What to Put Inside a Cotton Candy Machine




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From regular table sugar to fruity Jolly Ranchers, the possibilities are endless! However, there are also certain types of candies to avoid using for making cotton candy.

I hope you have a cotton candy machine ready to try out all these different flavors of cotton candy.

Why should I use floss sugar to make cotton candy?

Benefits: Using a carefully formulated sugar-to-food coloring and flavoring ratio will have the best consistency using a cotton candy machine. This means consistent fluffy results, fewer bits of sugar being flung, and reduced chances of the central heating spin head getting jammed up.

Floss sugar comes in so many different flavors and colors, making it hard to choose which flavor to try.

Floss Sugar Variety Pack

Can you use hard candy to make cotton candy?

Most hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, peppermint, or Lifesavers can be used in a cotton candy machine.

If you have a hobby-grade cotton candy machine, I recommend smashing up the candy before adding it to the spin head. However, bigger machines like these will have no problem melting just about any type of hard candy.

Crush candy to make cotton candy faster

The cheaper, toy hobby-grade cotton candy machines will generally have a harder time melting large chunks of hard candy. If you have a starter-grade cotton candy machine, floss sugar should work just fine (and there are so many distinct flavors).

Floss sugar is specifically flavored and formulated for making cotton candy. In short, it has the right coarseness so the sugar does not burn or clog the spin head.

What hard candies can you put in a cotton candy machine?

My personal favorite is putting in Warheads. There are so many great choices of candy to make cotton candy out of:

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Peppermints
  • Lifesavers
  • Werther’s

I have found the best results with fruitier and clearer hard candies compared to something like hard caramel.

Candies that you can crush into bits produce bigger, fluffier cotton candies. Hard candies that are “stickier” (like Jolly Ranchers compared to peppermints) will produce a smaller, denser candy.

Whatever you do, just don’t try using cough drops. There are probably better ways of avoiding taking medicine.

Can you put Smarties in a cotton candy machine?

Hard candies that are pastel-like (think Smarties) should be avoided as the melting point is varied across ingredients. This can cause the heating floss head to clog or worse, fling bits and pieces everywhere.

I recommend spending a little extra on your cotton candy machine if you haven’t already purchased one. For hard candies, you will definitely need the space and firepower to produce properly textured cotton candy. I have tried melting hard candies in a budget $40 cotton candy machine I bought for a kid. The results are not even close to the commercial-grade machines.

Do Jolly Ranchers work in cotton candy machines?

Imagine all the classic Jolly Ranchers flavors that melt in your mouth. Blue raspberry cotton candy is already a classic. Add Jolly Ranchers on top of that? Oof.

I initially thought the cotton candy would turn out sticky and clumped because of the texture of Jolly Ranchers. This guy proved otherwise and showed (surprisingly) how well the Jolly Ranchers held up.

Keep in mind that cotton candy made from Jolly Ranchers will be dense. It won’t fluff up like cotton candies made from other hard candies or sugar floss. The flavor remains intense though!

Can you put Skittles in a cotton candy machine?

Try using 2 flavors to make cotton candy

Yes, Skittles will work fine in a cotton candy machine. However, with the cheaper hobby-grade cotton candy machines, I have found that sometimes they do not heat up enough. If you are making cotton candy often (for festivities or commercial reasons), I highly suggest spending a couple of hundred dollars on a commercial-grade cotton candy machine like this.

My favorite part about making cotton candy with Skittles is sorting out each flavor. All the grapes, apples, and lemons come out as one color. These flavored cotton candies will just disintegrate on your tongue. Yum! When I took a small fluff to bite, it left me drooling.

For the best results with making Skittles cotton candy, try blending freeze-dried Skittles into a powder. It produces cotton candy faster with a more consistent texture/flavor.

Can you use chocolate in a cotton candy machine?

. . . Let me stop you right there Willy Wonka.

Leave the chocolate in the fountains!

DO NOT put chocolate inside of a cotton candy machine; it does not work! The ingredients in chocolate will not melt properly and will clog the heating spin head. Remember that cotton candy is primarily just sugar and air. The complex ingredients of chocolate bars cannot be heated and spun.

However, there is chocolate-flavored floss sugar that is made specifically for making cotton candy. It does not taste that great in my opinion. Perhaps it is because I am not a big fan of chocolate flavors outside of chocolate. Others have found success in layering banana or cherry cotton candy underneath the chocolate.

Can you use Fun Dip in a cotton candy machine?

While it technically works, it is not a pleasant experience eating cotton candy made from Fun Dips. The resulting candy ends up dense and non-fluffy. It is almost like eating gummy yarn.

If you do try this, make sure to pulverize the candy into a fine powder if possible.

What kind of sugar should I use for a cotton candy machine?

Can you use regular granulated sugar in a cotton candy machine?

If you are a boring person, you can use good ol’ regular, granulated non-flavored sugar. It works just fine, but where’s the magic?

Regular, granulated sugar works fine

Can you use brown sugar in a cotton candy machine?

Naturally, brown sugar will have a bit more moisture than regular granulated sugar due to the molasses content. Because of this, brown sugar is not ideal for making cotton candy. It might clog the floss head of the machine, resulting in burnt sugar.

A professional-grade cotton candy machine could probably handle using brown sugar to make cotton candy. However, it is recommended to just use floss sugar instead. For the effort to get it right, it is not worth it.

Can you use sanding sugar to make cotton candy?

Sanding sugar, a coarse sugar typically used for garnishing, is fine to use in making cotton candy. Make sure to pre-heat the machine before adding the sanding sugar as it might not melt as fast as regular or floss sugar. You don’t want unmelted sugar to potentially fling out.

Can Kool-Aid make cotton candy?

Kool-Aid by itself can make surprisingly flavorful cotton candy. However, I would suggest mixing the Kool-Aid powder with pure cane sugar in a 1:5 scoop ratio. The reason is because of the varied ingredients in Kool-Aid compared to floss sugar specifically made for cotton candy.

Making cotton candy with just the packet of Kool-Aid will fling bits everywhere as the ingredients do not melt evenly. Unless you have a rim guard on your cotton candy machine, it is better to mix the Kool-Aid packet with some cane sugar (1 part Kool-Aid to 5 parts cane sugar). It will make a fuller cotton candy (and just as flavorful).

What’s the difference between floss sugar and regular table sugar for making cotton candy?

The difference is floss sugar has flavoring and dyes added at an appropriate ratio to make all sorts of flavors possible. Cotton candy made with floss sugar is fluffier and tastier than candy made from table sugar.

Cotton candy made with floss sugar has a “fluff” factor that regular cane sugar can’t compete with. You will sometimes find that cotton candy made from just cane sugar (sometimes) has an unpleasant grit to it.

With floss sugar, the product comes out very consistently with no signs of burnt sugar or clogging.

How to make your own flavored sugar for cotton candy?

For every 3 cups of sugar, add 1 teaspoon of flavoring oil and then mix until it is all uniformly the same color. Feel free to add in food coloring after as well (but make a test batch first before adding food coloring). You could speed things up by using a small food processor or blender to mix up the ingredients.

Sometimes, you’ll experience the machine “gumming” up and getting too sticky to continue producing cotton candy. This happens when you add too much flavoring or dye.

After making the flavored sugar, store it in an air-tight container away from moisture and it will stay ready to use for months on end.

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