This Guyanese vanilla fudge recipe combines milk, butter, sugar, and vanilla for a decadently smooth and creamy treat. Learn how to make vanilla fudge with the perfect consistency and flavor using just a few simple ingredients and techniques from a pro.
The Best Vanilla Fudge Recipe
When it comes to vanilla fudge recipes, this one comes out on top. I learned from my aunt, a former Carnegie School of Home Economics in Guyana. She has made this fudge so often she knew exactly when it was ready, without checking the thermometer.
But she checked and tested the fudge in water just for my satisfaction. Fudge making is a science and I’m here to walk you through it, step by step with simple instructions. You may not have the same expertise as my aunt, but I guarantee that you can make this easy vanilla fudge recipe too!
- The Best Vanilla Fudge Recipe
- Why You’ll Love This Guyanese Vanilla Fudge Recipe
- Ingredients for Vanilla Fudge
- How to Make Vanilla Fudge
- Final Steps in Fudge Making
- Using a Stand Mixer to beat the fudge!
- Setting the Vanilla Fudge
- Vanilla Fudge Recipe Substitutions & Variations
- Tips for the Best Vanilla Fudge
- How to tell when Guyanese Vanilla Fudge is ready?
- Frequently Asked Question
- Guyanese Vanilla Fudge Recipe
Why You’ll Love This Guyanese Vanilla Fudge Recipe
- Easy: With just a few simple ingredients, you can have tasty Guyanese vanilla fudge bars in about an hour.
- Traditional: We don’t use the microwave or white chocolate chips. This traditional vanilla fudge recipe involves some mixing and churning. It’s a labor love and the end result is so much better!
- Indulgent: Rich and decadent, vanilla fudge is a welcome change from chocolate fudge, with a delicately sweet, warm taste. Just one bite and you’ll be in buttery bliss!
Ingredients for Vanilla Fudge
This recipe is made with just a few pantry staples.
- Evaporated milk: This adds a creamy quality.
- Condensed milk: This is much thicker than evaporated milk and is sweet.
- Brown sugar: This sweetens the fudge. If you live outside of Guyana, I highly recommend Demerara sugar, turbinado sugar or light brown sugar as a last resort. Did you know that regular American brown sugar is just granulated sugar with molasses added to it? Click here to learn more.
- Water: This is used to thin out the fudge mixture.
- Butter: Use salted room temperature butter.
- Vanilla extract: This enhances the overall taste with a warm vanilla flavor.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Vanilla Fudge
Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, brown sugar, and water in a large saucepan and mix together until all the sugar has melted. Then place the saucepan on medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Do not stir before the mixture boils.
Stir continuously in a figure 8 motion, going around the sides and down the middle. Boil the mixture until it forms a soft ball or comes to 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the mixture come up to a slow boil on medium heat without stirring it, this should take from 10 to 15 minutes. Once it starts to boil reduce the heat to medium-low and stir it occasionally to prevent the mixture from burning.
When I first started making this vanilla fudge recipe, I would stir it constantly but over time I learned that at the right temperature I only needed to stir it occasionally. If you have a really deep pot, you can keep it on medium heat, but if using a shallow pot if the temperature is too high it will boil over.
Final Steps in Fudge Making
The fudge is ready when it reduces down to a thick caramel looking mixture and is at the soft ball stage. If you taste the fudge at this stage it will taste a lot like toffee, but have no fear it is the beating that crystalizes the sugar and brings the fudge to that creamy texture that is synonymous with fudge.
At this stage I typically add two tablespoons of butter and mix it into the fudge until it completely melts. Then I allow the fudge to cool for about 5 minutes, then start to beat (constantly mix) the fudge with a wooden spoon. This will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, of constant stirring to crystalize the sugar and get that fudge consistency.
Using a Stand Mixer to beat the fudge!
If you’ve ever beaten fudge with a wooden spoon then you know the task can be quite daunting and tiresome. Now I beat my fudge in my stand mixer. Simply pour all the hot fudge into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat for 5 minutes on Speed 2. Stopping halfway to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Just look at that gorgeous texture!
Setting the Vanilla Fudge
Once you’ve achieved the desired texture while beating the fudge, pour it into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Here I am using a 3 quart pyrex baking dish. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the fudge out.
Then after the fudge has cooled for about 15 minutes cut it into desired pieces, then allow the fudge to cool completely before removing from the pan and separating.
Vanilla Fudge Recipe Substitutions & Variations
- Fun Add-Ins. After pouring the fudge, consider adding walnuts, pecans, cherries, marshmallows, sprinkles, or swirls of caramel for additional flavor. Some Guyanese people add peanuts but I don’t prefer them.
- Flavor. Instead of vanilla extract, you can use lemon extract or almond extract.
- Vanilla Fudge Without Condensed Milk. Use light corn syrup and heavy cream as an alternative to condensed and evaporated milk.
- Large Saucepan: Use one large enough that when the fudge starts boiling, it won’t spill out or over!
- Wooden spoon or a silicone spoon: To mix the fudge.
- Candy thermometer: I get it. Your grandmother didn’t use a candy thermometer but even the most skilled candy makers use thermometers. Eye balling it as a beginner, you are bound to make mistakes. These are cheap and worth the investment.
- Rubber spatula: This is used to smooth the fudge out.
This vanilla fudge recipe makes about 16 pieces. Wrap leftovers in wax paper then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Vanilla Fudge
- Mix well when combining the milk and sugar to the saucepan, until all the sugar dissolves. This step is very important because if you don’t mix it together well, some of the sugar and condensed milk may sink to the bottom of the pot and burn when you start to heat up the mixture.
- The fudge must come to a boil to reach the target temperature of 235°F.
- Prevent grainy fudge by stirring frequently as it cools down (after the boiling stage).
- If you don’t intend to serve the fudge immediately, don’t slice it. Otherwise, it will dry out faster.
- Depending on the ingredients used, your vanilla fudge will vary from pure white to golden brown. That’s totally fine.
How to tell when Guyanese Vanilla Fudge is ready?
Knowing when the fudge is ready will make the difference in making fudge or making toffee. Typically, you will know you are getting close when the fudge mixture reduces to half of the amount.
Do you know how to test the soft ball stage? You have reached soft ball stage when the hot fudge mixture is dropped into cold water and looks a lot like toffee (it is soft and holds together in the water without making the water milky or cloudy). For more specific information on testing for soft ball check out this post.
The best way to determine if vanilla fudge is done is to use a candy thermometer. I know, I know you want to be like your grandmother and aunties who could eyeball fudge and know when it is ready. So do I.
But until then I use my trusty candy thermometer. And when it hits that sweet spot of 235-238°F I know I will have perfect fudge. Click here to buy a candy thermometer, you won’t regret it!
Frequently Asked Question
The key to creamy vanilla fudge is to avoid crystallization. If the homemade fudge is not properly stirred, the sugar crystals will not disintegrate. If they are large, you end up with coarse, grainy fudge.
This vanilla fudge recipe is made with milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.
If the fudge is too hard, it may have been overcooked or over-stirred. You may be able to fix it by melting the fudge back down over low heat and adding water.
Guyanese Vanilla Fudge Recipe
- Large Saucepan
- Wooden Spoon or a Silicone Spoon
- Candy Thermometer
- Rubber Spatula
- 12 oz Evaporated Milk
- 14 oz Condensed Milk
- 2 cups Brown Sugar
- ¾ cup Water
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Combine evaporated milk, condensed milk, brown sugar and water in a large saucepan and mix together until all the sugar has melted.
- Place on medium heat and bring to a slow boil.
- Do not stir before the mixture boils.
- Stir continuously in a figure 8 going around the sides and down the middle.
- Boil mixture until it forms a soft ball or come to 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove mixture from heat and add butter and vanilla extract.
- Let cool for 5 minutes then beat until mixture becomes thick.
- Pour into a greased square baking dish and let cool.
- Cut into squares when mixture is almost cool.
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.