Does Fudge Need to be Refrigerated, and How Long Does It Last?

Fudge has to be one of my all-time favorite desserts. The texture is simply incredible and I love the indulgent flavors. While I love classic chocolate fudge, I have enjoyed testing out all kinds of unique flavors, such as mint chocolate chip and rocky road. So yummy.

But enough about my obsession with fudge. You’re here because you want to learn whether or not fudge needs to be refrigerated and how long it will last. And I’ve got the answers for you.

Fudge should not be refrigerated because the fridge will suck out the much-needed moisture from the fudge, causing a dried-out, crumbly, and rock-hard mess as unpalatable as it gets.

Hello! I’m Michelle, and yup – fudge is my guilty pleasure. And to be honest, I should make it more often than I do. It’s typically our family’s “Christmas dessert” and we make it once a year. We make it in large batches, so I’ve had to discover how long it really lasts.

Are you ready to find out important info about fudge?

Should Fudge be Refrigerated?

Unless you’re making some kind of out-of-this-world fudge recipe loaded with ingredients and mix-ins, the basics for fudge include sugar, milk, and butter. With these perishable ingredients, most people are under the impression that fudge needs refrigeration.

But they’d be wrong.

Surprisingly enough, fudge does not need to be refrigerated. It’s perfectly safe at room temperature (with proper storage) for up to two weeks. 

In fact, I will go a step further: it’s actually recommended to store fudge at room temperature rather than in the fridge. That’s because the fridge can be quite drying, which can ruin the texture of your fudge rather quickly.

I know this can be confusing, as some people place their fudge in the fridge to help it set and harden up a tad. The thing to remember is that the refrigerator is only meant for those two purposes: setting and hardening. 

Once that’s complete, the fudge should be placed back on the counter.

In fact, setting and hardening in the fridge aren’t essential. You can leave it on the countertop. And while, yes, it will take a lot longer to set, it’s worth it. 

How Long Does Fudge Last?

Depending on the storage method used, fudge can last anywhere between two weeks and three months. For example, room temperature will offer the least longevity, while the freezer will give your fudge the most extended shelf life. Here’s the breakdown.

Room TemperatureUp to two weeks
RefrigeratorUp to three weeks
FreezerUp to three months

Keep in mind that storage is critical to achieving these storage timeframes. 

How to Store Fudge

Storage plays a huge role in how long your fudge will *actually* last. Here is a quick breakdown of how to store fudge at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer.

At Room Temp

If you want to keep the creamy smooth consistency of your fudge, keep it at room temperature in an airtight container. If you need to layer the fudge to fit your container, you can add a piece of plastic wrap in between so they don’t accidentally mold together. 

In the Fridge

I don’t suggest storing fudge in the fridge – unless you really need to. That’s because the fridge is quite drying. You will need to take extra steps to ensure that your fudge doesn’t succumb to the drying properties of your refrigerator. Here’s how.

Step 1: Wrap the fudge tightly with one or two layers of plastic wrap.

Step 2: Store inside an airtight container. Always use a sealable and lockable container

Step 3: Store in the back of the fridge, away from any strong-smelling food items and ingredients.

In the Freezer

If you want to extend the shelf life of your fudge for up to three months, you will want to stash it in the freezer. It’s pretty simple, and you will follow the same exact steps mentioned above in the “fridge” section. 

However, I recommend using a single layer of plastic wrap followed by another layer of aluminum foil. This will ensure an adequate seal to prevent drying and freezer burn, which will render your fudge useless.

How to Tell if Fudge Has Gone Bad (3 Signs)

Just because fudge can last two weeks to three months with proper storage doesn’t mean it necessarily will. Many things can impact your fudge’s longevity, from exposure to air and moisture to add-ins. That said, it’s critical to know the signs of spoiled fudge.

Change in Texture

If you’re noticing any kind of sliminess on your fudge, it’s a good idea to toss it.

The same is true for rock-hard fudge. You can try to microwave it to soften or melt it and use it as a drizzle on top of your ice cream. But if it’s too hard or you don’t want to fuss with repurposing it, go ahead and make a fresh batch. At this point, the flavor will have deteriorated a bit anyway.

Odd Odor

Does your fudge smell more like a dumpster than a delicious slab of chocolate goodness? Go ahead and get rid of it. Who wants to consume something that smells bad? Definitely not me!


Fudge can grow mold, especially if you add mix-ins that can mold fast, like fruit. If you notice any discoloration or fuzziness on your fudge, toss it ASAP. While old fudge likely won’t make you sick, consuming mold can

How to Use Leftover or Dried-Out Fudge

Stuck with way too much fudge than you’ll ever eat? Did you store your fudge in the fridge, and now it’s become an inedible mess? Regardless of why you need to use up all this fudge, I have some recipes that will pique your palate.

  • Fudge sauce. Fudge sauce is lovely because it will mask any dried-out fudge and bring it back to chocolatey goodness. You can pour it over just about anything, but on top of ice cream seems to be the crowd favorite.
  • Fudge brownies. Can brownies ever have too much chocolate? I think not! When making your next batch of brownies, consider tossing in a few chunks of brownies to rev up the sweetness and indulgence.
  • Beef stew. Yes, you read that correctly. Beef stew can get a luxurious flavor makeover with a few chunks of fudge dropped inside. Yes, it might sound a bit odd at first. But don’t knock it till you try it!


Fudge has a pretty long shelf life and will last two weeks to three months with proper storage. If you want to find out more about fudge, here are some frequently asked questions that people – just like you – have been asking lately!

Can you eat unrefrigerated fudge?

Of course, you can! As long as it is stored properly (in an airtight container) and there are no signs of spoilage (odd odor, discoloration, or change in texture), you can consume fudge at room temperature. It will remain suitable for up to two weeks!

Why does fudge not need to be refrigerated?

Fudge has perishable ingredients like butter and milk. So how can it be left at room temperature? It’s all thanks to the sugar. The high sugar levels will inhibit the growth of bacteria that would otherwise riddle your dairy products. Thanks, sugar!

Do you have to refrigerate fudge made with evaporated milk?

If you use evaporated milk to create your fudge, you do not have to refrigerate it. Use the same storage methods used above. 

Can I leave fudge out overnight?

You can leave your fudge out overnight. In fact, you leave it at room temp (in an airtight container) for up to two weeks. Although fudge contains dairy, the sugar stabilizes it to ensure it will remain safe and delicious for weeks on the countertop.

How long does fudge need to be set?

If you’re setting the fudge on the counter, it could easily take up to three hours or more. Using the fridge will cut down the time tremendously, most fudge sets in as little as 45 minutes to an hour. Keep an eye on it and remove it the second it’s set.

Final Words

Fudge will last for up to two weeks at room temperature, three weeks in the fridge, or three months in the freezer. Proper storage is critical and always check for signs of spoilage before consuming.

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About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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