Swiss Cheese Fondue is a classic appetizer for the ultimate evening in! From enjoying a romantic dinner, warming up after a day of skiing or snowboarding, or hosting a fondue party! Swiss Fondue or Swiss Raclette will make your night memorable!
I got hooked on this Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe when my aunt, who moved from Switzerland, made it for us. Prior to having a real fondue recipe, I thought it was a leftover trend from the 1970's. I couldn't have been more wrong, it's perfect for a cold winter meal in front of a roaring fire. It's a national dish of Switzerland and the original good mood food, perfect after a day of skiing, or for a party!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy - this is not a difficult recipe to make with minimal effort, everyone will enjoy
- Authentic - enjoy cheese fondue just like in Switzerland, don't skip the Kirsch!
- Looks Fancy - perfect for an intimate date night, or for a winter dinner party
Ingredients You'll Need
- Gruyere and Emmental Cheese
- Dry White Wine
- Garlic Clove
- Kirschwasser Liqueur
- Nutmeg and Black Pepper
- Crusty Loaf of Bread
Is Fondue Expensive to Make?
A homemade Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe depends on the cheeses you are using. The cost of the Gruyere and Emmental Cheese can be quite expensive, never mind adding the cost of the wine and the Kirsch liqueur. You can use a mixture of different cheeses from Switzerland but Gruyere and Emmental are most easily found in most supermarkets. This is a special treat, and worth the extra expense, and calories! 🤣
Alcohol in Cheese Fondue
This Swiss Cheese Fondue uses two types of alcohol; Kirsch and white wine. Kirsch or Kirschwasser translates to cherry water in German, and it's a clear cherry brandy that isn't sweet like you'd expect a liqueur to be. It really adds an unexpected flavor, one that is synonymous with Swiss fondues. Kirschwasser is not Cherry Liqueur (which is sweeter).
Very important to use a dry white wine in a cheese fondue. It's a savory meal that needs dry white wines to complement the flavors. Use dry Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc. Any dry, high acid, white wine can be used.
Types of Cheese for Fondue
As this is a Swiss Cheese Fondue recipe, of course you need to use Swiss Cheese or Alpine cheeses. Switzerland has 100's of varieties of cheeses, but here are some easy cheese varieties you can use. It's ok to mix match your favorites, choose 3 of your favorites in equal amounts.
- Gruyere - the essential base cheese for fondue
- Emmental - very similar to Gruyere
- Raclette - great melting cheese, can be substituted with Gruyere
- Jarlsberg - milder than Swiss Cheese, a great addition
- Fontina - a hard Italian cheese
- Gouda - sweeter cheese that will mellow your cheese mixture if used
- Cheddar - add sparingly, maintain balance with hero Swiss cheeses
- Camembert or Brie - not traditional but some love adding for mellow creaminess
How to Make Swiss Cheese Fondue
- Rub the inside of the fondue pot with sliced garlic for flavor
- Pour white wine into the pot, mix in corn starch and heat until smooth
- Mix in the grated cheese, a handful at a time, while stirring
- Adjust thickness by adding more wine or cheese
- Season with nutmeg and black pepper, mix in Kirschwasser
- Serve with your favorite dippers
What to Dip in Cheese Fondue?
Truth be told, you can almost dip anything into your cheese fondue. Everything tastes better dipped in melted cheese! Try these tasty dippers;
- Cubes of Sourdough Bread - (try dipping it in Kirsch before you dip into the fondue)
- Button Mushrooms - smaller the better
- Crisp Green Grapes - not sweet grapes but tart grapes
- Roasted Baby Potatoes or Boiled Potatoes - everyone loves potatoes and cheese
- Lightly Steamed Broccoli - needs to be a bit crunchy or it will fall apart
- Apples and Pears - tart apples and hard green pears
- Sliced Vegetables - cherry tomatoes, sliced red peppers, cauliflower
- Dill Pickles (Cornichons) - anything pickled like Pink Pickled Garlic
- Meats - like sliced Salami, Chorizo, Sausages
Wooden Spoon Test
How do you know when your cheese fondue is ready to serve? To get the consistency of the Swiss Cheese Fondue right, you need to use the wooden spoon method. When melting the cheese, mix with a wooden spoon with a hole in the middle of it. When you lift the spoon up, the cheese should run thinly, covering the hole of the spoon.
If the cheese is too thin, then hole in the middle of the spoon is exposed. Too thick and the hole is covered and indistinguisheable from the rest of the spoon. Kind of like Goldilocks, the consistency needs to be just right. If it's too thick, then add a bit more white wine to thin out the cheese sauce, or more cheese to thicken.
Don't Lose Your Bread!
My last bit of advice when enjoying this Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe, don't lose your bread cube inside the fondue pot. According to Swiss traditions, if you are a woman, you would need to kiss your neighbors at the table. If you are a man, you need to buy the table a round of drinks!
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Kirschwasser - Lightly dip sourdough bread cubes into the Kirschwasser before dipping into the Swiss Cheese Fondue. If you love the flavor of Kirsch, then you definitely need to try it this way.
- Don't over steam - the vegetables will fall apart and be mushy, can use raw instead
- Fondue Forks - most fondue sets come with 4 forks, make sure you have enough for each guest
- Only Dry Wines - use dry Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc
- Chicken Broth - for a family friendly fondue, substitute the alcohol with chicken broth
- Always Stir Clockwise - when adding cheese, add slowly in small amounts and constantly stir clockwise or in figure-eight pattern as per tradition.
- Save Time - prepare your dipping items in advance, cover with cling wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve, ie. cutting bread cubes, boiling potatoes, cutting vegetables
Can I use a Slow Cooker to Make Fondue?
Yes, cheese fondue can be make in a slow cooker. Double the recipe if making for a dinner party.
- Rub the inside of the slow cooker with the garlic halves.
- Turn slow cooker on high and ddd the white wine and cornstarch and heat until smooth and hot, but not boiling.
- Add grated cheeses and white wine and cook on high for 15 minutes. Stir.
- Turn down to lowest setting, cook for another 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Mix in spices and Kirschwasser.
- When everything is melted together, check consistency of cheese and serve.
Can I Make Fondue on the Stovetop?
Yes. You need to use a heavy bottom saucepan and follow the instructions on low heat on the stove top. Constantly stir.
Can I Make This Without A Fondue Pot?
Fondue requires a source of heat to keep the cheese melted. Traditionally the fondue pot has an open flame under the pot, or can be electric to keep cheese warm. If you don't have a fondue pot, follow the stovetop instructions and transfer to a slow cooker on lowest setting. Alternatively, if serving in the saucepan, re-heat as it hardens. Instead of using fondue forks, use regular forks to dip.
Can You Make Cheese Fondue in Advance?
Everyone loves making things in advance but this recipe is best enjoyed when made and served right away. However, you can make it in advance, keep it in the fridge and slowly heat on the stove, adding more wine if needed.
If there are leftovers, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Simply reheat to enjoy again. You can freeze cheese fondue, defrost and enjoy within 2 months. However, fondue is best enjoyed in the moment, freshly made.
For More Tasty Appetizers
- How to eat Black Caviar - for your special night
- Greek Meze Appetizer Feast
- Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
- Cucumber Appetizers with Toppings
- Baked Brie with Jam
- Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip
This traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe is a winter favorite in Switzerland and around the world. Grated Emmental, Gruyere cheese with Kirsch liqueur, melted to gooey perfection. Whether it's for a romantic Valentines dinner, date night or just a fun fondue party, this recipe will make your night memorable. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- Fondue Pot with forks
- 1 clove garlic
- 1½ cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1½ lbs (750g) grated Swiss Cheese Gruyere, Emmental and Fontina Cheese mix
- 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser
- pinch nutmeg optional
- black pepper to taste
- crusty loaf cut into large cubes
- Cut garlic clove in half. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic halves. If you like garlic, leave it inside the pot to cook with your cheese (definitely recommended).
- Add the white wine and cornstarch and heat until smooth and hot, but not boiling.
- Slowly add the Swiss cheeses while continually stirring until melted and smooth. If cheese mixture is too thick, add an extra ¼ cup of white wine or until you are happy with the consistency. Season with nutmeg and black pepper. Add the Kirsch.
- Remove the fondue pot from the stove, and place over a fondue burner and serve immediately with the crusty bread.
©PetersFoodAdventures.com - originally published in December 2017, updated January 2023