What Are Marshmallow Peanuts?

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Marshmallow peanuts, which are sometimes referred to as circus peanuts, are a type of candy made in the shape of a peanut. Though they look similar to peanuts, they do not have peanuts in them and do not taste like peanuts. These candies come in a variety of different colors and flavors and are made from a chewy combination of sugar, gelatin, and cornstarch. When these candies were first invented, they were flavored with real fruit juice, usually orange juice, but now they are almost always colored and flavored artificially.

The first marshmallow peanuts were created in the middle of the 1800s in the United States and were frequently found in candy stores across the nation. They were a seasonal candy until about a century later when it became possible to preserve the candies in sealed plastic bags. When they were first made, marshmallow peanuts were often orange and flavored with real oranges. Other colors and flavors are now available, but orange-colored, banana-flavored marshmallow peanuts are the most common.

Like marshmallows, circus peanuts are usually made from a combination of sugar, gelatin, and corn starch. They are creamier than regular marshmallows, though many people prefer to leave them out for a week or so to let them get stale before eating them. They also contain artificial colors and flavors.

For the most part, people either strongly like or strongly dislike marshmallow peanuts. They do not taste the way one might expect them to taste because there is no peanut flavor in them and because their traditional orange coloration does not suggest that they are banana-flavored. The discrepancy between expectation and actual flavor may turn consumers against the flavor of marshmallow peanuts.

It is also possible to make a candy out of actual marshmallows and peanuts. In this type of candy, marshmallows are melted down and then mixed with chopped or whole peanuts. These marshmallow peanuts are similar to peanut brittle, though soft and chewy instead of brittle and crispy. The addition of corn syrup and corn starch can help make this candy firmer, giving it a texture closer to that of peanut brittle.

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Discussion Comments


Not all marshmallow peanuts are banana flavored. The kind I have is assorted. There are four colors and four flavors: banana, vanilla, cherry and lemon. I didn't even realize that marshmallow peanuts are supposed to be orange in color until I read this article!

Although peanut shaped candy might seem silly to some, it can actually come in handy for certain party themes. It would work great for a circus or carnival themed party for example. And if the party is for kids, kids love them too.


@burcinc-- There is no doubt that it's an odd idea but this has been a popular candy since many years and many people have grown up eating it. I personally really enjoy them. I like the banana flavor and I like the texture of the candy. It's soft and chewy but not too soft like some other marshmallow candies. I don't care much for the shape or color, but these details don't bother me either. I care about the flavor and I love the flavor.

I think many people eat marshmallow peanuts mostly to remember old days. My dad still eats them and he always has a story to tell about the things he used to do as a child to get some marshmallow peanuts.


I don't get the idea behind marshmallow peanuts either. If they don't taste like peanuts, why are they shaped like peanuts? And if someone wants marshmallow candy, there are so many other varieties to choose from. I'm not sure why anyone would prefer these candies over other marshmallow candies.

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