Written by Maci

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Marshmallows are one of the most popular variants of confectionery and sweets in the modern world. These small, familiar soft white cylinders are often used in desserts, and also function as toppings, add-ons, or fillings. Did you know we can also enjoy these fluffy white treats in other foods? Some cooks and bakers include marshmallows in drinks, biscuits, chocolates, and a variety of spreads. Lovers of sweets can even eat them on their own! Let’s find out the history behind this sweet treat as you take a bite in our collection of marshmallow facts.

  1. The earliest mention of marshmallows can be traced back to 2000 BC.
  2. Marshmallows typically have four main ingredients.
  3. Every 100 grams of marshmallows contain around 318 calories.
  4. If each marshmallow piece is typically 29 grams, then a typical serving size is four pieces.
  5. A whopping 93.10 kg is the weight of the largest marshmallow in the world. Two men from the UK made it.
  1. They say marshmallows originated in France.
  2. Marshmallows are classified as a type of confectionery.
  3. Commonly, marshmallows are used as a baking filling.
  4. The word comes from the mallow plant species, which is a herb native to Europe.
  5. The mallow plant typically grows in marshes and other similar damp areas.
  6. The key ingredient for marshmallows is the whipping ingredient that it makes use of.
  7. Marshmallows help in decreasing blood sugar.
  8. Parts of the mallow plant work as medicine. They help heal certain ailments.
  9. Manufacturers sometimes coat marshmallows in cornstarch to prevent pieces from sticking together.
  10. Some believe that Ancient Egyptians were the first to make marshmallows as confectionery.
  1. Marshmallows also come in other variants such as colored, jelly-filled, coated, and sprinkled.
  2. They typically come in a white cylindrical form.
  3. Marshmallows can also come in a variety of shapes and patterns.
  4. Chubby Bunny is a game involving marshmallows. The objective of the game is to put as many marshmallows in your mouth.
  5. People of all ages enjoy marshmallows.
Table of Contents

Marshmallow Facts Infographics

Marshmallow Facts Infographics

Marshmallows first appeared in the United States in the early 1900s.

Source: Pexels

Marshmallows became available for mass consumption in the United States in the early 1900s, through the use of the starch mogul system. This system was first developed by candy makers in the late 1800s. At first, marshmallows were sold in tins and referred to as penny candy. Later, they were used in baking lime mallow sponge and banana fluff.

By 1956, a man by the name of Alex Doumark patented the process of extrusion. This changed how the marshmallow making process was regulated. Extrusion made use of long tubes that would run the ingredients for marshmallows in them. The tubes would be set out to cool down before being cut into pieces, packaged, and sold to retailers.

Sucrose sweetens marshmallows.

This aeration of the mixtures of sucrose and proteins prepares these white confectionery. Once it reaches a final density of 0.5 grams/ml, the molecular structure of the marshmallow becomes a more stable sugar solution. A stabilizing structure like gelatin or egg whites blends it all together.

Other recipes also make use of more uncommon stabilizing solutions like xanthan gum. This helps the components of the marshmallow prevent the air from escaping, which causes its shape to collapse during the aeration process. Additionally, for flavored marshmallows, additional sugar or other artificial flavorings are added to the recipe to significantly change the general flavor of the treat.

In Ancient Egypt, eating marshmallows was considered to be a great privilege.

Source: Pexels

During the time of the Ancient Egyptians, consuming products from mallow plants was a privilege. Eating the thick substance made from the root of the mallow plant that created these ancient types of marshmallows was a pastime only the gods and those of royal blood could enjoy.

This plant was also used to create medicinal potions by boiling the pieces of the root pulp with other ingredients. When thickened and cooled down, it was used to heal sore throats and soothe coughs. Because of the tedious processes to make this treat, those that were not of high status could not afford to enjoy them even once in their lifetimes.

A marshmallow alternative called Pate de Guimauve exists in France.

The Pate de Guimauve falls under the category of confectionery spread and it tastes similar to an actual marshmallow. Also known as marshmallow creme, the difference is the spread is softer in texture (akin to gelatin) than its original counterpart.

In French, the word Pate means paste in the English language, and the word Guimauve refers to the botanical name of the mallow plant in French. The Pate de Guimauve entered the picture between the late 1700s and the early 1800s. One of its oldest known recipes dates back to 1757. Some of its key ingredients are sugar, egg whites, and the extract of the root of the mallow plant.

Traditional marshmallows contain 30% sugar and 60% corn syrup.

marshmallow, mug, cookies
Source: Pexels

Before modern marshmallows used a gelatin substitute to create their famous form, real marshmallow root was the main component in many older recipes. Today, modern recipes use several artificial alternative ingredients as a means of being more cost-effective when mass producing them within a period of time.

The marshmallow root dissolves quickly in water. It thickens just as fast when heated in a stove or a pot and easily becomes a marshmallow paste. Using the root of the mallow plant as an ingredient in your recipes will keep desired marshmallow shape and will make them less runny.

Homemade marshmallows last up to three weeks.

Store-bought marshmallows are easier to find and can last longer than homemade ones. However, extra additives in these products can be harmful to your body in the long run. Most of them also provide no significant nutritional value whatsoever.

Making homemade marshmallows is the route to go. Some revise the original recipe to provide healthier alternatives to the traditional confectionery. When stored at room temperature in an airtight case or container, homemade marshmallows last up to three to four weeks whereas refrigerated batches can last up to a month and still hold their shape and consistency.

In the 1950s, marshmallows were first made through machines.

Since the first use of machines to make marshmallows, people have made several advancements to allow better production. Nowadays, factories make over thousands of pounds of marshmallows in one day. The market significantly improved over time, too. Today, several known marshmallow brands select their ingredients carefully, as an oversight can significantly cause changes in the final product.

Roasting marshmallows is a tradition in the UK and parts of North America.

smores marshmallow
Image from Adobe Stock

One of the most popular means of eating marshmallows is by roasting them over a fire or stove. This toasts the outer layer of the marshmallow making them sticky and fun to eat. The inside also becomes warm making them perfect comfort food. Perhaps, you’ve learned this method of cooking marshmallows as a Western camping tradition. You’re right. It’s very common, as marshmallows are easy to store and carry around, and they taste absolutely awesome roasted!

Some people also enjoy putting melted marshmallows between pieces of bread or crackers. Some add other ingredients like chocolate. You know the name of this treat! S’mores!

One of the ingredients of marshmallows is air.

You heard it right! Every modern marshmallow has 40% to 60% air inside. Marshmallows have small bubbles trapped inside them. These bubbles allow the confectionery to form and hold shape. When a vacuum pump is used in making marshmallows, the air inside of it moves outward, expanding the fluffy treat. Boyle’s law is the name of this phenomenon.

Marshmallows are defined as food with minimal nutritional value in the US.

Marshmallows and other foods cannot be sold in competition with school feeding programs as they hold very small nutritional value. What are the other foods? Sugary drinks, candy, and chewing gum are the other food announced by The United States Department of Agriculture or the USDA as non-nutritional.

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