better get a new Candy thermometer….don’t know when I last used it and it’s OLD. Just wondered if that was a typo where you indicate the length of time you can freeze them for – 3 – 4 weeks because you mentioned that you could keep them 4 weeks in the fridge earlier in the recipe. I am SOOO sure I wouldn’t have to worry about that with my sweet tooth and Christmas company and all! No – more – amazing – delicious – I-want-to-make-those-too recipes!! lol

    • Reply
      December 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Thanks Marj, that was a typo! I fixed it. And definitely get a new thermometer, they don’t last more than a few years in my experience, and it’s so important to get that temperature right.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I am not a huge fan of marshmallows, but I firmly believe it’s because I have only tried commercial marshmallows. I also have never tried making them myself because…well…meh, they’re marshmallows. But BOURBON marshmallows? ALRIGHTY THEN. I am totally trying these. The whole marshmallow future rests on your recipe. No pressure.

    And because I’m an editor (I know, right? Ugh.) I feel obligated to tell you that Step 9 should say Slice instead of Spice. Also (I swear, I’ll try to shut up after this) I think you may have meant these will keep in the freezer for 3-4 months instead of 3-4 weeks.

    P.S. (Almost done, I swear.) Yours is the only food blog I read anymore. I still search Pinterest for recipes, of course, but your style suits me right down to the ground. You’re my go-to for dinner ideas, and I treasure the tips you share. I love your “voice”. It’s a real pleasure to read your posts. I hope the rest of your holidays are filled with joy. (Also, and this may be the most awkward part of being an online reader (voyeur?) of the things you share about your life, I feel the need to say how sorry I am to hear of your father-in-law’s passing, and grateful that circumstances allowed it to happen in the most wonderful way. I’m reminded of a line from a favorite movie, “I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.” Wishing you and your family a blessed holiday season.)

    • Reply
      December 20, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Thanks so much Laurelei, I’m so grateful for readers like you, I love the connection…and also grateful for your eagle eyes, I’m off to make corrections 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday, and here’s to a fabulous 2019!!

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