How to Make Zefir – Russian Marshmallow (video)

russian strawberry marshmallow

Russian zefir  is a marshmallow confectionery is like no other! Airy, light pillows of fruit flavored meringue marshmallow – this dessert will amaze and delight your taste buds! These little puffs of sweetness were and still are one of my favorite Russian desserts. You can enjoy them plain or use them for cakes and other dessets. Make sure to follow the instructions precisely to achieve the perfect ‘zefir’.

My Russian Zefir Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and all the details for making zefir! Want to stay up to date on new recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Zefir Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this fluffy and unique Russian marshmallow!

  • Agar Gelatin: this is the ONLY type of gelatin that will work for this recipe. This recipe will not work with regular gelatin powder or sheets. Agar gelatin sets at room temperature and it’s much stronger than regular gelatin. Since it can be hard to find in stores, you can purchase it here online (Amazon Affiliate link).
  • Water
  • Lemon Juice: freshly squeeze lemon juice or bottle juice will both work well.
  • Jello: you can use almost any flavor for jello for this recipe. I really like strawberry, raspberry, peach and grape.
  • Egg Whites: have the egg whites at room temperature for best results.
  • White Granulated Sugar: for making the sugar syrup.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: this sugar is for dusting the zefir once it’s been piped. A coating of confectioner’s sugar keeps the zefir being too sticky.
A slices cake on a plate, with Strawberry and Cheesecake
Strawberry Zefir Torte with strawberry zefir filling

Preparing for the Recipe

You’ll need to do a little bit of prep work before you can begin on the actual zefir recipe! A bit of preparation will save you from headaches and having to frantically round around your kitchen!

  • Wash your stand mixer bowl very well with a degreasing soap and white vinegar. Any little bit of grease can prevent the egg whites from forming stiff peaks and can cause them to go flat.
  • Cover a large work space or table with cling wrap. This will be where you pipe the zefir. Dust the cling wrap generously with confectioners’ sugar.
  • You will also need to prepare a large, 18-inch pastry bag with a large star tip #829.
sliced peaches and cream cake with real peaches and peach zefir
Peaches & Cream Cake with peach zefir filling

How to Make Zefir Marshmallow

Russian zefir can be a little tricky to make! The temperatures and timing of the recipe must be followed precisely, otherwise the marshmallow may not set, or it may turn out too soft. Here’s how to make this unique dessert:

  1. In microwave safe cup, combine ¼ cup water with the Jell-O gelatin powder. Stir and microwave the mixture in 30 seconds increments, until the gelatin dissolves completely, approximately 1 ½ minutes. Set it aside for now.
  2. Place the egg whites into your stand mixer bowl. Turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Leave them in the mixer bowl.
  3. Next, prepare the agar gelatin base. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine the agar agar gelatin with ½ cup water. Heat the mixture over low heat on stove top, stirring constantly, until the water thickens into a jelly. As soon as the mixture thickens to an applesauce-like consistency, set a timer for 2 minutes.
  4. Continue stirring constantly and after 2 minutes, begin adding the sugar ½ cup at a time. Stir the mixture until all the sugar is absorbed, then add more. After all the sugar has been added, continue stirring. When mixture begins to rolling boil, cook it for another 2 minutes, then remove it from the heat.
  5. Turn your stand mixer back on to high speed and fluff up the egg whites if they have settled. Pour the HOT sugar syrup into egg whites, with the mixer running on medium speed. Whip for 1 minute just until the egg whites have combined. Add prepared, dissolved Jell-O gelatin and the lemon juice. Continue whisking the mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes. The marshmallow needs to be super stiff and glossy and cooled.
Russian zefir peach marshmallow pops
Peach Zefir Pops dipped with chocolate

Piping & Storing the Zefir

Immediately after you’re done whisking the marshmallow, transfer all of it into the prepared pastry bag. Twist the top to keep the marshmallow from coming out the top!

  • Begin forming small meringues. Zefir is traditionally shaped like a shell but you can also form circles or towers – make uniform and equally sized shapes for best presentation, approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. Let the marshmallow stand for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, place the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch into fine strainer or flour sifter and dust the top of the zefir generously. Let them sit for another 30 minutes, then use a flat spatula to carefully lift the zefir from the cling wrap. If desired, pair two pieces together to form the traditional zefir shape.
  • Place the zefir onto trays in one layer and cover loosely with paper towel. Let them stand overnight to set completely.
  • Store the zefir at room temperature, away from heat and moisture, in an airtight container. These will stand well for 3 to 4 days.

More Recipes!

If you enjoyed this recipe for traditional zefire, make sure to check out some of my other recipes! I love to use this marshmallow as a filling for some of my cakes!

  • Strawberry Zefir Torte – amazing strawberry cake with zefir filling, fresh strawberries and a strawberry buttercream!
  • Peaches & Cream Cake – my favorite peach cake recipe, with peach marshmallow filling, fresh peaches and whipped cream!
  • Peach Marshmallow Pops – a fun way to enjoy zefir: on treat sticks and dipped into chocolate!

How to Make Zefir – Russian Marshmallow (video)

30 mins prep + 10 mins cook
40 servings
Learn how to make the most unique Russian marshmallow – zefir! Made with egg whites, agar gelatin and fruity jello!

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Piping Bag & Tip

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup Jell-O powder, raspberry, strawberry, peach, grape, cherry, etc.
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons agar gelatin, available at Asian specialty stores or online
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3 egg whites, at room temp
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon

For Coating:

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

Instructions

Preparing for Recipe:

  • Wash your stand mixer bowl very well with a degreasing soap and white vinegar. Any little bit of grease can prevent the egg whites from forming stiff peaks and can cause them to go flat.
  • Cover a large work space or table with cling wrap. This will be where you pipe the zefir. Dust the cling wrap generously with confectioners’ sugar. You will also need to prepare a large, 18-inch pastry bag with a large star tip #829.

Making the Zefir:

  • In microwave safe cup, combine ¼ cup water with the Jell-O gelatin powder. Stir and microwave the mixture in 30 seconds increments, until the gelatin dissolves completely, approximately 1 ½ minutes. Set it aside for now.
  • Place the egg whites into your stand mixer bowl. Turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Leave them in the mixer bowl.
  • Next, prepare the agar gelatin base. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine the agar agar gelatin with ½ cup water. Heat the mixture over low heat on stove top, stirring constantly, until the water thickens into a jelly. As soon as the mixture thickens to an applesauce-like consistency, set a timer for 2 minutes.
  • Continue stirring constantly and after 2 minutes, begin adding the sugar ½ cup at a time. Stir the mixture until all the sugar is absorbed, then add more. After all the sugar has been added, continue stirring. When mixture begins to rolling boil, cook it for another 2 minutes, then remove it from the heat.
  • Turn your stand mixer back on to high speed and fluff up the egg whites if they have settled. Pour the HOT sugar syrup into egg whites, with the mixer running on medium speed. Whip for 1 minute just until the egg whites have combined. Add prepared, dissolved Jell-O gelatin and the lemon juice. Continue whisking the mixture for about 8 to 10 minutes. The marshmallow needs to be super stiff and glossy and cooled.

Piping the Zefir:

  • Immediately after you're done whisking the marshmallow, transfer all of it into the prepared pastry bag. Twist the top to keep the marshmallow from coming out the top!
  • Begin forming small meringues. Zefir is traditionally shaped like a shell but you can also form circles or towers – make uniform and equally sized shapes for best presentation, approximately 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. Let the marshmallow stand for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, place the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch into fine strainer or flour sifter and dust the top of the zefir generously. Let them sit for another 30 minutes, then use a flat spatula to carefully lift the zefir from the cling wrap. If desired, pair two pieces together to form the traditional zefir shape.
  • Place the zefir onto trays in one layer and cover loosely with paper towel. Let them stand overnight to set completely.

Storing Zefir:

  • Store the zefir at room temperature, away from heat and moisture, in an airtight container. These will stand well for 3 to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg