Learn how to dehydrate marshmallows for yourself, and take the next step with how to make marshmallow powder with this easy DIY! And yes, they are just like those fun cereal marshmallows you remember as a kid!
Who doesn't love a big steaming mug of hot cocoa? Especially if it's been made with cream or milk, and a huge mountain of marshmallows or whipped cream? If we're going to do it, we're going to do it up big, right? Calories be damned!
But how often have you been disappointed to go into your pantry and all you find are little envelopes of some cheap cocoa mix and a half bag of dried up, gummy, sticky marshmallows that are just sad? We have to fix that!
One option, of course, is to make your own DIY cocoa mix that's really tasty, and to vacuum seal your marshmallows so that they stay fresher, longer. And that's an experiment you can do with your kids one day because it's fun and they'll want to do it over and over.
But there is an alternative!
You can dehydrate marshmallows!!! Really! Dehydrating marshmallows is one of the easiest projects for a beginning dehydrator recipe.
There is virtually no prep work and little maintenance. Not only have you created a handy pantry staple for cocoa down the road, they are a super-fun snack treat for kids! Think of that lucky cereal that you buy in the spring with all the shapes -- but better because you don't have to contend with the icky cereal - just the good bits of crunchy sweetness!
How to Dehydrate Marshmallows
So go grab a few bags of marshmallows. The size and shape don't matter, and the flavored ones can be really fun to do around the holidays.
1. Cut larger marshmallows to smaller sizes:
While mini marshmallows can certainly go on the dehydrating racks, it's helpful to cut larger ones down. It just makes the drying time go so much faster. You can use scissors or a knife, but I suggest keeping a wet cloth with you to occasionally clean the blades. Confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) handy to dust your scissors or knife helps, too.
This does mean that the larger shaped marshmallows won't have their shape any longer, but it could save you hours in drying time.
2. Lay marshmallows in a single layer, not touching
While there are many foods I am not so particular about separating (such as greens as they begin to shrivel almost within the hour), I do make a little effort to separate marshmallows so that they don't stick and dry inefficiently.
But marshmallows are playful and like to roll and move, so don't fuss over placement.
One Excalibur Dehydrator tray holds about half a bag of mini marshmallows easily, giving plenty of room to breathe.
READ MORE>> Tips for Buying Your First Dehydrator
3. Dehydrate Marshmallows at 150°F / 62°C
Timing is dependent on how large your marshmallows are, the humidity level of your home's atmosphere, the strength of your dehydrator, and the position of the Earth to Venus (just kidding on that last one - not really, but really).
- Minis - generally take from 3-8 hours
- Large - generalyl take up to 10-24+ hours
However, know that you just can't ever dry them too long. The longer they stay on the trays, you can be assured they are fully dried. I actually kept this latest batch in for over 24 hrs. Partly because it had been raining all day, and partly because I wanted them SUPER dry for doing the powdering.
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How do you know when dehydrated marshmallows are done?
Dehydrated marshmallows are done when they are completely crunchy and shatter when you bit them or crush them in your hands. If you find a little area that still looks raw, dry them more.
But first, before you test, allow them to come to room temperature before testing. They stay a little soft while they're still warm.
Also, understand that marshmallows don't shrink the way other dehydrated foods do. Some of them may actually pillow up a little like these peppermint marshmallows do.
Skip to the 11:54 mark if you want to jump straight to the powdering phrase.
If you'd rather skip the work, you can purchase dehydrated marshmallows in bulk, but you'd want to repackage them for long-term storage. My son gets this canister version for Christmas every year. He snacks on them and adds a little hot chocolate to his mug of marshmallow bits.
READ MORE: #12DaysOfDehydrating: DIY Dog Chews
How to Dry Marshmallows in the Oven
Unlike a dehydrator, ovens don't go low enough to dehydrate without cooking, unless you have the new ovens with a dehydrating feature.
What you can do is set your oven at its lowest setting, and prop the door open to allow much of that heat to escape. I don't have an accurate time frame as I've never done them that way, but you can expect anywhere from 5-12 hours in the same fashion.
Please be cautious if you have young children as they won't know not to touch an open oven door that may be hot.
How to Air Dry Marshmallows
This is a cheat. You can just leave a bag that's been opened but not sealed completely in your pantry. In about three months, you'll have gummy, hard little marshmallows. Leave them a few months more and they'll be rock solid dense little balls. NOT the fluffy, airy, crunchy delights that we're talking about. I hate it when that happens, but it does work!!
How to Store Dehydrated Marshmallows
Store in airtight containers with an oxygen absorber thrown in, or use a vacuum sealer to seal a jar. You can use a zip-top storage bag (the freezer variety) and double-bag it and remove the excess air with this neat trick, or you can use a mylar bag for long-term storage. I keep a separate smaller jar for day to day use available so we don't have to keep wasting vacuum sealer time or absorbers.
However, zip-top bags are not a great solution for long-term storage as they will allow air to permeate the plastic after a while. However, you can do smaller quantities in zip-top bags and then store in a larger, air-tight container with no problem.
As a quick tip -- I shared in this video how to store your fresh marshmallows, which would work for your dehydrated ones as well. In the video, you'll see a large canister of dehydrated marshmallows. Over the next few days, I'll actually transfer those to regular canning jars that have been vacuum sealed for longer-term storage.
Tools I use in my kitchen to dehydrate:
- Dehydrator. I use both the Excalibur Dehydrator and the square Nesco FD-80. Both are great dehydrators on either end of the budget spectrum.
- Vacuum sealer. We use a FoodSaver with the regular mouth attachment and the wide mouth attachment.
- Oxygen absorbers and silica gel/desiccant packs (however, you can make your own moisture absorbers)
- Canning Jars or other air-tight containers
How to Make Marshmallow Powder
One of the first things you'll think after you dehydrate marshmallows is, "How on earth will I use all of these?" I'd like you to consider marshmallow powder.
Marshmallow powder is as easy to do as grinding herbs. They powder effortlessly (assuming they are completely dehydrated).
- Place marshmallows in your grinder of choice. I love the Nutri-Ninja because it allows me to do more than a coffee grinder, and doesn't take up the room of a blender. But you can use anything.
- Pulse in spurts, shaking occasionally if needed to make sure the last bits get to the bottom to be ground.
How to Store Marshmallow Powder
It's helpful to make only as much as you need. However, you can store dehydrated marshmallow powder in an airtight container, with a mason jar and good lid being preferred. Because of the ingredients, it doesn't clump in the same fashion as dehydrated fruit powder, but over time, the sugars can tend to get clumpy, which is why you don't want to store big batches of it.
►LEARN MORE: Guidelines for Storing Dehydrated Powders
How to Use Marshmallow Powder
This is still an area we're experimenting with, but these are some practical ways to use it
- Flavor hot cocoa. A mound of marshmallow powder looks so pretty on top of hot cocoa, and to watch it melt into the steaming liquid is like watching science and art combined.
- Use as dusting snow for gingerbread house making. The cool thing is that powdered marshmallow looks more like snow than confectioner's sugar. And it does blow away or melt in the humidity. And as it does get a little of the residual humidity in the air, it tends to stick well (almost like glue), and it is pretty!
- Sweeten tea. Yes, actually, it melts and can be used as a sweetener. and peppermint marshmallow powder adds a touch of sweetness and peppermint.
- Dip cut fruit in it for a pretty presentation (and to help not quite sweet fruit taste a little better!)
- Substitute for powdered sugar in cookie recipes like Mexcian wedding cookies for an alternative flavor.
I'd love it if you'd leave a comment on a way you've used marshmallow powder!
Make Your Own Homemade Marshmallows
If you're really intrigued by marshmallows, you can try some of these homemade varieties:
- Alton Brown's Marshmallows
Paleo Marshmallows (made with honey)
- Raspberry Marshmallows
- Chai Spiced Maple Marshmallows
- Vegan Marshmallows
- Chocolate Marshmallows
- Hot Popcorn Marshmallows (THIS IS A THING!)
- Rose Flavored Marshmallows (If you are a Narnia fan, these remind me a little of Turkish Delight!)
- Pomegranate and Cranberry Marshmallows
Historically, homemade marshmallows don't always dehydrate well. But if you find yourself making them, and have a few leftover, give it a try so that you'll know if your recipe works. I tried some raspberry ones that I recently purchased at a local farmer's market and they did not. But I've heard tell that some folks have been successful at it.
Can you Flavor Store-Bought Marshmallows?
Sometimes, you will hear that there is a new flavored marshmallow on the market, but no matter how many stores you visit, you can't find them. I ran into it this year with the peppermint marshmallows (and do NOT buy the Walmart version - they taste like Wint-o-green, NOT peppermint).
It is as simple as spritzing some flavor extract onto your marshmallows. Don't soak them, but spritz them with a fine spray. I keep a small spray bottle I picked up in the travel section to use for spritzing jobs in the kitchen. I mix a little water with extract, and just spritz it on the surface of the marshmallows.
Flavors to try:
- Pumpkin spice - spritz the marshmallows with water and dust them with pumpkin spice. Or just dust them and try to tap it into the surface with your hands.
- Chai tea blend
Can You Dehydrate Peeps Marshmallows?
What are Peeps?
For those of you not in North America, Peeps are marshmallow treats sold mostly in the spring (though they are showing up for other holiday seasons now as well). They are a little spongier than a typical commercial marshmallow, and have a colored sugar coating.
How to Dehydrate Peeps
Dry these at 125°F/52°C as they can puff up at higher temperatures. Dry until done - at least 10-14+ hours.
Can You Dehydrate Lucky Charms Marshmallows?
Why, yes, they are magically dehydrated! These are larger than the cereal box variety, but by using the above instructions, they become crunchy marshmallow goodies.
We did find, however, that the red did not have the same results and could be occasionally not such a great bite, even though they were completely dehydrated. But they are so fun.
Or..if you want to keep your dehydrator open for another project, you can just get a big ol'bag of 'Charms Cereal Marshmallows' and add them to everything - even some Rice Krispies Treats!
Dehydrating Seasonal Marshmallows
Every season brings out a new flavor of marshmallows, but nothing like what fall and Christmastime bring.
The flavors of fall have led way to all sorts of twists on marshmallow flavors and shapes. While Peeps started it long ago, the last few years have brought flurry of flavors to play with.
Dehydrate them all. Really - they work the same. The only ones I don't recommend drying are the ones from really off-brand manufacturers (stories that they melt and make huge messes) and stuffed marshmallows.
DIY HOT COCOA MIX
Here are some Make Your Own Hot Chocolate Recipes you might want to try, too!