How A Cotton Candy Machine Works: Behind the Scenes

Do you ever find yourself eating cotton candy at a carnival or circus and thinking, “I wonder how this sugary delicacy is made?” Well, wonder no more!

A cotton candy machine works by heating the sugar and then wrapped around the spinning head until creating the tiny sugar threads.

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Credit: canva

This blog post will take a behind-the-scenes look at how it works. You might be surprised at just how simple the process is! 

How a Cotton Candy Machine Works

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Pour the sugar into the machine. Credit: canva

The system is pretty simple. It consists of a spinning head with small holes, a heating element, and a sugar reservoir.

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Spin the candy. Credit: canva
  1. When the head is turned on, the heat melts the sugar and pulls it up through the holes.
  2. As the sugar cools, it re-solidifies into long strands of candy.
  3. The spinning head then wraps the candy around itself, creating that fluffy, cottony shape that we all know and love. 
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Wrap the sugar threads around the cone. Credit: canva

Most products can produce about 3 ounces of candy per minute. That may not sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up!

If you were to make it for 8 hours straight, you would end up with over 700 pounds of candy! 

Common Myths About Cotton Candy

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Kids enjoying cotton candies. Credit: canva

We wanted to address a few common myths in this blog post.

  • Contrary to popular belief, cotton candy does not contain any cotton. The fluffy texture is made up of numerous thin threads of sugar.
  • Secondly, despite what you may have seen in movies or TV shows, eating it does not cause cavities. Sugar itself does not cause cavities; it is the bacteria in your mouth that convert sugar into acidic plaque that damages teeth.

So, go ahead and enjoy that cotton candy guilt-free! The next time you’re munching on some at your local fair, you can impress your friends by letting them know how this tasty treat is made. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a cotton candy machine work?

It works by cooking sugar and spinning it into strands. The cook time is short, so the sugar must be heated quickly to a high temperature.

That’s where the hot air comes in. The air is blown through the sugar syrup at a very high speed, and this causes the sugar to heat up and turn into liquid.

Then, as the liquid sugar passes through the spinning disk, it turns into strands of cotton candy.

What are the different parts of a cotton candy machine? 

It typically consists of four main parts.

  1. The spinning head or barrel is the part where the sugar is melted and then spun into candy floss. It usually has a heat-resistant coating to prevent the sugar from sticking and scorching.2 The barrel is also Gorsuch Bedell, where the flavorings and colorings are added to the sugar before making it into candyfloss.
  2. The heating element heats the sugar so it melts and can be spun into candy floss.
  3. Depending on the model, a sugar reservoir may be located above or below the spinning head. The sugar is poured into this reservoir and fed into the spinning head as needed.
  4. The flossing wand or brush removes the candy floss from the spinning head after making it. It typically has a long handle to reach the spinning head and pull the candy floss without getting too close to the heat.

How do you make cotton candy using a machine?

You’ll need a machine and some floss sugar to start. Once you have your supplies, follow these steps:

  1. Heat the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Pour a layer of sugar onto the spinning disk.
  3. Allow the sugar to melt and become sticky.
  4. Gently add more sugar until the desired amount is reached.
  5. Allow the cotton candy to spin for a minute or two before.
  6. Serve immediately! Remove it from the machine using sticks or quarters wrapped in cellophane bags if desired.

What are some tips?

They are so much fun! Here are a few tips to get the most out of your products:

  • Make sure you use adequately flavored cotton candy sugar.
  • Use fresh, cold water and add it slowly to the machine while running.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and ensure it doesn’t get too hot.
  • Do not overload the machine with too much sugar, or it will cause the motor to overheat.

Happy snacking!


It is a terrific way to make your own unique, delicious treats at home! 

  • You can control the size, shape, and flavor! Here are some of the great benefits: 
  • You can make them as big or small as you like – perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth or making cute little bite-sized candies. 
  • The default flavor is sugar floss, but you can change it by adding different flavored oils to the sugar before spinning it into a fluffy. Some fun flavors include watermelon, strawberry, grape, green apple, and Bubblegum. 
  • Cotton candies made with a machine are always fresh and taste better than the store-bought kind! They’re fun to make and will bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Related Topics

How Do They Make Cotton Candy Grapes?

The process of making it is slightly different from making regular grapes.

The grapes are picked when they’re green, and then electrostatic spraying is used to give them a sugary coating.

After that, they’re treated with a gas flame to give them their cotton candy-like appearance.

Is There a Difference Between Confectioners Sugar and Powdered Sugar?

Yes, there is a difference between confectioners’ sugar and powdered sugar!

Powdered sugar is made by grinding down granulated sugar into a fine powder. Confectioners sugar also has cornstarch added, preventing it from clumping together.

What Was Cotton Candy Originally Called?

It was initially called “fairy floss” in the early 1900s. The name was changed to “cotton candy” in the 1920s because it sounded more appetizing.

What Flavor is Blue Cotton Candy?

It is typically flavored with blueberry or raspberry. Sometimes, a blue raspberry flavor is used, a combination of the two flavors.

Why are Cotton Candy Grapes so Expensive?

They are expensive because they are specialty grapes. They are a new variety of grape created in California and are only grown in a few select regions.

The demand for them has increased in recent years, so the prices have increased too.

Can You Freeze Cotton Candy?

Yes! it can be frozen. However, it will not be in a solid form when you take it out of the freezer.

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