Make your own ice cream topping! This hot fudge recipe is easy to make and tastes so much better than store bought.
Why you’ll love it: Only a few pantry items are needed to make this delicious hot fudge. Perfect in a pinch when you need a quick dessert that everyone loves.
How long it takes: 10 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, stove
Servings: makes 2 cups
Rich and creamy hot fudge sauce is one of my all-time favorites. There’s just something so incredibly good about vanilla ice cream, melting a bit as it comes into contact with a warm drizzle of rich chocolate. Whether it’s in a fancy sundae bowl or a plain ol’ cereal bowl, you can’t go wrong with a hot fudge sundae.
It’s a special treat for sure. Did you know that hot fudge sauce is so easy to make? My mom used to whip up this quick sauce when unexpected guests happened to stop by or when she felt we all needed a quick pick-me-up dessert. With just a few pantry items, you’re on track to a rather wonderful (and just a bit indulgent) dessert that few people would turn down.
Hot fudge sauce makes everything taste good. Skip the ice cream if you want and just drizzle the sauce over sliced bananas, strawberries, cherries, or raspberries. Fruit and chocolate, yum! It’s almost like a quick and easy version of chocolate fondue.
After you’ve tried the “no-frills” hot fudge, you’ll want to try the variations (all included in the recipe!):
- Peanut butter hot fudge
- Black Forest hot fudge (with cherries)
- Mocha hot fudge
I bet you’ll be inspired to create your own variations and I’d love to hear about them!
About this hot fudge
You probably have everything you need to make this yummy hot fudge. The ingredients are simple and wholesome. Look in your pantry and fridge for what you need. Just six ingredients:
Now take a look at the list of ingredients on a jar of a very well-known brand of hot fudge: Nonfat Milk, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Cocoa, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Fully Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Mono And Diglycerides, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor).
I don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum….but…yuck! We can do way better than that!
I’ll get you started on making your own hot fudge sauce here and give you extra tips and ways to make it your own. As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card near the end of the post with measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Sugar: Just plain white granulated sugar is all you need. This recipe is made without corn syrup, an ingredient that is added to many commercial hot fudge sauces (or even worse, high fructose corn syrup) and even some homemade recipes.
- Cocoa Powder: Use a good quality cocoa powder. It’s usually found in the baking aisle. Most cocoa powder is unsweetened, made simply from roasted cocoa bean particles that are ground into a fine powder. It’s rich in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols (Healthline).
- Flour: A couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour serves to thicken the sauce.
- Milk: You’ll love that this hot fudge is made with milk. Most of us always have milk in our refrigerators. Whole milk naturally makes the richest hot fudge but feel free to substitute 2% or even lowfat milk. I’ve tried them all and really, there’s not that much difference. Thankfully, this recipe is made without heavy cream which isn’t usually a staple in my house.
- Butter: Butter is the reason why you can use lowfat milk. It adds richness to the sauce and great flavor. I usually use unsalted butter but if salted butter is all you have, that works too. Don’t substitute butter flavored spreads that come in tubs. Definitely don’t use margarine.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: What would we do without our dear friend, vanilla? It’s an essential item in the kitchen.
- Add-Ins for Variations: Add peanut butter, sweet cherries, or espresso powder to enhance your hot fudge with exciting flavor sensations, but not all at the same time!
How To Make This Recipe
Ready to begin? Stir together the sugar, cocoa, and flour in a small saucepan.
Add the milk and butter, and over medium heat, cook and stir until the mixture comes to a boil.
Boil for a few minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
That’s it! Can you believe how crazy easy (and economical) it is to make your own hot fudge?!
Let the hot fudge cool just a bit before you spoon it on ice cream. It thickens up a little as it cools.
Ready to make your ice cream sundae? I sure am! Get ready with the toppings! I like M&Ms, nuts (try these spiced pecans), crushed Oreos, crunchy oat topping, whipped cream, cherries, sliced bananas, strawberries …. Or just plain hot fudge! It’s really so good.
Make a turtle sundae: Vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge and warm caramel sauce, along with a handful of toasted pecans. A turtle sundae is never slow to disappear!
Oh, and my favorite dessert? Warm brownies topped with a scoop of ice cream and hot fudge. It doesn’t get much better than that!
You’ll immediately notice a difference in texture. Hot fudge is thicker and richer, and is usually sold in a jar. Hot fudge is heated gently before using as a topping. Chocolate sauce is more runny, comes in a plastic bottle with a squeeze top, and isn’t heated before use. It’s a better choice for adding to beverages or to top pancakes.
Make your own chocolate syrup, it’s very easy!
A common mistake is overcooking or overheating the sauce which can turn it grainy. Cooling the sauce too quickly can also cause it to become grainy. It’s best to let it cool at room temperature until it’s completely cool before refrigerating it.
Making hot fudge with cocoa powder rather than chocolate chips makes a smoother sauce, too.
Heating up hot fudge repeatedly can result in poor texture. To avoid this problem, simply warm up a small portion at a time, just what you’re going to use.
3 Variations of hot Fudge
- Peanut Butter Hot Fudge: Reminiscent of a Reese’s peanut butter cup, with swirls of creamy peanut butter in warm hot fudge, this variation is one of my favorites. Not a fan of peanuts? Substitute almond butter, cashew butter, or even Nutella (hazelnut plus double the chocolate!), or sunflower butter if you have nut allergies.
- Black Forest Hot Fudge: For all you cherry lovers, Black Forest hot fudge will be your new favorite. Plenty of fresh dark cherries are drenched in warm hot fudge. So good!
- Mocha Hot Fudge: Chocolate and espresso, a match made in heaven! Mocha hot fudge sauce is richly flavored with espresso powder, a perfect topping for ice cream. Espresso powder is instant coffee (you’ll find it in the coffee aisle of the grocery store) and is quite concentrated.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Homemade hot fudge should be cooled completely at room temperature before refrigerating. Store it in a clean recycled jar or airtight container. It will keep for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
It’s best if you reheat only the amount you’re going to use. Microwave it gently (50%) in 10 second increments until warm. Do not overheat. Larger amounts can be heated on the stove in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (whole milk is best but non-fat or 2% can be used as well)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional Variations: 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chopped sweet cherries, or 1-4 tablespoons espresso powder (see notes)
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa and flour with a whisk. Add milk and butter.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring continuously, and boil 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Hot fudge thickens a bit more as it cools.
- Nutrition information is based on hot fudge without variations.
- Makes about 2 cups (without variations). One serving is 2 tablespoons.
- Storage: Cool completely before storing. Store leftover hot fudge in the fridge in an airtight container or recycled jar for up to 3 weeks.
- Reheating: Place the portion you want to reheat in a microwave safe dish and microwave on medium power (50%) in 10 second increments until warm. Do not overheat. Larger amounts can be heated in a small saucepan over medium low heat.
- Peanut Butter Hot Fudge: Add up to 1 cup creamy peanut butter after you add vanilla, stirring until melted.
- Black Forest Hot Fudge: Add 1 cup pitted, chopped sweet cherries to mixture when you add the milk and butter.
- Mocha Hot Fudge: Add 1 to 4 tablespoons instant espresso powder to the dry ingredients, whisking well. It’s quite concentrated so start with the lesser amount.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.