How Marshmallow Peeps Are Made
Making a Peep
Have you ever wondered which came first, the marshmallow or the Peep? Well, we've got the answer. Follow along on our tour of the Just Born, Inc., candy plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and you'll know a lot more about the classic marshmallow treats (including all of these new Peeps products!) that you can bet will be in your Easter basket this year.
Step One: Mixing and Whipping
To start, a mixture of marshmallow, sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and a few other special ingredients are whipped into a marshmallowy goo that will become the shaped candy Peeps. More than ten new Peeps flavors are hitting shelves this year (and we tried them all!), but this is how they all start.
Step Two: Coloring the Sugar
All sugar starts out white. Since yellow Peeps were being made the day we visited, yellow food coloring was added through that little arm outside the barrel. The barrel rotates like a cement mixer to color all the sugar.
Step Three: Spreading the Sugar
Sugar is loaded into a spreader (the gray piece in the background) by hand. The spreader distributes the sugar all across the conveyor belt that the candy will ride during production. If you want to see the making of the iconic treats for yourself, enter the sweepstakes to tour the inside of the Peeps factory.
Step Four: Peeps Are Made
No photos are allowed of the machinery that actually pumps the marshmallow into the right shape—that's top secret. We can tell you that it's basically the same technology that was developed in the 1950s by the Just Born company.
Step Five: Peeps are Coated in Sugar
Freshly made Peeps travel along a conveyor belt (backwards!) into a wind tunnel. This is where air will whip the sugar around so that it sticks evenly to the warm, moist marshmallows.
Step Six: Recycling the Sugar
The sugar-coated candy Peeps slide off a solid conveyor belt on to a grated one that lets extra sugar fall through to be reused.
Step Seven: The Eyes are Dotted On
This machine gives the Peeps their peepers, which are actually tiny dots of an edible wax. The machine can pump out 3,800 eyes per minute.
Step Eight: Peeps Get Packaged
The final stage of the conveyor takes the Peeps through a very cold area so they can firm up enough to easily fall off the conveyor belt and into boxes. As you can see, chicks stick together five at a time. When it comes to bunnies, it's four per box.
Step Nine: Peeps Boxes are Wrapped
The final stop for the boxes of candy is a wrapping station. Boxes are sealed with plastic wrap, either individually, two at a time, or three at a time.
Fun Peeps Facts
Just Born, Inc, produces 1.2 billion marshmallow goodies each year for all occasions—that's a heap of Peeps. Chicks and bunnies are the most popular shapes and are made year-round at the plant.
Fun Peeps Facts
In 1953, Peeps were made by hand with a pastry tube. Making one Peep took about 27 hours. Today, Peeps can be made in just six minutes.
More Peep Facts
Just Born is named for Sam Born, who grew up in Russia and came to America in 1910. He started his business with a small candy shop in New York City. The company's headquarters has been in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, since 1932.