Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce

Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce | CafeJohnsonia.com

For those times when you want some yummy hot fudge sauce, but don’t have any more chocolate on hand to make it, use cocoa powder. And for times when you do have chocolate, substitute it or add it to the cocoa powder for the creamiest, dreamiest hot fudge sauce imaginable. 

Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce | CafeJohnsonia.com

I grew up eating hot fudge sundaes at my grandmother’s family parties. She is the best hostess – the food is always incredible, and her desserts really shine. One thing I could always count on at Grandma’s house, was ice cream or ice cream bars in the freezer. I think that’s where I get my love of frozen desserts. :)

A rendition of my grandma’s hot fudge recipe can be found here. This one is another riff off the original recipe, but even easier to make. It’s very similar to how we make Brazilian brigadeiros (chocolate truffles). Stay tuned for that recipe – it’s definitely one that needs to be shared.

So what makes my fudge sauce recipe different? For a start, I use sweetened condensed milk, which is a staple in our Brazilian-American household. The creamy unmistakable flavor and texture is the perfect base for hot fudge sauce.

The salted butter is melted first and the cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate is added to the hot butter. The heat helps bring out all of the flavors in the cocoa and/or chocolate. It smells divine. Note: if you use unsalted butter, make sure to add a pinch of salt at some point in the recipe. Salt helps to balance and enhance the sweetness of the condensed milk. Add as much or as little as you’d like. Going a little heavy on the salt can be really good – kind of like salted caramel sauce, only chocolate. 

This hot fudge sauce is pretty thick, which is my preference. If you prefer a thinner more drizzly sauce, add a little milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

I use this hot fudge sauce both as an ice cream topping and to swirl into homemade ice cream. I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. :) By the way, that photo above is from an ice cream recipe book I created awhile ago. It’s no longer available in print, but I do have an ebook version. I’ll try to post the other sauce recipes because they are simply fantastic. You can find the Coffee Toffee Sauce (upper left bowl) here

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Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce

Your ice cream sundae is begging to be drizzled with is delicious, rich hot fudge sauce. Made with just four ingredients, it’s easy to make and uses pantry staples.

  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


Units Scale
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 heaping Tbsp. cocoa powder OR 4 ounces chopped unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, if needed, to thin sauce


  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter. Once the foaming subsides, remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder or chopped unsweetened chocolate. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until smooth. It should smell fantastic.
  2. Place back on the burner. With the heat on low, add the sweetened condensed milk all at once and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring or whisking continuously. If the sauce thickens too much, whisk in a milk a little at a time. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe jar.
  3. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.


For a sweeter sauce, use less cocoa powder or baking chocolate, or use semi-sweet baking chocolate.
To change up the flavor, add a pure extract such as vanilla, peppermint, orange, raspberry, almond, coffee, coconut, etc. Or stir in a spoonful of peanut butter, a little strong-brewed coffee, chopped nuts, or even a little liqueur. Add after the final step before transferring to jar.

  • Author: Lindsey Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: dessert, sauce
  • Cuisine: American

This post was slightly updated on 7/8/2019.

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  1. Oh, looks good. Maybe I will have to try this although I have a hot fudge sauce I really love…this is definitely easier!

  2. I’ve only met you once when I was in NY visiting my best friend Wendy and you were nice enough to come watch the kids while we went to see the Rockettes, but I just have to tell you how much I LOVE your blog. Your recipes are divine and I plan on trying some of them. Wendy is very lucky to have such great friends in NY. Happy Birthday!

  3. I came across this post searching for easy hot fudge– so easy, so delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe, perfect on ice cream! -Sarah M

  4. Very good, turned out exactly as described and came together fast. Well done Lindsey! :)

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