Yes, I'm Vegan says a horse in this Tuesday's Horse artwork. Photo of horse is a free use image according to internet labeling.

Marshmallows — Are they really made with horses’ hooves?

When I saw a parcel had arrived from my former husband who now lives in Ireland I could hardly wait to tear it open. He had sent me a text saying he had posted me some biscuits (cookies) and hoped they would arrive okay — as in not all smashed up and nothing but a bunch of crumbs.

Inside the well padded envelope I found one of my all time favorites plus another packet in cheery red. Through a clear bit of the cellophane I could see something all pink and fluffy. I thought ooh, what’s this? Then I saw Jam Mallows emblazoned across the front. True to their name they contained jam and marshmallows.

Darn, I thought to myself, he knows I don’t eat anything made with marshmallows and he knows why.

Marshmallows typically contain gelatin as do products such as Jell-O. I had read somewhere that gelatin is made from boiling animal hides. My dad told me when I was a kid that Jell-O was made from horses’ hooves. And so were marshmallows. I took his word for it and never ever ate those things or anything like it, and haven’t had reason to give it much thought since then.

So I decided to update myself and found the following. There’s a lot more items made with gelatin than I imagined.

Peta reports:

“Gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs. Gelatin is used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics; as a thickener for fruit gelatins and puddings (such as Jell-O); in candies, marshmallows, cakes, ice cream, and yogurts; on photographic film; and in vitamins as a coating and as capsules, and it is sometimes used to assist in ‘clearing’ wines. Gelatin is not vegan. However, there is a product called ‘agar agar’ that is sometimes marketed as ‘gelatin,’ but it is vegan. It is derived from a type of seaweed.” [1]

Barbara Mikkelson, writing for reports:

“Underneath JELL-O’s jiggly wholesomeness lurks a secret many consumers are disconcerted to learn: JELL-O is made from gelatin, an animal product rendered from the hides and bones of animals, typically pork skins, pork, horses, cattle bones, and split cattle hides.

“The production of gelatin starts with the boiling of bones, skins, and hides of cows and pigs, a process that releases the protein-rich collagen from animal tissues. The collagen is boiled and filtered numerous times, dried, and ground to a powder. Because the collagen is processed extensively, the final product is not categorized as a meat or animal product by the federal government. Very strict vegetarians avoid gelatin entirely, but more permissive vegetarians have no problem including JELL-O in their diets.

“JELL-O products account for about 80 percent of the gelatin market.

“Popular belief has it that gelatin comes from horses’ and cows’ hooves. Kraft, the maker of JELL-O, asserts that hooves do not contain the necessary collagen and therefore are not used in the production of its JELL-O brand gelatin product.” [2]

I looked at the ingredients on the back of the Jam Mallows and it lists “Gelling Agent (Pork Gelatine).”

Well, now that’s settled, do Vegans have to live in a world without marshmallows? Of course not.

A company named Dandies makes them. You can order them in plenty of time for roasting over an open fire and the holidays.

Are you on Pinterest? They have a boatload of ideas including easy recipes on how to make your own vegan marshmallows:


5 thoughts on “Marshmallows — Are they really made with horses’ hooves?”

  1. Thank you so much for clarifying this question and so many other food items mentioned. How do we know what good might use the gelatin? Do you know about red licorice? Thank you for this right in time for holiday baking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gummie Bears are made with gelatin as are lots of these sorts of candies. If you see gelatin in the ingredients then the product should be avoided. Sometimes the only way to know is to make it yourself. I am so grateful for all the great vegan cooks, chefs and bloggers.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Veg4Life. I love anything by So Delicious but haven’t tried the Coco Whip yet. I will be getting some of that to put on my vegan pumpkin pie with freshly grated nutmeg. Or how about on top of hot cocoa made with dark chocolate almond milk gently heated through (don’t overheat it please).

      Liked by 2 people

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