Marshmallow fluff is a sweet, pillowy soft thick white concoction made from egg whites, corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla. It’s used as a key ingredient in classics like fluffernutter sandwiches, Rice Krispie treats, and whoopie pies. However, some people need or want a replacement for marshmallow fluff due to dietary restrictions, availability, or personal preferences. Luckily, there are several tasty alternatives to create marshmallowy deliciousness in recipes.
Some quick answers to common questions about substituting for marshmallow fluff:
– Vegan fluff can be made by whipping aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) with sugar and vanilla.
– Marshmallow cream uses gelatin so it’s not suitable for vegans, but it provides a very similar texture and flavor.
– Sweetened whipped cream or coconut cream can mimic the fluffiness. Fold in some powdered sugar and vanilla to sweeten.
– For a lower sugar option, whipped ricotta cheese makes a pleasantly light, mildly sweet spread.
– Fruit spreads like strawberry or raspberry jam fill the role of sweet fruity binder instead of processed fluff.
Marshmallow Fluff Uses and Characteristics
Before exploring replacement options, it’s helpful to understand the unique qualities of marshmallow fluff that make it a pantry staple:
– Sweetness – Marshmallow fluff is extremely sweet thanks to lots of corn syrup or sugar in the ingredients. Any substitutions should add sweetness.
– Fluffiness – The whipped, aerated texture is light and pillowy. Alternative ingredients need to be able to be whipped into a similar cloud-like fluff.
– Adhesion – Fluff acts as a binding agent and moist ingredient in recipes. Replacements need to be sticky enough to hold ingredients together.
– Neutral flavor – On its own, marshmallow fluff has a relatively mild, vanilla-forward flavor. Substitutes should have a neutral taste that won’t overwhelm other ingredients.
– Smoothness – Marshmallow fluff has a uniformly smooth, paste-like consistency with no lumps or grains. Substitute spreads should blend seamlessly.
– Spreadability – Marshmallow fluff can be easily spread onto bread, drizzled over ingredients, or used as a dip. Replacements should have a similar pliable, spoonable texture.
– Stability – Marshmallow fluff holds its shape well and doesn’t usually separate or weep liquid. Alternatives need to be stable enough to use in recipes.
Any substitute will be lacking one or more of these attributes, but getting as close as possible will result in solid marshmallow fluff lookalikes.
Marshmallow fluff’s sweetness, binding ability, moisture, and stability make it the perfect addition for:
– Fluffernutter sandwiches – Spread fluff and peanut butter on white bread for an all-American classic.
– Fudge – Marshmallow swirled into chocolate fudge adds fluffy texture.
– Rice Krispie treats – Mixing fluff into melted butter and marshmallows creates the chewy interior.
– Whoopie pies – Fluff sandwiched between chocolate or pumpkin cakes gives moisture and sweetness.
– Frosting – Light, sticky, and spreadable fluff makes a great frosting or filling.
– Hot cocoa – A big dollop of sweet fluff tops off a mug of hot chocolate.
– Milkshakes – Blending marshmallow fluff into thick milkshakes adds pillowy richness.
– Banana boats – Filling a slit banana with marshmallows and chocolate then toasting is a campfire treat.
– Sweet potatoes – Adding marshmallow fluff makes sweet potato casseroles extra decadent.
Any substitute should perform well in these applications for best results.
Marshmallow Fluff Substitutes
Here are 10 excellent stand-ins to replace marshmallow fluff in recipes:
1. Marshmallow Creme
Marshmallow creme, like the popular Fluff, Kraft Jet-Puffed, or store brands, is nearly identical to marshmallow fluff in texture, taste, and uses. The only difference is that marshmallow creme contains gelatin whereas marshmallow fluff does not.
For those avoiding animal products, gelatin-free vegan marshmallow creme is also available. Marshmallow creme can be used in a 1:1 ratio anywhere regular fluff is called for with virtually no difference in outcomes.
2. Vegan Aquafaba Fluff
For a homemade vegan marshmallow fluff alternative, whisk together:
– 1 cup aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
– 1⁄4 tsp cream of tartar
– 3⁄4 cup fine granulated sugar
Whip the aquafaba until foamy before slowly adding the cream of tartar and sugar. Continue whipping on high speed for 8-10 minutes until a glossy, stiff peak texture forms. Add vanilla or other flavorings if desired.
The resulting fluff has an airy texture and neutral flavor perfect for spreading or incorporating into recipes. Use a 1:1 ratio like regular marshmallow fluff.
3. Whipped Cream
For a light, cloud-like fluff, whisk heavy whipping cream until it reaches stiff peak stage. To better mimic marshmallow flavor, fold in 1⁄4 cup powdered sugar and 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract per 1 cup whipped cream halfway through whipping.
Whipped cream lacks the same binding qualities, so it may not hold together baked goods or sandwiches as well. But it adds lovely billowy sweetness perfect for frosting cakes or topping hot chocolate. Use a 1:1 ratio.
|Marshmallow Fluff||Whipped Cream|
|Thick, scoopable texture||Light, airy texture|
|Very sweet||Mildly sweet|
|Sticky and binds ingredients||Less cohesive|
4. Sweetened Whipped Ricotta
For a subtly sweet, creamy fluff, whip together:
– 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
– 2 tbsp powdered sugar
– 1⁄2 tsp vanilla
– Dash of salt
The ricotta, which is naturally lighter than other cheeses, becomes pillowy soft when whipped. Fold in powdered sugar slowly to taste.
Use this fluff just like marshmallow alternatives in cakes, sandwiches, frostings, and more. The mild cheese flavor pairs especially well with fruits or chocolate.
5. Vegan Coconut Cream
Coconut cream, skimmed from the top of full-fat canned coconut milk, can be whipped into an airy fluff. For stability, refrigerate cans upside down overnight before opening to allow the coconut solids and liquid to separate.
To make coconut cream fluff:
– Chill a bowl and beaters
– Skim thick coconut cream off the top of cold coconut milk, reserving the liquid for another use
– Whip the solids into fluffy peaks, adding powdered sugar and vanilla extract to taste
The resulting fluff has a hint of coconut flavor that pairs well with fruit or chocolate. Use a 1:1 ratio in place of marshmallow creme.
6. Toasted Marshmallows
For recipes where whole melted marshmallows are normally swirled in like fudge or Rice Krispie treats, substituting an equivalent amount of toasted marshmallows can provide a similar effect.
Large marshmallows can be skewered and toasted over a campfire or oven burner to achieve an airy fluff once melted. Break up the toasted marshmallows while warm and stir into the rest of the ingredients.
If marshmallows are not an option, whipped cream folded with mini marshmallows makes a reasonable facsimile.
7. Italian Meringue
This billowy dessert topping starts with a simple sugar syrup whipped into stiff, glossy peaks of meringue. Sugar helps stabilize the foam for a thick, scoopable texture similar to marshmallow fluff.
To make a marshmallow fluff replica, whip 3 egg whites with:
– 1⁄2 cup white granulated sugar
– 1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
– 1⁄2 tsp vanilla
– pinch of cream of tartar
Cook the sugar, corn syrup and 2 tbsp water until 240°F. Slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites while beating on high. Beat until cool and fluffy.
Use this meringue just like marshmallow creme in any recipe.
8. Honey Marshmallow Fluff
For a natural homemade marshmallow fluff:
– Soak 2 tbsp gelatin powder in 1⁄4 cup cold water
– Heat 1⁄2 cup honey, 1⁄4 cup sugar, and 1⁄4 cup water to a boil
– Remove from heat and stir in bloomed gelatin until dissolved
– Pour into a stand mixer bowl and beat until fluffy, 5-8 minutes
The honey lends a lovely flavor while providing the sweetness of corn syrup in traditional recipes. Use a 1:1 ratio to replace marshmallow creme.
9. Fruit Spreads
On sandwiches or desserts where marshmallow fluff features prominently, substitute with an equal amount of your favorite fruit spread, like:
– Strawberry jam
– Raspberry preserves
– Apricot fruit spread
– Apple butter
– Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread
The fruit adds natural sweetness, moisture, and binding strength. Flavor profiles like strawberry or chocolate complement classics like fluffernutters nicely.
10. Marshmallow Fondant
This thick, kneadable dough is a favorite for cake decorating and candy making. While denser than fluff, marshmallow fondant can mimic the smooth sweetness in frostings and fillings.
Make your own by whipping 4 cups mini marshmallows with 2 tbsp butter, 1⁄4 cup water, and up to 1 cup powdered sugar until combined. Knead until soft and pliable.
For stability, stir in just enough shortening so the fondant doesn’t weep liquid over time. Roll fondant out and spread onto cakes as desired.
Choosing the Best Marshmallow Fluff Substitute
When deciding which alternative ingredient to use in place of marshmallow fluff, consider these factors:
If avoiding animal products, marshmallow creme contains gelatin so opt for aquafaba, coconut cream, or vegan marshmallows. For low-sugar recipes, try ricotta or whipped cream. Steer clear of corn syrup with honey fluff or fruit spreads.
If binding power is important like in Rice Krispie treats, marshmallow creme, aquafaba fluff, or Italian meringue work well. For frosting cakes or topping cocoa, pick a billowy fluff like whipped cream. Spreadable fruit or nut butters fill in for fluffernutter sandwiches.
Marshmallow creme, aquafaba fluff, or Italian meringue have neutral flavors. Honey marshmallow fluff, coconut cream, or fruit spreads lend their own flavors. Whipped cream or ricotta have mild dairy notes.
For an airy, light consistency, pick whipped cream or coconut cream. For a thicker, scoopable fluff closer to marshmallow creme, go for aquafaba, ricotta, or meringue. Marshmallow fondant gives a dense, clay-like texture.
Ready-made products like marshmallow creme, fruit spreads, and nut butters require no prep. Homemade versions like aquafaba fluff or ricotta whip take more hands-on time.
Tips for Using Marshmallow Fluff Substitutes
When swapping alternative ingredients in place of marshmallow fluff, keep these tips in mind:
– For stability, chill fluffy ingredients like whipped cream before using to help maintain the aerated texture longer.
– If the substitute is thinner than marshmallow fluff, add powdered sugar or thickeners like cornstarch to reach the desired consistency.
– Fold firmer ingredients like ricotta cheese to avoid deflating. Gently mixing helps maintain maximum airiness.
– If the substitute weeps liquid over time, stir in a small amount of butter, cream cheese, or powdered sugar to stabilize.
– When creaming butter and sugar in recipes, beat until very light and fluffy to mimic marshmallow texture.
– Experiment with substitutes in small batches first to ensure an appealing texture and flavor. Adjust seasonings to taste.
– Check consistency of desserts, frostings, or fillings partway through baking/chilling to see if additional binding is needed.
– Allow more bake time for batters to fully set up since marshmallow fluff alternatives may not hold moisture and structure as well.
Recipes Using Marshmallow Fluff Substitutes
These classic recipes use some of the suggested replacement ingredients in place of marshmallow fluff with delicious results:
Aquafaba Vegan Fluffernutter Sandwiches
– 8 slices soft white bread
– 1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
– 1⁄2 cup vegan aquafaba marshmallow fluff (recipe above)
– Strawberry or grape jelly (optional)
Spread peanut butter on 4 slices of bread. Top with aquafaba fluff and jelly if desired. Complete sandwiches with remaining bread slices.
Whipped Coconut Cream Rice Krispie Bars
– 3 tbsp butter
– 4 cups mini marshmallows
– 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
– 1 recipe whipped coconut cream fluff (recipe above)
Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in coconut cream and Rice Krispies until combined. Press firmly into a greased pan and chill until set, 1-2 hours. Cut into squares.
Ricotta Cheesecake with Honey Marshmallow Fluff
– 1 1⁄2 cups graham cracker crumbs
– 5 tbsp butter, melted
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 15oz whole milk ricotta
– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 2/3 cup honey
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 2 eggs
– Zest of 1 lemon
– 1 cup honey marshmallow fluff (recipe above)
Make crust by mixing crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press into bottom of springform pan. Blend filling ingredients until smooth. Pour into crust and bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes until just set. Let cool completely before spreading fluff on top.
Does marshmallow fluff go bad?
Properly stored, marshmallow fluff lasts up to 9-12 months past the printed expiration date on the jar. Over time it may start tasting stale or crystallize, but it won’t make you sick. Check fluff for mold if storing for over a year. Discard if any liquid or oil separates on the top.
Can you freeze marshmallow fluff?
Yes, freezing marshmallow fluff allows it to keep even longer – up to a year past the expiry date. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using. The texture may be slightly grainier after freezing but will still taste fine. Stir well to re-emulsify any liquid that separates.
What can I use instead of marshmallows in Rice Krispie treats?
Substitute marshmallows in Rice Krispie bars with equal amounts of marshmallow creme, marshmallow fluff, vegan aquafaba fluff, Italian meringue, or whipped cream stabilized with powdered sugar and corn syrup.
Is marshmallow fluff healthier than marshmallows?
Both are considered junk foods high in sugar. Marshmallow fluff has added corn syrup. Marshmallows contain gelatin. Neither offers much nutritional value. But they can be enjoyed in moderation.
The Bottom Line
With a little creativity, it’s possible to come up with a variety of tasty alternatives to replicate the sweet fluffiness of marshmallow creme in all your favorite treats. Whether you’re avoiding corn syrup or gelatin, limiting sugar, or simply out of marshmallow fluff, ingredients like whipped cream, ricotta cheese, aquafaba, or fruit spreads make solid stand-ins.