How to Make Chocolate Fudge
Making fudge at home is quicker and simpler than you might think! Basic chocolate fudge only calls for 4 ingredients, can be made in less than 10 minutes, and the results are absolutely delicious!
Learning how to make fudge is one of those basic baking skills to keep in your back pocket to use for endless variations. I love master recipes that are easy to customize – you can make so many different flavors depending on what you have on hand!
And if you’ve never made basic fudge before, you might be surprised that it comes together in just 10 minutes!
Why I love to make chocolate fudge
- This easy fudge recipe is fully customizable. Make delicious flavors like Peppermint Chocolate Fudge, Nut Fudge, or Spicy Mexican Chocolate Fudge – the possibilities are endless!
- The base recipe for chocolate fudge is made with only 4 simple ingredients and the classic version is delicious on its own without add-ins.
- Learning how to make fudge is so easy! It involves melting the ingredients together and then letting them set. That’s it!
- No corn syrup! Some homemade fudge recipes call for corn syrup which tends to have a greasy texture.
What is Fudge?
Fudge is a candy made of sugar, milk, butter and (most commonly) chocolate. The very traditional way of making fudge requires making a sugar syrup that is cooked to a specific temperature, then cooled and beaten until it thickens.
However, there are many fudge recipes that call for the use of marshmallows or sweetened condensed milk in place of the sugar syrup as an easier way of making this delicious sweet treat.
Ingredients in Chocolate Fudge
Basic chocolate fudge requires so few ingredients it almost feels like cheating when you end up with the final product. Because of the short ingredient list, it’s important to use high quality ingredients in this homemade fudge recipe.
Chocolate: The specific type of chocolate used in a chocolate fudge recipe is extremely important. I prefer to use either high quality dark or bittersweet chocolate. Even if you enjoy a sweeter type of chocolate, keep in mind that sweetened condensed milk contains a large ratio of sugar that will sweeten up the fudge. I find that dark chocolate is the perfect balance to that sweetness.
While milk chocolate or a lower quality of chocolate can be used in this recipe, it is not ideal.
Sweetened condensed milk: Sweetened condensed milk only contains two ingredients: sugar and milk. It is a condensed form of milk, meaning most of the water has been evaporated out and mixed with a sugar syrup. The end product is a pre-made version of what you would end up with if you were to make fudge the old fashioned way with cooked sugar and milk syrup.
If you can’t find sweetened condensed milk at your grocery store, do NOT use evaporated milk (it is not the same). Instead, make your own homemade sweetened condensed milk.
Unsalted Butter: We use just a little bit of butter which adds extra richness and creates a smooth and creamy fudge.
Salt: While some homemade fudge recipes do not call for salt, I find it essential for balancing out the sweetness of the condensed milk.
This recipe results in a classic chocolate fudge flavor which is wonderful all on its own. To mix it up, add additional flavors and toppings for next time!
- Nut Fudge: After melting the fudge, stir in 100 grams (1 cup) roughly chopped and toasted nuts (here’s how to toast pecans!). After pressing the fudge mixture into the tin, press additional pieces of nut directly on top.
- Spicy Mexican Chocolate Fudge: Add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ¼- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper into the bowl with all of your ingredients before melting them together.
- Chocolate Peppermint Fudge: Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract into the bowl with all of the ingredients before melting them together. After smoothing the fudge out into the pan, top with chopped peppermint candies or candy canes. Gently press the candy into the fudge so the pieces stick. I love making this version for the holiday season!
- Chocolate Caramel Fudge: Drizzle about ½ cup of caramel sauce over the chocolate fudge once it is already in the pan and use a butter knife to swirl it through. If the sauce is too thick, microwave it for a few seconds until it’s a pourable consistency. Sprinkle flaky salt over the top of the fudge before it sets.
- Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe: Measure out about ½ cup of peanut butter and microwave for a few seconds until it’s a pourable consistency. Drizzle it over the chocolate fudge once it is already in the pan and use a butter knife to swirl it through. This version is perfect for any time of year.
How to Make Chocolate Fudge
It doesn’t get much easier than homemade chocolate fudge! Melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt using the Stovetop Method or the Microwave Method.
How to make fudge on the stovetop
Making fudge on the stovetop is my preferred method. It is the best way to ensure the chocolate melts slowly and doesn’t seize up.
To do this, you need to set up a double boiler. A double boiler is a pot of simmering water that a heat-proof bowl sits over. The steam from the simmering water will slowly melt the chocolate. If you were to add chocolate directly into a pot over even the lowest heat, the chocolate will heat up too quickly at too high of a temperature and seize.
Put all of the basic ingredients for the fudge into a bowl and place that bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir frequently until everything melts into a smooth consistency (it will take several minutes to fully melt). This is a large amount of choocolate so take your time and do not rush the process. Carefully remove the bowl from the pot and stir in any flavorings or mix-ins.
How to Make Fudge in the Microwave
I do not prefer this method because if you aren’t diligent about standing by and watching it closely, you can easily ruin your fudge. That said, this does work if you stay right by the microwave and keep a close eye on it!
Place all of the ingredients into a microwavable bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 45 seconds on high. Stir the mixture thoroughly, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Heat for 30 more seconds and stir the mixture again.
Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is a smooth consistency. This should take several minutes from start to finish. Do not rush the process. The mixture will be very thick, almost like a dough.
When stirring the mixture, avoid using a wooden spoon as the chocolate will stick to the wood. I like to use a silicone spatula.
After the chocolate mixture is melted
Line a square baking pan with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or wax paper. Use the back of a spoon, rubber spatula, or offset spatula to spread the fudge in an even layer in the pan, making sure the fudge touches the sides of the pan.
If you are adding any toppings like coarse salt or chopped nuts, sprinkle them on now and press them into the fudge so they stick.
Allow the fudge to rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to fully set before cutting.
How to Store Chocolate Fudge
Room Temperature or Refrigerator: Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Freezer: After fully setting, cut the fudge into individual slices. Wrap each slice in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Do not stack layers of unwrapped fudge as the layers will stick together. Freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator for about one hour and then at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
- 900 grams (2 pounds, 32 ounces) good quality chocolate or chocolate chips (I like to use bittersweet or dark chocolate, I suggest using a chocolate that you like eating on its own since it's the star flavor of the fudge)
- 792 grams (28 ounces, 2 cans) sweetened condensed milk
- 56 grams (¼ cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) or 9x9 inch (23x23 cm) baking pan with foil, parchment paper, or wax paper.
- If you are not using chocolate chips, roughly chop the chocolate (900 grams/ 2 pounds) and place it in a medium to large heatproof (or microwavable) bowl.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk (792 grams/ 28 ounces), diced butter (56 grams/ ¼ cup), and salt (1 teaspoon) into the bowl.
- Choose which method below you will utilize to melt the chocolate.
- Setup a double boiler: Fill a medium saucepan with about 2 inches (5 cm) of water. Place on the stove and turn to medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bowl is not touching the water. If the water is touching the bowl, pour out some of the water.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture as the chocolate begins to melt until you have a smooth texture and all of the chocolate is melted. The mixture will be very thick, almost like a dough.
- Place the microwavable bowl of chocolate into the microwave and heat for 45 seconds on high. Stir the mixture thoroughly being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Heat for 30 more seconds and stir the mixture again. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is a smooth consistency. This should take about a 2-4 minutes from start to finish. The mixture will be very thick, almost like a dough.
After fudge is melted
- Spread the fudge into the prepared pan using the back of a spoon, rubber spatula, or offset spatula. Spread until it is evenly spread and smooth on top.
- Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set before cutting. Slice 4 rows by 4 columns to make 16 large squares or 6 rows by 6 columns to make 36 small squares.
- The fudge can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Pan Size: You can spread the melted fudge into smaller tins to give as gifts or spread into a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) pan for thinner fudge.