How Long Does Cotton Candy Last?

Have you recently bought, or are planning to whip up some cotton candy yourself? Are you wondering how long you can expect it to stay fresh and ready to eat? Can it spoil even, and when it is likely to do so? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here is everything you are going to want to know about the longevity and preservation of this sweet treat.

So, how long does cotton candy last? Cotton candy can last as little as ten minutes all the way through to ten weeks. It ultimately depends how it is stored and if it is being exposed to air/moisture, such as if it is on a stick/cone or packaged away.

The truth is, when we say ‘last’, we are essentially referring to how long it is edible.

Considering that cotton candy is essentially just made of sugar, it can’t really ever ‘go-off’ in the true sense.

However, the the structure that makes it what it is can deteriorate, resulting in cotton candy you really wouldn’t want to eat.

So with this in mind let us look at the different times it takes to spoil (depending on the various conditions) before turning to how to maximize longevity for your cotton candy!

How Long Does Cotton Candy Last In Open Air?

Cotton Candy exposed to the air (such as when on a stick or on a cone) will typically only last up to 30 minutes. It will usually however start to spoil within 10 minutes.

Humidity and temperature are the main factors that will influence how long it takes for the cotton candy to diminish and start to harden.

So, it naturally follows that cotton candy may spoil faster (or the process may be delayed) depending on where you are in the world, the time of day, and the current temperature.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t last long when exposed to the open air.

So if you intend to serve cotton candy, or place some on a cake, you are going to only open it up/do so right before serving!

How Long Does Cotton Candy Last In A Bag?

An unopened bag of cotton candy will typically last for between 1-2 weeks. However, if this bag is then placed in an airtight container, this time may stretch up to 10 weeks.

It also depends on the type/thickness of the bag, how sealed the bag is, along with external factors like temperature and humidity too.

Essentially, cotton candy will last considerably longer if kept away from air/moisture. So the more you can ensure that with tight packaging and tight sealing, the better.

This is why an opened bag of cotton candy can begin to deteriorate quickly. Unless of course, you can minimize exposure to air/moisture and get the seal back on properly/quickly.

There are others ways to extend the shelf life of cotton candy, as we shall soon explore in an upcoming section.

Does Cotton Candy Go Bad?

Cotton candy does go bad. It is not inherently dangerous when it has done so, it is just much less appealing and satisfying.

That’s because ‘bad cotton candy’ is essentially a more solid ball of sugar.

The air and elongated fibers of the cotton candy break, and it will start to go in on itself and become a ‘lump of hard sugar’, once more.

As such, when it is in this state, it is much more likely to get stuck in your teeth which can lead to issues if it is not removed with good dental hygiene.

At the same time it can cause pain and damage to teeth should you decide to bite into it while it is harder, and depending on your oral health and tooth sensitivity.

How To Tell Cotton Candy Has Gone Bad

You can tell that cotton candy has gone bad by its size and texture. It will begin to shrink and harden, and instead of being airy, will clump into more of a solid mass.

You may also notice that the color of the cotton candy starts to change too. It may become more concentrated.

For instance, it could be a more vibrant pink opposed to a lighter shade when the cotton candywas fresh.

How To Ensure Your Cotton Candy Lasts

The best way of ensuring your cotton candy lasts as long as possible, it to keep it sealed from air/moisture. Storing it in a slightly cool room, away from direct sunlight is best.

When it comes to the storage vessel. You are going to need a thick bag. At least 3mm, in fact.

You’ll also want to consider the material of the bag to ensure that your cotton candy does not stick to the sides. Mylar bags (like these from Amazon) are considered best here.

From there, you want to ensure that the bag is properly sealed. Heat sealing is generally best, which is the approach often used by cotton candy vendors/manufacturers.

While you can store cotton candy in the fridge/freezer, you are going to need to ensure that the bag is sealed very well and then placed in an airtight container.

There is a real risk that the humidity from the fridge/freezer will get to your cotton candy, which will ruin it (and fast).

So, do no place your cotton candy in the fridge/freezer unless you have a thick bag, a tight seal and a secondary thick storage container that you know for sure is air-tight.

Containers are generally a great option though because their thickness will protect them from hotter temperatures (compared to the use of just bags alone).


The shelf life of cotton candy can vary dramatically.

Essentially, if it is exposed to air/heat/moisture, it will not last long.

Keep your cotton candy sealed and away from these very things, and it does appear to last quite a while.

So, be mindful of your packaging, storage vessels, and where you then decide to keep it.

Related Questions

Can cotton candy be refrigerated?

Cotton candy can be refrigerated, but only if it is kept in a thick, very well sealed storage vessel. A thick bag (with the air removed), that is then placed into a thick airtight plastic container is advised.

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