While the supply chain continues to wreak havoc on the gift-giving season, many of us are left ambling about department stores looking for something — anything — to wrap and stash under the tree this Christmas. Instead of stress-buying things that special someone doesn’t want, go home, and make some peanut butter fudge!
Most consider fudge a laborious process, and that’s true. For traditional chocolate fudge. Peanut butter fudge isn’t quite as difficult, and there are several ways to get great results.
At its core, peanut butter fudge is essentially sweetened peanut butter with added fat, typically butter. Recipes often call for brand-name peanut butter like Jif or Skippy because they’re laden with emulsifiers and stabilizers that help the fudge retain its form factor and resist melting if left out. (We prefer natural peanut butter, but there’s a good reason to use “traditional” peanut butter too — read on to find out why.)
The recipe below is about as basic as you can get, though we’ve found an even simpler method we’ll include in our FAQs.
Alton Brown’s recipe uses peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. He tosses his fudge in the microwave, too. All told, this is about the simplest recipe we could find which still gives you a fudge you’d be proud to gift.
- Difficulty: Simple
- Time: 2 hours (10 minutes active)
- Microwave safe bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Silicon spatula
- Glass or metal pan for fudge to set (see notes)
- Parchment paper (optional; see notes)
- Offset spatula (optional)
- 2 sticks (224 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (260 grams) smooth peanut butter
- 3 ¾ cups powdered sugar (455 grams)
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- Pro tip: grease pan with butter wrappers.
- Parchment paper is optional but preferred. If you don’t have parchment paper, wax paper works. Plastic wrap can also be used but makes unmolding fudge from the pan difficult and doesn’t yield the smoothest results. If you want beautiful fudge, parchment is best.
- You can use just about any square or rectangular pan to ‘set’ fudge; just be mindful larger pans will give you small fudge cubes. Larger pans also make it more difficult to remove fudge. We prefer an 8×8 or 9×13 pan; if you need smaller fudge cubes, just keep cutting them down.
- Place butter and peanut butter in microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the plastic to allow steam to escape.
- Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through.
a. While butter and peanut butter are heating, butter and line an 8×8 or 9×13 pan.
- Carefully and quickly mix powdered sugar into heated butter and peanut butter mixture.
a. About halfway through mixing, add vanilla extract.
- When ingredients are fully incorporated, dump fudge into prepared pan. Smooth to edges and cover loosely with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When the fudge is set, simply remove it from the pan and cut as desired. When you’re ready, put the fudge in any receptacle you like and gift it!
I don’t like big-brand peanut butter. Can I use natural peanut butter?
Absolutely, just know results may vary. Food Wishes has a great video on making fudge with natural peanut butter, but the results are a bit crumbly. If you’re not worried about aesthetics, we say go for it.
Is there an easier way to make peanut butter fudge?
Wow, really? Easier? Yeah, we’ve got you. Take two cans of sweetened condensed milk, five cups of peanut butter chips, and microwave on high for 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds. When peanut butter chips are melted, dump the mix into a prepared pan and let set for two or more hours. Cut as desired.
I’m vegan – now what?
Joshua Weissman has a great vegan peanut butter fudge using coconut oil and maple syrup. Check it out.
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