Grandma’s Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe}

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!

stack of homemade fudge on parchment paper

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
Cook Time 7 minutes
cooling 30 minutes
Total Time 42 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.
    sauce pan with fudge ingredients
  • 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.
    saucepan showing how to cook fudge on stove
  • 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.
    saucepan with liquid fudge before beating
  • 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.
    hand mixer in saucepan.
  • 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.
    dish with hard fudge poured in


For whatever reason, this recipe does not double well.
Don’t attempt to make this without a thermometer!
Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg


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.)

old fashioned fudge squares on counter

Ingredients and Tools

countertop with ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Hershey’s is fine! No need to look for a gourmet brand.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 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

Enjoy this recipe!

fudge squares on parchment
Grandma\'s Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe}Grandma\'s Old Fashioned Fudge {Classic Stovetop recipe}

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Recipe Rating


  1. First time I have seen the same recipe that my Mom used to make her fudge, I make about 6-7 batches every year. My brother who was a professional baker and made candy told me to buy a copper pan, works good.

  2. I only have chocolate chips on hand. Do you know how many ounces or grams of chips I should add to equate to ¼ cup of cocoa powder?

    1. stephanie i wouldn’t recommend using this recipe without cocoa. the chips will have oils and other things and i don’t think the fudge would set up right. 🙁

  3. Whenever I make a recipe with cocoa powder, I combine the sugar and cocoa alone and mix them thoroughly. This helps with breaking down clumps in the cocoa powder and reduces the tendency for new clumps to form when the liquid is added.

    I do not agree that stirring while bringing mixtures up to 240° creates problems. But it is not helpful to stir unless the burner is too hot.