How To Melt Marshmallows In The Microwave Without Burning Anything

Whether you drop them into steaming hot chocolate or roast them over a fire for s'mores, marshmallows are a delicious confectionary that are often at their best when melted. Marshmallows were once made using the mallow plant, but today, they usually contain granulated sugar, confectioner sugar, corn syrup, water, and gelatin. Like an eggless meringue, these candies are created by whipping air into hot sugar syrup until it forms a stable, cloud-like structure. While their spongy texture is nice at room temperature (or in Rocky Road ice cream), they take on a new dimension when melted until gooey.

No one will fault you for wanting a s'more mid-winter, but if you put a marshmallow in the microwave and start heating it up, you may wind up with an explosion or a burnt, smelly mess that's difficult to clean. This is because the marshmallow's water content quickly evaporates under heat, and then the sugar will start to burn. 

However, you can melt marshmallows in the microwave without burning them or having to clean a sticky mess off the roof. Just add a few tablespoons of water to a bowl of marshmallows. Cook the mixture in ten-second intervals, stirring after each time, until smooth and homogenous. Keep an eye on them and don't walk away from the microwave, and when you remove the bowl, be careful, as the marshmallows will be molten-hot.

Ways to use melted marshmallows

Rice Krispies treats are one of the most beloved recipes that use melted marshmallows, and you don't have to turn on the stove to make them. Place butter and marshmallows in the microwave and heat them in intervals until melted. Since butter already contains water, adding extra water to melt the marshmallows isn't needed. Variations on this classic recipe include changing the cereal type (try something fruity or chocolatey) or using popcorn instead for a salty and sweet dessert. 

Microwaved marshmallows can also be transformed into fondant for cakes and cupcakes. Melt marshmallows in the microwave with a few tablespoons of water, then knead the cooled mixture with icing sugar until a smooth dough forms. Marshmallow fondant can be dyed or flavored, then used to decorate all kinds of desserts.

For a side dish or appetizer, go with the classic combo of melted marshmallows and sweet potatoes. You may be used to baking sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but you can also make a super quick version in the microwave. Poke whole sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave them until soft, then top with marshmallows microwaved with butter. You can also cut sweet potatoes into rounds and cook them until tender, then garnish with a dollop of melted marshmallow for an attractive appetizer. A sprinkle of cinnamon on either of these dishes would be nice, too.