These healthy marshmallows (or healthier is more like it) are sweetened with honey and regular sugar and are flavored with cardamom and orange. They’re delicious on their own, and even better toasted and smashed between graham crackers with a slab of chocolate.

Photograph of homemade marshmallows in a metal bowlNatural Sweeteners vs. Regular Sugar

These healthy marshmallows should really be titled “healthier” because, like with any marshmallow, they still contain quite a bit of sugar. And you know how big a proponent I am of using natural sweeteners whenever possible. But in some instances using 100% of a natural sweetener can throw off the texture or the flavor of a recipe. And for these marshmallows it was both. I tested and tested this recipe trying to find a good balance of flavor and texture and along the way I ran into a few issues.

  • Using 100% honey for sweetness created a potent honey flavor, even the biggest honey lover would be turned off by.
  • Using 100% pure maple syrup created a marshmallow that was too soft.

As much as I love using natural sweeteners whenever possible, I draw the line when it starts to negatively impact the integrity of a recipe, whether that’s flavor, texture, balance, or any combination of those three.

And also, natural or not, sugar is sugar in the body. It’s metabolized the same way, natural sweeteners just offer a few additional health benefits, where regular refined sugar offers nothing. But I digress.

So for these “healthy” marshmallows I found I needed a balance of natural sweetness (honey) and regular sugar. This combination is largely important for the flavor of these marshmallows, but is also important for the texture.

Homemade s'mores with Whole-Grain Graham Crackers + Honey & Cardamom Marshmallows | Zestful KitchenFlavor your “healthy” marshmallows!

These marshmallows get quite the flavor twist from orange and cardamom (they are delicious!) but you can use whatever zest or spices you like. Try lemon or lime zest and play around with warm spices as well as spicy spices!

A note on the orange zest: 

If you’re an orange person like I am, then stick to the 1 teaspoon of zest. But if you’re a bit sensitive, like my taste tester G, then start off with a ½ teaspoon.
Remember last time he taste tested for me? “Hmm basil-y,” well this time all I got was, “very orange-y”. I can’t decide if it’s the first thing he tastes, or the most abundant, I just appreciate the participation. Either way these marshmallows are delish and even better when toasted over a fire.

photograph of a foil-lined baking dish
Foil sling for marshmallows

How to make “healthy” marshmallows:

Step 1:

“Bloom” gelatin in warm water and let sit.

Step 2:

Heat water, honey and sugar together until sugar dissolves and temperature reaches 242-degrees. (love, love, love my instant-read thermometer.)

Step 3:

Pour hot sugar mixture into a stand mixer with gelatin and whip until mixture is bright white and fluffy.

Step 4:

Add flavorings and whip to combine.

Step 5:

Transfer marshmallow fluff to a 9×13-inch baking pan lined with foil and coated with nonstick spray.

Step 6:

Sift confectioners’ sugar and starch over top; let sit overnight.

Step 7:

Sift a work surface with confectioners’ sugar and starch, turn marshmallows, remove foil and sift confectioners’ sugar and starch over top.

Step 8:

Cut marshmallow slab into 1-inch squares, toss with confectioners’ sugar and starch and store in an airtight container.

Use these marshmallows in a variety of fun s’more flavor pairing, or sandwich them between these HEALTHY Whole Wheat Graham Crackers.

Homemade healthy marshmallows melted and sandwiched between graham crackers

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make these Homemade Marshmallows.

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe.  Happy cooking!

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Photograph of homemade marshmallows in a metal bowl

Honey, Cardamom & Orange Marshmallows

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours (cooling time)
  • Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8090 marshmallows (1-inch) 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American


“Healthy” marshmallows partially sweetened with honey and flavored with orange and cardamom.


  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½1 teaspoon packed minced fresh orange zest (depending on preference)


Line a 9×13-inch baking dish lengthwise with a long 13-inch wide piece of aluminum foil. Arrange a second 9-inch wide piece of foil perpendicular across first sheet, to create a sling. Push foil into corners, flush against the pan; coat with nonstick spray.

Whisk together ½ cup confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a bowl; set aside.

Pour ½ cup water into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until gelatin is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine remaining ¼ cup water and honey in medium saucepan. Carefully pour granulated sugar and salt into center of saucepan, avoid hitting sides of pan.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat (without stirring or agitating the mixture), and cook, gently swirling saucepan, until sugar has dissolved completely and mixture registers 242F°, 6–7 minutes.

Turn mixer speed to low and carefully pour hot syrup into gelatin mixture, try to avoid whisk and bowl.
Gradually increase speed to high and whip until mixture is very thick and coats the whisk, 10–11 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Add vanilla, cardamom, and zest and mix until incorporated, 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
Quickly scrape mixture into prepared pan using greased rubber spatula then smooth top with a greased metal spatula.

Sift 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar mixture over marshmallow. Cover with plastic and let sit overnight at room temperature until firm.

Lightly dust a cutting board with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar mixture and lightly coat a large knife with nonstick spray.

Turn marshmallow out onto cutting board and remove foil. Sift 2 more tablespoons confectioners’ sugar mixture over marshmallow then cut into 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 1-inch squares.

Working with 4–5 marshmallows at a time, toss marshmallows in bowl with remaining confectioners’ sugar mixture to coat, then transfer to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess powder.


Store marshmallows in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


  • Serving Size: 2 marshmallows
  • Calories: 58
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 13mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: healthy marshmallows, homemade marshmallows

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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