Making your own colored sugar for cotton candy gives you more control over the color. Replacing water-based food coloring with gel food coloring also saves you time. Using liquid-based food coloring means you need to leave out the sugar to dry. Gel coloring, however, dries quickly.

  • Extra-fine sugar
  • Gel or liquid food coloring, any color
  1. Pour the sugar into a resealable plastic bag.
  2. Add 2 to 3 drops of gel food color.
  3. Rub the gel color into the sugar to evenly distribute it. Add additional coloring as necessary t achieve desired hue.
  4. Repeat the process with other colors.

If you do not have access to gel coloring, you can use the liquid form.

  1. Pour the sugar into a bowl.
  2. Add 2 to 3 drops of liquid food coloring.
  3. Use a fork to mix the coloring into the sugar.
  4. Transfer the colored sugar into a shallow dish and spread it as evenly as possible. 
  5. Leave the sugar to dry for about one hour, then break up any sugar clumps and transfer the sugar to a plastic bag.


Depending on the cotton-candy machine, you can use granulated sugar, superfine sugar or caster sugar.

Add more gel color for a deeper color.