The Dane won their first bout in Herning three years ago, taking Froch's WBC super middleweight title, but this time it was the Brit who prevailed, unifying the IBF and WBA championships.
The 'Cobra' started in confident fashion, controlling Kessler at distance with a rapier-like jab, while also finding some telling shots on the front foot, particularly in the second round.
He was three rounds ahead before Kessler altered his gameplan to good effect. The 'Viking Warrior' found a way to counteract Froch's jab by stepping inside and landing to take the fourth round.
Froch produced a big round seven to reassert his authority on proceedings. He rained in some heavy shots that would have stopped a lesser man, but Kessler soaked it all up.
Round eight continued in a similar pattern, with Froch beginning to throw everything at his opponent, who refused to look beaten. The Dane then offered a warning with a couple of sharp shots that caught Froch as he came inside.
Froch slowed things down in round nine after a couple of brutal exchanges in the previous rounds, allowing Kessler to regain a foothold. The fight became a tactical battle into the 11th round, with the home fighter always ahead on the scorecards.
Kessler found the target late in the 11th round with a thunderous left hook, which shook Froch into retreat. The Dane sensed blood and went in for the knockout, but Froch weathered the storm and launched a counter before the bell.
A thrilling final round ended in similar circumstances to three years ago, with Froch chasing Kessler around the ring looking for the knockout, which nearly came as the Dane's legs began to look heavy.
However, the bell rescued him from being stopped, but it only delayed a decision that seemed inevitable throughout the fight. Froch took a unanimous decision with scores of 118-110, 116-112, 115-113.