How to cook candy floss at home without a machine

Updated February 21, 2017

Candy floss is commonly sold at fairs, fetes and carnivals by vendors operating candy floss machines. The cottony essence of this treat is created by stretching strands of melted floss sugar into slender threads. A machine funnels candy floss threads through holes in a collection bowl where they're gathered into bags or sticks for distribution. The functions of a candy floss machine can be replicated with ordinary household items and a homemade sugar mix.

Spray non-stick baking oil onto two wooden spoons. Extend the spoons over the edge of a counter and weigh down the ends with an upside down cast iron skillet.

Separate the protruding ends of the spoons by at least 20 cm (8 inches). Place a plastic sheet over the floor under the spoons.

Cut the tops of a whisk open to split the wide ends in half with wire cutters. Pull the wire strips out from the centre to form a circular fork.

Pour water, syrup and sugar into the saucepan over a medium to medium-high heat. Place a confectionery thermometer in the pan and heat to exactly 160 degrees C (320F). Stir the mixture often until the sugar melts completely and reaches temperature.

Remove the melted floss sugar mix from the burner and pour into the glass bowl. Add a dash of selected food colouring if desired. Clean the inside of the saucepan with a rubber spatula to remove all traces of the sugar mixture.

Dip the cut ends of the whip into the hot floss sugar and pull the ends up 10 cm (4 inches) from the sugar surface. Let the sugar drip off the wire ends for three to four seconds, or until the excess drops stop falling.

Wave the whisk from side to side in a 90 cm (3 feet) spans with the wooden spoons under the centre of the sway. Allow candy floss fibres to fall on to the spoons.

Roll a piece of paper into a narrow cone. Collect the candy floss strips from the spoons by rolling them onto the paper cone.


The sugar mix will only remain at a temperature suitable for making candy floss for about 10 minutes. Place the heat resistant glass bowl into a microwave oven and heat on high for two to five minutes to liquefy the floss sugar as needed.

Use 4.5 litre (1 gallon) plastic bags with airtight seals to store leftover candy floss.

Things You'll Need

  • 1.25 litres (5 cups) granulated sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) light glucose syrup
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cold water
  • Food colouring
  • Non-stick oil spray
  • Saucepan
  • Heat resistant glass bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Microwave oven
  • Whisk
  • Wire cutters
  • Wooden spoons
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Confectionery thermometer
  • Plastic sheet
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About the Author

Jonra Springs began writing in 1989. He writes fiction for children and adults and draws on experiences in education, insurance, construction, aviation mechanics and entertainment to create content for various websites. Springs studied liberal arts and computer science at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.