- 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.
Learn More About Candy-Making Equipment
Kitchen Thermometer Guide