Nutty, sweet, and rich in chocolate, this simple caramel, pecan and chocolate turtle fudge is quick to make, tasty, and perfectly chewy. Made with cream cheese (and no candy thermometer!), this easy no-bake recipe is great for holiday season celebrations or when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
This turtle fudge recipe combines the flavors of two of my favorite candies…turtles and fudge.
(If you love turtles as much as I do, then you have to try our homemade turtles recipe. It’s awesome!)
But as much as I love fudge, I never make it because I can’t seem to get the consistency right. It either comes out way too hard, or it doesn’t set and stays gooey.
Which is how this non-traditional method of making fudge came about.
It uses cream cheese instead of the usual sugar, butter and cream (or sweetened condensed milk) mixture.
And there’s no combining all of the ingredients on the stove while stirring to get the right consistency. So it turns out. EVERY. TIME.
In fact, other than melting the chocolate and caramel, there’s no cooking, baking or candy thermometer required at all.
Even better? You can make it up to a week in advance, so it’s a great make-ahead treat to put on your dessert table for a Christmas dinner or holiday party.
And it still has all the delicious chocolate, gooey caramel and crunchy nut flavor that you get from Turtles (the candy).
Watch the video for a quick overview of how to easy cream cheese turtle fudge recipe:
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This is your shopping list:
- Dairy: 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons butter either salted or unsalted. Salted butter adds a bit of flavor to this fudge.
- Baking supplies: 30 ounces (that’s 3 10-ounce bags or 2½ 12-ounce bags) or 5 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 11-ounce bag of caramel bits
- Nuts: 1 cup of unsalted pecans.
- Instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can use milk chocolate. Dark chocolate will also work if you don’t mind your fudge being less sweet. Since this recipe has no added sugar, it is relying on the chocolate for sweetness.
- If you do not have chocolate chips, then you can use chocolate chunks or pieces from a chocolate bar. Just make sure to get 30 ounces of them (not 5 cups, since the cup measurements will be different from chocolate chips).
- Substitute the pecans with any of your favorite nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, etc.
- You can use salted nuts if you like that salty and sweet combination. But it won’t have quite the same flavor as the turtles candy.
- Since the nuts are just sprinkled over the top of the fudge, the measurement doesn’t have to be exact. You can buy pre-chopped nuts and still use 1 cup without causing issues.
- Of course, if you just want all chocolate, you can eliminate the caramel and nuts altogether.
How to make turtle fudge with cream cheese
Remove the block of cream cheese from the refrigerator a couple of hours ahead of time so that it can soften. While not completely necessary, this will make it much easier to beat.
Chop the pecans coarsely. You still want to have big chunks of nuts.
Line an 8″ x 8″ baking dish or cake pan with parchment paper.
Beat the cream cheese
Add the room temperature cream cheese to a bowl.
With a mixer, beat it until it is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Melt the chocolate and butter
In a medium saucepan, heat the chocolate over low heat stirring constantly until completely melted.
Alternatively, the chocolate can be melted in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Cook on half-strength for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat using 30 second increments until melted. Be careful not to microwave the ingredients too long or they will burn.
Melt the butter. You can either do this in a small sauce pan over low heat on the stove. Or cook for about 30 seconds in the microwave.
Mix the chocolate fudge batter
Add the melted butter and melted chocolate to the bowl of fluffy cream cheese.
Beat the cream cheese and chocolate mixture on high until completely combined.
Put it together
Pour the fudge mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth it out with a knife.
It will be a little stiff so you may have to push it into the corners of the dish.
In another saucepan, cook the caramel bits over medium heat while stirring constantly until melted and smooth.
They can also be melted in a bowl in the microwave in the same manner as the chocolate. Cook on half-strength for 30 seconds, then stir. Repeat until melted being careful not to cook it too long or the caramel will burn.
Drizzle half of the melted caramel over the chocolate fudge in the baking dish.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the caramel.
Then drizzle with the rest of the caramel.
Cover the fudge and chill it in the fridge for two to three hours until solid.
When ready to serve, cut the fudge into 2-inch squares.
How to store fudge
Store any leftover fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Honestly, it should be fine for even longer than that, but I haven’t tried it. (Turtle fudge disappears quickly around here so I have never had the chance).
Turtle fudge is made with chocolate, pecans, and caramel.
Fudge will normally become solid in about two or three hours. If you need to, you can allow the fudge to cool in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
More chocolate recipes you might like
Caramel, Pecan and Chocolate Turtle Fudge
- 8" X 8" baking dish
- parchment paper
- mixer and mixing bowl
- measuring cups and spoons
- 2 Saucepans
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 5 cups (or 30 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons butter melted
- 1 11-ounce bag caramel bits
- 1 cup unsalted pecans chopped
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper.
- In the mixer, beat cream cheese until it is smooth.
- Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Add the melted chocolate and melted butter to the mixing bowl with the cream cheese.
- Beat on high until completely combined.
- Spread the batter out in an 8" x 8" baking dish and smooth it out with a knife.
- In another saucepan, melt the caramel bits over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Drizzle half of the caramel over the chocolate fudge in the baking dish.
- Sprinkle with chopped pecans and drizzle with the rest of the caramel.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.
- To serve, cut into 2-inch squares.
- Substitute 30 ounces of chocolate chunks or chocolate bars for the chocolate chips.
- You can also use milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate.
- The chocolate chips and caramel bit can also be melted in a bowl in the microwave. Cook on half strength for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat until melted. Be careful not to microwave it too long or they will burn.
- This chocolate cream cheese fudge can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have comments or questions about our easy caramel, chocolate and pecan turtle fudge recipe? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on September 20, 2021 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.