Last Updated on December 17, 2023 by David Michael

Classic Cheese Fondue

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Fondue is an elegant and easy classic. Perfect for the holidays. A fun meal to share with family and friends, or a romantic dinner for two, Cheese fondue is perfect for an après-ski style party. Fondue, meaning ‘to melt’ is from the French verb fondre.

We give classic fondue a contemporary twist. We make the silkiest fondue without flour or cornstarch. We use the modernist cooking ingredient sodium citrate to create the smoothest and richest fondue.  Sodium citrate acts as an emulsifier and allows for the smooth melting of cheese, even if that cheese doesn’t normally melt very easily. A little is all you need to create the smoothest fondue. Sodium citrate fondue is just about foolproof. We also use sodium citrate in our Easy Queso Dip recipe.

Bread dripping with cheese fondue.

Cheese Fondue

1 clove garlic, sliced in half
1 cup dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc
1 ½ teaspoons sodium citrate
¾ pound Gruyère cheese, grated
¾ pound Emmenthaler, or other Swiss cheese, grated
1 ½ tablespoons kirsch
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper to taste.

Rub cut side of garlic on the inside of a stove safe fondue pot or heavy-bottomed saucepan, preferably cast iron, rubbing the bottom and the sides. Add wine and the sodium citrate and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir until the sodium citrate is dissolved. I use the Staub cast iron ‘La Fondue’ pot, but any heavy fondue pot or saucepan will do.

Slowly add the cheeses a handful at a time, stirring and allowing each handful to melt completely before adding the next. Repeat until all the cheese is used. When completely smooth, stir in the kirsch. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Place the fondue pot on the fondue stand, or transfer the contents of the saucepan to the fondue pot. Keep the flame low on the fondue stand, you want to keep the contents hot, but not boiling.

Serve with crusty bread and other dipping accompaniments, swirling them through the fondue in a figure 8 motion to stir the fondue.

Take your fondue to the next level by offering small bowls of crumbled bacon and finely chopped walnuts to dip the fondue covered accompaniment into. 

Apple slice dipped in cheese fondue and rolled in chopped walnuts.
Walnuts are perfect with fondue covered apple slices.

If you don’t have a fondue set you can use a smaller enameled cast iron pot. I really like the Staub cast iron because it retains heat so well. You can pick up fondue forks and then you’re all set.

What to dip:

Crusty bread torn into bite sized pieces
Sliced granny smith apples
Roasted new potatoes
Sliced pears
Bread sticks
Cubes of cooked chicken breast
Slices of salami or other cured meats


Bacon, cooked to crispy and crumbled
Walnuts, finely chopped.

Recommended Products for Classic Fondue

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Staub Cast Iron La Fondue Pot

This is the fondue pot that I use. Staub is restaurant quality and built to last and will have you making fondue for years.

Staub Cast Iron Fondue Pot
Staub Cast Iron La Fondue Pot

Swissmar Lugano Fondue Set

Another option is the Swissmar Lugano fondue set, not as heavy duty as the Staub, but a quality set.

Swissmar Lugano Cheese Fondue, 9-Piece

The Everything Fondue Cookbook

When you want to move on to other fondues, this book is full of hundreds of creative recipes. Cheese based, chocolate, simmering broth hotpots and more – This is a great fondue reference.

The Everything Fondue Cookbook: 300 Creative Ideas for Any Occasion (Everything® Series)

Staub Cast Iron 2.75 quart Cocotte

If you would like to do fondue, but don’t want to get a fondue set, this Staub Cocotte is just the right size. The heavy, enameled cast iron lets you make fondue with gentle heat.

Staub Cast Iron 2.75 Quart Pot
Staub Cast Iron 2.75 Quart Cocotte

For Valentine’s Day I love the Staub Cast Iron Heart Cocotte

Perfect for a Valentine’s Day fondue for two. This is a charming heart shaped pot with the high quality of Staub. I would halve the fondue recipe for this pot.

 STAUB Cast Iron Dutch Oven 1.75-qt Heart Cocotte, Made in France

Stainless Fondue Forks

Any pot can be a fondue pot with these fondue forks.

Stainless Steel Fondue Forks
Stainless Steel Fondue Forks

Sodium Citrate

The magic ingredient that updates our classic fondue. Sodium citrate emulsifies and smooths any cheese without needing to use any flour.

Sodium Citrate
Sodium Citrate

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