Crumbly Vanilla Fudge Recipe

I posted about this Crumbly Vanilla Fudge Recipe on Instagram today and seemingly I'm not the only person who likes crumbly fudge, rather than chewy fudge! So here's my Recipe.

I was an only child. When I was young, I used to go with my parents 'for a drive' at the weekends. For you young'uns reading this and thinking 'you did WHAT?', that's what you did in the 70s. Very often we would end up in Alfriston, a village near to Eastbourne where I grew up. There was a little shop there that sold vanilla fudge. It became known as Alfriston Fudge in our family. It was the most delicious fudge ever. Crumbly, grainy, almost tablet-like. But not hard.

Every time we went to Alfriston, I bought some with my pocket money. Invariably when I buy fudge in a shop nowadays, I am disappointed. It tends to be soft, chewy fudge. Not like Alfriston fudge at all. So I set about making my own.

Finding a Recipe for Crumbly Fudge

I found a traditional fudge recipe in an old cookbook. No condensed milk, evaporated milk or any of the other things I'd seen online. Simply butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.

My first attempt turned out soft and chewy, like this.

Not crumbly fudge

It was glossy, and when you pulled it it stretched for miles. Andy said 'yay! This is the most delicious homemade toffee I've ever had'. Except it wasn't supposed to be toffee. It was supposed to be Alfriston Fudge.

Then an interesting thing happened. I left the toffee, fudge or whatever it was out on the side in a bowl. Andy ate most of it but the bits that were left started to firm up quite a bit, with the crystallised bits of fudge in them that I was hoping for. So I did some research.

You need to stir A LOT to get Crumbly Fudge

Turns out you need to stir it a lot. I mean not just a quick stir with a wooden spoon like I did with the first batch. Oh no. You need to stir it within an inch of its life, until the glossiness starts to go out of it and it starts to thicken up. It's pretty thick when you take it off the heat anyway, but it needs to be even thicker than that.

Given that the first batch tasted lovely and, after a couple of days, was getting pretty close to what I wanted, I decided to give the same traditional recipe another go and see how it turned out second time around. It worked perfectly.

If you too are searching for fudge with the crumbly consistency of a sort of tablet that is not tablet: this is the recipe you're looking for. It calls for full fat milk. I always tend to have cartons of full fat, whole UHT milk in the house to make yogurt quickly, so I used that.

I have no idea whether this recipe would work with semi skimmed milk because I haven't tried it. With the amount of sugar in it, there didn't seem to be much point in reducing the fat content as it's never going to be a healthy snack.

Warning though: it's utterly, utterly addictive. If crumbly fudge is your bag, you may have to hide it from yourself.


Crumbly Vanilla Fudge Recipe


100g salted butter

350g granulated sugar, any old white sugar is fine

300ml full fat milk - I use whole long life milk

1 tsp vanilla essence/vanilla extract

You'll also need a sugar thermometer, or you can test to soft ball stage if you know how to do that. Plus a small, pan/dish buttered and lined with baking parchment, mine measures 9 cm x 13cm.


Put all the ingredients except the vanilla into as heavy based a saucepan as you can find (sugar tends to burn in my thin saucepans, maybe that's just me). Melt the mixture on a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

When you're confident all the sugar is dissolved, turn up the heat.

Bring the pan to the boil. The mixture will start rising up inside the pan, remain calm. It's ok, that's supposed to happen.

Boil it for at least 15 minutes. I stirred mine frequently to stop the sugar 'catching' on the bottom of the pan (though see below, even that's not a problem), and kept popping in a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.

When the temperature hits 115°C, take the pan off the heat for a couple of minutes until it all calms down. Add the vanilla. Then stir it with a wooden spoon for at least 5 minutes, and/or until you notice it starting to change consistency and the gloss decreasing.

If the sugar has 'caught' a little bit on the bottom of the pan, don't worry. Just keep stirring. Then pour it into your prepared dish. As it starts to cool, mark out the fudge into squares, then leave until it's cold.

Turn the fudge out in one piece on to a plate. If your cuts didn't go all the way to the bottom of the pan, the lines you made before it was cold will still be enough to allow you to cut it into squares without it shattering everywhere.

Give away as gifts wrapped in cellophane or, better still, eat it all yourself.

Now all I have to do is work out how to replicate the most delicious toffee that Andy has ever tasted. Hopefully it's simply a case of not stirring it much before you put it into the prepared dish... I'll let you know.

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Crumbly vanilla fudge recipe


  • Thanks so much for the recipe!
    I love crumbly fudge. I’ve just tried making this, I’m waiting for it to set. How long does it take to set?
    Also mines a very pale colour so I think I’ve done something wrong!
    Also when it comes off the boil to cool and you have to stir. Do you put it back on the heat? I stirred with a hand blender until it reached 115 and continued after I added the vanilla essence.

    I hope it turns out right! When I’ve mastered it. I’d love to try adding coffee flavouring. I always remember getting it when I was younger!


  • So glad you like it Becky, I don’t know about the flavours because I haven’t tried… but I have been asked before. The reason I haven’t (yet) tried it is because, particularly with chocolate, I’m not sure the consistency would remain crumbly because the fat content of the chocolate could change it. And I’m not convinced cocoa powder would give it enough chocolatiness (word?). But there really is only one way to find out and I’m going to give it a go. If you do it first please let me know!

  • We made this addictive crumbly fudge this morning. My 5 year old daughter keeps sneaking off to get more pieces!! (So does my husband too!!) It is absolutely lovely fudge if I do say so myself….Melt in the mouth, crumbly vanilla fudge. The way we like it. Yum yum!

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

    I don’t suppose you or anyone knows how to adapt to different flavours? Chocolate, orange etc…

    Becky Sterry
  • No I haven’t, and I’m really going to have to try it. If you do it first please let me know how it goes – I’m a bit of a vanilla addict because that was the only flavour I remember as a child, so haven’t bothered trying anything else!

  • This sounds just the thing, thank you for the recipe.
    Has anyone done a chocolate version, and if so, how much cocoa and do all the other ingredients stay the same?


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