This rich old fashioned hot fudge sauce is silky smooth and is made with evaporated milk and is the perfect topping for vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge brownies or Oreo milkshakes!

Hot Fudge Sauce made with evaporated milk in a glass jar against a white background.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Made with flour. Using flour helps give a robust structure to the old fashioned hot fudge so it is thicker and smoother.
  • Hot fudge sauce with evaporated milk. This recipe uses evaporated milk which is a milk product that has had half of the water content boiled out (hence evaporated) so the resulting product is thicker and creamier.
  • Homemade is better. This recipe is from my mother-in-law and is a recipe my husband grew up with. He would always complain when I’d buy store-bought hot fudge! “This isn’t as good as my mom’s,” he would say. Well, he was right! Homemade is better. Always.

Ingredient Notes

Hot Fudge Sauce ingredients in glass bowls on a white marble background.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I use the Hershey’s brand.
  • Flour: Using flour in hot fudge sauce makes the sauce thick and more of a robust structure. If you were using just milk, butter, sugar and chocolate, you wouldn’t get an equally thick and full consistency.
  • Evaporated Milk: This is milk that has had a half of the water content boiled off, resulting in a denser, creamier milk.
  • Butter: Adding the butter gives an additional flavor element and provides a fatty element which helps bind the ingredients together (with help from the flour, too!)
  • Vanilla Extract: I know it seems weird adding vanilla to a chocolate recipe, but adding vanilla extract helps round out the flavor of the fudge.

Step-by-Step Ingredients

  1. Add the dry ingredients to a saucepan and whisk to combine. 
  1. Pour in the evaporated milk and mix until combined. 
  1. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium low heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will slightly thicken, but be careful because we don’t want it to be too thick.
  2. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until smooth. 
  1. Serve hot or cold over brownies, cakes or ice cream!
A spoon lifting out a portion of homemade Hot Fudge Sauce from a glass cup.

Recipe Tips

Hot fudge sauce will thicken as it cools. If you accidentally cooked the mixture too long (and the sauce is thicker than you’d like) stir in a splash of milk and that will help thin it out.

Whisk while pouring in the evaporated milk to help limit any clumping. Be sure the mixture is well mixed before turning on the heat.

Serve warm over ice cream, brownies, and a variety of desserts. Use the sauce to make a homemade ice cream sundae or banana split. Add toppings such as chopped nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry!

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store leftovers covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Once you notice liquid separation in the sauce, discard it.

To reheat the old fashioned hot fudge sauce, warm it in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals until warm.

You can freeze hot fudge sauce (Note: I have never tried it, but apparently it’s a thing). Simply store it in an freezer-safe container that is airtight and let thaw in the fridge overnight.

FAQs

Will hot fudge harden? 

As hot fudge cools it thickens, but doesn’t necessarily harden. This is due to the butter in the sauce. The sauce will thin out when warmed.

Is this hot fudge recipe gluten free?

This sauce isn’t because it uses all-purpose flour. You can try to sub the AP flour for gluten-free flour. When doing so I suggest you use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour.

Does hot fudge go bad? 

Yes. Use the sauce within 3 weeks of making it. If you notice any liquid separation in the sauce, it’s time to discard it.

Does hot fudge sauce need to be refrigerated? 

Yes, to properly store the sauce you should keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can you freeze hot fudge sauce? 

Haven’t attempted this personally, but I did a lot of research and it turns out you can freeze hot fudge. Place in a freezer safe container. Will last 3-4 month frozen. To use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals (stirring/whisking well to combine everything) until warm.

Old fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce in a glass jar on a white background.

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A jar of old fashioned hot fudge sauce with a spoon in the jar.
Print Review
5 from 8 votes

Old Fashioned Hot Fudge Sauce

This warm, rich, and chocolatey Hot Fudge sauce is the perfect topping for vanilla ice cream, brownies, or ice cream cake roll. There are endless ways you can enjoy this heavenly recipe! 
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 7 mins
Total Time: 17 mins
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder - I used natural unsweetened (Hershey's brand)
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour - see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan whisk the sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt.
  • Pour in the evaporated milk and mix until combined.
  • Place the pot over medium to medium low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken slightly, but be careful to not boil too long. The longer you boil, the thicker it gets.
  • Remove from heat and add the butter and the vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
  • Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Notes

I haven’t tried this, but you can try substituting gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. I suggest you use a brand/product similar to Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 baking flour. 
Hot fudge sauce will thicken as it cools. If you accidentally cooked the mixture too long (and the sauce is thicker than you’d like) stir in a splash of milk and that will help thin it out.
Whisk while pouring in the evaporated milk to help limit any clumping. Be sure the mixture is well mixed before turning on the heat.
Serve warm over ice cream, brownies, and a variety of desserts. Use the sauce to make a homemade ice cream sundae or banana split. Add toppings such as chopped nuts, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry!
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing: Store leftovers covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Once you notice liquid separation in the sauce, discard it. To reheat hot fudge, warm it in the microwave in 10-15 second intervals until warm. You can freeze hot fudge sauce (Note: I have never tried it, but apparently it’s a thing). Simply store it in an freezer-safe container that is airtight and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
Nutritional information is based on 1 serving.
Recipe from my mother-in-law. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1842kcal (92%)Carbohydrates: 436g (145%)Protein: 7g (14%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 9g (45%)Cholesterol: 30mg (10%)Sodium: 1175mg (49%)Potassium: 305mg (9%)Fiber: 7g (28%)Sugar: 401g (446%)Vitamin A: 350IU (7%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 4mg (22%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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This recipe was originally published on June 8, 2020. It was republished on Jan. 11, 2022, to include additional information and photos.