Filed under: Candy
December 14, 2019

Brown Sugar Marshmallows with Chocolate Swirl

Homemade marshmallows swirled with dark chocolate; the mallow base is made with brown sugar and honey which results in a super flavorful but not overly sweet taste.

5 from 44 votes
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brown sugar marshmallows on a plate


The Best Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

Last winter I swear I made a hundred chocolate marshmallows and, every attempt was a fail. Both the cocoa and melted chocolate, when mixed fully into the fluff, would weigh down the marshmallows and make them dense. I was losing the perfectly light and fluffy texture that was so special about homemade marshmallows. So I gave up mixing fully and swirled in some melted chocolate in like I did with these peanut butter caramel mallows and it worked like a charm! You get the taste of chocolate and a snappy texture too, within the pillow soft mallow.

But, I know what you are going to say now, why should I go through the effort of making marshmallows when I can buy them for literally $2?! You already know I’m going to tell you they taste better homemade but let’s talk about why. We won’t need as much sugar and the ingredients we use will be directed at taste rather than storage. No corn syrup and no cornstarch! We’ll use the best vanilla and very good chocolate. Bonus, you can cut them into whatever shape you like! I like mine in huge cubes, as you can see, lol.


What makes this brown sugar marshmallow recipe so special?

This is a (very heavily) adapted recipe from Stella Parks’ vanilla marshmallows, from her book BraveTart. I kept most of the measurements the same as hers, but omit the butter, swap granulated sugar for brown and corn syrup for honey. And I change the method. Also, chocolate – always chocolate.

My mallows are unabashedly unconcerned with looks. While most recipes lend you a perfectly white mallow, these are made with brown sugar and honey, speckled with vanilla bean, and swirled with a dark, dark chocolate. They want to be delicious, not pretty. The dark chocolate interrupts the soft mallow, but in the most pleasurable way only a chocolate can. The dark chocolate and the use of organic  powdered sugar also keeps the cloying sweetness at bay.


How to make Brown Sugar Marshmallows

  1. Mix gelatin, water and vanilla in a bowl.
  2. Boil together sugar, honey, water and salt.
  3. Combine both in the bowl of a stand mixer and let it whip for about 10 minutes.
  4. Melt dark chocolate.
  5. Add butter, taste for vanilla (add more vanilla if desired)
  6. Layer into pan swirling with chocolate.
  7. Slice and coat in powdered sugar.


Equipment you’ll need:

Deep pot: Because we use honey in this recipe, the sugar mixture boils up. If you are halving the recipe, a regular pot could do, but if you are doing the full, use your biggest deepest pot!

Digital or Candy thermometer: This one is non-negotiable. You need the thermometer to know when exactly the sugar hits 250. I have a digital and a candy but because I hate cleaning the candy one, I usually stay close and use my digital thermometer. A laser thermometer won’t work as well here because it only takes the temperature of the surface.

Stand mixer: You could do this with a hand mixer, but it will take a lot longer and be quite a fight.


Ingredients for Honey Brown Sugar Marshmallows

Gelatin: For one large batch, you’ll need four packets of gelatin – exactly what comes in those little boxes of Knox Gelatin. These are readily available in the baking isle of most grocery stores in the US. No subs for this, sorry!

Vanilla: Use the good stuff here. In order to overpower the gelatin flavor we want to lend very good vanilla flavor to the base. The form of vanilla you use will make a difference in quantity: extract is more concentrated so you’ll need less, more if using paste. As for brands: Nielsen Massey makes wonderful vanilla extract, as does Rodelle Vanilla.  To get the lovely bean speckle in the white mallow you can use vanilla paste (I’ve also heard good things about Heilala Vanilla) or even scrape the inside of a bean.

Honey: I use honey because I really dislike the taste of corn syrup and I just don’t keep it in my kitchen. Chose a floral honey with a not too strong taste that won’t come through in the final mallow.

Brown Sugar: Light or brown is fine. When you buy, make sure it’s fresh by squeezing the bag to see if it’s moist. When exposed to air, brown sugar gets hard and dry so keep it airtight. You could use regular granulated but you’ll lose the added caramel notes brown lends.

Chocolate: This is your biggest contrast to the sweet marshmallow so I’m going to make a case for dark chocolate. I really love the pound plus bars Trader Joe’s sells, they are about 72% dark cocoa solids. I also love Lindt’s 70% dark, readily available at most grocery stores or buy in bulk here.

Butter: You’ll only need just a bit and it goes in at the very end of whipping. I got this tip from Stella Park’s whose marshmallow recipe I based my recipe on.

Powdered sugar: Definitely use organic and, check the package! Is it made with cornstarch or tapioca? Only get the tapioca. Cornstarch has a strange taste and needs to be heated to melt, tapioca melts on the tongue. Since we are using the powdered sugar to dust the mallows at the end, we definitely want it to melt without heat. Wholesome makes a great organic, as does Trader Joe’s.


Tips for making the perfect chocolate mallows

  • Keep an eye on the sugar while boiling, you don’t want it to overcook. Use a candy or instant read thermometer.
  • Oil the spatula you’ll use to scrape the mallow into the pan and the pan itself, really well, to prevent sticking.
  • Use the time the mallow is whipping to melt the chocolate and butter.
  • Whip until the mallow fluff starts pulling away from the bowl, it will take about 10 minutes to get there.


Hot Caramelized White Chocolate Recipe

In the winter, I love pairing this with a hot cocoa that’s a little fancy. Caramelized white chocolate packs all the sugar and flavor you need so this is really just a melt-chocolate-in-milk kind of deal. It’s incredibly delicious.

  • Make the caramelized white chocolate: chop white chocolate and place in a 9×13” pan. Toast in the oven at 250F for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the chocolate is a rich caramel color. Process in a food processor to smooth it and pour into a parchment lined pan to set (takes 6-12 hours). Once fully set, store in an airtight container.

  • For the ‘hot caramelized white cocoa’ I recommend 100g caramelized white chocolate per 1 ⅓ cup whole milk.


Brown Sugar Marshmallows Recipe

Brown Sugar Marshmallows

Homemade marshmallows made with honey and brown sugar, swirled with dark chocolate.
brown sugar marshmallows on a plate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
5 from 44 votes


  • 28g or 4 envelopes powdered gelatin
  • 160g or 2/3 cup water to dissolve gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 160g or 2/3 cup water to boil with sugar
  • 185g floral honey about 1/2 cup
  • 450g dark brown sugar about 2 packed cups
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 140g dark chocolate melted
  • organic powdered sugar for dusting


  • In a heatproof bowl, whisk 2/3 cup water, vanilla bean paste and gelatin until no lumps remain. Set aside.
  • In a deep pot, combine 2/3 cup water, honey, brown sugar and sea salt. Cook, on medium and stir until the sugar just melts. Turn heat to medium high and cook, without stirring, clipping a candy thermometer to the pot.
  • Once the sugar mix reaches 250 F, pour into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and let cool for a few minutes.
  • While the sugar mix is cooling, warm your gelatin mix in the microwave – about 10 seconds, until it is liquid.
  • Begin whisking the mix on low, and pour in gelatin. Turn the mixer to high and continue whisking for about 10 minutes, until the marshmallow fluff is thick and very light in color. You’ll know it’s done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  • While it whisks, melt the chocolate in either a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds (once it is mostly melted, take off heat and stir until smooth). Melt the butter as well and add it to the fluff when it’s done, just to incorporate.
  • Spray or rub a square cake pan with canola oil.
  • Once marshmallow fluff is ready, pour melted chocolate in and stir 2-3 times, leaving big streaks of chocolate. You could also do this in thirds: adding marshmallow to the pan, some chocolate, swirling, and then mallow, then chocolate etc.
  • Pour fluff into pan and use spatula to get as much as you can from the bowl. Cover with foil and leave to set at room temperature for 4 hours or in the fridge for two.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Beautiful texture and flavour. Awesome recipe to follow. I did find the honey flavour a bit much. If I wanted to put less honey, what do I need to substitute for that? ie. do I have to put more of something else?
    The chocolate through it is awesome!!

  2. 5 stars
    These are to die for! Made exactly as written (except I used regular powdered sugar with cornstarch because that’s what I have at the moment) and the directions are so clear and easy to follow. I used a digital thermometer but I’m hoping Santa slips a candy therm in my stocking, haha! I can’t wait to gift these. I already made a cup of cocoa with these by just mixing milk of choice and cocoa powder, and the marshies were enough to sweeten my cup! I did have a small snag with pouring the chocolate. I must have dumped some in spots and it sank before I swirled, so I will try to remember that next time. Can’t wait to try all the flavors! These are simply luscious.

    • Stephanie I’m so happy to hear you loved them! Its totally normal that the chocolate sinks into the mallow, it’s dense compared to the airy fluff so you kind of just have to spoon a little at a time so it doesn’t blob in just one spot. P.S. I hope you get that thermometer!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe came out so well, and was so easy to follow. I’m always kind of intimidated by anything using gelatin, but these worked perfectly. Great flavor and texture-I’m definitely going to try more of your marshmallow recipes!

  4. 5 stars
    I make this every year around the holidays to share with family and friends. They look forward to it every year!

  5. 5 stars
    Wanted to report back for anyone else in my situation: gelatin sheets worked splendidly!

    Last question, how do you store these puppies (assuming there are any leftover….) 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    These were so much fun to make and delicious!
    My only “tweaks” – I used a 13×9 as I wanted more quantity and not as tall, they were perfectly sized and still plenty big and squishy. I did use parchment paper, lightly sprayed it, and coated that with some of the organic powdered sugar. No sticking happened.
    My biggest tweak was I had no brown sugar left so used regular and it was perfect.

  7. Hi Sam! I’m in Europe… do you know if there’s any way to sub the gelatin we have here (in sheets) for powdered?

    Thank you! Can’t wait to make these for our Christmas Eve hot chocolate!

    • Ugh, I’m sorry that it didn’t fluff =( My best guesses: the sugar wasn’t brought to the right temp or the gelatin didn’t bloom. How long did you beat it for? It can take awhile.

  8. 5 stars
    Very nice! I just made these today. I really like the chocolate swirls texture in the marshmallows. The honey flavor really comes through. A great recipe for anyone who wants to avoid corn syrup. I might have over- beat them a bit but hey, that’s just personal preference as to how you prefer them. Overall, excellent recipe. A thermometer is a must have to get these right!

  9. 5 stars
    These marshmallows are amazing! I have made plain marshmallows several times before using a different recipe but after making these, I don’t think I can ever go back. The brown sugar gives this a nice depth of flavor and the chocolate swirl is perfect. When I was making them, I thought there might be too much chocolate to marshmallow but after tasting them, I can confirm that it was the perfect ratio. I also used corn syrup because I didn’t have enough honey on hand and it still worked out perfectly. The marshmallow recipes I have made before never had melted butter and I believe this made the texture more silky. They were perfect, and I will definitely be making them again!

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe is so satisfying!!! I had never attempted marshmallows before, actually asked for a candy thermometer as my holiday gift just to make these! I would say the recipe is truly forgiving~I didn’t weigh any ingredients. They are delicious and the texture and layers are ridiculously phenomenal. Will make again and recommend far and wide!

  11. 5 stars
    One of my goals in the last year was to make my own marshmallows and this was the recipe I used. The easy and straightforward instructions posted here were a success for me; they turned out beautiful and delicious. Friends were impressed, and I made marshmallows a few more times in the months that followed.

  12. 5 stars
    My mom loves marshmallows so I decided to make these for her as a Christmas surprise and they were incredible! I found my mom sneaking these out of the tin on multiple occasions and she kept talking about how they were the best marshmallows she’s ever had. The process was so much easier and quicker than I had anticipated. I love this recipe and will definitely be making them again!

  13. 5 stars
    Second posting of this comment because I forgot to rate it the first time! I have made quite a few different marshmallow recipes before, but I love the brown sugar, honey, and chocolate swirl combination in these! I doubled the batch for holiday gifts and mixed Bailey’s into the chocolate mixture for half of them. Delicious!

  14. 5 stars
    I have made quite a few different marshmallow recipes before, but I love the brown sugar, honey, and chocolate swirl combination in these! I doubled the batch for holiday gifts and mixed Bailey’s into the chocolate mixture for half of them. Delicious!

  15. 5 stars
    I had never even contemplated making marshmallows until I found this recipe- and I’m so happy I tried them! I’ve made these so many times now (with and without the chocolate) and they are truly amazing. Everyone I share them with loves them.
    I’ll be coming back here to try more things!!

  16. 5 stars
    these were incredible. i have never worked with hot sugar or gelatin before, and also used a shoddy instant read thermometer that was definitely off by a few degrees, and these still turned out great on my first try. the flavor is perfect and so well balanced. not too sweet at all. other commenters are right when they say these melt in your mouth. i used a hand mixer fitted with a single whisk attachment to make mine, but it’s important to note that i did halve the recipe and i know for sure it would have been a mess if i tried to make a full batch. so if you really want to make these and only have a hand mixer, halving the recipe is the only way to go i think.

  17. 5 stars
    Against all odds, I made these perfectly on my first try…and they are SO good! Thank you for such great directions!

  18. 5 stars
    I love these! Easy to make and absolutely delicious. I’ve been making marshmallows for years and although this method is different from my usual one, they came out perfectly. My only change would be to use my usual dusting of regular powdered sugar mixed half and half with cornstarch at the end. I found the organic powdered sugar alone dissolved too quickly on the mallow, leaving them sticky. My usual mix tastes fine to me and keeps the mallows separate. Also. the recipe came to the top of my 8 x 8 pan, lovely for a very large mallow. I may use a 9 x 13 pan next time – so delicious!

  19. 5 stars
    I made these with pumpkin spice instead of chocolate per Sam’s Instagram post. I used two teaspoons and it was perfect! I used a 9×9 square pan and I feel like it was the right size to get all the marshmallow fluff into the pan and still have nice tall marshmallows. Thanks for the recipe! So yummy!

  20. Anyone tried this with a hand mixer? I see the note about it being a struggle…but these look so lovely…trying to decide if I should go for it.

  21. 5 stars
    Gorgeous recipe! First time having homemade marshmallows and I’m an absolute convert – they’re fantastic! So tasty, with the best texture and they just melt in the mouth!

  22. Hi there, I would love to try these, I was wondering what size square tin you use, in case that matters? Is 8″ ok? Thankyou!

    • Hi Robyn, I usually go with an 8 or 9″ but it doesn’t matter really – the size of pan will determine how tall the mallows get but you’ll end up slicing them the way you like.

  23. Have you ever used this as a Rice Krispies base? I want to try it but wasn’t sure if it will work the same way

  24. 5 stars
    These turned out delish! I didn’t have the right kind of powdered sugar, so I just left it out. You have to deal with marshmallow sticking together, but it was fine. I also just used vanilla extract instead of paste. They were great for hot chocolate!

    • Oh! You can use regular powdered sugar if you only have that, or I wonder if you could pulse granulated sugar long enough to turn it into powder. They do get really sticky without it!

  25. 5 stars
    I made this recipe (first time every making marshmallows!) to accompany homemade hot chocolate mix in our holiday cookie boxes, and it turned out so well! The marshmallows are truly incomparable to store-bought and are delicious on their own or in a mug of hot chocolate.

    A few notes: I thought about doubling the recipe, but there is NO way that a double recipe would have fit in my mixing bowl. I just made it twice instead. I used a 9x13in pan instead of the square pan suggested, and I found that the marshmallows were still generously tall.

  26. 5 stars
    This was my first time making marshmallows and this recipe was easy to follow and produced great results! These are perfect for smores!

  27. 5 stars
    These were so easy and so wonderful! So much better & more complex than any marshmallow I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to make these as gifts for my friends & coworkers. ☺️♥️

  28. 5 stars
    These marshmallows are AMAZING!!! They are so rich and I love the bit of texture variation the chocolate swirls add. Oh, and I forgot to mention…THEY ARE GORGEOUS! If you are on the fence about making your own marshmallows, try these, you won’t look back.

    • You could use the water method to check the stage. For the mallows you’ll need to get it to the firm ball stage: drop a little of the hot sugar in a cup of cold water. When it’s at firm ball stage it will stay a ball in the water, and won’t flatten unless you squeeze it.

  29. 5 stars
    Had a bad day and made these and they turned my entire week around!! I didn’t even know you could make marshmallows with honey instead of corn syrup– genius!!

  30. 5 stars
    OMG SO GOOD!! I didn’t have enough honey on hand and had to use corn syrup.. sigh.. still fantastic. After I made them I dipped the bottoms in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. Phenomenal!

    • 5 stars
      Stunning! I’ve made these twice now and they are a total hit. The flavors were so much more complex than a regular marshmallow. Super easy and straightforward to make too, not as hard as I thought marshmallows would be. Our favorite way to enjoy them was lightly heated and browned with a torch. We also tried to roast them in the fireplace, but they didn’t quite hold up like grocery store marshmallows, wouldn’t recommend that route hahah

  31. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! These were so easy to make and the flavors are delicious! I especially liked that you use honey rather than corn syrup; and the tip about getting the organic powdered sugar with tapioca was well worth following. I cannot wait to try your other mallow recipes!

  32. 5 stars
    These were delicious AND super easy. It was my first time making marshmallows and even the clean up was easy (trick: boil water in your sugar pan to deglaze it, then pour the hot water from that pan into the stand mixer to dissolve any stuck marshmallow; works like a charm and clean up was done in under 5 minutes!)

    • I’ve had a few people recently tell me this was their first marshmallow recipe and I’m so honored you guys chose mine and even more delighted that they worked out so well! Thanks Liz!

  33. Is it possible to substitute in vanilla extract for the vanilla paste? Or should I attempt to hunt down the paste?

  34. 5 stars
    These are easy to make and VG! My kids loved them and for someone who normally cringes at supermarket marshmallows I will admit these ones are delicious.

  35. 5 stars
    I never thought I could make marshmallows but this recipe made it so easy! I love that it uses honey instead of corn syrup and honestly, the ENTIRE process was SO FUN. I was amazed at the marshmallow fluff, had fun swirling the chocolate, and I was straight up giggling after it set while I was cutting because feeling a giant whole marshmallow is so soft and wiggly and almost therapeutic, lol. I made these yesterday and already can’t wait to whip them up again.

    • Haley you made me LOL at the image of you giggling and enjoying this so much! It’s such a rewarding recipe isn’t it? I love watching the syrup beat into the fluff too! Thank you for making them and for the comment! =)

  36. This recipe looks so yummy! Any suggestions on how to substitute agar powder for the gelatin?

  37. I really want to make this recipe but are you able to convert the amount of gelatin needed into teaspoons (I have a canister not packets) as well as the amount of honey and dark brown sugar into cups? Those are the measurements I’m struggling with. Thank you!

    • Faye, the brown sugar would be about 2 1/4 cups. But it gets kind of awkward when you convert the others into spoons and cups which is why I haven’t done it. For example, the gelatin would be about 3.06 TB and the honey around 1/2 a cup and 1/2 a tablespoon (neither of these is exact). It’s much easier to do it all with a scale, if you can get your hands on one@

  38. 5 stars
    Just made this! Went really well, I do wish there was a video so I could’ve seen the exact consistency it should be (unless it doesn’t matter too much!) I just wanted to know how long k have to let it set, I didn’t see that anywhere in the recipe

  39. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe!
    Where do you get powdered sugar with tapioca? I’m having shard time finding it. Thank you

    • Hi Anastasia! I just linked to one on Amazon made by Wholesome (check the section above titled Ingredients). If you are in the states, Trader Joe’s sells packs for $3.