Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (2024)

Home Recipes Candy Fudge

Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (1)

ByLindsay D. Mattison

Taste of Home's Editorial Process

Updated: May 05, 2024

    Homemade fudge can be a little fussy, but it's easy to make if you avoid these common fudge mistakes.


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (2)

    Molly Allen for Taste of Home

    Bitter Taste

    If your pot heats unevenly, chances are good the sugars will burn, giving fudge an unpleasant, acrid taste that’s impossible to fix. This is often the result of a pot that’s too thin. Instead, invest in a heavy-bottomed, stainless steel pot to set yourself up for success.


    Grainy Fudge

    Does your fudge have a gritty or grainy texture? The sugars probably crystallized, a common mistake when making candy like fudge or caramel. If the melting sugar splashes onto the sides of the pan, it turns back into crystals and causes the fudge to seize up. To avoid this issue, swirl the pan instead of stirring it with a spoon. You can use a wet pastry brush to wipe down any sugar that sticks to the sides of the pot.


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    Fudge Didn’t Set

    If your fudge turned out super sticky, or it didn’t set as it cooled, it probably never got hot enough. This mistake is super easy to avoid if you use a candy thermometer and cook the fudge to the temperature specified in the recipe (usually between 234 and 239°F). By the way, here’s how to make microwave fudge if you need a new batch in a pinch.


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    TMB studio

    Too Soft or Too Hard Fudge

    The amount of time you cook fudge directly affects its firmness. Too little time and the water won’t evaporate, causing the fudge to be soft. Conversely, cook it too long and fudge won’t contain enough water, making it hard with a dry, crumbly texture. Pay attention to the timetable specified in the recipe, and you’ll get the hang of it after a batch or two.

    Here’s how to make homemade fudge step by step.


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (6)

    TMB studio

    Oily Fudge

    Fudge is basically an emulsion between sugar, butter and milk. If the butter gets too hot, it can separate, causing the fudge to become oily on top. This is easy to prevent by monitoring the temperature with a candy thermometer, but separated fudge can also be fixed.

    To fix oily, hard or grainy fudge, scoop the fudge back into a pot with about a cup of water. Cook it over low heat until the fudge dissolves. Then bring the fudge back up to the temperature specified in the recipe and follow the remaining steps. The flavor may be slightly diluted, but the texture will be improved.


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (7)

    TMB studio

    Sugar Crystals Formed

    It’s important to beat the fudge ingredients to develop the right texture, but you won’t get smooth, creamy fudge if you beat it when it’s too hot. Beating fudge when it’s still over heat creates sugar crystals, aka the grittiness you feel in the fudge. Instead, wait to pick up the spoon (our Test Kitchen loves using wooden spoons) until the fudge drops to between 110 and 113°F, about 15 minutes.


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (8)

    Rock Hard Fudge

    Beating the cooled batter is one of the crucial steps of fudge-making, but overbeating can turn fudge hard as a rock. Pay close attention to the change in appearance and only beat the fudge until it loses its glossy sheen. If you beat the fudge any longer, you might notice it start to seize, which tells you you’ve gone too far.


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (9)

    TMB Studio

    Bland Tasting Fudge

    Your fudge will only be as good as the ingredients you use. Quality butter, chocolate chips and vanilla extract will create a luxurious base that will hardly need anything to amplify the sweetness. Beyond the basics, our Test Kitchen recommends mix-ins of equal quality. For example, if you want all-out with the best chocolate brands, do the same for any nuts, extracts or candies. You can make candy-shop quality fudge by toasting nuts before mixing into the fudge or making sure you’re not using last year’s peppermint sticks to crush into this year’s fudge. The fresher, the better!


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (10)

    Nancy Mock for Taste of Home

    Complicated Fudge

    Fudge-making requires time and attention to detail, but some of our favorite fudge recipes use a shortcut: sweetened condensed milk. These recipes don’t require a candy thermometer or any specialized equipment, so they’re perfect for beginners or anyone running short on time.

    Originally Published: January 23, 2021


    Lindsay D. Mattison

    Lindsay has been a food writer, recipe developer and product tester for seven years. She’s a culinary school graduate who specializes in sustainable food and seasonal ingredients. She draws on her professional chef background to develop recipes and help home cooks gain confidence in the kitchen. When Lindsay isn’t writing, you’ll find her coo...

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    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (11)

    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them (2024)


    Fudge-Making Mistakes and How to Fix Them? ›

    Too little time and the water won't evaporate, causing the fudge to be soft. Conversely, cook it too long and fudge won't contain enough water, making it hard with a dry, crumbly texture. Pay attention to the timetable specified in the recipe, and you'll get the hang of it after a batch or two.

    How do I fix messed up fudge? ›

    Pour the fudge back into your pan, and add about a cup of water to it, along with a tablespoon or two of evaporated milk, whipping cream, or whatever cream you're using. Some people skip the water and just add cream to the mixture to reheat.

    Can I fix fudge that didn't set? ›

    OPTION 3) Sieve together some powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and gradually work this into your unset fudge until it reaches the consistency of dough, then roll out and cut into squares, or shape into balls and then roll in powdered sugar (roll the balls in icing sugar, not yourself).

    What is the secret to perfect fudge? ›

    The key to creamy, luscious fudge is controlling crystal formation. If the sucrose (table sugar) crystals are small, the fudge will feel creamy and smooth on your tongue. But if the crystals are large, the fudge develops a crumbly, dry, or even coarse texture.

    What to do with failed fudge? ›

    Good use of failed fudge: fudge that is too hard, too soft, too runny, too sugary, too chewy, etc. Proportions are as follows: for every 2 cups (roughly 1 pound yield) of any failed fudge that is not runny, you'll need 1 egg, ½ cup all-purpose flour, and ½ cup milk. If fudge is soupy, halve the milk (to ¼ cup).

    What happens if you over stir fudge? ›

    Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a boil, do not stir it. If you do, the sugar can crystallize, giving your fudge a gritty texture.

    Can you fix over cooked fudge? ›

    For both problems, you'll need to melt the fudge back down to allow the sugar crystals to properly dissolve or to allow the overcooked fudge to soften up again. It may seem counterintuitive to cook overcooked fudge even more, but trust us, you just need to start the fudge over from scratch.

    Can you reset fudge? ›

    In principle for traditional fudge you could re-heat it by adding more liquid so that the sugars dissolve. You would then need to evaporate the excess liquid (but don't exceed the soft-ball stage at 237 F/114 C) to recreate your supersaturated solution.

    Why didn't my fudge work? ›

    You didn't cook it long enough. Fudge needs to be heated to the "soft ball" stage. It is salvageable, but you'd have to be very careful of sugar crystallization. If you make a mistake you'll wind up with a grainy mess.

    Why does fudge fail? ›

    Homemade Fudge Doesn't Always Set

    If your fudge doesn't firm up after a few hours, you either have too high an amount of liquid to sugar, or your mixture hasn't reached the soft-ball stage. Using a candy thermometer can help home cooks avoid this problem.

    Why won't my 2 ingredient fudge set? ›

    The main reason is that your Fudge has not reached the optimum temperature. If your mixture only reaches 110 or 112 degrees Celsius it will always be soft. That's why we recommend investing in a sugar thermometer. Another reason your Fudge is not setting is that the ratio of liquid to sugar is too high.

    Why did my fudge turn out like taffy? ›

    If the fudge is very soft and slightly chewy then it is possible that it did not quite cook to soft ball stage and next time the mixture should be cooked to a slightly higher temperature (soft ball is 112-116c/235-240F and a sugar or candy thermometer can help).

    What does cream of tartar do in fudge? ›

    Cream of tartar is used in caramel sauces and fudge to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing while cooking. It also prevents cooling sugars from forming brittle crystals, this is why it's the secret ingredient in snickerdoodles!

    Was fudge made by mistake? ›

    That appetite for fudge dates back more than a century. Food historian Joyce White says fudge is based on a recipe for chocolate caramels, which was very similar. "What probably happened is that there was someone in Baltimore, messed it up, or 'fadged' it," she said. "Fadge is a word that means you messed up.

    Can you make hard fudge soft again? ›

    Cut the fudge into small pieces around one inch and put it on the plate and place each fudge with the distance in between. Keep a bowl of water inside the microwave along with the fudge to create moisture for the pieces to inhale. Next, microwave the fudge pieces for just 10 seconds.

    What happens if you under cook fudge? ›

    Undercooked. This fudge was cooked until the temperature reached only108 °C (226 °F). At this temperature, the sugar is not concentrated enough... there is too much leftover water in the syrup and the resulting fudge is soft.

    Why is my fudge mixture not thickening? ›

    Conversely, if the cooking time is too brief and there is not enough evaporation, too much water will remain and the fudge will be too soft. A temperature of 112°C to 114°C (234°F to 237°F) must be maintained. This will ensure the fudge has the ideal concentration of water and sugar.

    Why did my fudge turn out like caramel? ›

    Fudge can turn into caramel due to overcooking or undercooking, incorrect temperatures, or wrong ingredients.

    Can I set fudge in the fridge? ›

    The ratio of chocolate to condensed milk needs to be just right, otherwise you might end up with fudge that is too soft or too hard. Do not freeze the fudge to set it. Best way is to just be patient for a couple hours and set it in the fridge. If your fudge hasn't set, then you've gone wrong somewhere else.

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