Dad’s Favorite Fudge

Easy-to-make fantasy fudge recipe with semi-sweet chocolate, evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and marshmallow cream.

  • Yield: Makes about 3 pounds of fudge.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, chips or block chocolate chopped up
  • 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Method

1 Prepare everything in advance and have ready to go - chopped chocolate, chopped nuts, best to have marshmallow cream already out of the jar and in a bowl that you can easily scrape out with a rubber spatula. Line a 13"x9"x2" baking pan with foil, butter the inside (alternatively, line the pan with waxed paper).

2 In a 3-quart, thick-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly once the mixture begins to bubble. Once the mixture reaches a boil, set your timer to 4 minutes. You will want to remove the mixture from the heat once it reaches 234°F on a candy thermometer (234°F at sea-level, adjust for altitude) which should take about 4 minutes. If you don't have a candy thermometer, just go with the four minutes.

3 Remove from heat. Quickly stir in chocolate and marshmallow cream. Once those have melted and are well mixed, stir in the vanilla and then the walnuts.

4 Pour into prepared pan.

5 Cool to room temperature before slicing (about 4 hours). You may want to chill in the refrigerator to get it more firm.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.

Comments

  1. Christian

    In the regards to turning off the heat when adding the cream and chocolate, don’t. Just turn it down on low and have someone else stir. This makes the fudge come out best from experience.

  2. carolyn

    I know this fudge and I make it all the time. It is very very good. You all should try it.

  3. Danielle

    I was wondering if you could perhaps reduce the amount of white sugar that is used in this recipe by half?

  4. Lori

    Instead of the nuts, add crushed potato chips, its a wonderful change to nuts.

  5. Abbey

    Does this work without nuts? I’ve been looking for a good fudge recipe without nuts, but many say the nuts are essential for the textures/tastes to work. Any ideas? Thanks!

  6. ella

    I have this recipe too and make it every year. It’s yummy!
    ANd yes, extra walnuts please!

    Just wondering though, my MIL makes fudge and sends to us every Christmas. And it’s definitely not fantasy fudge. It tastes like it has alcohol in it. Do you think thats from the vanilla? Anyways it tastes bad. I usually end up throwing it out.

  7. Autumn

    Could this be done without the nuts. (My husband and I dislike nuts in our baked goods. I know, it’s strange.) I’d love to make some, but I want to make sure the nuts are optional.

  8. jonathan

    I’ve just one word…

    Ahhhhh………fudge.

    Wait; that’s two. Never mind.

    Yum!

  9. Annie

    We never had many holiday traditions, so I create my own. My first try at homemade fudge (from the same recipe on the jar!) came out like frosting – didn’t boil it long enough – but tasted great. Grandma loved it. She hadn’t made fudge in years. It turned out fine the next time. I’m going to try to make gingerbread this weekend but the fudge will be my backup plan. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  10. Larry

    This is our family’s fudge too, but I have to warn you, Elise, that plain marshmallows don’t work as well. We’ve tried it and the fudge takes on an odd texture, as opposed to the smooth and creamy texture that it normally has. My theory is that the marshmallows are coated with something to make them less sticky when they’re packaged. I really don’t know for sure.

    Oh and I should tell you and everyone that this fudge is pretty successful if you leave out the nuts too…this is a must for me, because I’m deathly allergic to walnuts. My dad actually got to prefer it with no nuts!

  11. CJ

    I’ve made this fudge for years. With or without nuts it’s great. The way my husband likes it best is out of the freezer. After cutting in squares it freezes well and will last for several weeks.

  12. Rachel

    I made this fudge for my work Xmas party this year and it was FANTASTIC. I think it was esp. good because the grocery store was out of marshmellow cream, so I picked up some Hershey’s Marshmellow ice cream topping. It is creamier and more liquid-y than the usual marshmellow cream. I was worried the fudge wouldn’t set up but it turned out to be the best fudge any of us had ever had. :-) People asked if it was an old family recipe. I said, yes…just not from my own family!

  13. Catherine

    I grew up making this fudge too! I still think its the best and easiest out there – I’ve never had it go wrong. I always make mine without nuts, and it comes out great. This year I made pralines instead – way more high stress! You can do this fudge in the microwave as well – they used to put the directions that way on the label. :)

    Btw Elise, I love you site. I was just hopping on to get a recipe for dinner tonight! Great job! I also love hearing your comments about your family – you all sound like a fun group. :)

  14. CLaudine

    I was inspired to try this today as I was creating holiday tins for my husband’s office party tomorrow. I only had mini-marshmallows, but it worked great. I did turn off the heat but kept the pan on the burner, to get chocolate and marshmallow mixture melted quickly. Thanks for posting this easy and delicious recipe.

  15. Donna A.

    I have been having the taste for fudge for the pass month. Must be the season! Must try this one.
    Thank you!
    Donna A.

  16. Kristen

    My MIL uses this same fudge recipe as well and it’s soooo good! She makes a version with nuts and a version without nuts, for the non-nut eaters.
    It is a holiday tradition!

  17. Jamie

    My family uses this same recipe with a minor variation. For the chocolate we add a 12 oz. Hershey’s bar (with or without almonds) or a Symphony milk chocolate bar to 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s outstanding! Can be made with or without nuts.

  18. Sandy Swopes

    This is the “old family recipe” that I have used for years. In addition to being wonderful with or without nuts, I also change the flavor of the chips. Peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips – they all work excellently well. Merry Christmas

  19. Bonnie

    Why didn’t mine turn out? Its grainy and oily!!

    Any suggestions??

    Thanks!

  20. Lisa

    Try this one with REESES Peanut Butter Chips instead of Chocolate Chips…..YUMMY!!!!! Better than the chocolate. And to those who don’t like the nuts you CAN make it without the nuts. I have also used the butterscotch chips, but the Peanut Butter is my favorite!!!

  21. Furball

    Sandy, you probably just didn’t cook it long enough. That is usually the problem when candy doesn’t come out right — any candy. I have people tell me all the time that they can’t make divinity, it turns into soup. I have never had a problem, no matter what the weather. I once had my Mixmaster burn out right in the middle of pouring the hot syrup into the eggs whites. Yikes! I thought it would turn to soup. I tried to mix it by hand but I got very tired and cramped up. The divinity came out great anyway! Try cooking it a little longer and make sure you mix it thoroughly.

  22. Sarah

    I have been making this fudge for years; I halve the white suagr and add no nuts, and it is the richest, best chocolate fudge I have produced. Every year people ask me for tins of this :) I halve the sugar to bring out that rich chocolate flavor rather than having it taste more sugar-y like most fudge. For those who like the chocolate richness more than the sugar sweetness, give it a try! Chocolate lovers definitely will love it!

  23. Marcia

    Instead of nuts…
    Made batches of this every Saturday morning Feb-May 1967 for jr. high club bake sale. Occasionally put in coconut instead of nuts-we
    used pecans back then. I prefer the nuts but recall we had several regulars who pined for the coconut. Add very gradually and stir like mad. You might want to make just a portion with coconut and see how you like it.

  24. Lorri Becker

    This can be made with or without nuts. We make many different kinds with pecans, peanuts, mint chips, cracked peppermint stars, toasted coconut, jimmies, and the list goes on.

  25. Amanda

    WAY too sweet- as other people have asked, do you think its a good idea to cut the sugar? Or maybe use bitter chocolate? And man is that hard work! I have never made fudge before and never will again, thanks! I will leave it to the pros. It doesn’t look like fudge yet, I doubt it will. Its sitting on my counter cooling and so far looks like burnt chocolate, or chocolate you are trying to melt in a double boiler and water gets in on accident. I have a back-up dessert to bring to the boyfriend’s family house tomorrow, I may have to use that.

    I am pretty new to making candy. Probably this is somewhat easier for more experienced cooks.

  26. Karen Wilf

    I made this a few weeks ago,and froze it.I was reading all the comments and had to go to the freezer and have a couple of pieces,delicious.I always make it at the holidays..I think its a good recipe…

  27. Sheila King

    I made this fudge for my christmas cookie tray and everyone loved it. It’s the first and only time I’ve ever made fudge. It was very nice and creamy and smooth. Yummm. Thanks so much for the recipe. :)

  28. susan sobon

    My mom use to make this fudge and now I do too. I think it is the easiest and tastiest. You could also add maple flavoring instead of vanilla and it’s yummy. Or after it comes off the stove, add the nuts and some mini marshmallows….voila! Rocky road!

  29. Jon Jordan

    This was my first attempt at fudge. I used 2 cups of sugar instead of 3, and the chocolate flavor really came to the fore. I think next time I will use 2&1/4 cups of sugar.

    I used Bakers Chocolate (semi-sweet).

    I set the burner to medium, but I couldn’t get the temp on my candy thermometer to climb past about 225 degrees F. I turned up the burner a bit and the temp and boil increased, but never reached 234. I noticed a bit of brown in the mix and immediately cut the burner to low and added the rest of the ingredients. Perhaps my inexpensive thermometer was a bit off.

    The texture of the fudge was perfect, so I am very pleased with my first effort.

    I am anxious to try some other flavors.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  30. Cassandra

    Hey!
    Who said this recipe can’t be for moms either?
    I made this recipe as a surprise for my parent’s anniversary and they absolutely loved it! I will definitely make it at least once more!
    Thanks a lot!
    ~Cassandra
    Age: 12

  31. Saumya

    Help!!

    Marshmallow cream is impossible to find, where I live, yet I would love to try this. I notice someone has mentioned it isn’t likely to work without; any suggestions for a substitute?

    I don’t have a candy thermometer either ;0(

  32. JO

    The closest I have been able to find to marshmallow cream in Oz, is a product called Fluff in the imported foods section.

    Im sure it may be substituted for normal marshmallows, but I have no idea to what quantity or how it needs to be prepared.

    Would love some hints. Cheers

  33. Robin- Lynn Thurston

    I make fudge for a living. I always use 2 cups of sugar, 3 makes it to sweet when you’re adding marshmallow, and the flavored chips. Fluff is better I find than the mini Marshmallows, sometimes if you’re lucky you can find them in small plastic tubs and then it’s all measured out for you. I have never used a candy thermometer and my fudge has always come out premo. What I do is what my ingredients until I see a slight bubbling start, I then set my timer to 5 minutes and stir the whole 5 minutes, remove off burner add other ingredients, set in buttered pans WahLah!
    Feel free to e mail me with any questions in fudge making it’s my passion, I make 100′s of pounds at christmas and I make a lot during summer months for those who just gotta have fudge!

    RVQueen57 AT hotmail DOT com

  34. J.

    Yes! I too would like some help in finding a simple marshmallow cream substitute, or a fudge recipe that doesn’t call for marshmallow cream at all, as it’s not (readily) available in Australia.

    Any hints?

  35. Suzie

    I don’t recall ever making any chocolate fudges, though I did make an ultra simple 2-ingredient peanut butter fudge many years ago.

    I was reading all your posts and noticed several of you asking for substitutes for marshmallow creme/cream. I did a Google search for you and found the following website with info about the product. You can find substitutions toward the end of the article.

    http://www.recipezaar.com/library/getentry.zsp?id=358

  36. Jess

    I’ve made this fudge like a million times and tried many variations. My favorite is using white chocolate chips instead of the chocolate and adding crushed oreos instead of the nuts. It’s awesome.

  37. whitney

    This may seem odd, but i live in Argentina, and i cannot find marshmallows or marshmallow cream here. Is there an alternate ingredient?

    Note from Elise: actually this recipe for fudge requires marshmallow. A more traditional, and more difficult, method of making fudge does not require marshmallow, but you’ll have to find a different recipe online for it. I don’t have it.

  38. Lela

    I love this recipe! My favorite thing is to substitute raisins for nuts. I sometimes also add a few drops of rum extract for a Rum Raisin Fudge. Last year I tried cranberries instead of nuts or raisins and everyone thought it was great. I’ve also tried it with peppermint extract (no nuts) and that was good too. I’m planning to try it with some mixed dried fruits (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cherries) this year. I always make several batches for the holidays, so it’s fun to try it different ways, and gives you an excuse to eat more than one piece ’cause you have to try each variety!

  39. Becky

    I’ve been using this recipe for years and I think it’s the best there is. You can lessen the sugar by using 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 stick of butter. I use a 12 ounce bag of Nestle chocolate pieces and add more vanilla than what’s called for. We don’t particularly care for nuts in fudge so we eliminate it and it’s just as good. The most important rule in making fudge is NEVER make it when it’s raining as it will turn out grainy. My daughter and I are peanut butter fudge fans and you can use this same recipe by substituting the chocolate pieces with 1 cup of peanut butter (smooth or nutty) for excellent peanut butter fudge.

  40. Bobbi

    In response to the question about leaving out the nuts, nuts are not necessary in this. Most of my kids do not like nuts in things and I have been making this fudge for them for years without the nuts. It works just fine.

  41. Judy B.

    Be sure to use the original recipe given by Elise and not the recipe that is on the Kraft Marshmallow Jar – apparently Kraft changed the original recipe (added evaporated milk)…some people claim the fudge doesn’t taste as good. Merry Christmas everyone!!

  42. Debbie Donnelly

    I have many kinds of fudge over the years, first of all fudge is meant to be very sweet, the main component is sugar, and if you decide to use the mini-marshmallows you have to remember that they are coated with corn starch.
    Also I have made brown sugar fudge (from scratch) all you do is use butterscotch chipits & brown sugar in some of these, add maple extract & walnuts or pecans, it is excellent, also made it with out any nuts if you are in doubt of some one with allergies
    I have used Kraft mallow creme, also no-name mallow creme that seems to be the only ones I have ever seen here in the prairie provinces of Canada

  43. freya zurcher

    Hello everyone! I’m wondering if anyone can tell me how many cups of chocolate chips are in a pound? I used two cups, but am not sure if that’s quite right; I found a plethora of answers on the internet. Thank you!

  44. Cyndi

    For those like me who either prefer fudge without marshmallows or fluff, or who have no access to them, there are many very tasty sounding recipes that do not call for either. However, it means having to pay more attention to the recipe and temperature to which it must cook. I personally do not care for what I feel is excessive sweetness of the marshmallow type fudges.

    Hello to Whitney in Argentina (I think it was Whitney). I visited Argentina this past summer (winter there) with a choir that I belong to. I really enjoyed the towns we visited and the people there.

    Cyndi

  45. Sandy

    Have made this fudge for years. I sometimes substitute a cup of peanut butter (with or without nuts) for the chocolate chips to make peanut butter fudge. Everyone asks me for the recipe. I usually make a batch for Christmas with and without nuts (kids don’t like them).
    Also great Valentine’s present – guys love the PB variety.

  46. Glynn

    The original recipe did not call for block chocolate. I am 62 and my mother used to make this all the time. The marshmallows will not work nearly as well as the mashmallow creme. The original marshmallow creme fudge is the best ever and I have tried them all.

  47. Elisa

    This is the best fudge recipe I’ve ever tried. I never use a candy thermometer, although I did buy one this year, but my fudge always comes out tasty. There is a specialty shop here in our town that sells micro marshmallows (like the ones that come in cereal) and I add those and extra black walnuts to mine for Rocky Road!!! Yumm-O!!! Merry Christmas!

    I’m making the fudge right now!!

  48. thekevinmonster

    I’ll have to try this. I have made fudge maybe five times. Twice, I used marshmallow fluff, and three times I did it ‘the correct way’ out of a chocolate cookbook.

    Only once did it come out right. The other times, it came out like grainy sugar stuff.

    I have a feeling it had to do with the length of time I cooked it. Also, when making stuff like this and the recipe says ‘use a heavy bottom pan’, go out and buy a heavy bottom pan.

    If you don’t, you’ll get hot spots and burn the evaporated milk.

  49. Mary

    Just have to chime in here — the best things *ever* in fudge are Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) and toasted hazelnuts.

    I always make the fudge in Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Dessert cookbook — heavy cream, less sugar and Dutch process cocoa powder. The recipe does not call for marshmallow fluff.

  50. Irene

    Maybe for those in Australia or Argentina or wherever they may live that cannot find marshmallow fluff in jars could try first making their own marshmallow and then use it in the fudge instead? The Food Network has several chef-inspired recipes for them, as does Martha Stuart. It is pretty basic with gelatin, sugars, corn syrup and other standard items. Skip the final step of cutting and coating them with more powdered sugar and you should be able to use it for fudge.

  51. amanda

    It works fine and is easier with mini marshmallows. The fluff is messy. Also, confused about the person who thinks that elise’s recipe does not include evap. milk, because it does.

    Don’t confuse it for condensed milk, which one of my family members does each year.

    It is definitely a milky-chocolate, very sweet fudge. That’s what my dad prefers, so this is the fudge I grew up with. I don’t think I’d normally like a fudge like this, but it smacks of my childhood. Also, if you have ice cream, this is a great hot fudge for sundays.

  52. MorganJane

    The best is to make it the way it says but add a big tablespoon or two of peanut butter to the chocolate fudge. No nuts then but a great candy taste!

  53. April

    Gotta admit my FAVORITE fudge recipe is from the Hersey’s cocoa can. I prefer the flavor of fudge made from cocoa, and this recipe leaves out any type of marshmallow, making for a richer chocolate flavor, in my opinion. You do need a tablespoon of corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystalizing. You can get the recipe from the cocoa can or from their website – give it a try, it really isn’t that hard! I’m afraid I never use a candy thermometer; like my mom, I use the the ball method.

  54. April

    For those who can’t find marshmallow cream, here is the recipe I mentioned. My mother always used evaporated milk and it’s richer, but whole milk works too. Thank you to Hershey’s. I usually add a tablespoon of light corn syrup to prevent the sugar from crystalizing.

    Rich Cocoa Fudge
    Ingredients:
    3 cups sugar
    2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa or HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1-1/2 cups milk
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Directions:
    1. Line 8-or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.

    2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.)

    3. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool completely. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. About 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.

    NOTE: For best results, do not double this recipe.

    VARIATIONS:
    NUTTY RICH COCOA FUDGE: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and spread quickly into prepared pan.

    This is why I usually don’t use a thermometer, just didn’t know the science (I live in Denver):

    HIGH ALTITUDE DIRECTIONS:
    – Increase milk to 1-2/3 cups
    – Use soft ball cold water test for doneness OR Test and read thermometer in boiling water, subtract difference from 212°F. Then subtract that number from 234°F. This is the soft ball temperature for your altitude and thermometer.

  55. Sally

    This is also my favorite fudge and I think the easiest I’ve ever made.

    I’ve found that if you cook it for 5 minutes after it comes to a full rolling boil, it’s beyond the soft-ball stage and is harder and grainy when done. Still tastes great, though!

    I either time it for 5 minutes from when it just starts to boil or 4 minutes after it comes to a full rolling boil.

    I always overcook the first batch each year. Successive batches are always wonderful.

  56. Darby "The Dessert Diva"

    I have made the Hershey’s can o cocoa fudge for years and it is wonderful, but also a bit tricky and a pain in the behind. I have started using Elise’s recipe and I found that I get the best tasting fudge if I use Hershey’s Kisses. You can use any of their wonderful flavors and it always comes out perfect. My personal favorite rignt now is the fudge I make using Hershey’s Kisses Pumpkin Spice. Mmmmm.

  57. elisa

    I have made this several times using various substitutes for nuts, and find that crushed pretzel sticks are quite a hit with everyone! I have also considered using crumbled shortbread cookes or biscotti…hmmm may try that this weekend!

  58. Tracey

    OK, I’m confused. This recipe calls for 16 oz. of chocolate, but the recipe on the back of the marshmallow jar calls for 12 oz. Does it “set” properly with the extra chocolate? I never mind using extra chocolate! :-)

    Hmm. I think we must have upped the amount of chocolate we used. Should work fine. ~Elise

  59. Kim

    Just found this site while looking for a way to avoid the grainy taste that I sometimes get.
    I have used the Fantasy Fudge recipe off of the back of the Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme jar for about 28 years now. I have always had (almost) perfect success except for the first batch and for some reason it comes out just a little grainy. I usually make 5 batches each time I do it…one is the “grainy” batch and the other four are PERFECT !!! (if I do say so myself). My family loves plain chocolate, chocolate with nuts, plain peanut butter and peanut butter with nuts. It makes great gifts.
    I just wish I knew what goes wrong on that first batch :D You have given me some things to watch out for while cooking…Thanks.

  60. rabia

    I have never heard of marshmallow cream, what is it?
    And is there a common substitute for it in this recipe?

    Wikipedia is your friend: marshmallow cream. This recipe specifically calls for marshmallow creme. There are plenty of fudge recipes that don’t use it though, so you might want to do some more searching on the Internet to find an alternative recipe. ~Elise

  61. Careen

    I made this last year and it came out perfect — creamy and lush. This year, it’s a bit crumbly. What do you think went wrong?

    Sounds like you may have some crystallization with your sugar. This happens to me sometimes too in candy making. Make sure that all of the sugar gets dissolved in step 2, and if there are crystals on the side of the pan, brush those down with a pastry brush dipped in water. ~Elise

  62. Joanne

    For those of you who have grainy fudge problems: I have loved this fudge recipe for 30 years but over the past couple years batch after batch came out grainy. I switched back to using margarine instead of real butter and cooked over medium heat to a boil and then for four minutes as instructed. I have not had a problem since.

  63. Tamara

    FOR THOSE WITH FUDGE SETTING ISSUES:

    I am one of the ninnies that couldn’t get my fudge to set after trying the Kraft Fantasy fudge recipe 2 times. I figured out what went wrong after reading this adaptation and it went perfect.

    2|3 cups of milk!

    The recipe on the jar says a can of evaporated milk. But, in tiny letters, it says 5 oz. Most evaporated milks carried at the super market come in 12 oz.

    I was adding too much milk. It sounds like a moron mistake, but you’d be surprised just how many people make it. On the flip side, I learned a recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Fluff. LOL….