On any occasion, both children and adults like to eat cotton candy. It could be your child's birthday or just a regular Tuesday, and this fluffy pink cloud, composed primarily of sugar, food coloring and corn syrup, is still fun to eat.

And the best part is that you don't even have to visit the carnival and pretend to not get spooked by a clown just to get your hands on some. If you've got a sweet tooth for a sugary indulgence, why not make cotton candy at home?

You can make it at home, and it doesn't even require the use of a cotton candy machine, which, by the way, often is expensive and difficult to use. Follow these steps to feel like a kid again in no time.

How to Make Cotton Candy Without a Machine

For this cotton candy recipe, use the same kind of sugar that you would for a cotton candy machine.

Total Time: 20 minutes| Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 8

Ingredients/Tools:

  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract (or any other flavor you like)
  • 2 drops of food coloring
  • "Decapitated" whisk, i.e., a whisk with the ends cut off

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt; stir until the sugar melts.
  2. Using a damp pastry brush, wipe down the sides of the pan to stop any stray sugar crystals from forming.
  3. Line the table where you plan to work with parchment paper to catch any stray bits of flying sugar.
  4. Dip the decapitated whisk into the sugar syrup mixture and hold it over the saucepan to let the sugar drip back inside for a moment.
  5. Holding the whisk about a foot over the parchment paper, swing the whisk back and forth until the strands of sugar have fallen onto the paper, creating a nest of spun sugar.
  6. Using large lollipop sticks, wrap the cotton candy around these sticks right away.

Will Cotton Candy Last Overnight?

Cotton candy is best eaten as soon as you make it. Leave it exposed to air for too long (15 to 20 minutes), and the once-fluffy clouds will harden to something practically inedible.

The only way to ensure cotton candy lasts overnight is by storing it properly in an airtight plastic bag or container. For example, store it in an airtight bag, and it can last from three days to three weeks; and when stored in a plastic container, it will last five to 10 weeks.

Will Cotton Candy Melt in the Fridge?

Cotton candy can melt, but it won’t melt in the fridge. However, humidity and hot temperatures can cause cotton candy to melt. If left in these conditions too long, the sugar strands dissolve into sugary syrup that drips, not the fun, cloud-shaped treat it used to be.

Additionally, cotton candy can shrivel up in these conditions, thereby losing its shape and potentially even hardening. This is why it’s important to store cotton candy properly. The fridge is an option, but storing it in a cool, dark place is even better.

However, when temperatures really are high, storing cotton candy in the fridge can prevent melting; just be sure to store it in airtight bags or containers.

About the Author

Sarah Kester

Sarah is a writer, editor and cat mom. Lover of wine, rom-coms, and all things self-care, she’s inspired by mindfulness and helping others feel balanced in their lives through meditation, self-love and self-care. After all, what's balance without Saturday morning yoga and green juice and a glass of rosé later that evening? She has written for The Greatest, Elite Daily, YourTango, Vital Proteins, among others. To learn more, you can find her at her website sarahkester.com.