Super-Easy Marshmallow Icing

star rating (26) rate this recipe »
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield: 3 to 4 cups, enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 layer cake

Recipe photo

This ridiculously easy recipe produces a thick, glossy icing, very similar to cooked 7-minute icing, or Swiss or Italian meringue. It's easily flavored to taste — we provide instructions here for chocolate and coffee icing, as well as vanilla — and it's perfect for piping atop cupcakes or filling a layer cake, as it holds its shape indefinitely. And unlike classic buttercream, it won't wilt or melt in the heat. With just three main ingredients — cream, marshmallows, and confectioners' sugar — there's no need to separate eggs, nor search the cupboard for meringue powder. And with no added fat, beyond that in the whipped cream, it's a lower-calorie alternative to more traditional frostings — though you'd never know it, it's that rich and tasty!

Super-Easy Marshmallow Icing

star rating (26) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield: 3 to 4 cups, enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 layer cake
Published: 12/03/2012


  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 bag (10 to 10 1/2 ounces) marshmallows; mini-marshmallows are easiest to use
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, optional

Tips from our bakers

  • This basic white icing can be flavored to taste. To make chocolate icing, add 1/2 cup Dutch-process or natural cocoa powder to the marshmallows and cream before heating. For coffee icing, add 2 teaspoons espresso powder to the marshmallows and cream before heating; once the marshmallows are melted, increase the flavor, if desired, by adding additional espresso powder to taste.
  • If you let the icing chill completely in the fridge, it'll be stiff and harder to beat. But just keep beating, it'll gradually soften as it warms up.
  • For pure white icing, omit the vanilla. But if you're OK with off-white icing, the vanilla adds rich flavor.


Note: Thanks to reader feedback, this recipe has been amended as of 4/16/13, as follows: an additional step has been added, calling for the icing to rest for 30 to 45 minutes after beating. This rest period thickens it up.

1) Place the cream, marshmallows, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large, deep saucepan.

2) Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows melt completely.

3) Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, if you're using it.

4) Pour the icing into the bowl of your stand mixer or another mixing bowl, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

5) Remove the icing from the refrigerator. Beat it at high speed, using your stand mixer or an electric hand mixer; it's impossible to beat thoroughly enough by hand, so please use a machine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure you're incorporating all of the chilled icing.

6) Beat until the icing is smooth and glossy; this will probably take less than a minute. The icing will thin out and become almost sauce-like. Once it's smooth, set the icing aside to rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes; it'll stiffen as it sits, bringing it to spreadable consistency.

7) Spread or pipe the icing atop cupcakes, or use it to fill a round layer cake, or ice a 9" x 13" sheet cake.

Yield: 3 to 4 cups icing, enough to ice 24 cupcakes, one 8" or 9" round layer cake, one 9" x 13" cake, or a typical recipe of whoopie pies (about 12 to 18 pies, depending on size).


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  • star rating 02/23/2015
  • Gramma Cat from NY
  • Excellent easy tasty recipe. I added cocoa for my devils food cupcakes for my step daughters baby shower. Everyone loved them. I made the cupcakes and the frosting, drove to a friends for her to frost and decorate and then they were brought to the party. The frosting still looked good! Will make this again. Next day the frosting was still wonderful.
  • star rating 02/18/2015
  • Mana from St. Louis, Missouri
  • "Super-Easy" is a misnomer. Any icing that takes 2 days to make is not "easy" regardless of how hard you work at the individual steps. No one in my family liked this icing. It was thin and runny and looked nothing like the image posted. I'm going back to my cream cheese frosting />We're sorry to hear you did not care for this recipe. Please call our bakers hotline if you would like to troubleshoot. ~ MJ @ KAF
  • star rating 02/14/2015
  • Lauren from NY, NY
  • I've made a lot of King Arthur recipes over the years. This may be the worst. Not sure what is going on here. I followed directions, chilled it overnight, even left it for 40 minutes to harden, and finally resorted to whipping the icing which did give it some bulk but didn't stop it from running off my cupcakes. As a dipped icing maybe this would work. But do not think of this as a frosting. It's too thin, and it melts. Now need to wait another hour to finish my family's Valentines Day cupcakes. Not to mention that any recipe that takes several hours (chilling, resting) is far from "super easy." Skip this one. There are better ones on the site.
    I'm sorry you had so much trouble with this recipe. We'd love to help you troubleshoot at the Baker's Hotline: 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 02/13/2015
  • anneuns from KAF Community
  • I made this frosting to top 'birthday chocolate cake' cupcakes for a club luncheon. It was a failure! It didn't set up to piping consistency and was a gooey, however flavorful, mess. I read the instructions before, during and after my attempt of marshmallow icing. I'm an experienced baker and cook and still failed at this recipe. I had to rush to make buttercream frosting to top my cupcakaes for our event.
    We're sad about your recipe experience as well. As you can see, we changed the recipe and it includes a couple rest periods to help it thicken. We're glad you were able to make another frosting to complete those cupcakes. Irene@KAF
  • 02/09/2015
  • from
  • Measurements for chocolate flavor not listed?

    The measurements are in the box "Tips from our Bakers". Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  • star rating 02/09/2015
  • Lee from Iowa
  • FYI...if people look at this recipe on their phones via Facebook or Pinterest, the directions for the chocolate version listed in the do not show. You have to be on a tablet or a computer to see it. It would be nice if you updated the recipe to include those directions on mobile apps.

    We're glad you made the frosting! I have sent this suggestion on to our Web team. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  • star rating 02/09/2015
  • Lee from Iowa
  • Love it! But I would like to know how to make the chocolate shown in the photo.
  • star rating 09/24/2014
  • Michelle from Cincinnati, OH
  • Loved this icing!!! I made it the day before kept it in the fridge for 24 hours and it whipped up nicely. If your going to use it for a outdoor event it doesnt hold up well to warm weather. I will definitely use this again!!!
  • star rating 06/08/2014
  • Amanda from
  • Yum! It worked perfectly, and tastes a little like pudding. I love this frosting!
  • star rating 05/25/2014
  • Carrie from Ontario
  • Love this recipe! I was really nervous about it when I left it to refrigerate because it looked a bit like custard, but after a minute in the mixer it was a beautiful fluffy white! I added vanilla beans so the frosting had that nice vanilla bean seedy look. This is my new go to recipe: SO GOOD, SO EASY, AND SUPER CUSTOMIZABLE! Thanks for this!
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