Homemade Coconut Marshmallows (Paleo Option)

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 4.9 from 19 reviews

These Homemade Coconut Marshmallows are made without any nuts, dairy, or corn syrup for an allergy-friendly take on a summertime classic. Make them all summer for the perfect s’mores! Additional flavor options included. Video tutorial included.

A close up image of one coconut marshmallow.

Moving along with our kid-friendly recipes, we’re introducing Paleo Marshmallows! Sweet, sticky, and allergy-friendly, pair these Homemade Coconut Marshmallows with my gluten-free graham crackers (recipe coming soon) for the ultimate s’mores! Or, keep this recipe on hand during the colder months for a sweet addition to your favorite hot chocolate

This recipe is guaranteed to please at barbecues, sleepovers, and everything in between. However, variety is the spice of life, and if your little one has allergies, it can be difficult to keep mealtime and snacks fun. So, be sure to check out these Two-Bite Brownies with Strawberries, my Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Rice Crispy Treats, and everyone’s favorite Raspberry Chocolate Chip Edible Cookie Dough for delicious treats to add to your lineup.  

Now, on to the marshmallows…

Overhead image of homemade marshmallows cut into 1-1/2 inch squares. Hand is pulling one away.

How to Make Paleo Marshmallows…with a Coconut Twist!

Making marshmallows yourself might seem like a difficult task, but it’s really pretty easy! I will admit, there are quite a few steps, but we did remove the need for any fancy equipment. So, if you follow the recipe card step by step and watch the video below, the process should be a breeze. To make things even easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best tips and tricks for easy baking.

Thoroughly coat the casserole tray. Before you do anything, make sure to line the casserole tray with parchment paper, and coat it with an oil spray. To prevent any sticking, be extra sure to include the sides and corners. 

Use a thermometer. For the best results, we recommend using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar water mixture. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, a digital thermometer works as well. Just be careful not to get the hot sugar on your hands! 

Go slow. When adding the sugar and water mixture to the gelatin, patience is key. Instead of dumping it all into the mixing bowl at once, slowly drain it down the side of the bowl. This will prevent the mixture from being too hot when it hits the gelatin. 

Add more starch. If after cooking and drying, the marshmallows are still a bit too sticky, add more starch or powdered sugar to the top. 

An overhead image of coconut marshmallows being cut.

What is Gelatin and Why Do We Use It?

Gelatin is a type of protein obtained from animals, typically cows or pigs, that is used to make a wide variety of items including shampoo, face masks, pudding, yogurt, and marshmallows. In today’s world, it is nearly impossible to find a marshmallow that doesn’t have this secret ingredient, but it wasn’t always this way!

Originally, marshmallows were made out of the roots of a mallow plant. The plant’s roots contain a thick, sticky material that was once used by the Egyptians to hold the marshmallows together. You can read more about the history of marshmallows here. However, today, the plant is not included in the process. Instead, we use gelatin to create the same sticky texture we all know and love! 

An overhead image of homemade marshmallows cut and tossed into the baking dish.

Grass-Fed beef gelatin, not to be confused with collagen, also adds in a variety of  health benefits that include: 

  • Improved Digestion
  • Improved Skin
  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Increased Bone Strength
  • Stronger Hair and Nails

Fun Flavors & Add-Ins

To make these Paleo Marshmallows, we chose to include toasted coconut for a boost of flavor and added texture. To do this, we toasted the coconut shreds ahead of time and added them to the marshmallow “fluff” before it had time to solidify. While I’m a big fan of coconut, you could also mix in ingredients like chopped nuts, cocoa powder, fruit, or dark chocolate chips. 

A close up side image of a homemade marshmallow between two fingers.

Or, feel free to have fun experimenting, and add natural food colorings and flavors to the mixture. For example, mint extract, fruit extracts, honey, nutella, peanut butter, and more could all be fun add-ins.

If you want to get really fancy, you could even mix and match flavors and add-ins such as mint extract and chocolate chips or chocolate chips and peanut butter. Even better, have the kids help out in the kitchen, and let them choose their own ingredients for a hands-on and delicious experience! 

Recipe Note: If you are using coconut palm sugar or darker turbinado sugar, the color of the marshmallows will turn out a little more golden! I used raw sugar in this recipe. 

How to Make Homemade Coconut Marshmallows Video

How to Freeze, Store, and More….Everything You Need to Know about Homemade Paleo Marshmallows

How should I store homemade marshmallows?

To prevent them from molding, homemade marshmallows should be stored in an airtight container or Ziploc bag at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Can I freeze coconut marshmallows? 

Yes! To freeze, place the marshmallows in a sealable bag making sure to remove as much air as possible. Then, wrap the bag in tin foil, and store it in the freezer for 3-4 months. 

What size baking dish is best for this recipe? 

The perfect baking dish is up to you and how you prefer your marshmallows. I recommend using an 8×8  inch dish, but 9×9 and 9×13 inches work as well. Just keep in mind that longer dishes will result in thinner marshmallows best suited for mini versions. 

Can I use collagen instead of gelatin to make homemade marshmallows?

I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to add collagen WITH the gelatin! Collagen and gelatin have similar health benefits. However, gelatin can only dissolve in hot water and is used more as a gelling agent in cooking. Meanwhile, collagen (as in collagen peptides) can dissolve in either hot or cold water and is used more as a supplement.  

Are paleo marshmallows gluten-free? 

Yes, this recipe uses arrowroot or potato starch for a completely gluten-free dessert. Be sure to use quality gelatin, free of added sugars and dyes. 

How should I cut homemade marshmallows?

The easiest way to create clean cuts and get equal-sized marshmallows is to cut them using a pair of kitchen scissors. To prevent the scissors from becoming sticky and unusable, dip them in warm water between each cut similar to how you would scoop ice cream. 

A close up image of homemade coconut marshmallows stacked.

I hope you’re no longer intimidated by making homemade marshmallows after reading this post. I know we covered a lot. So, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

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A close up image of stacked homemade coconut marshmallows.

Coconut Marshmallows (Paleo Option) + Video



  • Author:
    Lindsay Cotter

  • Prep Time:
    20

  • Rest Time:
    6 hours

  • Cook Time:
    10

  • Total Time:
    6 hours 30 minutes

  • Yield:
    25

  • Diet:
    Gluten Free

Description

Enjoy these Homemade Coconut Marshmallows at this summer’s BBQ s’mores or in a mug of hot chocolate, now made nut-free, dairy-free, allergy-friendly, kid-friendly, and of course without any corn syrup! Paleo and additional flavor options included.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (plus some for extra topping)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch or potato starch (see notes for subs)
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar or sugar substitute 
  • 1 cup cold water (divided)
  • 3 Tablespoons quality gelatin powder (unflavored)
  • 1 cup raw sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place coconut shreds on parchment paper on a baking tray.
  2. Bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and “toasted.”
  3. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  4. Line a casserole dish or baking dish with parchment paper and coat with oil or non-stick spray. Be sure to get the sides and bottom. 
  5. Place the coconut, starch, and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk together.
  6. Spread half the coconut mixture on the bottom of the pan, evenly. Set aside.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the gelatin with 1/2 cup of water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to soften (bloom).
  8. While gelatin is sitting, prepare the candied sugar.
  9. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water, coconut sugar, honey, and salt to a small pot with a candy thermometer. Heat on medium-high, stirring to combine ingredients. Once combined, stop stirring, but keep watch that it doesn’t boil over. 
  10. Cook uncovered on medium to medium-high heat until it comes to a soft boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Continue to cook for about 5-7 more minutes until the sugar/water mixture reaches 240-242F (soft-ball stage). Use a candy thermometer to measure temperature at end of cooking.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can use a digital thermometer, but be careful not to get the hot sugar on your hand.  Note, don’t let the temperature go past firm ball stage (245 F or 118 C) See notes if cooking at altitude.
  12. Immediately remove from heat.
  13. Next, turn the stand mixer on low. Once it starts mixing with the gelatin, gently and slowly pour in the hot sugar mixture onto the side of the mixer, not directly. Do not add the sugar mixture too fast, otherwise, the sugar syrup will be too hot when it hits the gelatin.
  14. Turn the mixer on high and whip until a thick marshmallow texture is formed (about 5-8 min). Add in the vanilla extract the last few minutes of mixing.
  15. Turn off the mixer then quickly transfer marshmallow “fluff” into the prepared baking dish. Spread the marshmallow mixture around evenly with a spatula.
  16. Top with the rest of the coconut mixture and any other additional toppings you like. 
  17. Let it sit uncovered for about 6 to 24 hours. 24 hours is recommended if the marshmallows will be used for roasting/s’mores. 
  18. Gently flip the pan of marshmallows over onto a large cutting board or wax paper.
  19. If marshmallows are a bit sticky on top, add more starch/sugar, then cut into desired size (squares).
  20. Store in a closed container or ziplock bag.

Notes

  • For a paleo option omit the powdered sugar and use coconut palm sugar
  • For roasting marshmallows, dry out marshmallows for at least 24 hrs.
  • If you don’t have potato or arrowroot starch, non-GMO corn starch may be used. Corn starch is not paleo-friendly if you are following a paleo diet, but it is naturally gluten-free. 
  • High altitude adjustment: Subtract 1 degree C (2 degrees F) for every 1,000 feet above sea level.
  • Vegan option – While I have not tried it, agar-agar “could” be substituted for the gelatin. The texture will vary.
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: stove
  • Cuisine: american

Keywords: marshmallow, homemade marshmallow, dessert, coconut dessert, dairy free dessert, paleo marshmallow, kid-friendly, gluten free dessert

Also, let me know if you make this recipe and include any other add-ins! In the meantime, I’ll be in the chicken creating more kid-friendly recipes your whole family is going to love. 

Cheers, 

LC