Cotton Candy Grapes Are A Mix Of 2 Delicious Varieties

Cotton candy grapes may look like your traditional green berry, but beneath their thin skins lie a remarkably unique taste that's anything but average. A magical blend of two juicy grape varieties — a Concord-like grape and a crispy green grape — as the name suggests, their flavor profile is certainly extraordinary tasting similar to spun sugar.

From the red wine Pinot Noir and the Crimson Seedless to the purple Moon Drops and the classic Concord, the different types of grapes available today are seemingly endless, some of which are famed for their wine-making prowess while others are just downright tasty to eat. However, although table grapes are similar in appearance to wine varieties, they're actually grown to be more physically eye-catching and palate-pleasing: They're typically seedless, much larger, aren't as acidic, and contain less sugar. But the firm and juicy cotton candy grapes don't skimp on the sweetness and feature a flavor that's reminiscent of the classic carnival treat.

How are cotton candy grapes grown?

Originally produced in California by table grape growing company Grapery, cotton candy grapes have been an undeniable fan-favorite since hitting retailers back in 2011. Desiring to impart a more natural flavor back into grapes to counter the impact of decades of grape breeding, which robbed the berries of their naturally delicious flavor in the process, horticulturalist David Cain cultivated the confectionary-like creation in a lab along with his colleagues at the International Fruit Genetics, a private Bakersfield, California-based fruit breeding company. The grape variety wasn't born from genetic engineering, but rather by breeding two different grape species together — a type of large-seeded Concord grape (the exact type remains a mystery due to trade secrets) and a classic seedless green variety of the Vitis vinifera family.

The entire process may sound relatively easy, but the science behind creating the hybrid was actually quite painstaking, with Cain and his team spending more than ten years to make the perfect cotton candy grape variety. Since seedless varieties can't reproduce on their own, the grape embryos have to be removed and placed into test tubes individually to grow before they can be planted in the field. Without a doubt, the resulting distinctly sweet-tasting product was certainly well worth the wait.

What do cotton candy grapes taste like?

The grapes are medium to large in size with a crunchy texture, and the flavor stays true to its name and is similar to the spun sugar dessert popular at festivals, carnivals, and the like. The berries are flavorful and sweet without the tart punch common to a classic green grape, and they feature distinct hints of vanilla, a common taste of the iconic pink cotton candy treat.

Since their release, the designer grapes have certainly grown in popularity, especially on social media where users have been known to rave about their flavor-packed taste. "I wait for these every single year because [they're] absolutely delicious," said TikTok user @cookingwithshenice. "These smell like cotton candy; this has to be some kind of voodoo because the flavor — spectacular."

"If you have never had cotton candy grapes from Trader Joe's [...] first off, why not?" asked another user, @calliegullickson. "And two, they taste just like cotton candy, so you need to get them right now."

Where to buy cotton candy grapes

Wondering where you can go to get a taste of the luscious cotton candy grapes? The good news is that they aren't just relegated to specialty produce markets like more exotic fruits, such as the Monstera deliciosa fruit. In addition to the aforementioned Trader Joe's, the scrumptious green grape variety has been spotted at a variety of leading supermarkets across the country, including Vons, Albertsons, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Pavillions, with prices generally ranging between $2.49 and $5.99 per pound. And in August of 2023, Aldi released the delectable snack in icy form, allowing you to savor the taste for longer. The bags of frozen cotton candy grapes are available for a limited time and retail at $3.99.

And, for those living abroad, they're also available in other parts of the world, such as Mexico, the UK, Canada, and Australia. International growers that have been known to distribute them include the Spain-based Moyca and the Canada-based Oppy, among others. Just don't get hooked on this delightfully sugary fruit because it's only available seasonally, typically from the late summer to the early fall. 

Nutritional information about cotton candy grapes

Turns out, the cotton candy-tasting berries are good for more than just their enjoyable flavor; they're actually nourishing too, and stack up nutritionally compared to regular grape varieties. They're low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin C, and copper, as well as a host of other healthy micronutrients and antioxidants. 

Cotton candy grapes are a bit sweeter, containing about 12% more sugar than their other table counterparts, which amounts to about 18 grams of total sugar per 100 grams of cotton candy grapes. However, just one cup of these tasty grapes contains about 104 calories, 27.3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, and 1.4 grams of fiber. It also features 22 micrograms of vitamin K, which represents 28% of the recommended Daily Value; 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C, at 27% of the Daily Value; and 0.2 milligrams of copper, for 10% of the Daily Value — so you can snack on these little round balls and enjoy a nutritious and delicious snack.