Electric control makes it possible to create lots of recipes. Stainless steel bowl with nonstick interior. Has an attractive design and comes with 8 fondue forks. 3-quart size is great for groups.
Cord is only 1 foot long. Tends to cook hot.
Heated by three tealight candles. Pot is dishwasher safe. Sleek, contemporary design with white ceramic pot and polished stainless steel stand. Comes with 4 fondue forks.
Constant candle heat can be slow to melt and quick to burn.
Cozy 1.25-quart or five cup capacity. Made of enameled cast iron with sturdy cast iron stand. Complete, traditional set doesn't need AC power. Included burner for alcohol or fuel gel.
Fuel needs to be purchased separately.
Boasts titanium-infused ceramic coating for nonstick performance. Adjustable heating levels for different kinds of fondue. Cord won't drag the unit off a table if tripped over. Wipes clean.
Some have trouble with temperature consistency. Short cord.
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If you’re looking to wow your guests and take your dinner parties to the next level, consider a fondue set. While fondue has been around since the 1800s, it has gained popularity in the United States within the past few decades. Fondue requires guests to be more active in meal preparation, but it’s a fun way to engage family and friends as they eat delicious cheese and chocolate, meats and veggies.
Before you rush off to buy a fondue set, however, think about whether it will be used primarily indoors or outdoors. Also, consider the kinds of food you’ll be preparing with your set because this will determine the ideal fondue pot material. And don’t forget the extras like forks and fuel, too.
Anyone can partake of this traditional Swiss dish. If fondue sounds appealing to you, keep reading our shopping guide below to make an informed purchase. If you’re ready to buy, check out some of our favorite sets.
Contemporary fondue originates from Switzerland in the 1800s. It was promoted as a way to use up old cheese and stale bread. Centuries later, particularly after World War II, fondue gained popularity in the United States. In the 1960s and 1970s, fondue was a staple at dinner parties. Now people use fondue pots for melted chocolate, too, not just cheese.
A fondue set is fairly simple to use. A typical one includes a burner, pot, a stand for the pot, and a set of fondue forks. You’ll also need fondue fuel, which you’ll probably have to buy separately, since fuel isn’t included in most fondue sets.
Have the foods you want to serve ready on platters for your guests. Fill the burner with no more than three ounces of fondue fuel, taking care to wipe away any spilled fuel. Place the burner on the stand on a level surface. Put the chocolate, cheese, cooking oil, or broth (depending on what you plan to dip) in the pot. Place the pot on the stand. Light the burner (on many sets you can adjust the flame high or low). When the cheese (or other liquid) is sufficiently warm, use the elongated forks to dip bread, vegetables, meat, or other foods into the pot.
Conventional fondue sets use a burner and warm the liquid over an open flame. This is the tried-and-true fondue method that’s been used for centuries.
Electric fondue sets are preferred by some people for a few reasons. For one, the temperature control is better, allowing you to heat foods at a lower temperature. Electric fondue sets are ideal for cooking meats, too. However, these sets do require power, so you need to be near an outlet. And the cord presents an additional hazard. Tripping over the cord can tip the pot of hot cheese or oil. Be careful to keep an electric fondue pot away from high-traffic areas.
A classic cheese fondue pot is made of ceramic or stoneware. Ceramic is also good for heating chocolate, and generally works nicely for foods that don’t need to cook at high temperatures. For cooking meat, you’ll want a fondue pot made of stainless steel, copper, or other metal. Metal can withstand the temperatures needed to heat oil, and it also works well for heating cheese. Small dessert fondue pots can be made from ceramic or metal.
Candles: Different types of fondue require different types of fuel. Tealights are sufficient for warming chocolate and caramel for dessert fondue, because you melt this type of fondue on a stovetop before you transfer it to the fondue pot. The small candle is sufficient for keeping the liquid warm.
Liquid or gel: Seafood, meat, and any other foods that need to cook in hot oil or broth require higher temperatures. Fondue burners for meat require liquid fuel, which reaches a higher temperature than a tealight. For cheese, you can use liquid (alcohol) fuel or you can use gel fuel, which doesn't get quite as hot as liquid fuel. In a pinch, you can use Sterno for meats and cheeses.
Expect to spend between $40 and $300 for a fondue set, depending on the pot capacity, material, and included items.
Inexpensive: You can find both electric and conventional fondue pots in the $40 to $70 price range. Pot capacity can vary from less than a cup to several cups. A smaller fondue set may only include two forks, but six forks is pretty standard. Metal pots are the more common material in this price range, though you can find small ceramic pots, too.
Expensive: For very large gatherings, you can find ceramic or metal fondue sets that cost up to $300 and hold some seven quarts of fondue. SInce fondue originated in Switzerland, there’s a plethora of Swiss fondue set manufacturers. Swiss fondue sets fall on the higher end of the price spectrum. A fondue set can last for decades, so depending on how often you plan to use your set, it might be worthwhile investing in a pricier, high-quality model.
Q. Can I reheat leftover fondue cheese?
A. You can try reheating it on the stove on low heat, but there's no guarantee that the fat won't separate.
Q. How do I clean a fondue pot?
A. Cleaning a fondue pot is simple. Put some dish detergent in the bottom of the pot, then add hot water. Let the water and detergent sit for some time, depending on how caked on the melted food is. Use a nonabrasive sponge to wipe away all residue. Rinse the pot with clean water.
Q. Where can I buy fondue fuel?
A. You can buy fondue fuel at big box stores, hardware stores, or any store that sells barbeque supplies.