Homemade Fudge is a holiday tradition I can get behind! Among all the Christmas cookies and candies set out on our dessert table, there will always be a plate of rich, buttery fudge at the center. This recipe makes a creamy, deeply-chocolate fudge that melts in your mouth. And, it uses NO marshmallow creme.
My mom was the champ of good old fashioned boiled fudge. Delicious! The gold standard of chocolate decadence. It’s a vivid and wonderful childhood memory. Alas, I have never mastered that technique. And after years of trying, I switched to a method that works for me.
This easy Homemade Fudge recipe still doesn’t have the boiled fudge texture that I love. It is softer, like marshmallow creme fudge, but without having to have the marshmallow flavor. It’s my favorite alternative to traditional boiled fudge for both flavor and for simplicity. With only 4 or 5 pantry ingredients, you’ll be able to easily create this dreamy chocolate confection for your own holiday gifting and treats.
It’s fast and it’s simple. You can make it ahead and freeze it. (instructions in recipe card) You’ve definitely got to try this. Let’s make some sweet chocolate satisfaction!
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: You could use milk chocolate if that’s your preference, but this delicious homemade fudge is already pretty rich. If you have really good baking chocolate on hand, you could break that up and use it, too. You’ll need a total of 36 ounces.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: Not evaporated milk. You’d be surprised how many people confuse those two, though they are VERY different things. Sweetened condensed milk has sugar added and is cooked down until it is thick and creamy, almost caramel. Cook it a little longer and it WILL become caramel. Evaporated milk is simply milk with the milk solids concentrated by evaporating some of the water.
Butter: I don’t think it makes a difference in this recipe, but I always buy salted butter. So, that’s what I use in my fudge.
Vanilla: I make my own vanilla extract, but if you have a favorite high quality vanilla you can definitely use that.
optional: Nuts — We love pecans or walnuts, but choose your favorite. If you have allergies or don’t like them, just leave out the nuts.
An Easy DIY Double Boiler
If you have a double boiler, by all means use it. But, if you don’t, it in no way prevents you from making this recipe or any other candy recipe that calls for one.
A double boiler is essentially one pan sitting over another. The top pan is heated by the steam from boiling water in the bottom pan. It creates a much gentler heat that is perfect for melting and tempering chocolate or making curds and custards. You can make a DIY double boiler at home without buying special equipment.
You’ll need two pans. The top pan should fit just inside the rim of the bottom pan. It’s important that the boiling water in the bottom pan never touches the bottom of the top pan, so choose pans that will allow enough of a gap between the two.
Any two stackable pans will work as long as the top pan sits stably over the top of the bottom one. Add one to two inches of water to the bottom pan. Bring the water to a boil and set the second pan inside the upper rim of the first pan.
Now, add ingredients to the top pan and proceed as the recipe instructs. Magic!
How to Make Homemade Fudge
This may be one of the simplest candy recipes you’ll ever make.
Spray two 8x8 pans or one 9x13 pan. Then line them with foil leaving enough of an overhang to lift the fudge out of the pan when it has set up.
Put the condensed milk, chocolate chips, vanilla and butter into the top pan and set that over the pan with the boiling water.
Allow the chocolate and butter to fully melt, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients.
The mixture will be smooth, thick and glossy when it is done. It will only take a few minutes.
Pour the fudge into your prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it to an even thickness. I fold the foil overhangs in to somewhat cover the fudge while it is in the refrigerator.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use the foil to lift your homemade fudge out of the pan. Cut the block of candy into small squares and arrange on a platter or candy dish for serving.
You should get at least 36–48 (probably more) pieces of fudge, depending on the size of squares you cut. It’s very rich, so small pieces of fudge are usually better than large ones.
Creamy, richly chocolate deliciousness! Homemade fudge is so simple to make and is one of those traditional holiday treats that shows up in gift baskets and on all the best holiday dessert tables. Don’t reserve it just for Christmas, though. It’s sweet chocolate satisfaction all year long.
- Prep 2 (8x8 or 9x9) square pans by lightly spraying them and then lining each pan with plastic wrap. ( You could also use a 9x13 pan, but for storage purposes, the square pans work more easily, for me.)
- Make the strips of plastic wrap long enough to hang out of the pan and be able to wrap back over the top, again, later. The plastic wrap will help lift the fudge from the pan when it’s done, but it will also cover and wrap the finished fudge. So be sure to use long enough strips.
- Use a double boiler, or if you’re like me and don’t have one, place one pan over another or a large heat-proof mixing bowl over a pan. The bottom pan should have 1 or 2 inches of water in it. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to just keep it boiling but not evaporating dry. The water should be at least one-inch below the bottom of the mixing bowl. You never want it to touch. The steam is what will melt your chocolate.
- Add all ingredients, except the nuts, to the mixing bowl. Heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and all ingredients are able to be fully incorporated.
- Add the nuts and stir to distribute them evenly.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and pull the extra plastic wrap up over the top to cover the pan.
- Refrigerate until the fudge has set and is firm.
- Lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into small pieces.
How to Freeze Fudge:
Fudge can be frozen, if you plan to make it in advance. The secret is to wrap it carefully, first.
Once you have removed the block of fudge from the pan, prep it for freezing BEFORE cutting. Completely wrap it in plastic wrap. Next, wrap it in foil and seal the edges tight.
Insert the wrapped block of fudge into a gallon-size zip-top freezer bag. Remove any air from the bag as you seal it shut. Now, you can freeze your fudge safely for up to 6 months.
You can store individual pieces of homemade fudge in the same way, if you like. It definitely makes it easy to remove them just a piece or two at a time. I, personally, don’t usually like to take the time to wrap individual pieces, so I freeze the entire block and cut it after thawing.
How to Thaw Frozen Fudge
Leave the wrappings in place and set the block of fudge in the refrigerator. You want to make sure the fudge retains its moisture, so don’t remove the wrappings until it is completely thawed. Once the fudge has completely thawed allow it to set out at room temperature for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the wrappings and cut to serve. It should be as wonderful as when it was freshly made.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: Dessert, Candy
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: chocolate, fudge