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Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge

Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge is a wonderful treat that only requires a few ingredients and tastes pretty amazing.

Hershey’s Old Fashioned Fudge Recipe

Hershey's chocolate fudge cut up into pieces and sitting on a plate

The easy fudge recipe has been around for generations and used to be on the side of the Hershey’s cocoa container. It’s your grandma’s old fashioned fudge recipe that you know and love.

There’s nothing better than bringing back those old memories with some fun recipes that we all know and love, like this Hershey recipe.

Hershey’s chocolate fudge is one of the best fudge recipes and I am sure it brings back a lot of great memories. (I love pretty much anything you can make with Hershey’s cocoa powder).

Fudge is one of my all-time favorite desserts and I make a ton of it around the holidays. It’s a great treat to make and give away as gifts, and it won’t break the bank. 

The recipe uses cocoa powder as one of the ingredients. It’s made without sweetened condensed milk and without marshmallow creme and it turns out soft, creamy, and chocolatey. 

The rich cocoa fudge is a delicious dessert any time of year.

I made this several times and goofed up on a couple of things, so I will share that with you in this post so you don’t make the same mistakes. Keep on reading and you’ll see what I did wrong. 

What Do I Need To Make The Old Fashioned Fudge?

(Full recipe measurements and directions listed at the bottom of the blog).

  • Hershey’s cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Thermometer
  • Stovetop
  • 9″ x 9″ casserole dish

Full recipe and printable instructions listed below

The Best Fudge Recipe

Hershey's old fashioned fudge cut up and stacked on a plate

How Do I Make The Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge?

  1. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to a large saucepan and mix the ingredients until they are combined. 
  2. Add the milk to the saucepan and stir. Turn the heat on medium-high and continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil. 
  3. Once the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring and add your thermometer to the side of the saucepan. 
  4. Cook until the mixture reaches 234 degrees or forms a soft ball in cold water. 
  5. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. DON’T STIR!
  6. Cool to about 130 degrees and stir until some of the sheen from the fudge dulls. (It DOES NOT have to get down to room temperature).
  7. Pour into a prepared pan (butter ahead of cooking the fudge so it’s ready).
  8. Run a knife gently through the fudge to get rid of some of the air bubbles and allow to set up for several hours. 
  9. Refrigerate and enjoy it! This might become your favorite chocolate fudge.

If you love to cook fudge, try this Velveeta Fudge recipe or this chocolate fudge that everyone loves. 

Hershey's fudge cut up and stacked on the counter

Tips For Making Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge

Use a large saucepan. The first time I made the fudge I started out with a three-quart saucepan, and it wasn’t even close to being big enough.

The mixture will boil and overflow, and you’ve got a big mess on your hands. I made the mistake of using the small one, and it kept wanting to boil over, I had to remove it from the stovetop and never finished it. 

Use a thermometer. Unless you are comfortable with dropping the fudge into cold water, use a thermometer. I tend to get it wrong when I drop it into cold water to test it. That’s one thing my grandmother never showed me how to do (probably because I was so busy begging for pie). 

Make sure your thermometer works. Thermometers do go bad after a while, so they can give you a false reading. On one trial, I made the mistake of cooking the fudge too long and thought I was going to have to throw out my pan because the fudge ended up rock hard at the bottom – oops! 

Make sure the thermometer isn’t touching the bottom of the pan, or you’ll get an inaccurate reading. See the picture below. 

If you mess up, start again. I’ve messed up plenty of recipes, but if you really want it, make it again. We learn from our mistakes and they make us (and our food) better the next time. 

A thermometer on the side of a saucepan.

Keep the thermometer a little bit off of the bottom of the pan. If it touches, you will get an inaccurate reading and it will not reach the desired temperature.

I have to say that I wasn’t crazy about the thermometer in the picture because I only used it once and got condensation inside so that one is useless now. 

I usually use this thermometer and it works great. They can go bad after a while, but they do last a few years. 

Sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan.

First, add the sugar, Hershey’s cocoa, and salt to a large saucepan. 

I would go with a five or six-quart saucepan, which seems like overkill, but when it starts to boil, it will rise up quite a bit. 

Fudge ingredients in saucepan

Secondly, stir the dry ingredients together because it will help mix the cocoa. 

Have you ever made something with cocoa and it seems like it just doesn’t want to cooperate and mix well with other ingredients?

When you mix sugar and cocoa while it’s dry, that will solve that issue. 

Pouring milk into a saucepan.

Thirdly, pour the milk into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to boil.

Boiling chocolate fudge in a saucepan

Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring. Not stirring was hard for me, because I worried the ingredients would stick to the pan, but it will all be ok. 

Do You Stir Fudge While Boiling?

Fine Cooking.com states, Don’t stir the fudge. Shaking or stirring the fudge mixture while it’s boiling or cooling causes premature crystal growth. If the crystals form too early, they continue to grow and become too large.”

Pouring vanilla extract into the fudge.

When the temperature reaches 234 degrees, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla extract and butter. DO NOT STIR! Allow the temperature to cool to about 130 degrees

I filled the sink with a few inches of cold water and placed the pan into the water, being careful not to get water in the fudge, to bring it down to 130 degrees faster. 

TIP: Be careful pouring the vanilla extract into the pan. It wanted to splatter back up on me a little bit. 

Butter melting in a pan of hot fudge.

The butter will melt and look glossy. Just let it sit. 

Stirring melted Hershey's chocolate fudge

After the chocolate fudge recipe cools to the 130-degree temperature, stir for a while until the brown loses most of its sheen. 

Hershey's chocolate fudge in a casserole dish

Pour into a 9″ x 9″ container and gently run a knife through to get rid of some of the bubbles.

Allow the Hershey’s chocolate fudge to set up for a few hours. I placed mine in the refrigerator and thought it tasted great cold. 

Store the fudge in an airtight container.

Tips For The Best Results For The Hershey’s Old Fashioned Cocoa Fudge

  • Use a wooden spoon because it will stay cool as you stir.
  • Use a square pan, approximately 9-inch by 9-inch to pour the fudge into so it won’t be too thin.
  • Make sure the bulb of your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the saucepan, or you will get an incorrect reading.
  • You can use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the side and bottom of the pan to lift the fudge out easily after it sets up. Just make sure you butter the foil or parchment paper. Press the foil or the parchment paper to the edge of the pan on the inside.
  • Fill your sink part of the way with cold water and place the pan into the water (being careful not to get any water in the pan) to bring the cooling time down. This is optional.

How Do You Set Up Fudge?

By adding sugar, cocoa, and milk, and then cooking the ingredients to 234 degrees. The fudge will set up as it cools. While cooling, it will thicken to the point of being able to cut it. 

Why Did My Fudge Not Set?

You most likely didn’t bring the temperature up to 234 degrees. A lot of people are able to test the fudge by dropping it into cold water to test doneness, but I have never had a lot of luck doing that.

I always use a thermometer to be sure and get it to the right temperature before removing it from the heat. 

More Delicious Desserts

Variations for Hershey’s Cocoa Fudge Recipe

  1. Nutty Fudge: Stir in a cup of chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds) just before transferring the fudge to the pan. This is a rich cocoa fudge, for sure.
  2. Peppermint Fudge: Add a few drops of peppermint extract and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top for a festive look and taste.
  3. Coffee-flavor: add a tablespoon of instant liquid coffee, after cooking, and before pouring into the pan for a kick in flavor.
  4. Rocky Road Fudge: Once you’ve removed the fudge from heat and before it sets, fold in 1 cup of mini marshmallows and 1/2 cup chopped nuts for a fun rocky road fudge.
  5. Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge: After pouring the fudge into the pan, drop spoonfuls of warmed peanut butter over the top and use a knife to create swirls in the fudge.
  6. Salted Chocolate Fudge: After you pour the fudge into the pan sprinkle the top with a pinch of flaky sea salt before it sets.
  7. Add some milk chocolate chips on top for some added chocolate flavor (you can never have too much, right)?
  8. Dark chocolate fudge: Try it with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for a deeper flavor.

Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge

Chocolate fudge on a countertop and on a plate

Check out the Hershey’s chocolate fudge recipe card below. This is perfect for the holiday season. Make sure you have this for your next holiday celebration. It’s a great dessert, and I know you will love it.

The classic Hershey’s fudge recipe is a family favorite for me, and I know many of you.

Grab the recipe for divinity candy here and make it for the holidays. 

Hershey's chocolate fudge cut on and stacked on a plate

How To Make Hershey’s Chocolate Fudge

Hershey's chocolate fudge cut up and stacked

Hershey's Chocolate Fudge

Yield: 36 pieces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Hershey's Chocolate Fudge is a wonderful treat that only requires a few ingredients and tastes pretty amazing. The easy fudge recipe has been around for generations and used to be on the side of the Hershey's coca container. It's the fudge recipe that you probably grew up with and love. 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

    1. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to a large saucepan and mix the ingredients until they are combined. 
    2. Add the milk to the saucepan and stir. Turn the heat on medium-high and continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil. 
    3. Once the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring and add your candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. 
    4. Cook until the mixture reaches 234 degrees or forms a soft ball in cold water. 
    5. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. DON'T STIR!
    6. Cool to about 130 degrees and stir until some of the sheen from the fudge dulls. This may take a few minutes.
    7. Pour into a buttered dish.
    8. Run a knife gently through the fudge to get rid of some of the air bubbles and allow to set up for several hours. 
    9. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Notes

Tips For the Best Results

  • Use a wooden spoon because it will stay cool as you stir.
  • Use a square pan, approximately 9-inch by 9-inch, to pour the fudge into so it won't be too thin.
  • Make sure the bulb of your thermometer is not touching the bottom of the saucepan, or you will get an incorrect reading.
  • You can use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the side and bottom of the pan to lift the fudge out easily after it sets up. Just make sure you butter the foil or parchment paper. Press the foil or the parchment paper to the edge of the pan on the inside.
  • Fill your sink part of the way with cold water and place the pan into the water (being careful not to get any water in the pan) to bring the cooling time down. This is optional.
  • You can use 2% or whole milk. I have had better success with 2% milk.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 1g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Find more delicious recipes at Julia’s Simply Southern, and South Your Mouth.

Melissa

Monday 5th of February 2024

Can condensed or regular coconut milk be substituted for regular cows milk???

Julie Pollitt

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Hi Melissa, I definitely don't think condensed milk will work in this recipe. I haven't tried coconut milk so I am not sure about that.

Donna

Friday 12th of January 2024

Can I use nuts in the recipe?

Julie Pollitt

Friday 12th of January 2024

Hi Donna,

You can. I would add them when the temp cools to 130 degrees and you're ready to stir. Hope you love it!

Yvonne Thomas

Friday 29th of December 2023

This has been my favorite treat ever since I was in about 3rd or 4th grade and got to sample it at my friend's house. My mom always made the 5 minute 'drop fudge' using chocolate chips, evaporated milk, and mini marshmallows and while I liked that, I still longed for the cocoa fudge. As an adult, I have probably attempted it at least 60 + times and had it succeed perfectly maybe 10-15% of the time. I have tried numberous thermometer, sometimes using two at once and never ever getting them to read the same temp. This past week, I have made it 3 times and twice, it got too hot so very hard to eat and once it was perfectly creamy and smooth and delicious, but it never hardened enough. I even, for the first time, killed my mom's recipe.

All things being equal, what would have caused this last batch to go bad? It got too hot, right? I was fluctuating between a digital and manual thermometer...I actually thought about stirring it as soon as I pulled it off the stove. I love your tip about the ice water. I was always afraid to mess with the degrees and time table.

Thank you for your blog.

Julie Pollitt

Sunday 31st of December 2023

Sorry to hear they didn't turn out right. Was it raining when you made the creamy fudge? It can be so fickle.

Did you make sure your thermometer wasn't touching the bottom of the pan? That can give an inaccurate reading. That might have been why it didn't set up.

Cassandra

Sunday 10th of December 2023

Oh my goodness!!! THANK YOU!!!! I have spent YEARS looking for this recipe. I don’t like the chewy fudge and all I remembered from my mom making it was what she put in it and what she didn’t. Although I remember her using condensed milk, I followed this one to the letter and it came out perfect! EXACTLY as I remember from when I was little. That first piece, it literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. I will be making this with my daughter a lot from now on.

Julie Pollitt

Sunday 10th of December 2023

Hi Cassandra! This is why I blog. I am so glad that you found the recipe that your mom made and it brought back so many good memories! Thank you for sharing!!

Amanda

Thursday 9th of November 2023

Should I use salted or unsalted butter?

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 9th of November 2023

Hi Amanda,

I would use unsalted butter for this recipe. Enjoy!

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