Classic Cheese Fondue: A Step-by-Step Recipe for a Crowd-Pleasing Dish

If you’re looking for a delicious and crowd-pleasing dish for your next gathering, look no further than classic cheese fondue. This Swiss dish has been a beloved staple for generations, and for good reason. A bubbling pot of melted cheese served alongside a variety of dippable treats is sure to be a hit with your guests.

Cheese fondue originated in Switzerland in the 18th century as a way to use up leftover cheese and stale bread. Over time, it has become a beloved dish around the world, with many variations and adaptations. However, there’s nothing quite like the classic version made with Swiss cheese, white wine, and a touch of garlic.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of making a classic cheese fondue step-by-step, from selecting the right cheeses to serving and enjoying the finished product. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, you’ll find all the information you need to create a delicious and memorable cheese fondue that will impress your guests. So grab your apron and let’s get started!

What is Cheese Fondue

Cheese fondue is a dish that consists of melted cheese served in a communal pot, known as a fondue pot, and is eaten by dipping pieces of bread or other accompaniments into the cheese. The name “fondue” comes from the French word “fondre”, which means “to melt”.

Brief history of Cheese Fondue

The origins of cheese fondue can be traced back to the Swiss Alps, where cheese was a staple food for centuries. According to legend, the dish was invented by Swiss peasants who melted cheese and wine together to create a hot and satisfying meal during the cold winter months. In the 1930s, cheese fondue gained popularity in Switzerland as a social dish, and it eventually spread to other countries around the world.

Today, cheese fondue is enjoyed in many different variations and adaptations, but the classic Swiss recipe made with Gruyere and Emmental cheeses, white wine, and garlic remains the most popular. In addition to bread, other popular dippable accompaniments include vegetables, fruits, and meats.

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking for a cozy and comforting meal, cheese fondue is sure to delight your taste buds and bring people together. With a little preparation and the right ingredients, you can create a classic cheese fondue that will impress your guests and become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire.


  • 1 pound Gruyere cheese
  • 1 pound Emmental cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Explanation of each ingredient

  • Gruyere cheese: Gruyere is a hard cheese that originates from Switzerland. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients in cheese fondue.
  • Emmental cheese: Emmental is a Swiss cheese that has a mild and slightly nutty flavor. It melts easily and helps to create a smooth and creamy texture in the fondue.
  • Garlic clove: The garlic adds a subtle hint of flavor to the fondue without overpowering the other ingredients.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used to prevent the cheese from separating and becoming grainy.
  • Dry white wine: Dry white wine adds acidity and helps to balance the richness of the cheese.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a bright and tangy flavor to the fondue.
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds a warm and spicy flavor to the fondue.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt and pepper are used to season the fondue to taste.

Cheese selection

The two main types of cheese used in classic cheese fondue are Gruyere and Emmental. These cheeses are both Swiss in origin and have a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients in the fondue. When selecting cheese for fondue, it’s important to choose a high-quality cheese that is aged and flavorful.

Look for cheese that is specifically labeled as fondue cheese or cheese that is recommended for melting, such as Gruyere or Emmental. Avoid using pre-shredded cheese, as it often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the texture of the fondue.

For the best flavor and texture, it’s recommended to grate the cheese yourself using a box grater or food processor. This will also ensure that the cheese melts evenly and smoothly. Overall, the quality and selection of cheese are key factors in creating a delicious and crowd-pleasing cheese fondue.

cheese fondue




    A fondue pot is a special pot designed for serving cheese fondue. It typically has a ceramic or metal bowl and a stand with a heat source to keep the fondue warm.

  • Fondue forks: Fondue forks are long, thin forks with two or three prongs that are used to dip and swirl the bread or other accompaniments in the cheese.
  • Heat source: You will need a heat source to keep the fondue warm, such as a fondue pot stand with a tea light or a portable electric fondue pot.
  • Cutting board and knife: You will need a cutting board and knife to prepare the bread and other accompaniments.
  • Small bowls: Small bowls can be used to serve accompaniments such as chopped vegetables or fruits.

Optional equipment

  • Fondue plates: Fondue plates are special plates designed for serving fondue. They typically have compartments for holding different types of accompaniments, such as bread, vegetables, and meats.
  • Cheese grater: A cheese grater can be used to grate the cheese, but it’s not necessary if you buy pre-grated cheese.
  • Cheese cloth: Cheese cloth can be used to wrap the garlic clove and infuse the fondue with a subtle garlic flavor.

While a fondue pot and fondue forks are essential for making and serving cheese fondue, other equipment such as fondue plates and a cheese grater are optional and can enhance the fondue experience.


Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Grate the cheese: Using a cheese grater or food processor, grate the Gruyere and Emmental cheese.
  2. Prepare the garlic: Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the cut side around the inside of the fondue pot.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the white wine until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  4. Heat the wine: In the fondue pot over medium heat, add the remaining white wine, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Heat until simmering.
  5. Add the cheese: Gradually add the grated cheese to the pot, stirring constantly in a figure-eight motion until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  6. Add the cornstarch mixture: Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and continue stirring until the fondue is thick and creamy.
  7. Season to taste: Season the fondue with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve: Transfer the fondue pot to the heat source and serve immediately with bread and other accompaniments.

Tips and tricks

  • Use a high-quality cheese for the best flavor and texture.
  • Grate the cheese yourself for even melting and a smoother texture.
  • Rubbing the garlic clove around the inside of the pot adds a subtle garlic flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
  • Stir the fondue constantly in a figure-eight motion to prevent the cheese from burning or separating.
  • If the fondue is too thick, add a little more white wine to thin it out.
  • If the fondue is too thin, mix a little more cornstarch with white wine and add it to the pot.

Safety precautions

  • Be careful when handling the fondue pot and the heat source, as they can become very hot.
  • Keep children and pets away from the heat source and the fondue pot.
  • Use caution when dipping bread or other accompaniments into the fondue, as they may be hot.
  • Do not touch the fondue pot or the heat source with wet hands or utensils.
  • Do not leave the fondue unattended while it is cooking or being served.



Cheese fondue is traditionally served with bread, but there are many other accompaniments that can be used for dipping. Here are some popular options:

  • French or sourdough bread, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Cubed apples or pears
  • Grapes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cubed ham or cooked sausage
  • Roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes, boiled and cubed
  • Pickled vegetables, such as gherkins or onions

Recommended drinks

The rich and creamy flavor of cheese fondue pairs well with a variety of drinks. Here are some recommended options:

  • White wine: Serve the same white wine that was used to make the fondue, such as a dry Riesling or Chardonnay.
  • Beer: A light beer or lager can complement the cheese flavor of the fondue.
  • Tea: A cup of hot tea can help to cleanse the palate between bites.
  • Sparkling water: The carbonation in sparkling water can help to refresh the palate.
  • Hot chocolate: For dessert, serve a warm mug of hot chocolate or cocoa.

When serving cheese fondue, it’s important to have a variety of accompaniments for dipping, as well as a selection of drinks to complement the flavors of the fondue.


Cheese fondue is a versatile dish that can be customized in many ways. Here are some popular variations:

Different types of Cheese Fondue:

  • Swiss Cheese Fondue: Made with Gruyere and Emmental cheese, white wine, and garlic.
  • French Cheese Fondue: Made with Comte cheese, white wine, and kirsch.
  • Italian Cheese Fondue: Made with Fontina cheese, white wine, and garlic.
  • American Cheese Fondue: Made with cheddar cheese, beer, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Vegan Cheese Fondue: Made with a variety of plant-based cheeses, such as cashew or almond cheese, and vegetable broth.

Regional variations

Cheese fondue is a traditional dish in many European countries, each with its own unique twist on the classic recipe:

  • Swiss Cheese Fondue: The most well-known variation, made with Gruyere and Emmental cheese, white wine, and garlic. Often served with bread and potatoes.
  • French Cheese Fondue: Made with Comte cheese, white wine, and kirsch. Served with bread and charcuterie.
  • Italian Cheese Fondue: Made with Fontina cheese, white wine, and garlic. Served with bread and vegetables.
  • German Cheese Fondue: Made with Emmental and Camembert cheese, beer, and mustard. Served with bread and sausage.
  • Austrian Cheese Fondue: Made with Emmental and mountain cheese, white wine, and schnapps. Served with bread and pickles.
  • Spanish Cheese Fondue: Made with Manchego cheese, white wine, and paprika. Served with bread and chorizo.

Each variation has its own unique flavor profile and is often served with different accompaniments, depending on the region. Experiment with different types of cheese and ingredients to find your favorite variation of cheese fondue.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What kind of cheese should I use for fondue? The best cheese for fondue is a combination of Gruyere and Emmental cheese, as they have a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that complements the wine and garlic. However, other cheeses can also be used, such as Fontina, Comte, or cheddar.
  2. Can I use a different type of wine for fondue? Yes, you can use any dry white wine that you prefer. Some good options include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio. Just be sure to choose a wine that you enjoy drinking, as the flavor will come through in the fondue.
  3. Can I make fondue ahead of time? It’s best to make fondue just before serving, as it can thicken and become lumpy if it sits for too long. However, you can prepare the cheese and wine mixture ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to heat it up and serve.
  4. What is the best type of bread to use for dipping in fondue? A crusty, dense bread such as French or sourdough is best for dipping in fondue, as it can hold up to the weight of the cheese. Cut the bread into small bite-sized pieces for easy dipping.
  5. Can I reheat leftover fondue? Leftover fondue can be reheated on the stove over low heat, stirring constantly until it’s smooth and creamy again. If the fondue is too thick, you can add a splash of wine or broth to thin it out.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make a delicious and crowd-pleasing cheese fondue every time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cheese and accompaniments to find your perfect recipe.


In conclusion, classic cheese fondue is a delicious and comforting dish that’s perfect for entertaining a crowd. By following the step-by-step recipe and using the right ingredients and equipment, you can create a smooth and creamy fondue that’s sure to please everyone.

Remember to choose the right type of cheese, such as Gruyere and Emmental, and use a dry white wine that you enjoy drinking. Cut your bread into small bite-sized pieces and be sure to keep the fondue warm while serving.

Key takeaways include being patient when melting the cheese and stirring the mixture constantly to prevent lumps. Don’t forget to follow safety precautions, such as using a fondue pot with a burner and being careful with hot liquids.

In conclusion, cheese fondue is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. Whether you’re making a classic Swiss cheese fondue or trying out a new regional variation, there’s no doubt that this dish is sure to impress your guests. So why not give it a try and see how your own cheese fondue turns out?

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