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This is an old fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe that only has 4 ingredients but results in a silky, smooth hot fudge with a rich chocolate flavor. A pastry chef’s recipe that is just as delicious on ice cream sundaes as it is eaten with a spoon!

chocolate fudge sauce in jar with spoon.

This hot fudge sauce is delightfully thick and almost chewy like liquid fudge. It is sinfully chocolate and not too sweet. The hint of vanilla from the spent vanilla bean pod deepens the flavor. I use Dutch processed cocoa powder and real heavy cream for the optimal flavor and texture rather than chocolate chips or evaporated milk.

It takes a little time and patience, but it stores for months in the fridge. It will be there for you like a good friend on a tough day or a crackling fire on a cold Northeastern night. Use it to drizzle over vanilla bean ice cream, on the best chocolate ice cream or on a chocolate chip cheesecake.
You can also use it as a plating sauce to make any dessert seem fancy. Try it with a slice of chocolate pound cake, smore’s pie, or this chocolate fudge cake.

Why You Will Love this Hot Fudge Recipe

  • True old fashioned hot fudge sauce. This recipe uses the same ingredients and process as old fashioned fudge, but it just cooks to a lower temperature. This is the fudge sauce you get in ice cream shops and at restaurants.
  • A versatile recipe with dozens of uses! This is the perfect recipe for pouring over ice cream, using in milkshakes, on a peanut butter skillet cookie, dipping bakery style chocolate chip cookies, or serving with a slice of cake or pie.
  • Deep chocolate flavor & a perfectly smooth texture. The simple ingredients and cooking method insure a perfectly smooth, fudgy texture with a rich chocolate flavor. The salt and vanilla enhance the chocolate taste.
  • Not too sweet. Unlike other quick hot fudge recipes, this recipe isn’t cloyingly sweet. It is made without sweetened condensed milk and melted chocolate.
chocolate fudge sauce in jar.
cooked lemon chicken before serving.
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Professional Tips for Making Hot Fudge Sauce

  • Low and slow. The key to perfect old fashioned hot fudge is cooking over low heat for a long period of time. Depending on the batch size, it will take 20-40 minutes.
  • Cool the fudge quickly for long term storage. If this fudge is cooled & stored properly, then it will keep refrigerated for over a year! I give you a step-by-step process below.
  • Check in with the sauce while it’s cooking. Give it a whisk, feel if it is sticking on the bottom, smell the sauce, and see if any adjustments need to be made. This is key. It’s just like a friend: you won’t know they are truly in need if you don’t check in every now and again.

Ingredients Needed

  • Granulated Sugar: There is just enough granulated sugar in this recipe to add sweetness and create the fudgy texture. You cannot achieve the right fudge texture without using sugar.
  • Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder: I use Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the recipe. It makes the richest and darkest hot fudge sauce. You can use standard cocoa powder but it will alter the flavor.
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is essential for enhancing the chocolate flavor and also balancing the sweetness.
  • Vanilla Bean Pod: I use a spent vanilla bean pod, a pod where I previously scraped and used the seeds, for this recipe. The spent vanilla bean pod is optional and you could just add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract at the end; however, nothing tastes quite like the real thing. I scrape and use the seeds in recipes that really benefit from them like pastry cream, cheesecake or rice pudding. Then I save the “spent” pods in a sealed container at room temperature until I am ready to use them.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream provides richness and moistens the cocoa powder without adding too much liquid.
  • Water

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Hot Fudge with Cocoa Powder

Use these instructions to make the perfect fudge sauce every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Step 1: In a heavy-bottomed, saucepan that is at least 3 quarts (the deeper the better), whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

Step 2: Add the vanilla bean pod followed by the cream and water. Whisk gently to combine.

You have to have a little patience here. Cocoa powder is hydrophobic (like cats 😂) and it doesn’t readily hydrate and mix with the water and cocoa powder. Just keep whisking and it will succumb to your will eventually (unlike cats!).

Step 3: Heat over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until thickened. You can use a candy thermometer (205°) but I like to test it like jam on a frozen or refrigerated plate.

  • After about 15 minutes, I stop scraping the sides back into the pot. The sauce on the sides has a tendency to burn and I don’t want to incorporate that flavor into my sauce.
  • If your chocolate sauce boils over (trust me this happens…watch the video!), just change the pot and keep cooking it.

Step 4: Cool sauce in an ice bath. To make an ice bath fill a larger bowl with ice and a little bit of water. Nestle the bowl with the sauce inside the larger bowl.

How to test hot fudge for doneness

  • Just dab a bit of the sauce on a cold or frozen plate and hold it vertically. If the sauce runs, it isn’t done. If it holds a line, it is done. You can also put the plate in the refrigerator for a minute then test.
  • Worst case scenario, if you take it off too soon and the sauce is still runny after an overnight refrigeration, just reheat and keep cooking it!

Step 5: Cover the top of the sauce with plastic wrap to keep it from forming a skin and poke a few holes for steam to escape. Place the whole set up (water bath and all) in the refrigerator until it is completely cooled.
Step 6: Transfer to a sealable jar or clean airtight container.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

Sometimes even in spite of all our care and attention, a chocolate sauce will burn. Don’t panic. Remove it from the heat and then pour it into a clean pot without scraping the sides. If you don’t have another pot, pour it into a bowl while you clean the first pot. Taste the sauce to see if it tastes burnt. If not, just keep cooking it and watch it vigilantly. If it does, only you can decide to start over or just accept its taste as is.

Cooling & Storing Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

  • Please note that cooling homemade hot fudge sauce properly extends its shelf-life. Using an ice bath to cool the sauce to below 40°F within 2 hours will reduce the risk of bacteria multiplying.
  • Store the cooled sauce in a clean jar and avoid contaminating the jarred sauce with a spoon or other utensil. Sometimes this happens if someone double dips a spoon in the jar. {cough, cough} We’ve all been that person!
chocolate fudge sauce in jar on marble.

How to Serve Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot fudge sauce is fabulous served over ice cream, in hot fudge sundaes, on a brownie with caramel sauce (try these fudgy brownies!), in a milk shake, or simply over sliced fruit. Try it with a slice of easy chocolate cake, cheesecake, or as a dipping sauce for thick chocolate chip cookies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store hot fudge sauce?

Store hot fudge sauce in a clean, sanitized container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or frozen for well over a year.

What is the difference between hot fudge and chocolate sauce?

Hot fudge sauce is thicker and richer than chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup. Chocolate sauce is thin and often made with water rather than heavy cream. It is cooked less time, which also makes it thinner.

Can you make a larger batch of this recipe?

Absolutely! I have made large batches of this exact recipe in a commercial kitchen. Use a thick bottomed, high-sided pot and watch it closely. At the first sign of burning or scorching, change the pot.

How to reheat hot fudge?

Reheat hot fudge at medium power in the microwave. I heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each. You can also reheat hot fudge on the stovetop over low heat.

chocolate fudge sauce in jar on marble.
5 from 4 ratings

Hot Fudge Sauce

This is an old fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe that only has 4 ingredients but results in a silky, smooth hot fudge with a rich chocolate flavor. A pastry chef’s recipe that is just as delicious on ice cream sundaes as it is eaten with a spoon!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 people

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In a sauce pot that is at least 3 quarts (the deeper the better), whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
  • Add the vanilla bean pod followed by the cream and water.
  • Whisk gently to combine. You have to have a little patience here. Cocoa powder is hydrophobic (like cats 😂) and it doesn’t want to hydrate and mix with the water and cocoa powder. Just keep whisking and it will succumb to your will eventually.
  • Heat over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until thickened. You can use a candy thermometer (205°) but I like to test it like jam on a frozen or refrigerated plate. Just dab a bit on the plate and hold it vertically. If the sauce runs, it isn’t done. If it holds a line, it is done.
  • Strain sauce if desired, or just pick out the vanilla pod. Cool sauce in an ice bath. To make an ice bath fill a larger bowl with ice and a little bit of water. Nestle the bowl with the sauce in it inside the larger bowl.
  • Cover the top of the sauce with plastic wrap to keep it from forming a skin and poke a few holes for steam to escape. Place the whole set up (water bath and all) in the refrigerator until it is completely cooled.
  • Transfer to a sealable jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Video

Notes

Yield – 2 cups
Flavor Tips – After about 15 minutes of cooking, I stop scraping the sides of the pot.
Technique – If the sauce boils over or starts to burn, just switch the pot and keep cooking.
Storage – Store hot fudge sauce in a clean, sanitized container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or frozen for well over a year.

Nutrition

Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 197
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Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed chocolate recipes! You also might want to bake one of these Easy Chocolate Recipes to pour this sauce on. Just a thought.

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Gorgeous well balanced recipe for hot fudge sauce. Not grainy! Flavour profile is impeccable. Yumzo!

    1. Hi Trish! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back to rate and comment! Love this one!