What Is Flossing Sugar, And How Is It Used?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

When you go to an amusement park, you’ll probably see something called “flossing sugar” all over the place. It’s also one of the main ingredients in cotton candy and has a soft texture that melts in your mouth. But what exactly is flossing sugar, and how is it used? 

Flossing sugar is the name for the dyed and flavored sugar crystals commonly used in cotton candy machines. It’s a fine-spun sugar, tended into thin layers by heat to produce fluffy crystals of cotton candy. It differs from table sugar in that it has more fluff, better taste, and less stickiness.

Let’s explore the characteristics of flossing sugar, how it’s different from table sugar, and where you can get the best quality flossing sugar. 

What Is Flossing Sugar?

Pretty blond woman eating candy floss

If it’s the first time you’ve heard about “flossing sugar,” don’t confuse it with dental “flossing.” In fact, flossing sugar can be even worse for your dental health than regular sugar! 

Flossing sugar is dyed and flavored crystals of sugar often used in cotton candy machines. It not only gives cotton candy its unique flavor but also its fluffy texture. 

You probably feel nostalgia toward cotton candy as it’s something that makes going to a fair or amusement park that much sweeter. The use of flossing sugar is so common in cotton candy that the treat is sometimes simply called “candy floss.” 

Flossing sugar is used mainly in households, restaurants, and candy-producing companies because of its texture, limitless flavors, and color combinations.

However, unlike regular sugar, you should use flossing sugar with care, especially when using it in recipes. If you use sugar that’s too finely granulated, it may result in burnt sugar, and if the sugar is too coarse, it’s more likely that it won’t melt properly and can get stuck in your utensils. 

You can also use regular sugar instead of flossing sugar to make cotton candy since flossing sugar can be difficult to work with. 

What’s the Difference Between Flossing Sugar and Regular Sugar? 

While both types of sugar are similar in that they can cause serious damage to your teeth, there are many differences between flossing sugar and regular sugar. Flossing sugar is much softer and fluffier, which is why it’s mostly used in cotton candy production. 

Also, regular sugar is only available in a few colors, while floss sugar comes in a wide range of colors.

Regular sugar is also more sticky than floss sugar, especially when heated. Flossing sugar is more easily spun, lighter, and can be turned into small threads when exposed to air. 

Because of these unique characteristics, flossing sugar is more commonly used in cotton candy production.

Here are some reasons why flossing sugar is ideal for cotton candy: 

Flossing Candy Has More Flavor and Color Combinations

The wide range of colors and flavors makes flossing candy unique. While regular sugar is “sweet,” flossing sugar is sweet — and it looks great. Imagine a world where all cotton candy was white! 

So, while regular sugar is sweet, it can’t be dyed in the same way as flossing sugar.

The Ideal Texture

While you can technically use regular sugar to make cotton candy, it doesn’t have the right “coarseness” for making cotton candy. Flossing sugar has just the right texture; it’s neither too coarse nor too fine. 

If it were too coarse, it would choke the clog, and if it were too fine, it would burn more easily. 

Flossing Sugar Makes Fluffy Cotton Clouds

Making candyfloss

The way that flossing sugar is spun results in small threads when the sugar is exposed to air, which eventually forms layers of colorful sugar and makes the cotton-like cloud.

While regular sugar has too much moisture for this to happen, flossing sugar is formulated with an anti-caking agent and can be spun very delicately. 

Where to Buy Flossing Sugar 

You can buy flossing sugar online or from your local superstore. If you can’t find it at a store near you, you can buy flossing sugar in bulk from a cotton candy manufacturer. 

Here are some excellent options available on Amazon: 

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