Hot Fudge Sauce {Christmas Neighbor Gift Idea}

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This silky smooth Hot Fudge Sauce is made with basic ingredients you have in your pantry. It is delectable served over ice cream!

We also like to drizzle this homemade hot fudge sauce over Peanut Butter Pie, Mint Oreo Ice Cream Dessert, and Frozen Oreo Ice Cream Dessert.

simple hot fudge sauce title pageHomemade Hot Fudge Sauce

I have tried many recipes for homemade hot fudge sauce over the years, but this one remains my favorite. Not only is it the one I grew up with (thanks for the recipe mom!), it also tastes amazing. But the thing that sets it apart from the others I’ve tried is that it stores really well.

All the other recipes I’ve made have turned grainy when they are stored in the fridge. They melt fine of course, but this one just stays smooth and creamy. So if you get a hankering for a spoonful, you don’t have to heat it up first. Much easier to sneak without your kids catching you. 😉

hot fudge sauce being poured over vanilla ice cream

How to make homemade hot fudge sauce:

Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large saucepan, then slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 6-8 minutes, or until thickened. (It will thicken even more as it cools, so don’t overcook it.) 

Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Continue stirring till butter is melted. 

After the hot fudge has cooled to room temperature, pour into glass jars.

What is the difference between hot fudge sauce and chocolate sauce or syrup?

-Hot fudge sauce has a deeper, richer flavor that chocolate syrup. Hot fudge sauce is made with sugar, butter, chocolate, and cream or evaporated milk. Chocolate syrup is usually made with a simple mixture of corn syrup or sugar and chocolate. 

-Hot fudge sauce is typically thicker when chilled, and liquifies when heated. Chocolate syrup is much thinner, even at room temperature or chilled.

close up of bowl of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce

Hot fudge sauce makes fun Christmas neighbor gifts!  I found these cute little glass jars at Tai Pan Trading, and just knew I had to use them this year. Although I must admit, I am saving several for myself because I just love them. 🙂 You can also use little mason jars, or any other glass jars you can find.

I made up some cute tags to go with the hot fudge, so I am including the free printables for you. There are three pages. Page one is the hot fudge labels, page two is the “Merry Christmas” tags, page three is the “To/From” tags. Just click on the link below to download and print the page or pages you need.

hot fudge sauce in glass jar with free printable Christmas gift tags

Free Printable Hot Fudge Christmas Gift Tags

Here’s a sample of what they look like: Hot Fudge Labels printable-tags-hot-fudge-recipeMerry Christmas Tags free-printable-christmas-gift-tagsTo/From Christmas Gift Tags free-printable-gift-tags-hot-fudge-recipe


best ever easy hot fudge sauce recipe collage

Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

Yield: 2 cups

Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce
This silky smooth Hot Fudge Sauce is made with basic ingredients you have in your pantry.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6-8 Tbsp cocoa
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large saucepan. Slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 6-8 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Stir till butter melts. Cool slightly before pouring into glass jars.
  3. Serve warm, and store leftovers in the refrigerator. It heats up nicely in the microwave.


-I like my chocolate sauce rich, so I use the full amount of cocoa powder. You get a more milk chocolate flavored sauce if you use less cocoa.

-When I am making this just for my family, I cut the recipe in half and only boil it for 3-4 minutes. (Half a can of evaporated milk is about 3/4 cup.)

How do I store my hot fudge sauce?

This hot fudge stores really well in the refrigerator, and doesn’t turn grainy. I like storing it in glass jars to I can just pop it in the microwave to heat it up when we need it. I know it lasts for up to two months, but it may last longer, we just eat it up before then!

hot fudge sauce Christmas neighbor gift collage

Need more free Christmas gift tags? Check these out:

Free Printable Gratitude Christmas Gift Tags
Chalkboard M&M Christmas Gift Tags
Holly Jolly Christmas Tags
Red & White Gift Tags

Recipe originally posted on 12/13/2012. Post updated November 2018.


  1. Kara I just found your labels and tags and receipe for Hot Fudge. I found a receipe which uses evaporated milk. I notice yours does to. I made it and thought I would label it just for my husband and I. Thus, I found you. It is March 9th, 2019 not even Christmaas.
    Thanks for sharing all this as this would be awesome for Christmas gifts. Will it be okay to double the receipe or will it change consistency? I love Christmas. I have two daughters and one son. Holly, Noel and Norm. I wanted my son to be Nicholas, but husband won. 2 out of 3 is not bad. LOL Again, thanks for sharing. I wish I had a place to share as well. I am working on that. God Bless you and yours. Linda

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Linda! How fun that your kids have Christmas names! (Well at least two of them.) You can definitely double the recipe, it will just take longer to cook. I’d start with 10 minutes and add more time if you need it. And of course if you cook it too long, you can add a little more evaporated milk to thin it.

  2. What a perfect, easy gift for the neighbors! Thanks for sharing!

  3. So easy and much better than store-bought! Yum!

  4. Aimee Shugarman says:

    So easy, and delicious too!!!

  5. Allyson Zea says:

    I am going to use this as teacher’s gifts this holiday season! Thank you!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Kara,
    Found your blog by accident, by clicking a link on someone else’s site. I find some of my favorite sites this way 🙂 Most of my family live in different states. I know you said store in fridge, but does that mean after opening? Guess I am asking could I ship this sauce out or would I have to do the whole canning process to do it? Don’t want to mess with canning, so if that’s the case will only make it for people I can hand deliver it too 🙂 Also what is the max time this can remain out of fridge at room temp? Great blog you had me when you said “If I can do it anyone can do it” my favorite saying that comes out of mouth.

    • You have to store it in the refrigerator, so I wouldn’t recommend shipping it. My kids have sometimes left ours out on the counter for a few hours, and it’s still fine. But I wouldn’t give it to other people if it had been left out. 🙂

  7. Joan Parkinson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your printables! You saved the day for me! I appreciate people that share their talents! Kudos to you. Your hot fudge recipe is very similar to mine. Mine was my mothers too. They only difference is my recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar. My recipe does suggest you bring it to a boil and boil 10-15 minutes stirring almost the whole time. It has to be a fast boil and it will thicken nicely!! A great neighbor gift!

  8. Hi Kara. Thanks for a great recipe. I’ve prepared the ice cream and it’s nicely tucked away in my freeZer.
    I’ve made the fudge sauce. It’s delicious. I found that no matter how long I allowed it to boil, it never thickened.
    I added a tsp of cornstarch flour and it thickened quite nicely. Not to thick, slightly thicker.

  9. Trying to use your cute stickers for the hot fudge I made with your recipe, but they don’t line up with the labels I bought (even though mine are 3×4 on a page too), how to fix that or what sticker labels did you use to print your circle hot fudge labels?

    • Amy, I just printed mine on cardstock and cut them out. I’ve never been smart enough to figure out how to use the pre-cut labels! 😉

    • Pretty good except it didn’t thicken like I thought it would…I put some aside and added cornstarch and it was better…AND I didn’t add the whole can of evaporated milk as I had used it some the night before. It went well however with my chocolate chip pancake mix with a little whipped cream…no calories that is until you eat it. 🙂

  10. I bought a bunch of those jars at Tai pan also and was wondering what to do with them! Now I know what my neighbor gifts will be this year. Thanks for the printables!

  11. mmm! great idea. I’ve never made my own hot fudge before

  12. Hi Kara, I just made this today. I’m wondering how thick yours turns out? Mine thickened up a bit, but definitely not like traditional hot fudge. Maybe I didn’t boil it long enough? Tasted great, though. Thanks!

    • Stephanie,
      I don’t make mine quite as thick as traditional hot fudge, but the longer you cook it, the more it thickens. However, when it is really thick, it does have more of a tendency to turn sugary when stored. Heats up just fine though. 🙂

  13. What a lovely idea. I am visiting you via Somewhat Simple. I look forward to seeing you at My Dream Canvas. Happy Holidays. Anu

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