The Best Fondue Pots for Every Dipping Occasion
There is something meditative about melted cheese, whether it's being wrapped into cacio e pepe, sliding off a raclette onto a pile of pommes frites, or bubbling atop a freshly baked pizza. The practice of enjoying everything from Gruyere to mozzarella in its gooiest form is as much a tradition as it is a revelation, and the height of that experience is undoubtedly fondue. The only thing better than enjoying fondue in a wintry vacation setting is, of course, making it right at home.
What's the Deal with Fondue
Now a delicacy at ski chalets and cozy restaurants, fondue first became popular in 17th-century Switzerland as a way to stretch resources and feed large families. Peasants could use hardened cheeses and stale bread to make a full, hot meal.
By the 18th century, the dish was named after the French word for "melt" and became a staple. (It later became a symbol of Swiss unity thanks to the Swiss Cheese Union marketing campaigns in the 1930s). As soon as the dish hit the World's Fair in 1964, New York restaurants quickly adopted it, and soon after it was popularized as an American dish.
Which Cheeses to Use in Fondue
Some cheeses are better at melting (without burning) than others. Gruyere is a classic choice, as is raclette and Gouda. Fontina, Emmentaler, and Chällerhocker are also great picks, and cheddar will work as well. Although mozzarella and American melt well as toppings, they're not quite the right texture for dipping. In fondue, the cheese is typically mixed with a dry white wine, which acts as an acid to balance both the flavor and keep the texture smooth.
The cheese must always be grated and added in by the handful to make sure it melts evenly (no one wants lumpy fondue). Tossing shredded cheese in cornstarch helps to thicken the mixture without lumps. Stumped about cheese selection? Murray's Cheese makes it easy, with their own fondue mixes that melt to the perfect consistency.
Recipe: Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue
The Best Fondue Pots
The best raclette, Gouda, and Fontina will only melt in the proper fondue vessel. Wondering what to look for in a fondue pot? We've rounded up the ideal styles for every occasion, from full-flame pots for large fondue parties to tea light ones meant for tapas. Consider how much you'd like to spend, how many people you need to feed, and how dishwasher-safe you'd like the tools to be. Do you like stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic, or even glass?
These are some of the best options for every fondue style.
- Best Overall: Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker
- Best Classic: Swissmar Lugano
- Best Ceramic: Boska Fondue Set
- Best Electric: Swissmar Mont Brule
- Best for Fondue Parties: Boska Mr Big Fondue
- Best Small: Glass and Ceramic Fondue
- Most Versatile: All-Clad Cast-Aluminum Fondue Pot
- Best for Chocolate Fondue: Nostalgia Chocolate Fondue Fountain