Are Marshmallows Considered Candy? • Surely Not?! •

Marshmallows are certainly a unique food. I mean, I can’t think of anything that has a texture comparable to them. Anything that tastes the way they do. Anything that melts so wonderfully when held above a campfire. But they have to fit into a food family somewhere, right? They can’t be out there on their own, alone to be devoured in large quantities. They need a sense of belonging. So, what are they? Are they considered a candy? Or do they fit into another category of food? Or are they just in a league of their own? So, it’s time to answer the question that has been debated passionately by marshmallow eaters and candy lovers across the world. Time to find out the truth!

So, are marshmallows considered candy? Marshmallows are not considered candy. This is because sugar syrup is not boiled to produce crystallized sugar during the manufacturing process of marshmallows, which is a key feature of candy classification. However, they are definitely a ‘sugar confectionary,’ which is a wider part of the definition of candy. 

Hopefully, that clears it all up.

But if it doesn’t, continue reading, and hopefully, it will!

Why Are Marshmallows Not Considered Candy?

Marshmallows are not considered a candy as, although they are a sugar confectionary, as crystallized sugar is not formed in their manufacturing process. This is a clear criteria that must be adhered to for a food to be classified as a candy.

We define candy and confectionery as all types of candy and similar products that are used in the same way and marketed in the same way. But there is a clear split. 

For instance, candy will include chocolate, but nuts or popcorn, for example, would fit into the confectionery category. 

Based on this definition, we can safely put marshmallows into the confectionery category. But do they go a step further into the candy category?

Well, for us to make that judgment, we need to find a bit more out about marshmallows.

Marshmallows, believe it or not, were first made as a versatile medicinal syrup and ointment. This was created by adding sugar, egg whites, and a root sap called…marsh mallow. Hence the name!

That was then, and this is now.

Because these days, marshmallows are made from sugar, egg whites, dextrose, gelatine, egg albumen, flour, water, cornstarch, and corn syrup.

A lot of the ingredients used to make marshmallows are also used for making some types of candy.

Is that enough to give marshmallows candy status? 

A lot of people do consider marshmallows as a candy because it contains a lot of sugar, water, and gelatin, ingredients used in the making of candies.

However, marshmallows also contain flour and cornstarch. It is the presence of these ingredients that calls the classification of marshmallows into question.

Now, I would be totally ok for you to refer to marshmallows as a sugar confectionary. However, I do take issue with them being classified as candy.

In fact, I’m gonna be blunt with you from now on. Marshmallows are NOT candy. This is mainly because crystallized sugar is not created by boiling sugar syrup during the manufacturing process of marshmallows.

This is the key reason why marshmallows are not to be classified as candy.

You also have to remember what we originally learned about marshmallows. They were made from a root sap by the same name.

This was actually a medicinal plant used for helping with sore throats.

Today, our marshmallows are just a modernized version of the originals, which were also definitely not classified as candy.

What Qualifies Something As Candy?

Something is qualified as a candy if it is a confection made with sugar AND sugar syrup is boiled to form crystallized sugar when making it.

We’ve had a broad definition for candy and confectionery, but now it is time for a deeper, more specific definition of what candy is on its own.

There are two main parts to this definition. 

The first is that sugar syrup is boiled to form crystallized sugar when making candy.

The second part is that it must be a confection made with sugar.

Both of these points clearly connect to one another. 

So let’s put marshmallows up to the test of this definition.

Is crystallized sugar created by boiling during the manufacturing process of marshmallows?

The answer is no.

Sugar is not boiled during the process, meaning marshmallows miss out on aligning with this classification on our small yet important checklist. 

You might think that that’s not fair. Marshmallows align with the second part of the definition, as we all know that they are a confection made with sugar.

But that’s not enough, I’m afraid. You need to hit both of the targets in order to be classed as a candy.

Let’s face it; you can’t just add loads of sugar onto a banana to make it candy, can you?

It would still just be a banana, except it’s covered in lots of sugar. So sugar content doesn’t guarantee something as candy.

This also means that there are probably lots of other sugar confectioneries out there that you have perceived as candy all this time without knowing that they’re actually not.

Because remember, if crystallized sugar isn’t formed, it ain’t a candy.

How Are Marshmallows And Candy Different?

Marshmallows and candy are different because their manufacturing processes are significantly different. They’re also very different in texture and different in terms of how we consume them.

The Manufacturing Process

There will be similarities when it comes to the respective manufacturing processes of marshmallows and candy. But the differences are significant.

Of course, the key difference between the two is that one involves crystallizing sugar when boiling sugar syrup.

And the one that does this is candy. Marshmallows do not, which is ultimately why they don’t get to join candy in the candy club!

Marshmallows are also made in a unique way.

Once the gelatine, sugar, corn syrup, and all the rest of it are cooked, the mixture is then whipped to fill the air as it cools. Quite a process, don’t you think?

All the other genuine candies have different manufacturing processes as well. But the key part is that sugar syrup is boiled to produce crystallized sugar.


Sure, all sorts of candies come in different textures.

However, you can’t find a candy out there that has the same texture of marshmallows.

There just isn’t one. So marshmallows have a totally unique texture that isn’t matched in the candy world.

How We Eat Them

Do you melt candies on the fire? If so, you’re an extraordinary individual.

Generally, we don’t melt candies on the fire. Generally, we just eat them as they are.

Marshmallows, on the other hand, are melted on the fire before being eaten, or they’re put in hot chocolate, or they’re put on cakes or dipped into chocolate fountains.

They’re usually used to going with something else. They can be eaten on their own and still taste great; however, they are often eaten very differently to candy.

How Are Marshmallows And Candy Similar?

Marshmallows and candy are similar because they contain lots of sugar, taste sweet, and are marketed the same way.

Sugar Content

Marshmallows, despite not being classified as a candy, still contain lots of sugar. So too, do candies. It’s how they get their sweet taste.

Marshmallows, therefore, fit into the candy and confectionery category with candies…

Sweet Taste

The majority of candies taste sweet because they contain lots of sugar and artificial flavors.

Marshmallows also have a sweet taste for the exact same reason.

Similar Marketing

Fancy bright, colorful packaging. Candy brands love it. And so, too, do marshmallow brands. Marshmallows are definitely marketed the same way as candy.

I mean, can you imagine a marshmallow being packaged like a pack of tomatoes?

I didn’t think so.

What Are Marshmallows Classified As?

Marshmallows are classified as a sugar confectionary product.

So, after all this, what category do we put marshmallows in?

Well, we still put them into the sugar confectionery category. This is because they contain sugar and are used like other confectionery products.

They were oh so close to getting the green light as a candy. But unfortunately, they’re just one stop off getting that title. 

If only they were made by sugar syrup being boiled to produce crystallized sugar. That’s all that was missing.

But hey, who’s to say that they still would have tasted great if this was how they were made? Maybe it is the lack of crystallized sugar that makes marshmallows so wonderful to eat.

Is it really the end of the world that they’re not candy? They’re still delicious, and even though you now know that they’re a sugar confectionary, are you going to stop eating them? I didn’t think so.


So you’ve discovered the truth about marshmallows. Turns out they’re not candy, for the reasons that I’ve pointed out.

And I bet now that you’ll be questioning every piece of candy you pick up off the shop shelves.

I can see you there, with it in your hand, thinking, ‘has this product been boiled?’

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