I'm trying to modify the marshmallow recipe in this post to make it vegan:


The first hurdle is removing the lactose. I did a bit of reading to try to understand its purpose, and wondered if I could replace it with something like calcium lactate? In the post, it mentions that carrageenans are very effective even at very low concentrations in milk, and I remember reading about the presence of calcium salts being a factor, which was why I guessed at the calcium lactate substitution.

Also, this recipe calls for HFCS. I wasn't even aware that you could purchase that (I guess I thought it was more industrial). Regardless, I think the people I am marketing these marshmallows to would freak out if they saw HFCS on the label. How might I go about replacing that? Would invert sugar perform a similar function?

Thanks for any advice! I know this will require a lot of testing (the fun part!), but I figured I'd ask since I am very new to this area. =)

  • 1
    Lactose doesn't contain calcium. So if the carrageenan they are using is of the calcium-setting type, the product mentioned is probably a mixture of carrageenan and calcium. But I don't know if the lactose is doing something by itself - it could be very well be the case that it is binding with the carrageenan.
    – rumtscho
    May 5, 2014 at 19:35
  • 3
    Do you need to use this recipe? Chickpea Magazine is a vegan food quarterly and their latest issue has recipes for vegan meringue and marshmallows. You can grab the recipe for marshmallows here on magazine page 45 (49 on the website indicator). It's agar agar based.
    – derivative
    May 7, 2014 at 1:53
  • 1
    Agave syrup can frequently be substituted for high fructose corn syrup as they have very similar composition.
    – SourDoh
    Jun 11, 2014 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


I think you're taking an overly complicated approach to this, I've had great success with a recipe from the DIY Cookbook from ATK, in their version, they use:

confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, unflavored gelatin, corn syrup (not high fructose), granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract

The only non-vegan ingredient in this manifestation is the gelatin, which you can sub using many different vegan gelling agents.

Here is one website detailing the recipe procedure: http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2012/11/how-to-make-homemade-marshmallows/

As well as a post on "The Feed", an ATK website with a video: http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/do-it-yourself/2013/01/how-to-make-marshmallows/


To replace the high fructose corn syrup, another syrup could be substituted without having adverse effects. I would recommend a agave syrup as it is functionally and flavorfully very close to HFCS. Fructose levels in agave syrup can vary from around 50% (very close to HFCS) up to 90% (which would be sweeter but functionally similar). You could also make an invert syrup, and as long as the viscosity and sweetness were similar, it should work.

As for the lactose, it's primary function in a recipe like this would be as a sweetener, I would assume. It is less soluble in water than other sugars, so it may also function to modify the texture of your finished product. You could most likely replace it with sugar without causing a big difference, but keep in mind that lactose is relatively much less sweet than other sugars.

  • I am not so sure about the sweetener assumption. Carrageenan does contain galactose chains, so it may be binding to the lactose. This is a conjecture on my part, not something I know for certain, so I hope that somebody with more chemical knowledge can clear it up.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 11, 2014 at 21:25
  • @rumtscho That is possible. I couldn't really find much info on it. I know that lactose can have many other functions in processing medications, etc, but I'm not really clear on what it's doing here. Replacing the lactose with galactose might be the best option. They have similar relative sweetness anyway.
    – SourDoh
    Jun 11, 2014 at 21:29

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