Original Marshmallows Recipe From Marshmallow Plant Root

I started some Marshmallow (Marsh Mallow) plants from seed about six weeks ago, and was finally able to transplant them into the yard today. They prefer a sunny, but cool and moist place to grow… hopefully the edge of the woods will work well enough for them.

Marshmallow has many medicinal uses, although that’s another post for another time! But I stumbled across this recipe from like the 19th century and was excited to find it, and wanted to share. ‘Cause I love stuff like this.

Hopefully my plants will thrive where they are, and I’ll get to experiment with them one day!

Marshmallows are a… Plant?

Yes, they are! I know, you’re probably feeling like I was when first found out. The word “marshmallow” has always been totally synonymous with these squishy, fluffy, sweet treats that I have enjoyed since childhood. You probably have, too!

But marshmallow treats got their name from the marsh mallow, a plant, and one that lends its roots as an ingredient in legitimate, real deal marshmallows treats!

And what a plant it is: Aside from growing beautiful, delicately scented, creamy white flowers, it also has known benefits as an herbal dietary supplement.

Even the Latin name of the plant, Althaea officinalis, references its restorative properties- from Greek, althainein, which means “to heal.” It has long been used since antiquity to treat everything from sore throats and chronic coughs, irritated sinus passages, mouth sores and even stomach ulcers. 

Pretty amazing, and I tell myself that is why I started growing it myself. Between you and me, it was really because I wanted to make some real marshmallows!

How Long Have Marshmallow Treats Been Around?

Here’s another thing that is just intolerable to me: marshmallow treats have been around literally forever. Or at least a lot longer than you might be thinking.

Only recently in these depraved times has everything about the modern marshmallow been taken away from it. Like I said, these industrially produced lifeless confections don’t even have any actual marshmallow root in them anymore!

Believe it or not, the ancient Egyptians were making marshmallows at least 2,000 years before the birth of Christ, but as best we can tell they use them medicinally.

That being said, we also know they were made with honey, and that undoubtedly gave them that sweet, unique flavor that you’re going to get to try for the first time. The way I see it if you make the medicine taste that good then you shouldn’t be surprised when people start eating it for fun!

Marshmallows spread from there, and they became extremely popular in Europe, starting in France, in the middle part of the 1800s.

They spread out from there and marshmallows were a constant fixture of candy shops, where the original ingredients list was slowly modified until it included egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and more. The recipe I’m going to walk you through below is based on this 19th-century version as I said above.

Do These Marshmallow Treats Taste Like Store-bought Ones?

No, they don’t; but they taste way better! It’s hard to describe the subtle, floral, sweet, and indulgent flavor of actual, real-deal marshmallows to someone who has never had them. All I can say is that if you like the store-bought stuff, it’s like you’ve been seeing in black and white and you’re about to see in color for the first time.

They really are that good! But even better news is that you can still use them in the exact same way that you use all the fake factory marshmallows.

They are amazing with s’mores, the perfect accompaniment to hot chocolate, and an amazing topping for all of your favorite sweet casseroles, desserts, and more. And, of course, perfect for snacking on right out of hand!

Okay, I’ve ranted and raved about these enough, but if you can’t tell I’m really excited to share this recipe with you. I can’t wait for you to try it, so when you do please let me know how you like it down in the comments!

Original Marshmallows From Marshmallow Root

Note: Make sure the mallow roots aren’t moldy or too woody. Marshmallow gives off almost twice its own weight of mucilaginous gel when placed in water.

  • 4 tablespoons marshmallow roots
  • 1 ¾ cups refined sugar
  • 20 tablespoons gum tragacanth (or gum arabic- a natural product which can be bought online)
  • 2 cups water (Water of orange flowers for aroma or instead of plain water)
  • 1 -2 egg whites, well beaten
  1. Make a tea of marshmallow roots by simmering in a pint of water for twenty to thirty minutes. Add additional water if it simmers down. Strain out the roots.
  2. Heat the gum and marshmallow decoction (water) in a double boiler until they are dissolved together. Strain with pressure.
  3. Stir in the sugar as quickly as possible. When dissolved, add the well-beaten egg whites, stirring constantly, but take off the fire and continue to stir.
  4. Lay out on a flat surface. Let cool, and cut into smaller pieces.

Recipe Variations

Now, I’m definitely sticking to my guns when it comes to my old, original marshmallow recipe. But there are plenty of variations out there that are 10 times better than the factory-produced garbage we put up with today, and some have ingredients lists that are probably more familiar and more available to most of us.

I’ve included a couple of my favorite variations below, so make sure to try these two. Either way, I promise you’ll like the results!

Vanilla and Cane Sugar Marshmallows

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp powdered Marshmallow (root)

These ingredients are just used for a slight recipe variation. All you need to do is substitute them where needed in the steps above.

By comparison, this one is a little bit sweeter and has an indefinable extra something-something because of the vanilla. They taste more like candies and things that you are used to, and might be a better choice if you’re a family doesn’t like experimenting with some of these old and novel recipes like I do!

Whip egg whites until almost stiff. Add vanilla and whip until stiff. Then whip in the sugar, 1 tsp at the time. Finally, add Marshmallow and whip again. Place by teaspoonful on cookie sheet. Bake in 325 oven for 1 hour.

Gelatin-based Marshmallows

  • Grass-fed gelatin, 3 Tbsp
  • Salt, ½ tsp
  • Vanilla bean powder, ½ tsp
  • Marshmallow root powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, ½ Cup
  • Honey, 1 Cup
  • Water, 1 Cup

To make this recipe, start by pouring a half cup of water into a bowl and top it with the gelatin to let it bloom. Mix the rest of the water, honey, and salt in a small pot and heat it slowly, un-stirred until it’s around 230° F. Use a thermometer, and don’t burn it.

Mix the honey solution and the gelatin together using a mixer, slowly increasing the speed until you have something that looks like store-bought marshmallow fluff. Once the peaks are almost fully formed, add your marshmallow root and vanilla bean powder.

Line a pan with parchment paper, dust it with some of the cornstarch, and then pour your marshmallow fluff into the pan. Press it flat, dust it with more cornstarch and then seal it with another layer of parchment paper. 

Let it firm up overnight, then plot the mixture out onto a cutting board, slice and serve. Keeps for about a week and a half stored in the refrigerator.

19 thoughts on “Original Marshmallows Recipe From Marshmallow Plant Root”

  1. Can you replace the gum tragacanth (if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your food) with gelatin? How much?
    Please answer the questions posted here, thank you

    • “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your food”

      Or you can better educate yourself and learn what things are. Instead of following a fallacious axiom.

  2. Kendra, I just stumbled across your website, and enjoyed the marshmallow recipe. I was checking to see if the plant I remember as being Marshmallow really is: Althea, aka
    (violet-colored) hibiscus. Seeing the pictures on your recipe page, I see that what you have is definitely not what I remember. I’ll have to do more research. But I will be back to visit your blog in depth. Am looking forward to moving out of CA back to somewhere that I can have garden and livestock, and can forage wild edibles.

  3. Thank you Kendra!
    Check out Richters’ Nothing wrong with Horizon who’s strictly medicinal now as I order from them too. Or have.
    The Bible says not to plant a field with mingled seed, which like hybrids, they are mingled, thus adultery. Which things used to be kept purer. Wasn’t no cansirs, dizeezes much then like it’s now.

  4. Hi i need to make Confectionery marshmallow, but i need to use tragacanth in it, but when i make it, it stays separate instead. what should i do?

  5. Hi Just found this site looking for a marshmallow recipe using the root and not gelatin or corn syrup, etc. This looks great and will try. I use the root to manage my interstitial cystitis. I have a lot of GI problems and this seems to calm the inflamed track. But the mucous lining of my bladder is greatly helped by marshmallow root tea. But I had lots of root (MountainRose source is a huge amount for the volume I need) and I love marshmallows but no longer tolerate (or want to eat) corn syrup or HFCS. I’ll give this recipe a try and report back. Happy Holidays everyone.

  6. Thanks so much for posting these recipes! Do you have a good one for root beer? I just made the 2nd of these recipes. The taste wasn’t bad, but the texture was not exactly marshmallow-like. I think the hour long cooking time is way too long, maybe more like 20 minutes, or maybe they need to be cooked at a lower temp. Mine were burning up after 35 minutes.

  7. We had a local restaurant that did an authentic marshmallow-themed dining night. All the courses had marshmallow incorporated into them. I saw the menu, and it looked pretty good!


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