How To Fix Fudge That Didn’t Set (3 Methods)


Most fudge makers realize that there are 3 major issues that can affect a batch of fudge and cause it not to turn out smooth and creamy. The batch can either turn out grainy, it can be too hard, or it can be runny and refuse to set properly. But, there is hope. There are a few things you can do to correct these problems.

If your fudge turns out runny and doesn’t set properly, there are three methods you can use to fix the problem and help the fudge to set:

  1. Add confectioners sugar.
  2. Add a cornstarch slurry.
  3. Re-cook the fudge.
Runny Fudge in a Square Pan

Runny Fudge Rescue

Here are 3 methods you can try to fix the batch of runny fudge and help it to set properly. I recommend trying them in order since each subsequent method is a bit more involved.

Method #1: Add Confectioners Sugar

Add a small amount of confectioners sugar at a time and stir it into the fudge until it becomes firm. I recommend only adding about 2 tablespoons at a time and incorporating it completely into the batch of fudge before adding any more until it reaches the right consistency. 

Be sure to only add enough to firm up the fudge. The more you add, the sweeter the fudge will taste.

Method #2: Add A Cornstarch Slurry

Combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and mix well to form a slurry, and stir that mixture into the fudge. When the slurry is incorporated completely into the fudge, it should help the fudge to set up so that it can be cut and served without being sticky.

Adding a cornstarch slurry should not affect the taste of the fudge.

Method #3: Reheat Again Until It Reaches Soft Ball Stage

Follow these steps to cook the runny fudge until it reaches the soft ball stage:

  1. Pour the entire batch back into the saucepan. 
  2. Add just a small amount of milk to return the fudge to liquid form.
  3. When dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil and cook it to the soft ball stage, or 234℉, without stirring.
  4. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat source and cool the fudge to 110℉ without stirring.
  5. Then beat the fudge with a wooden spoon until it begins to set. An easy way to tell if it is set is that it will longer glossy, but have a dull, matte finish.
  6. Immediately pour the fudge into the prepared pan or dish. It should be perfect this time.

This method should not affect the taste of the fudge at all.

Now, enjoy that fudge!

Each of the three methods should help your fudge to become firm and to set well enough to cut, even if it isn’t exactly like a batch that turned out perfectly.

The taste of the batch should not be affected, except method #1 might make it a bit sweeter than normal.

Read More: 5 Best Chocolates for Melting (And How to Use Them).

Why Is My Fudge Runny?

If your fudge refuses to set properly so that it turns out too soft and is runny, there are at least three things that could explain this issue.

  1. Not cooked quite long enough- If you rush the process and the fudge only reaches 233℉ or lower, then it will be too soft to cut, and you will probably have to either cook it some more or go ahead and get the spoons out to eat it with. 
  2. The weather- If it is raining while you are making fudge or if it is too humid, chances are good that the fudge will not set just right.
  3. The elevation is over 1,000 feet- If you did not adjust the cooking time appropriately, then because of the different boiling points at different elevations, your fudge may not have cooked long enough.

How Do You Make Fudge That Turns Out Smooth?

There are a few things you can do when making fudge that can help make sure the fudge will be creamy and will set properly. Here are the steps:

  1. When cooking the fudge, it must be cooked entirely over medium heat, not over high heat.
  2. Fudge should not be stirred while it is boiling.
  3. Sugar crystals that form on the side of the saucepan while the fudge is cooking must not be stirred into the fudge.
  4. The fudge must immediately be removed from the heat when it has reached the soft boil stage or 234℉, then allowed to cool to 110℉ before it is stirred.
  5. Once the fudge has cooled to 110℉, it should be stirred constantly with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken and is no longer glossy, then quickly poured into the prepared pan.

These steps, when followed exactly, should produce a batch of fudge that is cooked perfectly and is smooth and delicious.

How Do You Keep Fudge From Crystallizing?

The process of making fudge involves a scientific principle that, when done properly, causes the sugar to crystallize into small crystals that make the fudge a firm candy that holds its shape without becoming hard.

The secret is to make sure the sugar crystals remain small. If something goes wrong and the sugar crystals become too large, then the fudge becomes grainy. To prevent that from happening, the directions must be followed exactly.

These are a few steps that can help to ensure that the fudge is firm with a smooth texture:

  1. Cook fudge on medium heat, not high heat.
  2. Do not stir sugar crystals from the side of the saucepan into the fudge.
  3. Stop stirring fudge once it comes to a boil, and don’t stir it again until it cools to 110℉.
  4. When the fudge has cooled to 110℉, stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken and has a matte finish. 

Why Does My Fudge Crumble When I Cut It?

Overcooking is the main reason some fudge crumbles after it has cooled. Each batch must be cooked to exactly 234℉, the soft ball stage, and then removed from the heat immediately so that it isn’t cooked too long.

How Can I Fix Grainy Fudge?

Grainy fudge pretty much has to be recooked to have a chance of saving it.

Follow these steps:

  1. Put the entire batch of grainy fudge back into the saucepan. 
  2. Combine milk or cream and water, and add just enough of that mixture to dissolve the fudge.
  3. When the fudge is dissolved, bring it to a boil over medium heat and cook it to the soft ball stage, or 234℉, without stirring. 
  4. When it has reached the soft ball stage, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool to 110℉ without stirring. This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. When cool, beat the fudge with a wooden spoon until it begins to set and no longer has a glossy finish.
  6. Pour the fudge into a prepared pan and cut it into squares.

I wrote an article on this process called How To Fix Grainy Fudge in 6 Easy Steps. Be sure to check it out!

Final Thoughts

Although many folks find this recipe to be tricky and hard to cook just right, it is, in my opinion at least, the best fudge recipe out there and is worth the effort it takes to make it. So, even if you have to “fix” a batch now and again, it is worth the effort to keep trying. Plus, another option is to just eat the “bad” batches, whether you have to use a spoon, a chisel, or pour it as an ice cream topping. It is the best fudge in town.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss How To Fix Grainy Fudge in 6 Easy Steps.

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page.

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