How to Make Fudge
Indulge in the sweetness of the season with everyone's favorite homemade candy: fudge! With its rich flavor and ultra-dense texture, fudge is a decadent dessert that is sure to impress. Learn how to make fudge with our helpful step-by-step guide, plus get delicious and easy fudge recipes.
Step 1: Prepare Fudge PanTo make beautiful, professional-looking fudge squares, be sure to line your pan for easy, clean removal after the mixture has cooled. Get more pan-lining tips
- The first step in how to make fudge is lining the pan. Any pan will work, depending on the amount and size of fudge you want to make. When making a big batch of fudge, use a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. For smaller batches, use an 8x8-inch pan or a bread pan as shown here.
- Shape a piece of foil around the outside of the pan.
- Fit the foil inside the pan, pressing along the edges.
- Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil to prevent the fudge from sticking to the pan.
Step 2: Cook Fudge to Soft-Ball StageThe most important part of learning how to make fudge and other candy is properly heating and testing the mixture. Get an accurate reading using a thermometer to heat the mixture to soft-ball stage. More on candy-testing
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Traditional fudge recipes generally call for evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and chocolate. Choose a saucepan with a heavy bottom or one that's lined with a nonstick material to keep the fudge from burning.
- Cook fudge over medium-high heat until mixture boils, then clip a thermometer to the side of the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Make sure the thermometer bulb is completely covered with liquid, not just foam, and that it does not touch the pan bottom during the heating process. This ensures accurate reading.
- Continue cooking until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234-238 degrees F), stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon only as necessary to prevent sticking. Recognizing the soft-ball stage is crucial to learning how to make fudge.
- If a thermometer is not available, use the cold-water test to determine soft-ball stage. Shortly before fudge reaches the minimum cooking time, spoon a few drops of the hot mixture into a cup of very cold water. Using your fingers, form the drops into a ball. When you remove the ball from the water, if it instantly flattens and runs between your fingers, the mixture has reached the required temperature.
- Fudge-Making Tip: Always test your candy thermometer before making your first batch of fudge; high altitude can cause a variation of several degrees. To test for altitude variations, clip the thermometer to a saucepan filled with water. Heat the water until boiling. Continue boiling the water for 10 minutes. At this time, the thermometer should register 212 degrees F. If there is any variation, you will need to adjust the thermometer's reading by that number of degrees when you cook candy.
Step 3: Cool and Beat FudgeWhen you begin beating fudge or praline mixtures, they will be very glossy. When the candy begins to thicken and lose its gloss, quickly pour it into your prepared pan. How to beat candy mixtures
- Cool the fudge to 110 degrees F, then beat vigorously and continuously.
- When the fudge stiffens slightly, it's time to add any other ingredients you desire, such as chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
- Continue beating until the fudge becomes very thick and starts to lose its gloss.
Step 4: Pour Fudge Into PanBegin to pour the slightly stiff mixture into the pan, gently shaking the pan to spread the fudge evenly. Learn how to make candy
- Pour the fudge into the buttered foil-lined pan, spreading evenly.
- Do not scrape the saucepan; the scrapings have a stiffer, less creamy texture.
- If the fudge becomes too stiff, try kneading it with your hands until softened, then press it into the pan.
Step 5: Cool and Cut Fudge
- When fudge is cool and firm, use the foil to lift it out of the pan.
- Remove the foil and cut the fudge into squares, or shape your fudge pieces with miniature cookie cutters.
- To keep homemade fudge at its freshest, cover tightly with waxed paper, foil, or clear plastic wrap; store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, or refrigerate if specified in the recipe.
Step 6: Wrap and Store FudgeWe used plastic wrap and ribbons to make cute candy packages for our double-decker layered fudge. Get the recipe!
- Because of the slightly moist consistency, it's best to wrap fudge squares individually in wax paper or plastic wrap as shown, but you could also store a single layer of fudge in an airtight container.
- To get this cute look, cut a small square piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, and place a fudge square upside down in the center. Fold two sides of the wrap together over the fudge and gently twist the loose ends, securing with strings, ribbons, or twist ties. Arrange on a platter or place in a festive box for a fun homemade food gift.
- Fudge Storing Tip: If you must stack layers of fudge in a single container, place a sheet of wax paper between the layers to keep them from sticking together.
More Candy Recipes and TipsBesides fudge, our chocolate-mint divinity is one of our favorite chocolate candies to make for the holidays. Get the recipe!