Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce


Autumn’s coming in New England. You can absolutely smell it in the air. The nights are starting to get just a wee bit crisp here on the coast. I’m starting to eye my sweaters and think about apple picking.

The surest sign of all that the weather’s starting to turn? I just made my first batch of braised short ribs the other night.

You know the temperature’s starting to drop when you find me in my kitchen in the evenings, nestled in by the stove with a glass of wine and a book while my big red cast-iron pot bubbles merrily away in the background.

(I’ve also started to pull down some of my cookbooks and root around for stick-to-your-ribs, cold weather fare. Stay tuned for a lot of hearty food.)

Mmmm, hot fudge

I’m gonna say this up front: It’s not my fault if you sit down and eat a bowl of this with a spoon, ok?

This recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine’s chocolate issue. It’s good, old-fashioned hot fudge sauce, the way your grandmother used to make it.

This stuff will stiffen up in the fridge

That’s fine. Just leave it out on the counter to start to soften up, then zap it in the microwave or melt it in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. (It’s hot fudge, after all, so you were going to warm it up anway…)

Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce

From Fine Cooking magazine
6 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT sweetened hot chocolate mix)
1/3 cup boiling water
3 Tbls. butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbls. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Yields about 1 1/2 cups hot fudge

Make the fudge mixture

Set a kettle of water on the stove to boil over high heat.

Put the cocoa powder in a small pot. (Be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, not hot chocolate mix that has sugar in it…)

When your water is boiling, measure it out. Pour about half of the boiling water into the pot with the cooca.

Stir until it forms a thick paste.

Add the rest of the water and the butter. Stir well. It will kind of look like a lumpy disaster at this point. That’s just fine. Keep going, it will smooth out as it heats up.

Set on the stove over medium heat.

Add the sugar and the corn syrup. (I like Karo brand corn syrup. If you can’t find corn syrup, try using Lyle’s Golden Syrup.)

Stir to incorporate.

(See, it’s starting to look better, right?)

Keep the mixture on the stove over medium heat and start to bring it up to a simmer.

Brush down the sides of the pot with water

This is important, so don’t skip this step.

As the mixture comes up to a simmer, brush down the insides of the pot with water to dissolve any rogue sugar crystals. (If you remember your high school science, one crystal will breed more, which will eventually turn your fudge sauce into solid candy.)

Use a pastry brush dipped in a little cold water.

Cook the sauce for 8 minutes

When the mixture comes up to a simmer, set a kitchen timer for 8 minutes. Simmer the sauce without stirring for the whole 8  minutes.

You may need to adjust the heat up or down a little, depending on your stove. Basically, you want to keep the mixture at a good simmer/low boil.

When your 8 minutes are up, remove the pan from the stove.

Add the vanilla

Stir the vanilla into the sauce with a clean wooden spoon (again, you want to avoid any pesky, undissolved sugar crystals).

And…voila! Hot fudge sauce.

Eat it and weep.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. How long do you think it’ll last in the fridge? I want to make it, I just don’t think that I can eat it all at once.

  2. Hi! This looks so yummy and great! hmm just wondering, how long can the fudge sauce be kept for/how far in advance can i prepare it? 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Craving hot fudge with my ice cream so found this site. Made the fudge – easy and delicious! Very dark chocolate taste – tastes even better the next day if you have any left.

  4. Can you put this wonderful hot fudge in a Ball Jar and give it as gifts? Will it last say a week?????? email me please because Im thinking this would be a great neighbor gift… We all love hot fudge


  5. The search is over! I’ve finally found the perfect hot fudge sauce! Thank you so much. I LOVE the hot fudge sauce at The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen and have been searching for a recipe that tastes like theirs. This is it. Those other recipes that use condensed milk are a conterfeit! Can’t wait to serve this over vanilla ice cream for dinner quests tonight.

  6. Is the amount of water correct? 1/3 cup= 80 ml? I tried to make this yesterday with 80 ml water and it didn’t seem sufficient enough.
    Wish my sauce would’ve turned out as perfect as yours 🙁 Thank you for the recipe though. Will try this again someday!

  7. I made this yesterday; it’s exactly the kind of hot fudge recipe I’ve always looked for. It’s easy with few ingredients and tastes amazing. No problems at all (except keeping my spoon out of the jar.) I plan to take this to my women’s club bake sale. Thanks for all the tips.

  8. Just made it and it is super gorgeous. I did a 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder, just cuz’ I love the hint of that with intense chocolate. It’s beautiful, glossy and yummy. Took all of 15 minutes too. Thanks.

  9. I made some tonight to go over a slice of marble cake. Delicious !!! My husband and I LOVED IT ! Hot cake out of the oven with sauce and dream whip.. Yummie

  10. Attention everyone: do NOT make this if you dont have corn syrup. It doesnt make hot fudge…
    This has been a public service announcement, brought to you by a fifteen-year-old chocoholic who suffers from severe midnight chocolate cravings.

  11. This recipe did NOT turn out well at all. As soon as the “hot fudge” touched the ice cream it turned into a stringy-taffy-like mess. Also 1/3 cup water was not even enough to get the cocoa damp. What a disaster!!

    • If you over cook the sauce,….it will turn out more like Taffy….(test a few drops in cold water and make sure it’s a SOFT ball that forms…If it hardens…then you cooked to long again)…..good luck

  12. This was fantastic. My only problem with it was that once I put it on the ice cream it got so hard it had to be cut. I think perhaps it became candy, like that of a See’s chocolate lollipop. Thank you for the great recipe.

  13. I think this is the same recipe my Mom used to make fudge, when I was a little boy. The only difference is that she would cook it until, when cooled, it was as hard as bricks. At least it did keep our teeth sharp.

  14. i am gonna try this tonight, as a topping for cheesecake!…im just gonna drizzle it over the top, i cant wait! it should be great with cheesecake, no?

  15. i am going to make this tonight, im planning to drizzle it over cheesecake. that should be so good dont you think?? i cant wait!