Hot Fudge Sauce

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This Hot Fudge Sauce is smooth, thick, and intensely rich. With only five ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, you may never go back to packaged hot fudge sauce again!

Image of a jar of the Hot Fudge Sauce

Our Favorite Hot Fudge Sauce 

Nothing beats homemade and especially when it comes to a homemade hot fudge sauce! Never being very impressed with packaged sauces, I made my own and have never gone back. Truthfully, I don’t even know if my family would let me go back to store-bought, ha!

Because while a lot of store-bought condiments can be huge time-savers, it turns out that making your own hot fudge is actually incredibly quick and easy to do. It comes out thick, fudge-y, and indulgent tasting every single time. And it doesn’t take hours to get there, either — about ten minutes, one pot, and a handful of pantry ingredients, and you’re well on your way to fudge sauce heaven!

Where does this genius Hot Fudge Sauce recipe come from? None other than the Pioneer Woman — Ree Drummond! I’ve tried just about every hot fudge sauce recipe on the internet and this is the one we keep coming back to. I’ve made just a few adjustments to her recipe, but the base recipe is hers. 🙂 

What Is The Difference Between Hot Fudge And Chocolate Sauce?

The main difference comes down to texture. Hot fudge is intended to be thicker and has a richer flavor, while chocolate sauce is much thinner and more subtle in flavor. These differences come down to different ingredients being used; typically hot fudge has butter and cream while chocolate sauce relies on sugar and corn syrup.

Image of the cocoa powder used in this sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce Ingredients

  • Special dark cocoa powder. The cocoa powder really sets this hot fudge sauce recipe apart; Dutch-process cocoa powder offers a more robust and intensely deep chocolate flavor. Hershey’s® “Special Dark” cocoa powder is a Dutch-process cocoa powder and is readily found at most grocery stores.
  • Butter. We prefer unsalted, so you have complete control over the flavor of the sauce. The amount of salt in salted butter can vary drastically from brand to brand and even stick to stick.
  • Heavy whipping cream. The best-tasting heavy cream doesn’t have additives; if possible, find a brand that lists only one ingredient: cream.
  • White sugar. We tested white and brown and while either work, testers preferred the white sugar!
  • Flavor additions. Vanilla and salt are the perfect finishing touches to the sauce and help emphasize all the other flavors present.

QUICK TIP

If you’d like to make a hot fudge sauce without cream, replace it with evaporated milk instead!

How To Make Hot Fudge Sauce

  • Combine butter, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and heavy cream in a medium-sized pot. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and ingredients are incorporated.
  • Remove from heat, add in the vanilla and then transfer to a glass jar to store in the fridge. The sauce continues to harden as it cools into a thick fudgey sauce!

Process shots of hot fudge sauce-- images of the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and cream being added to a pot and it all being mixed together; vanilla being added

How To Use This Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

Now that you know how to make Hot Fudge Sauce for ice cream, here are some other ways to use it:

Process shots-- images of the sauce being transferred to a jar for chilling; pouring it over ice cream

Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe FAQs

1What is Hot Fudge Sauce made of?

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it uses pantry staples — you likely have most of the ingredients already in your cupboard! This recipe uses cocoa powder, sugar, butter, cream, vanilla, and salt.

2Is Hot Fudge really fudge?

It’s actually not fudge at all (check out our Microwave Fudge for a real fudge recipe!)

Despite the name, it has a similar rich flavor and thick texture as real fudge, but the main difference is that Hot Fudge Sauce won’t set into hardened blocks while real fudge will.

3Why Does fudge taste different than chocolate?

The main ingredient in chocolate is cocoa — cocoa solids and cocoa butter while the fudge is a concoction made primarily with sugar and cream!

4Why is my Hot Fudge Sauce grainy?

The sauce can become grainy if it is cooked for too long, at too high of temperatures, or in a thin-bottomed pan. The graininess comes because the chocolate is scorched.

Image of the Hot Fudge Sauce served with a bowl of ice cream

STORAGE

How To Store Hot Fudge Sauce 

Because there is cream (dairy) in this recipe, it needs to be refrigerated. Store in an airtight container or jar for up to two weeks. As the fudge is stored in the fridge, it will continue to thicken. When ready to use, heat in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Add a splash more of cream if needed to thin it a bit.

This recipe cuts down nicely — halve it if you won’t be able to consume the hot fudge within 2 weeks. You can also freeze leftovers of this hot fudge sauce recipe. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the fridge and then warm using the directions mentioned above.

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Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This Hot Fudge Sauce is smooth, thick, and intensely rich. With only five ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, you may never go back to packaged hot fudge sauce again!
Print Recipe

Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

5 from 1 vote
This Hot Fudge Sauce is smooth, thick, and intensely rich. With only five ingredients and 10 minutes of prep, you may never go back to packaged hot fudge sauce again!
Course condiment, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Hot Fudge Sauce, Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 cups, 1 tbsp a serving
Calories 64kcal
Author adapted from Food Network
Cost $3.12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder Note 2
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  • COMBINE: Cut butter into 8 tablespoon-sized slices and place in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot. Place over medium heat and add in the sugar, cocoa powder, and cream. Using a whisk, briskly mix until ingredients are combined and butter is fully melted.
  • FINISH: Remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt. Taste and add more salt if desired. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • STORAGE: Transfer sauce to an airtight container or glass jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. As the fudge is stored in the fridge, it will continue to thicken. When ready to use, heat in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Add a splash more of cream if needed to thin it a bit.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Recipe quantity: This recipe makes 2 cups and cuts down nicely -- halve it if you won't be able to use all of the hot fudge within 2 weeks. 
Note 2: Special dark cocoa powder: The cocoa powder really sets this hot fudge sauce recipe apart; we use Hershey’s® “Special Dark” cocoa powder which is readily found at most grocery stores. If you'd like a smoother sauce, sift the cocoa powder into the pot.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.4g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 4.2g | Cholesterol: 11.9mg | Sodium: 1.5mg | Sugar: 6.4g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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