ANSWER: Not useless specifically stated. While marshmallows look like seemingly cute and innocent puff balls, the majority of marshmallows on the market are made with gelatin. Gelatin is a gel substance created from skins, hooves, tendons, ligaments of animals which would place it in the non-vegan category. Although rare today, some marshmallows may even have eggs! The good news is that there are lots of gelatin free marshmallows available and even ways to make your own marshmallows if you're so inclined.
Marshmallows are best known as sugar confections shaped into cylinders that have a spongy and puffy consistency. Sugar (the primary ingredient) is whipped, molded, and usually coated with something to make it less sticky on the outside allowing it to be held without getting stuck on your fingertips.
One of the most popular marshmallow brands out there Jet Puffed Kraft Marshmallows had the following ingredient statement according to their website. This is typically what you should expect the industry standard of marshmallows to look like ingredient wise:
INGREDIENTS: CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, DEXTROSE, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF GELATIN, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (WHIPPING AID), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BLUE 1.
If you're on the hunt for a bag of vegan marshmallows, you're bound to find a much simpler ingredient statement. Dandie's Marshmallows (which is the brand we link to below) has the following ingredients on their packaging for their standard marshmallows:
Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor.
Dandies vegan marshmallows perform in the same way that any other marshmallows would. You can roast them for smores, on a stick, and even make rice crispy treats!
There are even options to make your own vegan marshmallows at home, but this may be reserved for the more adventurous! This guide by Seitan is My Motor goes into great detail on the marshmallow making process. One bonus about making them at home is that you can mold them into shapes if you have the right cutters!
If you simply cannot get enough of vegan confectioneries, you'll be pleased to know that marshmallows are just the tip of the iceberg.
We've written about other vegan sweets and snacks such as:
There's no reason to think that vegans can't enjoy junk food!
Much like anything else, marshmallows do not need to be missed when living a vegan lifestyle. Do beware of the common store bought brands and be on a look out for gelatin and egg whites in the ingredient statements!
Cooking healthy, delicious, plant-based meals has been Joey’s true passion since he went vegan in 2015. He has a masters in Nutrition and Food Science and is committed to making the internet a place of education and knowledge rather than misinformation and clickbait. He currently lives in Delaware with his wife.