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How to Soften Marshmallows (Instead of Throwing Them Away)

How to Soften Marshmallows (Instead of Throwing Them Away)

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Out of the world of desserts, there are some treats that are simply classics. For instance, when you plan on going camping, most people would want to bring graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows so that you can make s’mores while you sit by the fire.

Other treats that are famous include pies during the holiday season and cakes for birthday celebrations.

Additionally, there are also some foods that most people never really think of having a shelf life.

More often than not, these foods are almost entirely made from sugar with very few ingredients aside from food dyes to add color.

However, you might be surprised to learn that even if some foods take a while to become unsafe to eat, food can and will change over time as it becomes stale.

How To Soften Marshmallows (Instead Of Throwing Them Away)

Going back to the previous example of s’mores, marshmallows are one type of dessert that most people don’t think is capable of ever going bad. After all, it is essentially sugar, right?

While this is technically true and it can take a long time for marshmallows to become inedible, they can become stale if they are not properly stored or if too much time has passed.

With that being said, there are ways to bring back life into the marshmallows, allowing you to use them for whatever purposes you had intended.

In fact, it is actually quite easy to make your marshmallows usable again and there are a few different methods that you can try, depending on what you have available.

The first step to fixing your marshmallows is to first recognize if your marshmallows are stale or if they might just be a little bit cold, meaning that warming them up with your hands can easily soften them up and return them back to their proper consistency.

Recognizing Stale Marshmallows

The hallmark of a bag of stale marshmallows is that they will be dry and somewhat withered to the touch.

They will still have the same taste as fresh marshmallows as the staleness won’t impact anything other than the texture and the marshmallow’s ability to melt.

Marshmallows will dry out over time, losing what little moisture content they had.

When they lose that moisture content, they begin to dry out on the inside and outside with the exterior becoming a somewhat hard shell compared to the typical standard, squishy marshmallow that people are used to using.

Another classic sign that you are dealing with old marshmallows is the fact that, no matter how hard you might try, they will not really melt nearly as well as they should.

Marshmallows are well known for their ability to melt into a tasty mess but when they become stale and dry, they only cook when exposed to fire, rather than melting as they should.

If your marshmallows are somewhat firm but they begin to soften up after you hold them for a while, then there’s a good chance that your marshmallows were simply a bit too cold.

A good way to check if your marshmallows are cold as opposed to dry and stale is holding them in your hands for a little bit.

Most cold marshmallows will quickly warm up and reach their proper consistency while the stale marshmallows will remain stale until you do something about them.

Fixing Stale Marshmallows

Pile Of Dry Marshmallows

Now that you are aware of what the problem is and you know what caused the problem, you can now move on to trying to remedy the issue.

One of the many things that set marshmallows apart from other foods and desserts is that if they are dry and stale, they are not completely forsaken. In fact, they are considerably easy to bring back to their proper state if you have the right materials.

There are two main methods that you can use to rehydrate your marshmallows and bring them back from the brink of staleness.

The first method will involve putting something that is both fresh and has a high water content into a sealable bag with the marshmallows.

The second method will involve putting the bag of marshmallows directly into water.

The goal of both methods is to slowly rehydrate the marshmallows so you don’t necessarily ruin them by pouring water onto them and creating a sticky mess for everyone.

Both methods involve having the marshmallows indirectly absorb the water, whether it is evaporated water from something placed into the bag or miniscule amounts of water that come through the plastic bag.

For the first method, you are going to want a sealable plastic bag large enough to fit all the marshmallows into as well as another fresh item with a reasonable water content. A traditional gallon-size bag will get the job done for a normal number of marshmallows.

As for what you will be putting into the bag alongside the marshmallows, this can depend on what you have with you.

The two most common objects that people put into the bag are a fresh apple slice or two, or a fresh slice of bread. Either one will get the job done but be mindful about the possibility of mold for both of these objects.

The goal of this is not to grow mold but instead to rehydrate the marshmallows.

You will want to put the apple slices or the bread into the bag of marshmallows, make sure that everything is sealed up nicely, and then leave it on the counter for one or two days.

After the first day, you should check to see if the marshmallows have reached their proper consistency.

If they haven’t, then you should leave it for another day.

Be careful about leaving the marshmallows out for more than two days as this will increase the likelihood of mold growing in the bag tremendously. Nobody wants moldy marshmallows.

The second method that you can try works on the same principle of the marshmallows absorbing moisture that has evaporated into the bag. However, the source of that moisture will be different.

For this method, you will want to have a bowl that you can spare for a minute or two. This method is by far the quicker method as it can be completed within a few minutes.

It will take slightly longer to prepare, though, as you will need to wait for the sink’s water to become hot.

As with the first method, you will want to place the dry and stale marshmallows into a sealable bag. From here, you should then begin to fill either a bowl or cup (whichever the marshmallow bag will fit best in, with room to spare) with hot tap water.

Once the bowl or cup is full, you can place the marshmallow bag into the bowl and wait for about one minute.

Due to the nature of marshmallows, they will want to float up to the surface.

This is not helpful for making sure that they all absorb some degree of water so you will want to use a spatula or something similar to hold the marshmallows underneath the surface of the water for the minute or two that you are doing this.

Try not to squish the marshmallows too much in the process; instead, apply a gentle pressure to keep them submerged.

After one minute has passed, you should take the marshmallows out, open the bag, and check to see if they are the right consistency.

If they aren’t, consider placing them back in the bag and back into the water for another minute.

From here, you can use the marshmallows for whatever purpose you had planned, knowing that your marshmallows are soft and squishy once again.

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Wednesday 24th of November 2021

I found this method a life saver! Thank you for the post.


Saturday 20th of May 2023

@Barb, what if I have already tried to melt them in the pan snf they aren't melting. Never thought they were old...but they aren't melting. They just puff up.


Monday 15th of November 2021

Definitely only leave them in the water for a minute or two! I had some that were several-years-sitting-in-an-unsealed bag stale, actually-past-their-best-before stale, so I left them in for 5-6 minutes and they were a soggy mess! The ones around the edge that weren’t too wet were revived beautifully though 🙂


Saturday 8th of May 2021

Soak in a bowl of hot water for a bit. Hope that saves time. This post was unnecessarily long.

Karen j H

Monday 6th of September 2021

@Fatimah, don’t think much of this idea. I’m making Rice K bars. Need them to melt in pan