Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (2024)


Everyone loves homemade fudge, but most recipes are poor imitations of the real thing. They focus on being easy instead of being good.

Yes, old-fashioned fudge requires a candy thermometer, some stirring time, and a little patience. But it’s not hard to make, and it’s worth the small amount of effort.

If your grandma made fudge, I bet it was just like this recipe. If you’re looking for more Christmas candies, I have a list of my favorites here!

Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (1)

Old Fashioned Stovetop Fudge

How to make fudge the old fashioned way: just minutes of your time plus a few dollars of pantry ingredients gives you a candy shop quality homemade chocolate fudge perfect for gifting (or keeping!)

Prep Time 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time 7 minutes minutes

cooling 30 minutes minutes

Total Time 42 minutes minutes

Serving Size 16 squares


  • 2 quart saucepan

  • Candy thermometer


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder Hershey's is fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Combine all ingredients except butter and vanilla. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, half and half, cocoa, salt, and corn syrup. Mix well with a whisk and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. While the fudge is cooking, butter a plate or baking dish for pouring the mixture into later.

    Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (2)

  • Heat until the mixture reaches 240 degrees. Let the fudge cook until it reaches 240 degrees, checked with a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer. Don't stir during the cooking process. Once the temperature is reached, immediately remove the pan from the heat.

    Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (3)

  • Place butter and vanilla on top and allow to cool. Place the butter and vanilla on top of the fudge and allow it to cool. Do not mix or disturb the pan. Let it cool about. 20 minutes until the side of the pan is warm but not hot to the touch.

    Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (4)

  • Mix with a hand mixer until fudge begins to firm up. Using a hand mixer on medium-low, beat the fudge for 1-3 minutes until it just begins to firm up and lose its shine.

    Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (5)

  • Quickly pour into a buttered dish, cool, and cut. Once the fudge changes texture, immediately pour it into a dish to set. Work quickly. It if is not pourable, just scoop it out and flatten in the best you can. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes and cut into one-inch squares.

    Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (6)


For whatever reason, this recipe does not double well.

Don’t attempt to make this without a thermometer!


Why didn’t my fudge set up? It’s gooey!

You undercooked it or under-mixed it. You can pour it back into the saucepan and cook it again, and it will usually turn out fine.

Why is my fudge grainy?

You stirred too much during the cooking process or stirred during the cooling process. Try dumping it back in the pot with a cup of water and trying again.

It’s too hard to cut!

You probably overbeat it. That’s okay. You can break it into squares for a rustic look. 😉

It tastes weird or burnt.

You probably used a pot that’s too big or is thin-bottomed, and your ingredients scorched. Unfortunately, there’s no fix for this. Invest in a nice-quality 2-quart saucepan. If you are really serious about candy making, copper is best. (I like all-Clad copper core for something more affordable.)

Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (7)
Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (8)
  • 2cupsgranulated sugar
  • 1/4cupcocoa powder(Hershey’s is fine! No need to look for a gourmet brand.)
  • 1/2teaspoonsalt
  • 2/3cuphalf and half
  • 1tablespooncorn syrup
  • 3tablespoonsbutter
  • 2teaspoonsvanilla extract
  • You’ll need a 2-quart saucepan for the fudge to cook properly
  • A candy thermometer or an instant-read digital thermometer will both work. But a candy thermometer is easier because you can leave it in the pot.

Storage and packaging

  • For gifting, line a tin with parchment or wax paper and store the fudge squares inside.
  • For eating at home, a plastic zip-top bag works just fine.
  • If your house is very warm, keep the fudge in the fridge.
  • You can freeze fudge for longer storage. Just cut it and pop it in a freezer bag.

Tips for Succesful Fudge

  • Use a good quality cocoa powder. Hershey’s is fine for this recipe.
  • You absolutely MUST have a thermometer. It is almost impossible to gauge how hot the sugar mixture is based on time or appearance.
  • Use a heavy-bottom saucepan so the sugar doesn’t scorch the bottom as it cooks
  • Keep a pastry brush and a small bowl of water next to the stove to brush down the sides of the pan, otherwise, you can get sugar crystal.
  • Work quickly once you beat the chocolate mixture; it will start to set up very quickly!
  • If you overcook or overbeat the fudge, it might be slightly dry and crumbly. It’s still delicious, and many people prefer it this way.

More old fashioned desserts you’ll love

  • Soft and Chewy Molasses Cookies
  • Chocolate Dipped Shortbread
  • Our favorite vintage Christmas cookies

Enjoy this recipe!

Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (9)

Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (10)Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (11)


Grandma's Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe} (2024)


Why is my old fashioned fudge not hardening? ›

Fudge Didn't Set

If your fudge turned out super sticky, or it didn't set as it cooled, it probably never got hot enough. This mistake is super easy to avoid if you use a candy thermometer and cook the fudge to the temperature specified in the recipe (usually between 234 and 239°F).

What is the secret to non grainy fudge? ›

A lot of big crystals in fudge makes it grainy. By letting the fudge cool without stirring, you avoid creating seed crystals.

What happens if you don't boil fudge long enough? ›

Conversely, if the cooking time is too brief and there is not enough evaporation, too much water will remain and the fudge will be too soft.

Is evaporated milk or condensed milk better for fudge? ›

Evaporated milk doesn't have sugar added. The sweetened condended milk is needed as no extra sugar is added to the fudge. If evaporated milk were used then the fudge would not be sweet enough and also would still be too soft unless the fudge is frozen.

Do you stir fudge while it is boiling? ›

Stir the ingredients to dissolve the sugar until the mixture comes to a boil. If your recipe uses milk, stirring will keep the mixture from curdling. But once it reaches about 236–238 degrees F/113–114 degrees C (the "soft-ball" stage), do not stir it or even shake the pan.

How do you firm up homemade fudge? ›

If your fudge is soft or runny, it probably didn't come up to a high enough temperature while it was cooking. Put it back into the saucepan and add 1–2 US tbsp (15–30 ml) of 35% fat whipping cream. Stir the fudge as it heats, but only until the sugar in the chocolate is completely melted again.

How do you rescue fudge that won't set? ›

OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

What makes fudge firmer? ›

Too cooked

This fudge was cooked to a temperature of 118 °C (244 °F). At this temperature, the sugar is too concentrated and there is not enough water left to form syrup around sugar crystals. The result is hard and brittle fudge. To save the fudge, put it in a saucepan with 45 to 60 ml (3 or 4 tbsp.)

Can I fix grainy fudge? ›

If you discover that your mixture is grainy, some quick thinking will save the entire batch. Pour the fudge back into your pan, and add about a cup of water to it, along with a tablespoon or two of evaporated milk, whipping cream, or whatever cream you're using.

How long do you boil fudge to get to soft ball stage? ›

How long does it take to make fudge:
  1. about 18 min to reach boiling.
  2. about 40 minutes to reach soft ball stage.
  3. 60 minutes to cool.
  4. 28 minutes to beat in a KitchenAid (your time for this may vary)
  5. 4 hours to set.

Why did my fudge turn to toffee? ›

If your fudge has a texture like soft toffee, it could be due to overcooking, using too much sugar or butter, or not cooking it to the right temperature.

What happens if you over stir fudge? ›

Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, do not stir it. If you do, the sugar can crystallize, giving your fudge a gritty texture. As you beat the fudge, pay attention to color and texture. Once the fudge loses its sheen and thickens, put down your spoon.

Why did my homemade fudge not harden? ›

Why has my Fudge not set? The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft.

What can I do with ruined fudge? ›

Good use of failed fudge: fudge that is too hard, too soft, too runny, too sugary, too chewy, etc. Proportions are as follows: for every 2 cups (roughly 1 pound yield) of any failed fudge that is not runny, you'll need 1 egg, ½ cup all-purpose flour, and ½ cup milk. If fudge is soupy, halve the milk (to ¼ cup).

What makes high quality fudge? ›

You have to control two temperatures to make successful fudge: the cooking temperature AND the temperature at which the mixture cools before stirring to make it crystallize. Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

What does cream of tartar do in fudge? ›

Cream of tartar is used in caramel sauces and fudge to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing while cooking. It also prevents cooling sugars from forming brittle crystals, this is why it's the secret ingredient in snickerdoodles!

What keeps fudge from getting hard? ›

If you let your fudge get too hot, the sugars will start to concentrate and the fudge will be crumbly, dull, and hard. To fix it, put it back into the saucepan and add about 3–4 US tbsp (44–59 ml) of 35% fat whipping cream. Stir the mixture as you heat it until the sugar in the fudge is melted.

Why won t my fudge go hard? ›

The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft. That's why we recommend investing in a sugar thermometer. Another reason your Fudge is not setting is that the ratio of liquid to sugar is too high.


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