Fudge vs Ganache: What’s the Difference?

Both are rich indulgences that make desserts exceedingly better, but there's a real difference between fudge and ganache.

Chocolate enthusiasts know that fudge and ganache are two shining stars in the dessert world. Both are creamy, lush, chocolaty indulgences that appear on treats in bakeries and home kitchens alike. But despite a similar appearance, there is a sweet difference between fudge and ganache. Here’s what you need to know.

What is fudge?

This spongy sweet treat makes us envision candy shops and ice cream parlors with delicate homemade bonbons on display.

Fudge is a solid, dense, soft, chewy confection made from butter, sugar and milk (or heavy cream). Other ingredients such as chopped nuts, fruits, candies and extracts are sometimes added to the mix to create unique flavors—like this cherry swirl fudge! Interestingly, chocolate or cocoa is not the primary ingredient in fudge.

Fudge is commonly sliced into cubes and enjoyed as a standalone treat (try our best fudge recipes). It’s also commonly used as a filling or topping for cakes, pies and brownies.

Fun Fact: The History of Fudge

The first known batch of fudge was sold at a Baltimore grocery store for 40 cents a pound in the late 19th century. Around the same time, Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College (then an all-women school), whipped up batches of fudge and sold them on campus.

What is ganache?

Ganache is a smooth glaze made primarily with melted chocolate and cream (here’s how to make chocolate ganache, step by step). Unlike fudge, chocolate is indeed the main ingredient in a ganache. It’s commonly used to frost cakes and cupcakes or to coat truffles (if you’re craving a homemade truffle, try these made with orange extract.) It can even be used as a sweet dipping sauce for fruits, pastries and breads.

Traditionally, ganache is created when heated whipping cream is added still warm to melt the chocolate. It usually only needs to be cooled to room temperature. Fudge requires a good chilling in the fridge to set before serving. Another major difference is in the usage. Ganache is often used as a filling or an icing, while fudge can be enjoyed all by itself. You can give your own desserts a luscious, shiny coating with our easy homemade ganache recipe.

Fun Fact: The History of Ganache

Ganache was introduced by Parisian confectioner Maison Siraudin in 1862. He named his chocolaty creation after Les Ganaches, a vaudeville comedy by Victorien Sardou.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.