This easy homemade marshmallow frosting tastes just like marshmallow creme! This recipe is a fun and simple alternative to buttercream, and this step-by-step tutorial will show you how to make perfectly fluffy frosting that doesn’t get grainy.
This frosting is fluffy, sweet, and tastes just like marshmallow creme! Similar to Swiss Meringue or Italian Buttercream it uses egg whites cooked with sugar for a smooth frosting. But, unlike Swiss meringue buttercream frosting there is no added butter, so it keeps its delicious light and fluffy texture!
It’s a great alternative to classic buttercream frosting, plus, with only 5 ingredients it’s incredibly quick and easy to make.
- Egg Whites: The whipped egg whites are what gives this frosting is fluffy marshmallow like texture!
- Cream of Tartar: this helps stabilize the egg whites
- Vanilla Extract: for flavor, you can substitute other flavors like coconut or lemon extract
- Granulated Sugar: unlike American buttercream frostings, this uses granulated sugar, not powdered sugar.
HOW TO MAKE
This marshmallow frosting recipe is super easy to make!
Step 1: Set Up Double Broiler
For this recipe, you need a bain marie, or double broiler. They’re often used for melting chocolate and gently heating egg whites. If you tried to cook the egg whites directly on a stovetop they would overcook and turn to an egg white scramble.
The great thing is, double broilers are super easy to make one yourself. All you need is a sauce pan and any heat proof bowl that fits on the pot. The, you add an inch or two of water in the bottom of the saucepan and the heat from water will gently heat up the egg whites in the bowl.
Tip: You can add a rolled up ball of aluminum foil to the bottom of the saucepan to ensure the water isn’t too high and help balance the bowl.
Step 2: Heat Sugar Egg White Mixture
Once you’ve set up your double broiler, add the egg whites and sugar and mix until combined. Make sure there is no extra sugar egg white mixture on the sides of the bowl or else it can cause the frosting to get grainy. Check out the troubleshooting section for tips on this.
Then, heat the egg whites until they reach 160-165℉ and the sugar is dissolved. If you rub a bit of the egg white mixture between your fingers you should not feel any grain from the sugar.
Step 3: Whip egg white Mixture
Once the egg whites whites have heated, mix with a whisk attachment until it is light and fluffy, and starts to cool down to the touch, about 5-7 minutes. That’s it! Once it’s cooled you can pipe like a normal frosting.
Troubleshooting and Q&A
No Candy Thermometer
No problem! You can use boxed, pasteurized egg whites. But, be careful as some whip up better than others.
Just heat the egg white sugar mixture until you no longer feel any sugar if you rub a bit between your fingers.
The Egg Whites are not whipping Up
Make sure the bowl you use heat and to whip up your egg whites is very clean before you add the egg whites. Any trace of oil or fat in the bowl can cause the egg whites to not whip up properly.
My Frosting is Grainy
There are a couple reasons the frosting gets grainy:
- The first is the water is filled too high and touches the bottom of the pan. You can combat this by making sure the water is only simmering and not at a rolling boil. And, using a ball of aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan helps ensure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- The other main issue is the sugar has not completely dissolved. Much like when making regular marshmallows or caramel any undissolved sugar can cause the frosting to get grainy.
There are a couple things to do that help. First, you can mix the sugar and egg whites in separate bowl and then carefully pour into the bowl I’m heating so there are no unmixed sugar crystals along the sides of the bowl. You can see here the difference:
Second, while the meringue mixture is heating I very gently stir every couple minutes to ensure even cooking and that the bottom doesn’t overcook. You can use a heatproof spatula to mix and scrape the bowl to ensure there is no lingering sugar crystals. Or, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down any sugar that is on the sides of the bowl after mixing.
Can I add Food Coloring?
Yes! You can easily color this frosting. I recommend gel food coloring for bright colors that don’t alter the texture like water based food coloring.
Just add the food coloring at the last step after the frosting has whipped up and cooled. The, remix until combined.
Can I toast this frosting like regular marshmallows?
Yes! You can easily use a creme brûlée torch to gently toast this frosting for a toasted marshmallow frosting.
Fun Uses for This FRosting
Unlike 7 minute frosting, which must be spread with a knife, this frosting is totally pipeable making it a perfect topping for:
But, since this looks and tastes so similar to marshmallow creme or fluff, this is actually a very versatile topping you can use a lot of different ways! Here are some fun ideas:
- Dip for fruits and cookies
- Topping for hot chocolate
- Macaron Filling
- Piped on lemon curd filled tarts
- Filling for cream puffs
- S’mores Filling
- Mason Jar Cake Filling
You can also try adding some non-oil based extracts lemon, coconut, or peppermint to change up the flavor profile. And don’t forget to try toasting the frosting! You can toast just like marshmallows using a brûlée torch.
Storing Marshmallow frosting
This frosting is so easy it’s best to make the day you use it. It will last a day or two in the fridge, but unfortunately you can not freeze this frosting.
- Heat Proof Spatula
- Digital Thermometer
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Set up a double broiler or a saucepan with an inch or two of water, making sure the water is at least 1-2 inches below the bottom of the bowl you will be placing on the saucepan.
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You can add the vanilla extract now or mix in at the very end for a stronger vanilla flavor.
- Pour the mixed ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large heat safe bowl, being careful not to splash the mix along the sides of the bowl.
- Place the bowl over the prepared saucepan.
- Start to simmer the water and heat the mixture until it reaches 165 ℉ and all the sugar has dissolved, about 5-10 minutes from when the water starts to simmer.
- While heating, gently mix to ensure even cooking. If any sugar egg mixture has splashed on the sides you can use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash it down or use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Any undissolved sugar can cause the frosting to get grainy so it’s important all the sugar crystals have dissolved.
- The egg white mixture will be fairly warm to the touch, but you can check to see if the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a bit between your fingers. If it is still grainy, heat it longer until you can no longer feel any grains of sugar when you test it.
- Once all the sugar has dissolved and the mix is 165 ℉, remove from heat and place the bowl in a standing mixture and mix on medium high for 5-7 minutes until the egg whites whip up and the mixture starts to cool. Once it starts to whip up, add the vanilla if you haven't done so already. You can also use a hand mixer to mix it.
- Frost on your favorite dessert and enjoy!
- Make sure the bowls and utensils you use to mix your eggs whites are very clean. Any oil can cause the egg whites to not whip up properly.
- Make sure there are no undissolved sugar crystals along the sides of the bow or it can get grainy. You can use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl or use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down the sides of the bowl if any sugar egg mixture gets stuck on the sides.
- You can test to see if all the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a bit between your fingers. If it still feels grainy, keep cooking. If you don't have a candy thermometer or are using boxed egg whites, this is also a good way to tell when it is ready to whip.
- You can use a hand held mixer to whip the egg whites, but still make sure all the sugar has dissolved before you start mixing.
- You can easily color this frosting using food coloring. I recommend gel food coloring for brighter colors that won't alter the texture. Add after the egg whites have been whipped and cooled, and rewhip until combined.
- This frosting is best the day you make it, but it will last a day or two in the fridge.
- Marshmallow Frosting Recipe is adapted from here.