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. Interestingly, chocolate or cocoa is not the primary ingredient in fudge. Find out the difference between cacao and cocoa.

Fudge is commonly sliced into cubes and enjoyed as a standalone treat (here’s the secret to making foolproof fudge). 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. Unlike fudge, chocolate is indeed the main ingredient in a ganache. It’s commonly used to frost cakes and cupcakes or to coat truffles. 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.

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. Now that you know the difference between fudge and ganache, learn the difference between baking soda and baking powder.

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Ceara Milligan
Ceara Milligan is an avid people fan and an unabashed brand geek. Her true passion lies within research, where she unveils consumer, brand, and industry insights and discovers the many ways in which people shop, communicate, search, and design a unique presence both online and offline. She loves staying informed about trends that affect the outlook of businesses every single day. She has extensive experience in developing digital and brand strategies and inspiring creativity across all channels and touchpoints. She has implemented strategies for brands in various industries, including healthcare, agriculture, food and beverage, travel and tourism, CPG, nonprofit, insurance, financial services, beauty, education, retail, B2B, and automotive. Ceara graduated cum laude from Marquette University in 2012, where she studied Marketing, Information Technology, and Advertising. When she isn't in marketer mode, Ceara can be found listening to Third Eye Blind, cheering on Marquette Golden Eagles basketball, playing trivia, petting strangers' dogs, and baking up a storm.