What It Takes to Make Mackinac Island Fudge and Where to Find It (2024)

In addition to sampling, sweet-toothed tourists can watch the fudge-making process. The dessert is so popular, as many as10 tonsof sugar are imported to the islandweeklyto match the10 tons of butterannually! Even President Gerald R. Ford stopped at May's Fudge and purchased a fresh-off-the-slab slice of vanilla pecan when he visited Mackinac Island in 1975. See what it takes to make Mackinac Island's sugary staple and where you can find it below.

1.Murdick’s Fudge

The Murdick family first opened Murdick’s Candy Kitchen, which then survived the Great Depression and sugar rationing during World Wars I and II. In 1955, Bob Benser Sr. opened an ice cream shop next to Murdick’s Candy Kitchen where he learned the art of making fudge from the Murdicks and purchased the business in 1969.

The team has the process down pat: One person weighs the ingredients—raw chocolate from Germany, sugar from Bay City, and cream and butter—into a copper kettle set over a propane gas burner. The maker constantly stirs with an oak paddle until the sugary mixture reaches a roaring boil, about 16 to 17 minutes. Next, they pour the hot liquid onto one of three original marble tables, which weigh 750 pounds. Light fudges—vanilla, maple, pecan and peanut butter—are made before chocolate fudges because the tables need to be warm for the chocolate to cream out before it can be folded into shape. As the fudge cools, the chef works around the 5-foot-long marble slab, folding the fudge with a flip of their wrist. When the fudge resembles a giant loaf, the cutter steps in and begins slicing. Every batch yields 60 to 63 half-pound slices.

Throughout the day, the team makes between 15–20 batches of fudge, which means purchases are never more than 24 hours old.

2. Ryba’s Fudge Shops

Ryba's Fudge Shops started in 1951 with a popcorn and confection store in Detroit. They started making fudge in 1956, calling themselves Mackinac Island Fudge. They moved to the island in 1960 where they changed the name to Ryba’s Fudge Shops. Ryba's now has five locations on Mackinac Island and two in Chicago. In 1969, they purchased the Island House Hotel, which was to be slated to be torn down due to its state of disrepair. The Island House was renovated and reopened in the 1970s. Over the years, it has gone through several more renovations and is now a registered Michigan historic landmark.

Ryba’s offers ten flavors of fudge to choose from, all made by hand on marble slabs so it is smooth, unlike other fudges.

3. JoAnn’s Fudge

Joann’s has authentic Mackinac Island Fudge, made fresh daily with real cream, butter, and only the finest natural ingredients. Joann’s offers 25 fantastic flavors as well as an assortment of hand-dipped chocolates and sugar-free candies.

To obtain the world famous taste, the fudge is slowly cooked in traditional copper kettles over a gas flame. Once the desired temperature is reached, the mixture is poured onto marble slabs for a cooling period and then hand-paddled into loaves. Joann's Fudge does not contain any preservatives or powdered ingredients.

4. May’s Fudge

During WWII, the U.S. implemented sugar rationing to keep food supplies available to all, which limited May’s fudge production. Harold May decided to only make fudge in the mornings and open the stores at noon every day, selling only one pound of fudge per customer. Customers lined up outside for their share of fudge and the shop would sell out in two hours! When WWII ended, people remembered how May’s kept producing fresh fudge and flocked there, which is how the May family made fudge famous. May’s has been family operated for four generations and is currently the oldest fudge shop on Mackinac Island. It is the only fudge shop that has been visited by an American president!

What It Takes to Make Mackinac Island Fudge and Where to Find It (2024)


What makes Mackinac Island Fudge? ›

The team has the process down pat: One person weighs the ingredients—raw chocolate from Germany, sugar from Bay City, and cream and butter—into a copper kettle set over a propane gas burner. The maker constantly stirs with an oak paddle until the sugary mixture reaches a roaring boil, about 16 to 17 minutes.

Where is the best fudge made in United States? ›

While fudge was not invented on Mackinac Island, it most certainly – and most deliciously – was perfected here.

What are the ingredients in Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream? ›


What are the ingredients in Rybas fudge? ›

We use the traditional ingredients of cream, sugar, corn syrup, palm kernel oil, and salt when making most of our fudge flavors. (Our vegan fudge does not contain any dairy.)

What makes high quality fudge? ›

You have to control two temperatures to make successful fudge: the cooking temperature AND the temperature at which the mixture cools before stirring to make it crystallize. Confectionery experiments have shown that the ideal cooking temperature for fudge is around 114 to 115 °C (237 to 239 °F).

How long is mackinac fudge good for? ›

The creamiest fudge around using the same old recipe. All Natural Ingredients! Shelf life at room temperature – 12 weeks. Shelf Life refrigerated -24 weeks.

What island has the best fudge? ›

Ten thousand pounds! That's how much world-famous Mackinac Island fudge gets handcrafted daily during peak tourism season. Five tons of fudge every day!

What is the oldest brand of fudge on Mackinac Island? ›

May's Candy

There is only one shop on the Island that can tout itself as the oldest offering genuine Mackinac Island Fudge, and that is May's. Harold May started his business in Atchison, Kansas in 1881. He came to the Island to work for Murdick's, and when they left, he brought his family business to Mackinac Island.

What country invented fudge? ›

Fudge's story began in the United States around the 1880s. The first documented instance of fudge being made was at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York when a student named Emelyn Battersby Hartridge heard of a fudge recipe and made 30 pounds of it for a senior auction.

What is the flavor of Mackinac Island ice cream? ›

Creamy vanilla ice cream with rich, chocolate fudge pieces, finished with a butter fudge swirl.

What is Dairy Queen fudge made of? ›

Dairy Queen's fudge sauce is made using high-quality cocoa powder, sugar, and butter, resulting in a rich and creamy texture. The fudge is poured over the soft-serve ice cream, creating a delectable swirl of chocolate goodness that will leave you craving for more.

What does cream of tartar do in fudge? ›

Cream of tartar is used in caramel sauces and fudge to help prevent the sugar from crystallizing while cooking. It also prevents cooling sugars from forming brittle crystals, this is why it's the secret ingredient in snickerdoodles!

What is Russian fudge made of? ›

Lightly grease a 20cm square tin. Put the sugar and milk into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt and golden syrup and stir until the butter has melted.

What's the main ingredients in fudge? ›

This delicious fudge recipe is easy to make in the microwave with just 3 ingredients: chocolate chips, condensed milk, and butter. Add nuts, mini marshmallows, or candy before chilling to make this treat even more decadent, or try peanut butter chips instead of semisweet chocolate chips to make peanut butter fudge.

What makes Mackinac Island so special? ›

Mackinac Island offers timeless charm with its horse-drawn carriages , historic architecture and attractions . Come explore the island's natural beauty through miles of biking and hiking trails and enjoy a wide variety of activities .

What's the difference between Mackinac and Mackinac? ›

Over time, Michilimackinac got shortened to Mackinac. The island since has been known as Mackinac Island and the fort as Fort Mackinac. However, when present-day Mackinaw City was founded in the 1850s, the British changed the spelling of the city to reflect the way the name is pronounced, with a “w” sound at the end.

What is Kilwin's fudge made of? ›

Chocolate Fudge: INGREDIENTS: Sugar, water, corn syrup, chocolate liquor processed with alkali, butter, cream (cream, lecithin, tocopherols), vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed), salt, vanillin - artificial flavor.

What is Mackinac Island made of? ›

Mackinac Island's many limestone formations are an important part of the history and legends of the Straits of Mackinac. These magnificent arches, stacks and sea caves are composed of limestone which was broken and recemented millions of years ago.

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