How to make candy floss – a comprehensive guide


By Aleksandra Mojka
May 21, 2021

This irresistible, spun-sugar treat is a must-have for any family event or holiday resort. You loved it as a child and you probably still do! How to make candy floss and what equipment should you choose?


This irresistible, spun-sugar treat is a must-have for any family event or holiday resort. You loved it as a child and you probably still do! How to make candy floss and what equipment should you choose?

What is candy floss made of?

How to make candy floss? What ingredients should you prepare? It turns out that the ingredients for this delightful treat are remarkably simple – it is usually made entirely of sugar! But how is it possible that sugar, usually known in its grain or cube form, can become a large, cloud-like soft and fluffy ball?

It is made by heating and liquefying sugar, and spinning it centrifugally through minute holes – by which the sugar rapidly cools and re-solidifies into fine strands. If you catch it quickly enough and connect it to the next threads, you will obtain an ideal portion of candy floss.

Ways of making candy floss

How to make candy floss? Do you need a special candy floss machine, the kind you know from fairs and family events? Such professional equipment will definitely make the job easier and more spectacular, but there are also other ways to prepare this special treat.

Homemade candy floss in a frying pan

How to make candy floss in a frying pan? As it turns out, the process is actually quite straightforward. Pour 3-5 teaspoons of sugar into the pan (depending on how much candy floss you want to prepare) and wait for it to melt from the high temperature. Then dip an egg whisk in the obtained caramel liquid – wait for the excess caramel to flow back into the pan, then use your hand to pull out the dangling, thin threads, and then join them together into small balls. Repeat the process until you have used up all the melted sugar.

Your homemade candy floss may be slightly different than that served on a stick at public events, but it will definitely be no less tasty!

Candy floss prepared in a machine

Using specialised equipment will obviously make the job much easier. How to make candy floss in a machine? Pour the measured amount of sugar into the special drum, and then turn on the machine. The caramel threads will fill the collar of the candy floss machine, and your job will be to collect them into a light, fluffy sugar-cloud. Use long sticks for this purpose – ideally wooden, or reusable plastic. To make the caramel threads cling better to the stick, you can slightly moisten it beforehand. When the machine has finished making the threads and you have collected them all, your candy floss is ready.

Do you want your homemade treats to be not only delicious, but also visually attractive? If so, read on and find out how to make colourful candy floss. It’s actually surprisingly simple. Just add a bit of food colouring to the dissolved sugar and you will get clouds in pink, green, blue or any other chosen colour.

What should you consider when choosing a candy floss machine?

If you intend to make candy floss on a regular basis, you might want to consider buying a candy floss machine – it will become the highlight of any children’s party. Similar fun ideas could be machines for making homemade popcorn or ice cream. But let’s return to choosing a candy floss machine. Fortunately this is not very challenging.

The cotton candy machine consists of a heater and a rotor – the first former caramelises the sugar, while the latter turns it into threads. The threads are collected in a special collar. The design of such machines is very simple, so it will also not be difficult to choose the right one for you. Compact machines are best suited for private households, as they are easy to store. It is also important that such equipment can be easily disassembled during cleaning, and ideally its elements should be dishwasher safe.

Candy floss in catering

If you are considering adding candy floss to the offer of your catering business, it’s best to look for more advanced equipment. For extensive use, go for a durable model and also with the option of different sizes.

The heating power of the device will certainly be important here – the higher it is, the more efficient it will be and you will be able to prepare candy floss in approx. 30 seconds. The choice of equipment also depends on how are you are going to use it.

If you intend to use it on a permanent basis e.g. like a pancake maker or a popcorn machine, then choose a stable and durable model. It should be resistant to mechanical damage, so a stainless steel model is a good bet. A vibration reduction system will prevent it from sliding on the countertop.

If you want to make candy floss outdoors – at festivals, fairs, or at a holiday resort – the criteria will be different. Two aspects will then be the most important – mobility and protection from external factors. The candy floss machine should be placed on a mobile stand, ideally with a cover over the collar to protect the candy floss from dirt, rain or insects.

How to make candy floss – summary

Making candy floss – whether with or without a machine – is not as complicated as it may seem. Candy floss, despite being made of sugar, is also not very high in calories, although this obviously depends also on the size of the portions you prepare. However, assuming a standard portion made of 3 teaspoons, you will get a similar amount of calories as in a cup of tea with sugar. Sugar is not generally recommended in your diet, but a little bit from time to time will bring you more joy than harm! Check out our recipe for a chocolate fondue fountain next!

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