Traditional Vanilla Fudge

Traditional vanilla fudge is a marvel. If I were forced to pick my favourite type of sweet food, it would be traditional vanilla fudge. The texture and taste of fudge made using a traditional recipe (sugar, milk, cream and butter) is truly second to none.

It is both crumbly and smooth, tastes like heaven on tongue and can be modified in an almost inexhaustible number of ways. For instance, this Christmas I made a rather large amount of Scotch whisky fudge which was absolutely delicious.

This isn’t the most convenient way to produce fudge, but it is the best. It’s a bit of a pain, since one has to stand over the cooker continuously stirring for around half an hour. However, the texture it produces is incomparably good when placed next to fudge made with condensed milk. Besides, that tat isn’t real fudge – this is and it’s incredibly bad for, something we’ll be ignoring for the foreseeable future.

If you’re going to embark on this wonderful traditional vanilla fudge making journey, I advise each and every one of you to invest in a good quality sugar thermometer. Believe it or not, cooking involves rather a lot of chemistry. Sugar, for instance, behaves differently as it gets hotter. In this case the sugar needs to be heated to exactly 115C or 239F. At this point it crystallises in a certain way, this is known as the soft-ball stage. Apparently this is because when it is dropped in water it forms a soft ball of fudge.

This traditional fudge recipe has received praise from everyone who has eaten it, whisky or no whisky. Oh and by the way, if you wanted to create your own variation simply remove the vanilla essence and add up to 50ml of your chosen flavouring. I’ve never added any more, but I suspect that this would change the composition of the fudge a little too much.

Traditional Vanilla Fudge

Makes 50+ pieces


• 250ml milk

• 50ml double cream

• 350g sugar, preferably caster

• 100g butter, salted or not

• 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Grease and line a cake tin of your choice, I used a rather large square one (roughly 20cmx10cm).
  2. Put the milk, cream sugar and butter in a fairly large, heavy based, pan. Heat slowly and stir continuously.
  3. Bring to the boil, keep stirring, and cook until it has reached 115C or 239F on a sugar thermometer. At this point remove it from the heat, continue to stir.
  4. After a couple of minutes add the vanilla, continue to stir for a further 5 minutes. Pour the fudge into the cake tin and leave to cool. Do not put it in the fridge.
  5. Once it has cooled, turn it out and cut into your desired size and shape. It will last for a few weeks if kept in an airtight container.

Cost: Vanilla fudge is a pretty simple treat and its price reflects that fact. The entire batch, which will make up to seventy pieces, set me back a mere 80p – not bad at all, very frugal!

125 comments on “Traditional Vanilla Fudge

  1. countrywoodsmoke
    January 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Nice crumbly fudge, looks very traditional in a good way, and reminds me of the fudge I used to get when I was a kid.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Thanks, Marcus! The best things remind us of our childhood 🙂

      • swim5b
        March 11, 2013 at 1:01 am

        your recipe sounds awesome, are you planning to post a picture of the vanilla fudge?

  2. Jen R
    January 15, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Oh I would like some now with my cuppa 🙂

  3. Cathy
    January 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I love fudge too… rum and raisin was always my favourite. Yours looks really wonderful in the photos!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Rum and raisin is delicious, but for me it;s hard to beat the butteryness of plain ol’ vanilla.

  4. thelittleloaf
    January 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Ooh yum, I absolutely love fudge. I don’t have a sugar thermometer but am thinking of investing as there are so many sweets and caramels I’d like to try making. I love chocolate fudge or with chunky add-ins, but it’s hard to beat a plain vanilla fudge.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

      A sugar thermometer opens up a whole new world of sweet making, even though I’ve not really explored it too much as of yet. I’ll probably do a recipe for chocolate fudge sometime fairly soon 😀

  5. Mckennahouse
    January 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I love fudge, haven’t made it since I was a kid, I may just make this with my kids. Its just great with a mug of tea. (builders tea, the kind you can walk on!)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

      You should, I think that would be a wonderful thing to do. Well, I don’t like normal tea, but it works great with camomile too!

  6. Emerald Garden Lady
    January 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Oh yummy scrummy!

  7. Conor Bofin
    January 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

    My mum has made fudge as Christmas gifts for decades. Hers (as everything one’s mother cooks) is the best possible fudge. She made some for our family this Christmas just gone and resolved that it was the last time she would be doing it. (She is 81). It looks like I will have to step up from here on. Your photography is beautiful, as I reckon is your fudge.
    Lovely post,

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Try this and corroborate your claim :D. Give it a go and see if your mum likes it! 😀

  8. daniemarie
    January 15, 2012 at 11:44 am

    That looks delicious!

  9. Juls
    January 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Damn you sir, I sit here with half a cake and a bunch of cookies and muffins and I’m staring at all the fudge thinking that it is all I want in the world right now. Its meant to be the time to LOSE my post-Christmas waist not double it!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Haha, sorry. Strangely, I’ve lost my Christmas weight 😀

  10. thehealthyfitdiva
    January 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I think my brother would die and go to heaven if I made this….after making the chocolate cake of course lol

  11. Michele Kearns
    January 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Your fudge sounds and looks delicious. I would love to try it but being lactose intolerant, my system will not tolerate anything stronger than skim (fat-free) milk. It will however, tolerate the whiskey 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks! Oh no! I’m sorry about that. It is possible to make dairy free fudge, though I don’t know how.

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    January 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    This looks great and I’d love to see the scotch fudge recipe too!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Just add 50ml of scotch, there’s not really any point blogging it.

  13. Chica Andaluza
    January 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I adore fudge and have always made with condensed milk so am really keen to give this version a go!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Me too. It’s so much better made with normal milk!

  14. Sarah
    January 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Love this! My parents make exorbitant amounts of fudge every year for the holidays, I’ll have to share your recipe with them 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Please do, I’ve had only positive responses.

  15. Savory Simple
    January 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make fudge! This is a great motivation. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried vanilla, it sounds wonderful.

  16. spree
    January 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Simple ingredients – the kind the “older generation” grew up with – make for some of the most soul-satisfying desserts don’t they? Just a few basic ingredients, carefully tended, have produced a rusticly beautiful treat. I love your top photo – the strong low light of winter coming in the window, the warm beauty of the golden fudge, the worn cutting board – something very timeless about this scene – which perfectly supports your recipe. So nicely done!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      They really do! I’m so glad you like my photos!

  17. Cara
    January 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Okay your description alone has me sold on vanilla fudge (something that I have never tried!) <–I know, probably illegal. Ever considered having your own cooking show? Or writing a cookbook? You have a great way with words, Frugs (ha, what *is* your name?)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      I’d love to write a cookbook, but I’m a lot better and writing than I am about speaking about this sort of stuff. Thanks! The name’s Nick!

  18. Kaitlyn
    January 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Haven’t had fudge in ages! Looks so delicious!

  19. trixfred30
    January 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    You really do need a thermometer though – heating sugar is tricky!

  20. dailyamusebouche
    January 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    YUM!! this looks so good, I will have to make some next weekend!

  21. Antonia @ healthinspirations
    January 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you so much for the recipe. My family loves fudge and now I finally have a great recipe to try!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      No problem :D. I hope they enjoy it, if you make it.

  22. baconbiscuit212
    January 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Looks delicious, and I am loving the photographs. Natural light! I am so envious!

  23. onceuponarecipe
    January 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Looks good! I’ve never tried making my own fudge but I think that needs changing!

  24. jane
    January 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    You had me at Scotch Whiskey Fudge … looks so good!

  25. chaumierelesiris
    January 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    It looks easier than I thought it would be. Inspires me to try. I have such a sweet tooth.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      It’s very simple if you don’t value your right arm 😀

  26. alternative eating
    January 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I have been wanting fudge for so long:) I am going to make these:) Just have to go to the grocery store:) Yummy:)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Awesome! Let me know how they go, they are worth it, I promise.

  27. lil' vegan
    January 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    You have such beautiful images, and I love the step-by-step. You’ve just convinced me that I need to invest in a better camera as well 😉 Keep up the great work! You just got a new subscriber.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks! I do try very hard on the photography. My camera isn’t that good – it’s just a £100 point and shoot! Natural light is the real key.

  28. thebigfatnoodle
    January 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I love fudge and so does my husband! You’ve achieved that beautiful pale creaminess that’s a sign of great fudge – perfect!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks, noodle! It is perfect :D. I think 🙂

  29. Eva Taylor
    January 15, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    I doubt it would last a couple of weeks even in a tightly sealed container, but it’s the thought that counts! I love how simple this fudge is; here in North America we like to complicate our fudge by making it something it isn’t (peanut butter, really?) This really is it.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      It does, I did it at Christmas. I try not to make things up. In fact it lasted for about 3 before it all got eaten and it was perfectly fine. It doesn’t need to be made into something weird. This is perfect, as is perhaps a little extra kick from some whiskey or rum.

      • Eva Taylor
        January 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

        I actually meant that it would not last because it would be eaten! 😉

  30. Kimby
    January 16, 2012 at 12:46 am

    How much Scotch did you put into your variation? PLEASE divulge your secret recipe… (Although this one looks fabulous!)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Simply add 50ml of scotch instead of the vanilla!

  31. Kimby
    January 16, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Ditto on everyone’s comments above about your spectacular photos! They are lovely.

  32. threeblondesandatomas
    January 16, 2012 at 4:00 am

    this looks so simply delicious… making it DANGEROUS!! love!

  33. k.m.
    January 16, 2012 at 4:33 am

    I never knew you could make fudge with condensed milk. Funny!

    Yours looks much more tasty. I think the whisky is the version I shall make 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

      You can, but it’s not quite fudge. My version is more tasty 😀

  34. CorkAndSpoon
    January 16, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Oh, yummy! I love fudge. I used to have to drive up to New Jersey for work real close to the beach and we’d always stop by the Fudgery on the boardwalk. The folks working the fudge on the marble table top even broke out into song once (slightly disconcerting at the time, but I got over that quickly lol) ~Ruth

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Thanks! We’re going to a place with a fudgery next week! Yay! I hope they don’t break into song though – I don’t expect them to.

  35. thecompletecookbook
    January 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Looks delightful! I must admit since I got a microwave oven recipe, I have not made “traditional” again.
    🙂 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Oh Mandy, how could you forsake traditional methods… Get back to your roots!

  36. Terry
    January 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Nick,
    Love the blogs. Just tried this fudge recipe and have to admit I seem to have failed. Yards thermometer and still doesn’t seemed to have worked. Carefully measured ingredients and heated on low for a long loong time stirring continually. Eventually reached soft ball stage and followed the rest of instructions but seems very glossy and hasn’t set even though cold 🙁

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Thanks! That’s very strange, it’s never ever failed for me – not even close. Do you carry on stirring afterwards? Hmm. Try again perhaps 😀

  37. Kristina
    January 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I am not a fan of fudge, but this looks delightful 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

      I don’t understand how you can’t be :P. Thanks 😀

  38. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    January 17, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I’ve never had vanilla fudge, only chocolate, but this looks so delicious and of perfect fudge consistency! I also love the idea of adding your own flavorings…the possibilities seem endless. Great post! BTW, I just tagged you for 10 questions in my last post…answer if you like! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Really? Mad. Make some! You must, I insist. I may well reply very soon – my one year blogiversary is coming up.

  39. Lesley
    January 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Looks amazing!

  40. Can't live without....
    January 18, 2012 at 3:24 am

    not a big fan of fudge…but this got me!!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Really?! That’s a surprise, it’s yummy. Each to his or her own! Perhaps you should try this version 😀

  41. Budget Bon Viveur
    January 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    MMMMMMMM!! Amazing! I must try…

  42. Bob Vivant
    January 19, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I love vanilla fudge, dare I say, better than chocolate fudge. The fudge bug bit me over the holidays but my results were inconsistent. I ended up with a few trays that were too soft. There’s a bit of an art to it isn’t there. Can’t wait to try your version!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Oh yes, it is! There is an art, and it requires one to lose one’s arm.

  43. Kelly
    January 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Yum! Looks amazing! I’m a dark chocolate fan but could totally go for this!

  44. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge
    January 23, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Whooooa. How did I miss this one??
    Definitely on my list now.


    • frugalfeeding
      January 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Good, because it’s definitely one not to miss.

  45. sylviangirl
    January 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    My other half has just demanded that I make this 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Well, you better had then!

      • sylviangirl
        February 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

        Do you roughly what the shelf life of the fudge is??

        • frugalfeeding
          February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

          A couple of weeks or more if stored in an air tight container 😀

  46. After Taste
    February 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Damn it, I just want to reach right into my laptop screen and grab a piece of that delicious looking fudge….pretty please?!!

    • frugalfeeding
      February 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Best not do that, something might break 🙂

  47. Katrina
    February 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Hi! Thanks for visiting my new blog. This fudge looks divine! I will be making it soon 🙂

    Susie Homemaker, MD

  48. chamila
    October 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    hi there 🙂 am so tempted by your traditional fudge but i have a few questions before trying it out. Hope u can help me.

    1. is it necessary to use double cream? (many recipes require only milk)

    2. I read some tips on perfect fudge that when adding the vanilla, do not stir it until the mixture has cooled down. I dont see this in ur recipe.

    3. No need to add extra butter or salt at same time as vanilla?

    thanks. Am waiting for your reply before starting. Ull be my guide 🙂 kz only ur fudge looks good compared to the various 25 websites ive read. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      October 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Hi, since you asked so nicely I’ll reply immediately!

      1: Nope, but it gives it a bit more richness and flavour
      2: It doesn’t really matter, I maybe eave it a couple of minutes
      3: Nope 😀

      It really is a delicious fudge.

  49. fudge lover
    December 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    After my 2nd attempt, beautiful fudge came out. First time around I didn’t use sugar thermometer and this is where I went wrong. Very easy recipe. Did half vanilla and half cinnamon and raisin. Will try making it with alcohol next time.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Yes, the thermometer is a must when working with sugar!

  50. narf77
    December 20, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Not so long ago recipes like this would have made me sad…”no fudge for me… :(“…but now I have my secret weapon…coconut cream! Makes the best fudge this side of the vegan peacos and we vegans can enjoy scrumptious vanilla fudge along with the rest of the population call coconut cream our mediator 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      December 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      ahha – very good! I’ll have to check out such a recipe!

  51. Asuma
    December 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’m a vegan but that still looks so good 🙂

  52. Angela S
    March 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    ok, why did I just get a ton of emails from posts over the last year all at once?

    • Admin
      March 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Sorry! I didn’t realise that would happen! I had to take some posts down and am putting them back up again! Sorry! I’m trying to stop it 😀

  53. Victoria Straker Cook!
    April 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I am using your delicious fudge recipe to make with the girls in the final year at my daughter’s prep school on Sunday as part of a sweet making workshop. I am having a piece right now with a cup of tea before the weekend onslaught begins. Thank you!

  54. Rhi
    June 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Feel stupid cause I can’t find the pictures. Making this right now 🙂

  55. Rhi
    August 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    First time I made this it was perfect…. The last two times I’ve ended up crying over it. 🙁

    • frugalfeeding
      August 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Fantastic! You’ve got to be really careful with it – sugar is a delicate thing.

  56. Di
    June 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Just made the fudge, but didn’t have cream so used all milk. Also we did beat the mixture fairly vigorously after taking it off the heat, as other recipes suggested. Anyway, it has set perfectly and tastes great. What difference would the cream make, other than adding a creaminess? !! What other flavouring would you try? Could I have added cocoa powder for a chocolate fudge ?

    • frugalfeeding
      July 15, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Glad it turned out well – I need to re-photograph it soon. The cream just adds a little extra fat and a slightly better texture/richness, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve made it with whisky before, which worked really well. I don’t know about cocoa powder… experiment! 😀

  57. Lynne
    November 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I’ve just made this..used single cream though so hope it sets. it seemed forever to get up to temperature and I dropped some dried fruits and nuts into it at the end as well as the vanilla paste and extract.

    • Roy Telling
      December 16, 2017 at 11:53 am

      hie Lynne.
      I have made fudge many time (but not for MANY years).
      in answer to your comment the time it takes to get to temperature can vary from 30 mins to over an hour.
      thing to consider: the heat from your cooker (you can set the heat halfway on one make cooker and it will cook hotter then another make set to half): The pan copper base pans transfer the heat to the insize better then a cast iron pan/skillet.
      I found this page looking for the right temerature and weights for the Ingredients as I forgot the wieghts I used. BUT looking at this and others I rememered me I simply use 5 🙂
      500g sugar (once you get the hang of making fudge try different sugars Demerara Muscovado, ect)
      500 ml doudle cream
      50g butter.
      5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract (or the flavoring of your choces I did a coffee fudge once)

      Happy fudge making

  58. Lynne
    November 5, 2016 at 10:23 am

    oops forget the continuous stirring afterwards. THATS why my fudge never sets right!

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