(Partly) Organic Homemade Peeps (Really!)

I did it!  This girl who can’t make a cut-out cookie (unless ugly counts) made homemade peeps.  It was really quite easy (after I got past the first batch of burnt sugar).

Homemade Peeps    homemade peeps

Marshmallow has been a thorn in my side for years.  We try to eat as organic as possible and marshmallows contain gelatin and heaven knows what else.  I am pretty sure that marshmallow gelatin doesn’t come from organic, grass-fed animals.  So every year at Easter and then again when it is s’mores season, I wince.

Not anymore!

I ordered organic gelatin from a company in Canada a couple of months ago (not thinking it would be a mere two days before Easter when I finally got around to this).  Then I used regular store-bought sugar because, as much as I love organic sugar, it doesn’t always perform well in candy.

Organic Gelatin

Organic Gelatin

The recipe came from Martha Stewart and has a grand total of three ingredients–water, gelatin and sugar. And believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!

Homemade peeps, drying

Homemade peeps, drying

Homemade Marshmallow Peeps

Special Equipment

  • Candy thermometer or instant read meat thermometer that can handle high temperatures
  • Piping bag, medium oval tip optional (Alternatively, you can pour marshmallow into a 8 x 8 pan, let firm and cut out with cookie cutters)


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pkg (2 1/2 tsp) gelatin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Decorations of your choice


1.  Mix sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Stir until dissolved then stop stirring.  Heat until 238 degrees (soft ball stage).

cook sugar

Cook sugar to soft ball stage

2.  While sugar is cooking, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup water in mixing bowl.  Let stand to soften.

Soften gelatin

Soften gelatin

3.  Sprinkle sugar on parchment paper to prepare for forming peeps.

4.  When sugar has reached 238, pour it into the softened gelatin.  Beat on high until mixture soft peaks form and are able to hold shape (about nine minutes).

Beat sugar and gelatin mixture for peeps

Beat sugar and gelatin mixture

5.  Spoon into piping bag.  Martha recommended using a medium oval tip, but I didn’t have that one so just left the tip off, piping through the plastic tip holder, which worked fine.

6. Pipe marshmallow onto sugar topped parchment  in reverse “s” shape (that is start at the bottom of the “s”) to form a chick.  Sprinkle immediately with colored sugar

Piping out a homemade peep

Piping out a homemade peep

7.  Mix a little cocoa powder with a couple drops of water and dot eyes using  a toothpick. (thanks to the Kitchn for the tip.)

Dot peep eyes with cocoa powder on toothpick

Dot peep eyes with cocoa powder on toothpick

I’ll admit It took me three tries to get it just right but they were quick tries (and frankly I didn’t really expect to succeed ever).  The first time, I learned that my candy thermometer was not working because by the time it hit 238, the sugar was burnt.  Luckily I discovered that my instant read meat thermometer goes up to candy temperatures and it worked perfectly for my second try.

The second try worked fairly well but I didn’t beat the sugar and gelatin mixture long enough.  The peeps were still reasonably cute, but I wanted to give it one more try.

First try at peeps

First try at piping peeps

On the third try, I beat the sugar for a full nine minutes and checked that the peaks in the mixing bowl were able to hold not melt back quickly.  Success!

Additional Tip:  You can make your own colored sugar by adding a drop of food coloring (next year I’ll try a natural color) to granulated sugar.  Just stir until the color incorporates, which takes a little while.  This is cheaper than the pre-colored and finer in texture which is better for the peeps.  I won’t be paying $4 for a little container of fancy sprinkles after this!

Making homemade decorating sugar

Making homemade decorating sugar

This was seriously fun and when summer rolls around you can bet I’ll be making my own campfire marshmallows too!


28 thoughts on “(Partly) Organic Homemade Peeps (Really!)

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  4. Kathy

    Oh I love these!! I make marshmallows quite often but have never tried peeps. Although I did see them done years ago by Martha! I’ll have to look for organic gelatin. Have a great weekend, Inger!

    1. Inger Post author

      I remember reading about chocolate marshmallows once too. This may call for some ongoing experimentation!

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks Grace. And I may even try them with organic sugar this summer when the shaping is less important…

  5. Louise

    Well, well, look at you creating your very own Easter Peeps, and, organic no less. Kudos to you Inger! I know you think “anyone” can do it if you can but, I’d venture to say I’d probably burn a whole lotta sugar, lol…

    Thank you so much for sharing…Wishing you and yours A Glorious Easter Celebration!Louise

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks Louise. I thought of you today and was going to email. Hope you are having a great Easter–I still miss your holiday chronicles but hope you are getting extra fun now!

  6. Karis

    In the pastry class at Braise last night, Chef Swanson was telling us we could easily make marshmallows now that we knew how to make meringues. So I was surprised to not see egg whites in the recipe you followed and am curious to try it both ways now.

    1. Inger Post author

      In my research I saw mention (in comments) of recipes with egg whites. These did taste like actual marshmallows which was pretty interesting given they have only 3 ingredients. Some people use vanilla too which I thought was tempting.

  7. Em

    These are super super cute. They look even cuter than the store ones, and on top of that, they’re far more natural!. I love them.

  8. Kathy

    I would have never thought–in a million years–that you could make homemade Peeps!! And organic? It’s amazing! Thank you for sharing this, Inger.

    1. Inger Post author

      I was surprised it was so much fun (I was really expecting comical at best 😉 )

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