Hot Fudge Recipe

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This Hot Fudge Recipe is so simple and so much better than store-bought! It’s made with just a few pantry staples that come together to make a thick, rich, smooth, perfectly fudgy sauce.

Hot fudge sauce on a spoon.

Easy Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Is there anything better than a big bowl of ice cream drowning in warm, gooey, thick hot fudge? I don’t think so. 

Next time that craving strikes, you don’t need to make a trip to the store to get a jar of hot fudge sauce…You can make it right at home using a few pantry staples and a saucepan.

This hot fudge sauce is fudgy, rich, thick, indulgent, but not too sweet. You’ll want to dig into it with a spoon! 

What is Hot Fudge Made Out Of?

  • Milk: I use regular whole milk, but if you want a thicker, creamier variation try using half-and-half instead.
  • Granulated Sugar: To sweeten, of course!
  • Salt: A little bit of salt helps to enhance the flavor and cut the richness just a little bit.
  • Cocoa Powder and Baker’s Chocolate: Both of these ingredients contribute to the rich, chocolatey flavor of the hot fudge sauce. I like to use unsweetened varieties of both for the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Butter: Make sure you’re using unsalted butter so you don’t end up with an overly salty fudge sauce.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds an extra layer of sweetness and flavor depth.
Ingredients needed for hot fudge.

How to Make Hot Fudge

Scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.

This simple recipe for hot fudge takes just 15 minutes to make! And it’s so much better than the store-bought stuff. 

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugar, and salt. Stir and cook until simmering, then mix in the cocoa powder until smooth.
  2. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and baker’s chocolate and cook until smooth.
Cocoa powder added to a pan of sweetened milk.
Baker's chocolate added to cocoa powder and milk.

Tips and Notes

  • Use unsweetened chocolate. In my opinion, the sugar makes the fudge plenty sweet. Sweetened ingredients would make it too sweet! 
  • If you do want a sweeter fudge sauce, you can swap the cocoa powder for one with added sugar or swap the unsweetened chocolate for semi-sweet or milk chocolate. I don’t recommend doing both. 
  • Sift the cocoa powder. This helps prevent it from clumping for a super smooth fudge sauce.
  • Cook on medium heat. High heat will burn the fudge mixture. Keep the heat lower for the best flavor and texture.
  • Don’t worry if the fudge doesn’t seem thick enough right off the heat. It will thicken as it cools!
Hot fudge on ice cream.

Serving Suggestions

While this hot fudge sauce is delicious eaten by the spoonful straight out of the pan, there are also plenty of other ways you can serve it! Here are a few ideas:

  • As a hot fudge sundae: Spoon over vanilla ice cream with chopped peanuts and maraschino cherries. 
  • On cheesecake: Drizzle over cherry cheesecake bars or a slice of plain cheesecake. Add caramel sauce to make a turtle cheesecake! 
  • As a dip. Serve it in a bowl with a platter of your favorite fresh fruits! Try strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, cherries, apple slices, you name it.
  • As a frosting. Spread it over a pan of brownies or enjoy it on a slice of chocolate cake.  
  • With breakfast. Make your breakfast extra sweet by serving it on waffles or pancakes.


Refrigerator: Homemade hot fudge sauce can be stored in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Freezer: To freeze your hot fudge, let it cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge.

Reheating: To warm your hot fudge, heat on low heat on the stove or in 15 second increments in the microwave until heated through. Stir every 15 seconds to prevent burning. 

The difference between hot fudge and chocolate sauce is in the ingredients…and thus, the texture! 

Chocolate sauce is made with sugar and water or corn syrup which yields a thinner texture. Hot fudge is made with milk or cream and butter which yields a thicker, heavier sauce.

The secret to the best hot fudge is to make sure you’re using quality varieties of both cocoa powder and baker’s chocolate. These two ingredients are what really makes the fudge sauce! 

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Spoon holding of hot chocolate fudge from a glass jar.

Hot Fudge Recipe with Milk

5 from 2 votes
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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings


  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped


  • Add the milk, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir until it begins to simmer.
    ½ cup whole milk
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Mix in the cocoa powder until well incorporated and smooth. Then, stir in the butter and vanilla until fully melted.
    ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Finally, mix in the baker’s chocolate well combined.
    2 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • Serve hot over ice cream or as a dip with fruit.

Suggested Equipment


Serving: 1ounce | Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 ounce of hot fudge. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Doubling or tripling this recipe has not been tested. Therefore, we can not guarantee the outcome of adjusting the ingredients.
*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.
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