How to Make Flavored Cotton Candy

Carnivals and fairs bring fun memories and even more fun treats to town. Your senses are overwhelmed by the sights and smell of deep-fried sweets, bold colors, and flavored cotton candy.

Cotton candy is one of the most nostalgic fair treats. They’re magically spun with heat and sugar to create an edible cloud. Want to learn how to make flavored cotton candy? Keep on reading.

The History of Making Cotton Candy

It may surprise you that a dentist and a candy maker introduced cotton candy at the end of the 19th century. The unlikely pair created the world’s first cotton candy making-machine for carnivals, but only for carnivals.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that cotton candy machines made their way out of the carnivals and into the manufacturing industry. Today, cotton candy is in amusement parks, candy shops, and even grocery stores. Major department stores even offer cotton candy machines for cost-effective prices. Although cotton candy had slow beginnings, its made incredible strides in the last few decades.

How to Make Flavored Cotton Candy

Let’s explain the importance of certain mandatory tools and ingredients needed to make cotton candy, especially flavored cotton candy.

What You’ll Need to Make Cotton Candy

  • Cotton Candy Machine
  • Pure Cane Sugar
  • Hard Candy (optional)
  • Flavored Floss Sugar
  • Food Coloring

Use a Machine

Although this fluffy candy forms in seconds, it’s not easy to make without a machine-unless you are willing to pull hot sugary goo for nearly an hour. 

Cotton candy machines are user-friendly and make clean-up easy! Also, most machines are inexpensive and make an extraordinary gift for family and friends. To achieve the best results with your machine, look to the provided instructions manual.

Don’t underestimate this simple machine. There isn’t anything simple about a machine that can transform a solid into a liquid and back into a completely new kind of solid. 

Most cotton candy machines use what’s called “centrifugal force” and heat to transform sugar into the fluffy and fibrous texture we know as cotton candy. Tiny air holes and a spinning cylinder work alongside the heat to spread the sugar.

The Best Type of Sugar

Even though the main (and sometimes only ingredient) is sugar, cotton candy has fewer calories than a can of soda. But you can’t use any kind of sugar or sugar substitute. 

Pure cane sugar has a much different chemical composition than sugar substitutes. Because of its unique chemical composition, pure cane sugar makes the best cotton candy.

Sugar Tips: 

  • Pure cane sugar will yield the best results. 
  • The sugar should be a medium coarse. Table sugar is typically too fine and can cause lumps. 
  • Sugar-free substitutes like erythritol, are sugar alcohols that will burn away much faster. 
  • Coconut sugar can be tricky and doesn’t create a truly fluffy texture. 
  • The best sugar-free option is using sugar-free hard candy. 

Hard Candy as an Option

Instead of using pure cane sugar, some confectioners use crushed hard candies, like Jolly Ranchers. 

They’re made of corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, or fructose syrup. To use, place the crushed hard candy into the middle of the machine like you would with sugar. 

The colorful and flavorful candies will melt and reform into fluffy flavored cotton candy. But those candies have harmful ingredients like artificial food colorings. In fact, the candy aisles in grocery stores contain products with the highest use of artificial food colorings.

If you’re looking to make flavored cotton candy without the harmful ingredients, we recommend using Nature’s Flavors Organic Cotton Candy Sugars. They’re made with organic cane sugar, natural food colorings, and natural flavors. 

Flavored Floss Sugar

Two flavored sugar floss in the flavors Mango and Bubblegum next to a fluffy pink cotton candy,

Flavored floss sugars are the easiest options for flavored cotton candy making. These products make a cotton candy maker’s job seamless!

But if you’re looking to create flavored cotton candy yourself, you can use flavor extracts or flavor concentrates. Flavor extracts are the most common form of flavoring but they contain alcohol. This means you have a possibility of losing the flavor during the heating process. Fortunately, flavor concentrates don’t contain alcohol making them high-heat stable. 

To make flavored cotton candy with these flavorings, place ¼ tsp of flavor extract or concentrate into the sugar. Stir the mixture until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Then place the flavored sugar into the middle of the machine. If you feel the cotton candy needs more flavoring, add in an additional ¼ tsp of chosen flavoring. 

Another ingredient to consider is coloring. Unfortunately, it’s easy to find artificial coloring in grocery stores. In fact, most cotton candies are made using Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1. If you’re trying to avoid artificial coloring there are a few natural options available!

Luckily as consumers become more health-conscious, companies like Nature’s Flavors create All-Natural Cotton Candy Sugars

Food Coloring

For coloring cotton candy, it’s important to know it’s 98% air. So, even the darkest of food colorings, like red, will appear more light pink. If you’re looking at some trending pastel food colorings be cautious that the colors may not show up at all. 

Most confectioners use liquid food colorings. They’re much easier to place in the middle of the machine along with the sugar. Also, they yield better results. 

If you’re interested in using food coloring powders, it’s best to mix the sugar and food coloring powder evenly before use. Keep in mind, that the color may not appear as vibrant as a liquid coloring.
For more health-conscious confectioners, Nature’s Flavors also offers All-Natural Liquid Coloring and Powder Coloring. If you’re new to natural colorings you’re going to need some tips on how to get the best results.


Flavored cotton candy is the perfect treat to put a smile on your face. To get the best results, it’s much easier to use a cotton candy machine. Especially, since these machines are accessible and relatively inexpensive. 

To make flavored cotton candy with color, there are a few options. For more health-conscious confectioners, head over to Nature’s Flavors

Cotton Candy is a fun but challenging treat for any age. But if you want to skip right to the treat, Nature’s Flavors offers packaged flavored cotton candy.

In a top-down view, two rounded plastic tubs filled with fluffy cotton candy. One is a Champagne Flavor. This tub does not have a lid and a hand is reaching for the flavored cotton candy,.
Save yourself the hassle and order Ready to Eat Flavored Cotton Candy with Nature’s Flavors.

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