Why Does Cotton Candy Get Hard?

Have you noticed that cotton candy goes hard after a while? Especially if it is on a stick, in a cone or left out of the bag? In fact, it can happen in a matter of hours! But why does this happen? How can you prevent this from happening altogether? Well, here is all you are going to want to know.

So, why does Cotton Candy get hard? Cotton candy naturally goes hard if it is exposed to air, heat, and/or moisture. This causes a process known as recrystallization, where the sugar molecules in the cotton candy resolidify and the air bubbles in the candy causing its voluminous nature, disappear.

As such, you could argue that all cotton candy will go hard, eventually.

This is in fact, one of the primary ways to tell that it is ‘passed its best’.

Now, there are certainly things that can fasten this process, so it’s essential to know how to reverse them.

We will get into this shortly.

But for now, chances are if you are here, your cotton candy has gone hard.

And I’m afraid you may need to make, or buy, some more.

Only then can you turn to the suggestions we will now explore below. And you’ll find out why this is the case, too.

How Do You Keep Cotton Candy Soft?

Keeping Cotton Candy soft is a matter of proper storage and limiting the candies exposure to water, air, and humidity.

So, this means you are going to need to keep the cotton candy bagged.

Sealed and Bagged

Firstly, the best way to keep cotton candy soft is to bag it soon after it has been made.

And not just in any old bag, nor do you want to just place it loosely inside.

You need to place your candy in an airtight bag, that is sealed and free from excess air.

Now I know what you’re thinking.

Most cotton candy bags you buy naturally comes in bags filled with air.

And that’s why they do not last very long!

So, my first tip is that you carefully place any cotton candy in a bag, and seal it shut quickly with a tie or a clip.

Or, carefully release some of the air in the bag, before ensuring there is no holes or areas for new air to get in.

Again, seal it tightly with a tie or a clip.

Better still would be to transfer it to an airtight container!

Storing Temperature

Next up, you are going to want to consider where you store your cotton candy.

Cotton candy is best stored at room temperature.

Again, I know what you make be thinking.

If heat can cause cotton candy to harden, why can I not just place it in the fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life further?

Well, you’re not going to want to do this.

That’s because there is a lot of humidity in a fridge/freezer, that will harden the cotton candy if it is exposed (and the packaging is not sealed really well).

Thin bags, weak seals, small holes – all of which will cause your cotton candy to shrink and harden in the fridge or freezer.

So stick to the counter.

Unless you are experiencing a heat-wave or very hot temperatures.

In that case find somewhere cooler.

How Long Until Cotton Candy Goes Hard?

Cotton Candy can last up to two weeks if it is sealed and stored correctly. However, it may last as little as 1-2 hours if it is left exposed to air or in high humidity environments.

Ultimately, how long cotton candy lasts depends on:

  • How it was made,
  • The storage vessel,
  • How quickly it was placed in it,
  • How tight the storage vessel is an,
  • What environment it is then left in, and…
  • How often it is opened up.

This is why cotton candy placed on a stick or in a cone, ready to serve should be eaten immediately. It is designed to be, to be fair.

However, if you do want to store it away for longer, you’re going to need to get it into an airtight container and then in a cooler yet non-humid environment.

This should extend the lifespan where you can get up to 2 weeks, if you’re lucky and you don’t regularly keep dipping your hand in for more (as this will expose it to more air/humidity).

Essentially, what you are trying to do is slow the process of recrystallization.


Can you eat hard cotton candy?

You can eat hard cotton candy, although it is not supposed to be consumed this way and is not as enjoyable. Cotton candy is best enjoyed fresh and fluffy.

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