Meet our very best chocolate fudge recipe. It tastes like the classic boardwalk stuff, with a few twists. Like dark chocolate and brown butter, which lends the whole affair some serious toffee undertones. And sweetened condensed milk, for extra insurance against a dry or gritty texture.
Unlike old-fashioned chocolate fudge recipes, this one doesn’t involve a candy thermometer, or beating the fudge with a wooden spoon, or letting it set on a marble slab. Meaning: You can make it in about 20 minutes with four ingredients in pretty much any kitchen.
Quality dark chocolate is key: Pick bars or chips you love to eat on their own. Some favorite brands include Guittard, Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger, and Callebaut. The espresso powder steps in to deepen the chocolate flavor even further.
I love this best plain, but never say no to mix-ins—just stir them in right after the fudge thickens. Toasted nuts or roughly chopped pretzels would play up the salty-sweet thing. Butterscotch chips or crushed Oreos would take things to the next level. After you transfer it to the pan but before you set it in the refrigerator to cool, you could swirl the top with peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, or melted white chocolate. —Ella Quittner
Test Kitchen Notes
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64 1-inch pieces of fudge
dark chocolate, chips or finely hand-chopped (I like to aim for 60% cacao or higher)
(14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), plus more to taste and sprinkle
In This Recipe
Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Make browned butter: Add the butter to a small saucepan and set over medium to medium-high heat. Cook, watching like a hawk and stirring occasionally, until it foams, smells super nutty, and the solids at the bottom begin to turn the color of toasted bread. Remove from heat (it’ll brown a bit more as it sits) and transfer to a bowl, giving it a stir—let it hang out while you melt the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate: You can do this in a double boiler, or in a big bowl in short bursts in the microwave. Stir frequently until just melted (keep in mind that as you stir, the chocolate continues to melt).
Add the browned butter, sweetened condensed milk, espresso powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the melted chocolate, and stir until combined. The mixture will become thick, like wet soil, as you stir. Taste and add another pinch of salt if it’s feeling too sweet—but keep in mind, you’ll sprinkle a bit more on top to finish the fudge.
Transfer the thick mixture into the prepared pan and use a damp spatula to smooth over the top as needed (your hand works, too!). Sprinkle the top with a pinch of salt.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, until set and easily sliceable into 1x1-inch squares. If you’re having trouble cutting through the chilled fudge, try using a warm knife: run it under hot water, then dry it off before slicing. Store covered in the fridge for up to a week, or wrap tightly and freeze for a month. This is best served at room temperature.
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.