Buttermilk Pecan Fudge


Fudge shops are not usually indicators of a rich culinary scene. I associate fudge with tourist-filled fair-weather vacation spots from Monterrey to Saugatuck to Ogunquit. The fudge in any of these shops inexplicably looks the same, thus undermining my faith in the product. It is sometimes sold alongside all forms of gummy/sour candies and ice cream that is crystallizing before your very eyes. Though I frequently enter these shops, they do have their charms and usually are well-air conditioned, I rarely eat anything.


This buttermilk and pecan fudge was just unusual enough to tempt me into making it. It is unlike any fudge I have ever tasted, it is tangy and bright from the buttermilk. That tang helps fight the rich sweetness of the candy. Well-toasted pecans and some flaky salt round out the flavor. It’s delicious, and surprisingly easy on the arms. Unlike some recipes that have you stirring the cooked fudge for 20 minutes while you exhaust all of the muscles in your arms, you pour this into the bowl of your stand mixer and let it do the work for you. The finished product is also quite good looking, and keeps well for a week or so.

 Buttermilk Pecan Fudge (recipe by Alison Roman for Bon Appetit)

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on the long sides; set aside.

Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Heat the sugar, buttermilk, butter, honey, and kosher salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until butter and sugar are melted, about 3 minutes. Fit saucepan with a candy thermometer, bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 238° (mixture will be pale golden and smell faintly of toffee), 6–8 minutes.

Immediately (and carefully!) pour the mixture into a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until cool and thickened (it will be stiff and matte), 5–8 minutes. Fold in pecans. Scrape fudge into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit at least 1 hour before cutting into pieces.

20 comments to “Buttermilk Pecan Fudge”

  1. I’m all over this recipe!! So yummy looking.

  2. There used to be a fudge shop (well, it might well still be there) in the small touristy English town I grew up in. They’d make the fudge on a grey marble slab after cooking it up in a huge copper pot – it was near the window, so you could see them doing it as you walked up the High St. I remember the fudge being really good (but that could be because I wasn’t normally allowed sweets – this was also a very hippy town…).

    Buttermilk and pecan with salt sounds like an excellent combination and I love the idea of the buttermilk cutting through the sweetness.

  3. Fabulous. Cannot wait to try. In my uni town there was a fudge shop that gave out free fudge. It was that bad that I didn’t go in and take any every time.

  4. For good or bad, (it was always good at the time,) I grew up on my mom’s infrequent (but never-failing) heavenly chocolate fudge. From that experience, I’ve always believed not all fudge to be equal. Your version of buttermilk and pecan fudge looks both above the fold and spectacularly good tasting!

  5. I think: i would like this at Easter and Christmas!

    Sounds very good and looks delish.

    Thank you.

  6. This is the first fudge recipe I’ve seen that’s tempted me in years.

    I’m pretty sure I passed by some of those shops in Ogunquit last fall. I remember seeing those shops on Mackinac Island and South Haven and Saugatuck and Frankenmuth in Michigan growing up. I was always tempted as a kid and then disappointed when my parents finally relented and got us some of that grainy, overly sweet stuff. But this has me intrigued.

  7. Jeffrey C says:

    March 12th, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I am in Chicago for work right now. Please deliver samples to the Hyatt Magnificent Mile :)

  8. If only I could master the folding technique. It is one of my biggest fails with baking..lol! The pecan fudge bars look amazing and I can smell them through the screen.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love buttermilk so know I would enjoy the tang it would bring to this fudge. Love pecans in fudge along with maple syrup. And the salt too:)

  10. Schneiderluvsdoof says:

    March 13th, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Next you must make crystallized ice cream. Kidding. This looks tasty.

  11. Aww, I think those fudge shops can be indicative of a pretty rich culinary scene! Maybe not high-end confectionaries or trendy restaurants, but there’s something to be said for those touristy strips, especially the little family-owned shops that have been around forever, that your parents went to when they were kids.

    This recipe sounds great though :-) My last encounter with making fudge in high school chemistry class ended badly.

  12. White chocolate and toasted pecans make a fabulous combination. This sounds like a wonderful variation on the theme. Glad to learn of it. (If it ever quits raining, I may get to make candy again some day.)

  13. Help! This has been on my “to make” list since I saw it in BA, and when I saw it again here, my favorite Food Blog – I had to make it pronto. I’m an old hand at both fudge and caramel (I’m particularly proud of my very own Master Recipe for chewy caramels and all their variations, and my take on English vanilla fudge) so I thought this would be a breeze. Everything was business a usual until the last step. I scraped into my KA and started beating. I used the whisk attachment, as that is what I use for my fudge – and after 5 mins – still glossy and dense. I hastily reread the directions for clues, then jumped online to see what other folks use, and swapped out to the paddle. Another 5 mins and things were looking grim. So back to the whisks, hopes dwindling. After a few more minutes I could see the butter start to separate and I quickly decided it was going to be “Buttermilk Pecan Fudgamel” instead. It definitely reached the right temp, will set to a caramel consistency (but without that lovely caramel flavor). Any ideas on what happened? The only difference I noted was that the whipping speed in the recipe (med/high) was a touch faster than I use when making fudge. Would also like to know for my next try which attachment you used with success. Sorry for being so long winded but I MUST know what Buttermilk Fudge tastes like!

  14. Hi LouLou- Bummer! So annoying when things don’t work out. Next time I would: double check your thermometer in boiling water, use the paddle attachment, and beat it fast! I used a high setting. Hopefully the second time is a charm.

  15. I appreciate you responding so quickly and giving me helpful tips. I have the rest of that quart of Buttermilk to get through and WILL have fudge by the end of it! By the way, i predicted a caramel texture for my failed batch but actually ended up with more of a praline texture – not so bad…will work as mix-ins for ice cream (and i just happened to have pulled The Perfect Scoop off of my shelf last week and pronounced it “ice cream making season” again), so not a total loss. Again, many thanks for this and all your posts – I am still making that Cranberry Torte from Wintersweet constantly…i was like a madwoman hoarding bags and bags of cranberries in the freezer last December!

  16. Any suggestions for alternatives to pecans, other than another kind of nut?

  17. Hi Jen- I don’t have any ideas, I need that contrast between the toasted nuts and sweet fudge. If you come up with something good, let us know.

  18. I made this fudge to bring along to a beer tasting. It was amazing and surprisingly tasted awesome with beer. Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. How about broken up pretzels for Jen who doesn’t want nuts?

  20. Great idea, Tessa!

What do you think?