We’re keeping it retro and cheesy today. Pull out your skewers, because it’s time for Cheese Fondue! This post covers how to make cheese fondue at home, from the kinds of cheese to use to what to dip in fondue. Spoiler: homemade cheese fondue is EASY. You’ll feel inspired to throw a fondue party by the end!

Cheese Fondue. A classic, easy cheese fondue recipe and what to dip in it

One of my best early memories in Milwaukee is making this cheese fondue recipe for my (now) girlfriends. We had recently moved to town, and I was looking to form deeper relationships with a group of girls I’d met through a volunteer organization. I wooed everyone via an invite to a fondue party. I still remember the giddy looks when I set the big, bubbly pot of fondue in the center of the table.

These ladies are now my closest friends in town. Could it have been the fondue?

How to make Cheese Fondue at Home

Why I Love This Fondue Recipe

Cheese fondue carries with it such a fun, communal aspect. Hosting friends for fondue is a fabulous way to celebrate the holidays as a group. You can also make this recipe for a special occasion, Christmas dinner, or New Year’s Eve.

Though it sounds fancy, this fondue is shockingly simple to prepare. (Can you stand at a stove and stir? Excellent! You can make cheese fondue.) It feels like a special treat and, above all, is welcoming and cozy. It’s exactly what I’d serve my guests at my charming Swiss chalet to warm them from the chilly alpine air if, you know, I owned a Swiss chalet.

Besides being creamy, wonderful, and indulgent in the best possible “this is so worth it” kind of way, fondue also makes for stimulating dinner table debate. One of the guests drops a dipper into the pot—is it the person to the right or to the left she’s supposed to kiss when the breads slips from the fork? Discuss.

For the curious: According to Martha Stewart—the supreme source of party etiquette—a woman who drops something in the fondue pot must kiss every man at the table, while a man must buy the table a round of drinks. The extent to which you allow these rules to influence the guest list at your next fondue party is at your discretion.

How to Make Swiss Cheese Fondue at Home

To ensure your fondue is rich, smooth, and categorically wonderful, here are a few simple tips and FAQs. Stick to these, and your dinner party will transport you to the Alps upon first bite.

Which Cheese Is Good for Fondue?

  • Fondue Rule #1: Use Good-Quality Cheese. It will be more expensive but worth it. Even if you ignore all of the other tips, keep this one. Fondue truly is all about the cheese, and the quality and types of cheeses you use will have an enormous impact on the final product.
  • For classic Swiss cheese fondue (meaning one like what you would find in Switzerland), a mix of traditional, firm mountain-style cheeses is best. In today’s recipe, I used an even blend of gruyere, fontina, and gouda. The flavor combination is complex and lush.
  • Make sure it is a buttery, creamy cheese that melts smoothly. Cheddar fondue would work well, though its flavor would be less traditional. In this case, I’d use cheddar as one of the cheeses, then mix it with a more traditional cheese like gruyere.

How to Prepare the Cheese to Make Fondue

  • Fondue Rule #2: Grate the Cheese. For quicker melting and a smooth fondue, grate—do not chop—the cheese.
  • Whenever I’m grating a large amount of cheese (ahem, when I’m making this fondue recipe), I like to use the grater blade of my food processor. It’s super fast and worth the extra few minutes to wash the blade afterwards.
  • If you don’t have a grater blade on your food processor, the coarse side of a box grater like this one or a coarse microplane grater like this one work nicely too. You’ll just need to apply some extra elbow grease (which entitles you to an extra fondue dipper!).

Once you have the cheese grated, you are ready for:

  • Fondue Rule #3: Toss the Cheese with Cornstarch Thoroughly. Cornstarch helps thicken the fondue and prevents the cheese from clumping. Lumpy bumpy cheese? Not in our pot!

Using Wine in Cheese Fondue

  • Classic cheese fondue does call for white wine. Choose something dry and high acid, such as Sauvignon Blanc. The acid in the wine will help keep the cheese smooth and give it an even texture. Also, don’t forget to follow…
  • Fondue Rule #3: Use Good Wine. The taste of the wine directly impacts the taste of the fondue. You don’t need to crack the piggy bank, but make sure it’s a wine you’d enjoy drinking with dinner.
  • If you’d like to make this cheese fondue recipe without wine, you can substitute unsalted chicken or vegetable stock.
  • For beer cheese fondue, swap the wine for your favorite beer. This would be especially delicious with a cheddar cheese fondue.

How to Keep Cheese Fondue Smooth

  • Fondue Rule #5: Add the Cheese Slowly and Stir Constantly. This is SO important to make sure the cheese fondue you make at home is buttery smooth and tastes even better than a cheese fondue restaurant.
  • Resist the urge to dump all of the cheese into the pot in large handfuls.
  • Grab a small handful and sprinkle it into the pot. Stir constantly and wait for each addition to melt before adding the next.
  • Don’t try to rush it—you won’t win. Just enjoy the moment at the stove at peace with yourself, the cheese, and the promise of a luscious fondue.

What to Dip in Cheese Fondue

  • Bread. The most classic and always delicious. Grab a French or sourdough baguette and cut it into 1-inch cubes so that it can be easily skewered.
  • Apples. Tart apples like Granny Smith are dreamy dipped with cheese fondue. Instead of slices, which are harder to spear, cut the apples into cubes.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. One of my absolute favorites!
  • Bacon. Even better than you think it’s going to taste. Make sure you use baked bacon, so that it’s nice and crisp and won’t break off in the pot. Since bacon can be harder to skewer, direct guests to dip their slices right into the pot.
  • Roasted Baby Potatoes. Or if you are in a hurry, potato chips.
  • Steamed Broccoli. Like a shortcut broccoli cheese soup.
  • Pickles. Surprisingly, addictively good. I recommend cornichons, which are the ideal dipping size and complementary flavor.

Which Fondue Pot to Buy

  • While you don’t have to own a fondue pot to make cheese fondue (I find it is best and often required by the fondue pot manufacturer to make it on the stove, then pour it into the pot anyway), using a real fondue pot does add extra flair to the experience. It is also helpful because fondue pots keep the fondue warm and melty. If you don’t use one, you’ll likely have to keep returning the pot to the stove to rewarm it.
  • Fondue Pot Option #1: Electric Fondue Pot like this versatile model. Pros: You don’t need to purchase separate fuel to power a flame below it. You can use it for cheese, chocolate, and oil-based fondues. It’s easy to control the temperature. Cons: You have to extend a plug to the table. It also can be tricky to wash and avoid the plug.
  • Fondue Pot Option #2: Ceramic or Cast Iron Fondue Pot like this beauty (this is the kind I own). Pros: No plug required, so it’s easy to place anywhere. Classy looks. Easy to clean. Cons: You will need to purchase a sterno like this for the flame. Less precise temperature control. 

Be sure you also have enough fondue forks or skewers for each guest. Most fondue sets only come with four, but you can easily order a few supplemental ones. I like this set and this set, which color code the handles so that if someone sets their skewer down or drops it, they don’t get mixed up.

The best cheese fondue recipe. So easy and your friends will be totally impressed! Includes tips and what to dip in cheese fondue too

This also makes a fantastic holiday gift. A beautiful basket filled with a fondue pot, ingredients, and dippers (along with a self-addressed invitation to the first fondue party) would make even Santa envious.

Who’s ready to party?!

Cheese Fondue. A classic, easy cheese fondue recipe and what to dip in it

Classic Cheese Fondue

4.8 from 58 votes
A classic recipe for cheese fondue that is easy to make and sure to impress your guests.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

For the fondue:

  • 1/3 pound firm alpine-style cheese such as gruyere
  • 1/3 pound fontina
  • 1/3 pound gouda
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Assorted fondue dippers:

  • Boiled baby new potatoes in their skins quartered if large
  • Lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • Lightly steamed cauliflower florets
  • Lightly steamed asparagus
  • Button mushrooms wiped clean and stems removed
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced firm apples such as Granny Smith
  • Cooked sliced hot sausage
  • Cubed French, sourdough, and/or pumpernickel bread

Instructions
 

  • Grate all of the cheeses. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
  • In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, mustard, and nutmeg.
  • Arrange an assortment of bite-size dipping foods on a platter. If necessary, carefully pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers. Dip and enjoy!

Notes

  • Cheese fondue can be made 1 day in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Reheat gently over a double boiler, adding additional white wine as needed to thin the fondue and reach the right consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 6, not including dippersCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 20gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 86mgSugar: 2g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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336 Comments

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  1. Turned out delicious and it tasted like authentic Swiss fondue! Made it for my birthday for me and my husband to share. We had no issues with saltiness following the recipe as instructed. We used gruyere, gouda, and fontina cheeses. Definitely recommend.5 stars

    1. Hi Andi! I’ve never tested the recipe this way, so I can’t say for certain. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi Maureen! I haven’t tried it myself, but another reader has used chicken broth in addition to the wine. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

  2. Had our family here and made this last night. Am writing it down so that I always have it. I’m no expert, but it was the best I’ve ever tasted. It helped that my daughter shredded all the cheese for me, but I would do it if she wasn’t here! Our other daughter is coming in April and heard us sing it’s praises and she put it on her meal request list!!!5 stars

  3. Hi I have an electric fondue pot do I have to make this recipe on the stove then transfer to the pot or can I make it right in the pot ?
    Thanks ! Excited to try this one !

    1. Hi Kitty! Unless your fondue pot is a stove-safe fondue pot, then you’ll want to prepare it in a separate pot first. I hope you enjoy it!

    2. I made it right in my electric fondue pot using Setting #5. Once it’s all mixed together move the setting down to #3. I only used the cheeses, wine and some whiskey. Rubbed the pot with garlic first. Really no need to use other flavors if you purchase the expensive cheeses that are suggested. Enjoy!

  4. This fondue has an overpowering taste of wine/alcohol. Find another recipe if you want to make it for kids, or substitute all of the wine for chicken or vegetable broth. Adding a little broth after the fact won’t save it; it will only thin it out which isn’t ideal. The consistency and proportions of the recipe were spot on. (I used the basic recipe to whip up another cheese fondue quickly to save the meal. Used colbyjack and queso fresco with chicken broth, and it was a hit for all. Now I’m wondering what I can use all the leftover wine fondue from this recipe for.) Even for adults, the delicious cheese flavors were drowned out by the wine. This recipe is expensive ($30 just for the cheese), but don’t use a cheap wine to compensate. You will be disappointed. You may be disappointed anyway. We were. I have no doubt this recipe would turn out delicious with only a splash of wine, as with the brandy. We loved all of the dippers recommended as well as celery, soft pretzels, hotdogs, tortilla chips, and baked potato rounds.2 stars

    1. Hi Lydia! I’m so sorry to hear that this didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. I (and many readers) really enjoyed this recipe, so I wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  5. This was spot on! My husband had doubts about the brandy, mustard, & nutmeg at the end. He stole a few bites during preparation and declared it was very tasty without them. I talked him into adding them anyway. Wow! They definitely take the entire dish up a notch. Thanks for a perfect at home birthday celebration.5 stars

  6. Firstly I need to say the flavors are amazing. Secondly directions are SO important do not think you can throw all in a pot and it will come out perfect as that is not the case. Instead you will end up with the most flavorsome grainy fondue. However when we cover homemade bread and skirt steak it tastes amazing. Texture has something has to be desired.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and sharing your results, Claire! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the flavor!

    2. Update. We ACTUALLY followed the recipe this week and now have a non grainy flavorsome fondue. Do not attempt recipe without following instructions, unless you a want a grainy fondue5 stars

  7. Having tried a number of fondue pots/heaters over the years, I’ve come to prefer a ceramic covered cast iron pot (like you have) so that one doesn’t over heat the cheese or have hot spots. I use a single burner butane stove (walmart or other for ~$20). I put it on the table (bottom doesn’t get hot) and it provides great heat control while melting the cheese and during eating. It doubles as a small car camping stove, picnics, and power outages.

  8. I followed all the steps (including adding only small amounts of cheese at a time), but my fondue turned grainy (cottage cheese like) and rather unpalatable… I wonder if this may be because I used non alcoholic wine? Sadly, no one enjoyed it and I think all this great cheese is headed for the bin :(. I am glad that this recipe worked wonders for the majority who have tried it! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same luck…2 stars

    1. Hi Salma, I’m so sorry that this dish didn’t turn out as expected. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to say what might’ve gone wrong without being in the kitchen with you. I know it’s frustrating to try a new recipe and not have it turn out, so I truly wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

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