We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Candy Floss?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Candy floss is the same thing as cotton candy. Both names are adopted from the original name, fairy floss. Two Nashville, Tennessee candy makers dubbed this light as air and super sweet confection fairy floss in 1897. They created an electric machine that would produce the spun sugar, and sold this confection at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, where it was extremely popular.

How candy floss is made explains the way it is shaped, like puffs or clouds of sweet stuff. Usually the candy floss contains only two ingredients, sugar and food coloring. A small bowl in the center of the machine warms the sugar and then presses it through tiny holes where it spins out as floss or fine strands, into a large circular bowl surrounding the heated bowl.

People making the floss use sticks, typically white cardboard ones to gather up a cloud of the floss. If not served immediately, the cotton candy is usually bagged in plastic bags so it will retain its texture, and it doesn’t have a terrific shelf life, as many who buy candy floss at the fair and save it for a few days realize. Within a few days the fibers become harder, and if moisture touches the cotton candy the effect is amplified. It clumps together and no longer has the pleasant airy texture of the freshly spun floss.

Candy floss remains popular, especially at local fairs, circuses, and amusement parks. It is usually made in pink or light blue, which are essentially its “flavors.” Technically most candy floss doesn’t have additional flavors added and flavors referred to are typically “pink” or “blue.” The predominant taste is sweet sugar since the cotton candy is almost completely sugar with just a little dye added.

Despite the high sugar content, candy floss, especially in moderate amounts, isn’t that high in calories. A typical serving has about 100 calories, less than a 12-ounce (.35 liters) serving of most sodas. Still the food is pure sugar, and larger servings, yield higher calories. Given its components, cotton candy should be consumed rarely, especially since if you’re at a fair or amusement park, it’s unlikely you’ll have time to brush your teeth after eating it.

There are also some concerns about the dye commonly used to produce the pink variety. This is an artificial coloring called tartrazine, which in a 2008 study conducted by a research team at Southampton University in England, was shown to have potentially dangerous effects on children. According to this study, tartrazine may lower intelligence and create greater risk for hyperactivity, but the effects are not fully understood, since it seemed to affect some children more than others.

The amount of tartrazine in cotton candy is negligible, and moreover, most people don’t consume cotton candy on a regular basis. It’s usually a once in a while treat. If you’re concerned about the food coloring, you might want to try to the blue variety, since this dye has not been linked to behavioral problems or potential health hazards.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon180949 — On May 27, 2011

My teenage daughter came home very strangely ill after eating pink cotton candy at her school carnival, and that's how I came across this article. Interesting study about tartrazine effects on some kids!

By lightning88 — On Oct 16, 2010

A cousin of mine actually had one of those candy floss machines when we were kids, and she was the absolute envy of the neighborhood.

Of course, it didn't take us long for us to start in on using the candy floss supplies whenever we got over there -- it was almost as good as having your own ice cream maker!

So one day we got the bright idea that it took too long to actually make the candy floss, and that we should just cut to the chase and eat the cotton candy floss sugar straight.

I have never, ever, been so sick as I was that day.

So word of warning kids -- take the thirty seconds to make the candy floss. It's really not worth it to just eat the sugar straight, no matter how appetizing that seems at the time.

By FirstViolin — On Oct 16, 2010

What about orange candy floss? That was always my favorite one when I was little. Does it have any scary secret side effects?

By CopperPipe — On Oct 16, 2010

I can believe it about pink cotton candy floss causing hyperactivity -- when my daughters went to the fair last week we could hardly keep up with them -- though, to be fair, that could just be the excitement of a kid put up against two tired adults.

Of course I know that the candy floss sugar content is through the roof too, so I'm sure that had a lot to do with it.

Now they're both asking for a candy floss maker for Christmas -- fat chance!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.