Cheese fondue

No matter what cheese fondue recipe you use, a pot of melted cheese will warm the heart

My husband and I eating our beer cheese fondue

When I was little, Candy Land was my idea of Utopia. Remember the mountains made of gum drops, forests of candy canes, and a swamp drenched with sweet, sticky molasses? I imagined rivers flowing with soda and milk chocolate roofs on gingerbread houses.

But now that I'm older and my palate is a little more refined (not to mention I have a better sense of city planning), I'd like to see roads paved with bricks of dark chocolate, gardens sprouting smoked salmon and capers, trees laden with hummus-pods, and ponds filled with melted fontina cheese, lined with baguettes swaying in the breeze. (Maybe the red light district would be built out of pizza and cans of microbrews, and you just find yourself wandering around there late at night, looking for a deep dish...) 

Cheese fondue truly is a fantasy come to life: a large pot full of melted cheese, the perfect dip for fresh bread, cooked meats, steamed vegetables, and raw fruit. And not only do you not look like self-indulgent glutton when you’re scraping the cheese crust off the bottom, you look like a connoisseur of the finer things in life. A foodie. A gourmet. Someone who spent a semester abroad in Europe.

Cheese fondue is the original fondue, it's what everybody meant when they said fondue until the mid-twentieth century, when a clever chef started experimenting with chocolate, oil, and broth fondues. I wouldn't give him too much credit for "inventing" chocolate-covered desserts, tempura, or hot pot, but he should get some points for having diners prepare the meal themselves. 

Photo by Tamboko The Jaguar; A good-looking fondue

Things you might need for a great cheese fondue

Visit The Tabletop Tool Shop or The Tabletop Food Shop for everything and anything you might need. 

Some of our favorite recipes: 

Cheese fondue tips

The best fondue cheeses are:

  • Appenzeller
  • Butterkase
  • Cheddar
  • Comte
  • Emmental/Emmentaler
  • Fontina
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Monterey jack
  • Swiss

Visit The Tabletop Food Shop to check out some great fondue cheeses.

Most recipes will call for a blend of at least two kinds of cheeses. Always use the best-quality cheese you can afford. Never, ever use a processed cheese to make a fondue.

  • Shred your cheese before adding it to the pot to make sure it melts evenly. 
  • Use a metal pot heated by an alcohol or gel burner, or an electric fondue pot.
  • If you aren't using an electric fondue pot, prepare the fondue on your stove. Heat the wine, flour, and other ingredients first. Add the cheese in handfuls, stirring it while it melts.
  • If the fondue seems too thin, add some more cheese. If it seems too thick, add a slurry of cornstarch and warm wine (or beer or whatever liquid you're using) to the mix. 
  • If your fondue starts getting stringy, turn down the heat. 
  • It is hard to recover a fondue once the cheese starts to bind, but while it's ugly, it's still edible. Don't freak out and your guests won't freak out.
  • The Swiss have a little rule: if your food falls off your fork and into the pot, you have to retrieve it...and kiss the person sitting next to you. Or not, I've never been to Switzerland. 
  • At the end of the meal, the Swiss also like to share la religieuse, which is their name for the super tasty crust of toasted cheese that forms at the bottom of the pot. It means "nun" in French. Go figure...
  • In my experience, leftover cheese fondue (and there's hardly ever such a thing) just makes a kind of hard, ugly mess if you try to refrigerate it overnight. I haven't yet found a way to salvage leftover fondue (though I've tried pouring it on nachos), but if you have some tips or suggestions, I'd love to hear about them!

Other pages you should visit...

Fondue dippers (cheese)

Dessert fondue

Instant fondue (cheese)

Vegan fondue (cheese)

Or check our full recipe index for even more ideas!

New! Comments

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Get ready for your next meal at:

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The Tabletop Food Shop

Some of my favorite online stores might have just what you need for your next tabletop meal!

Asian Food Grocer has a great selection of essential ingredients and many hard-to-find items.

Shop Today!

Cilantro Cook Shop has a great selection of quality raclette and fondue sets.

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For The Gourmet has an amazing selection of cheeses and chocolates.

Exotic & Fresh Ingredients from For The Gourmet

Sephra specializes in chocolate, caramel and fruit fondues... and fountains.