This is one of the most popular posts I've ever written and it was also one of the first... from way back in 2010: How to Make Homemade Marshmallow Fondant.
I went through the post tonight and tried to clean it up a bit. The photos are now a little bigger and brighter and I updated my watermark. I really need to reshoot all the pics but this will have to do for now.
Before you get started... please know that I absolutely love questions and comments, but please read through it all before asking a question. I know it's long (I'm sorry) but I've tried to cover most anything I could think of and over the years, I've answered repeat questions a lot!
The post includes notes (just below here) that are important, then the step-by-step photo tutorial for making the fondant, then a FAQ section at the bottom!
Beyond all that, if I still missed something, and it's possible, I did... leave me a comment!! Let's get started 🙂
First, please read these notes:
- In the written recipe below, I've included ingredients for a single batch. However, in the pictures, I'm actually making a double batch (the whole recipe doubled). Since I make so much fondant, I almost always double these days!
- I shot pictures of making two batches... one white and one pale blue. I'm a cake decorator - not a photographer and I had a hard time getting all the pics I wanted. SO... you may see the fondant switching between white and blue - I tried to use the best pictures of each step... regardless of which batch that picture came from.
- Making homemade fondant is messy. I've been doing it for 3+ years and I still make a mess every time! I thought about excluding some of the messier photos so my blog would be all pretty - but that wouldn't be honest.
- Having said that, the mess is worth it. It tastes sooo much better than store-bought and it's so much cheaper! I can make 6 pounds of homemade marshmallow fondant for under $8... probably closer to $6 but I wanted to round up! A 5 pound bucket of Satin Ice fondant (the best store-bought I've tried) costs anywhere from $16 - $38 (depending on where you buy it) plus shipping if you're ordering online like I do!
- Now that I've been doing it for awhile, I can make a batch (or double batch) of fondant in 10-12 minutes.
- I recommend making the fondant at least 24 hours before you need to use it! It has the best texture and it's easiest to work with after it's rested!! I highly suggest that you do not make this and plan to use it the same day! It will be too soft, tear often, stretch too much, etc.!! That's just my experience.
- If you don't have one, try to get yourself a good kitchen scale. I linked to a fondant coverage chart below and a scale will help you better estimate how much fondant to use, how much to color, etc. for different projects. Also, I use mine to weigh out my powdered sugar because I buy 7 pound bags at Sam's Club. You can get a good one for less than $30.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 pound of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows. I do not use any other brand and I use the mini ones - they melt faster!
- ¼ - ½ cup water
- ½ cup Crisco vegetable shortening (more or less, for greasing your hands, surface, bowls, etc.)
- 2 pounds of powdered sugar (I prefer the Great Value aka Walmart brand)
- 1-2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract or other flavoring (not pictured, optional)
- large microwave-safe bowl
- rubber spatula
- silicone mat or well-greased surface
So... here's how I do it!
Reminder... I'm making a double batch in these photos.... so if you do a single batch, it won't look as "big".
Step 3: Stir and microwave for another minute. If the marshmallows still aren't completely smooth, microwave again. I recommend microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring after each until it's completely smooth. You want it totally melted, but not so hot that it's boiling or anything!
If you need to color a whole batch, do it now!
Step 4: If you want/need to color an entire batch of fondant a single color - do it now! It's much easier and faster to stir gel coloring into melted marshmallows than it is to knead it into completed fondant later! I need some very pale blue for a nautical/sailing cake, so I'm adding a few drops of sky blue to my fondant here.
This is also the step where you would want to add flavor extracts or oils! I've started adding a teaspoon or two of clear vanilla to each batch and it's really good! You could also add almond, lemon, strawberry (it might make it pink!), etc.
Step 5: Color or no color... after the marshmallows are melted (and color added, if applicable), it's time to add the powdered sugar. I used to add a little bit at a time. Now I just dump it all in at once!
You can't see it in the picture, but my little kitchen scale is under the bowl. I put the bowl on the scale, zeroed it, then poured sugar until I reached 2 pounds.
Stir, Stir, Stir!
Step 6: Stir it up as best you can. It won't be easy, but I try to do as much mixing as I can with a rubber spatula.
Step 7: After you've done as much damage as you can with a spatula, rub shortening all over your hands (and I mean all over) and get ready to dig in! You want to eventually get your fondant to come together into a ball. It's best to do as much as you can in the bowl because once you take it out of the bowl, the mess only gets bigger!
Note: Your marshmallows should have cooled plenty by now, but if you suspect that the mixture is still to hot to put your hands into - don't do it! Wait a few minutes for it to cool!! I like to work with it while it's plenty warm, but not hot enough to burn!
Step 8: If at any point it gets dry and doesn't seem to be coming together enough, add a little more water and keep kneading!
We're gonna switch back to white fondant here... the pics were better!
Step 9: I don't know how to tell you specifically when it's ready to turn out onto a mat, but when it's coming together into a bowl and you don't have a lot of powdered sugar or crumbles of fondant loose in the bowl... it's ready.
Knead, Knead, Knead!
Step 10: Knead the ball until it's completely smooth. This shouldn't take more than a minute or two!
Step 11: Smooth it into a ball and try to get all the seams to one spot (I put it on the bottom). You just don't want cracks/seams all over. When I'm doing a big double batch, I sometimes divide it into two balls and wrap them separately because one big ball is really hard to work with!
Step 12: Rub a thin coat of shortening all over the ball of fondant. Then wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap! I used to stick them in Ziploc freezer bags and I still do sometimes. But mostly now I just double wrap them and put them in a large Rubbermaid box with a lid.
Step 13: Let it REST!! I generally make several batches early in the week, throw them into my Rubbermaid container and put the lid on and let them sit until Thursday or Friday when I'm ready to decorate.
Step 14: Be careful here!! When you're ready to use it, unwrap it, knead it and roll it out! If it's too hard to knead initially, microwave for 10 second intervals. Knead after you warm it each time.
Here's the important part: fondant can get hot spots in it and actually be boiling on the inside and still look perfectly normal on the outside. Hot marshmallows can lead to serious burns. Ask me how I know! Once I reached into the microwave to grab a ball of fondant and had it pool out over my fingers. I mean I got seriously burned - more than once!!! BE CAREFUL!!!
There's a picture of one of my burns here... it's gross, but if you question how serious I am about hot fondant... check it out!
Now... here are some questions I've been asked over and over again in emails, in comments (some still below), on Facebook, etc. If you have others, leave me a comment and I may add them here!
How do you store fondant? As stated above, I wrap mine in two layers of plastic wrap and put it in a plastic storage box with a lid. You could also put the wrapped fondant in a plastic zip-top bag for another layer of protection. Do not refrigerate it!! Nothing in fondant is perishable and it is best at room temp! Keep it airtight and if it's colored - keep it out of sunlight!
How long will it last? I'm not sure and I'm not the health department but here's my common sense answer. At least a few weeks, if not longer! How long do marshmallows last? How about powdered sugar? I don't see how combining the two would make them "spoil" any faster! Because I'm so busy, I've rarely had any sit here more than a few weeks and it's always been fine!
How much does a recipe make? A single recipe makes about 3 pounds. When I double it as I did in these pictures... 6 pounds. If you have The Mat, there's a chart on it telling you approximately how much you'll need for different sized cakes. There's also a Wilton Fondant Coverage chart here that I like to refer to.
How do I color fondant if it's already made? Just weigh or divide out or get the amount you need, add a drop or two of gel coloring (depending on the depth of color), warm it for a few seconds if needed (again, be careful!), rub some shortening on your hands and knead the color into the fondant. If the color is not as intense as you want, add more. If it begins to get sticky, knead in some powdered sugar to off-set the extra moisture from the coloring and shortening. I also recommend using gloves unless you want colored hands like I often have!
What colors do you use? I use Americolor Gel Colors 99% of the time. I buy and use Wilton gels at Walmart if in a pinch or if Wilton makes a color (like gray) that I can't find in Americolor, but otherwise, I'm a faithful Americolor customer! A note about gray... yes, I could just use black but it always ends up looking a little purple. The Wilton gray (that I can only seem to find in the Transformers Icing Colors set), gives me a more true gray, so I keep it on hand!
Why do you buy Satin Ice Red, Black, and Brown fondant if you make your own MMF? After many failed attempts at making black, red and brown (chocolate) fondant, I've come to the conclusion that it's just not worth my time and frustration to make those colors. It takes tons of black and red gel colors to get really black or really red marshmallow fondant. Usually by the time I get the color right, the texture is shot and I still can't use it. I gave up!
I tried chocolate (brown) fondant a few times and while it worked out once or twice, mostly it was a fail. I'm not saying it can't be done... but it's not worth it for me anymore. So I buy and keep on hand Satin Ice RedVanilla fondant, Satin Ice Black Vanilla fondant, and Satin Ice Dark/Brown Chocolate fondant (which smells and tastes like a brownie to me)!
How do you make bold colored fondant (black, red, royal blue, green etc.) without it turning into a sticky mess? As mentioned above, I buy red, brown and black pre-made. However for dark/bold colors that I do make (green, navy blue, etc.) I alternate between adding color and kneading in extra powdered sugar. I try to keep the texture as "normal" as possible throughout the process and not let it get too sticky at any point.
However, if it's not working, I'll sometimes actually roll it out and sprinkle the surface with cornstarch. Then I roll it/knead it back into a ball and keep going. The corn starch seems to absorb some of the moisture, dry it out, and I can keep adding more color without it getting too messy! It's a tricky balance and not something I've mastered but I hope those tips help!
Can you make decorations (and/or decorations to stand up on a cake) with marshmallow fondant and if so how long do they need to dry for before adding them to the cake? You can, but I recommend gum paste instead (Satin Ice gum paste is my favorite). However, if you want to use homemade marshmallow fondant, it won’t dry as hard as gum paste and it's difficult to get them to hold shape well. I recommend mixing in some tylose to help them dry and it makes it act more like gum paste. Add 1-3 teaspoons per pound - depending on how soft the fondant is, how long I can let it dry, etc. I like to let them dry at least 2-3 days up to a week! You'll really have to get a "feel" for this and learn what works for you!
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And that's all I have for you today!! Please don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have other questions... I might add them to the list!