Amazing Appetizers: 8 Cheese Fondue Recipes You Have to Try
Want to pair your cheese with wine, meat, cheese, and just about any other food you can think of? Then you need to make fondue. Fondue lets you exercise a large amount of control over the types of cheeses you’ll be melting, and the meats or other dipping options you’ll be serving. Even the pickiest of eaters will be able to find a combination that is to their liking. So get started by exploring the 8 cheese fondue recipes below.
1. Classic Swiss Fondue
Saveur explains that the legend of classic Swiss fondue began in the 1500s. During a siege in Zurich, residents had few ingredients, and needing to create a meal, fondue was born. Pay homage to the fabled roots with this recipe that serves 4.
- 1 loaf of country bread
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1¼ cups dry white wine (preferably Swiss fendant)
- 1 pound (about 3 cups) gruyère cheese, chopped
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons kirsch
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions: Tear country bread into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Rub interior of a medium stainless-steel pot with garlic clove, then discard garlic. Add white wine and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add gruyère cheese and nutmeg. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until cheese melts (cheese and wine will not yet be blended).
Combine cornstarch with kirsch in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and stir into cheese mixture. Continue to stir and simmer until cheese mixture becomes smooth, about 5 minutes, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, adding up to ¼ cup more wine if fondue is too thick.
To serve, transfer to a fondue pot or chafing dish set over a flame. To eat, spear bread pieces with fondue forks and dip in cheese, continuing to stir with forks as you dip.
Recommended wine pairings: To match the classic Swiss cheese flavors in this dish, try a Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, or Pinot Noir. In particular, we’re partial to a 2012 Ombré Pinot Noir, which is bright and acidic with glossy fruit flavors.
2. Fingerling Potato and Goat Cheese Fondue
Another potato, like red bliss, could be used in place of the fingerling potatoes in Martha Stewart‘s fondue. Additionally, you do not need to make use of the fresh herb garnish unless desired. It serves 14.
- 2 pounds fingerling potatoes (30 to 40)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces soft goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Chervil, for garnish
Directions: Place fingerling potatoes and salt in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover generously. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and drain potatoes in a colander. Transfer potatoes to a platter; set aside.
Place goat cheese and buttermilk in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler, and place over a pan of simmering water. Warm mixture, stirring until it is very smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in pepper, chives, thyme, tarragon, and parsley. Place in the bowl of a small fondue pot or in a warm serving bowl; serve immediately with fingerling potatoes garnished with chervil.
Recommended wine pairings: For a classic pairing, we like to match goat cheese with a Sauvignon Blanc like a 2013 Redux. We also love the fingerling potatoes in this dish, however, so we’ll also lean a bit more unconventionally toward a fruity, spicy 2010 Salient Cabernet Sauvignon.
3. Gouda Cheese Fondue
Wolfgang Puck decided that rather than use a combination of Swiss cheeses, his fondue for 4 would feature Gouda cheese instead. If two varieties of Gouda is too much of this Dutch cheese you can replace the fresh, shredded Gouda cheese with mozzarella.
- 1 large clove garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
- ½ cup white wine
- 5 ounces fresh Gouda cheese, shredded
- 5 ounces aged Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Kirsch
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1 baguette loaf, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Assorted vegetables and cooked meats and salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
Directions: Rub the bottom of a medium saucepan with the sliced garlic. Put the pan over high heat and immediately add the wine, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve the garlic residue.
In a small bowl, toss together the two cheeses and the cornstarch. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese mixture. Stir continuously until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the Kirsch and season with black pepper and nutmeg.
Serve the fondue immediately, accompanied by the bread, vegetables, and meats, with long fondue forks for guests to spear bites of food and dip them into the sauce.
Recommended wine pairings: Gouda is a stiff cheese, which is often salty and sharp. One of its best partners is a full-bodied, fruit-forward Merlot: try an affordable 2011 Château Le Ringue Bordeaux Supérieur for a delicious combo you won’t soon forget.
4. Beer Cheese Fondue
It may be a wine and cheese kind of night, but you can still put beer on the menu when you follow Taste of Home‘s recipe for beer cheese fondue. You could even skip the boozy aspect entirely while retaining the flavor by opting for a nonalcoholic beer. It serves 12.
- 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cubed
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup beer or nonalcoholic beer
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 to 4 tablespoons half-and-half cream
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bread cubes in a single layer in an ungreased 15 X 10 X 1 baking pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly crisp, stirring twice.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in beer. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Toss cheese and flour; stir into saucepan until melted. Stir in 2 tablespoons cream.
Transfer to a small fondue pot or 1½-quart slow cooker. Keep warm; add additional cream if fondue thickens. Serve with toasted bread cubes.
Recommended wine pairings: Cheese, cream, and butter are some of life’s simplest pleasures—luckily for us, they all pair wonderfully with wine. For this combination, look for a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon, like a Chilean 2013 Patria.
Try the Italian way of doing fondue with fonduta. PBS says the appetizer hails from northern regions of Italy, particularly the Piedmont and Val d’Aosta areas. Rich from the egg yolks and butter, serve with a thick bread.
- 1 pound Fontina cheese, cut into bits
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- Toasted bread cubes from a one pound loaf
Directions: Combine the cheese and milk in a medium size saucepan and allow to sit off the heat for 2 hours. Add the butter to the milk and cheese mixture. Cook the mixture over medium low heat, stirring with a whisk until the cheese is smooth. Raise the heat to medium high and whisking constantly, add the egg yolks, one at a time, making sure that each is well incorporated before adding another. The mixture should be very creamy.
Pour the fonduta out into individual dishes and surround with cubes of toasted bread.
Recommended wine pairings: You might never think of a Riesling and fondue pairing, but we’re partial to the crispness and smokiness of a 2007 Koonowla. Taste for complex flavors of wildflowers, grapefruit, and guava for an entirely different Riesling than you may be used to.
6. Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta
Just a Pinch based this baked fondue on the popular appetizer at Olive Garden. You only need one of the cheeses to be smoked for the recipe, so choose a smoked mozzarella or a smoked provolone.
- 1 loaf italian bread, sliced into ¼-inch slices or diced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cup shredded mozzarella, or smoked mozzarella
- 3 cup shredded provolone, or smoked provolone
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons grated romano
- 8 teaspoons fresh diced tomatoes
- fresh chopped parsley
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit. Arrange sliced Italian bread flat on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Set aside until ready to use.
Combine sour cream, thyme, red pepper, cayenne pepper and four cheeses in a large bowl and blend thoroughly.
If serving family style, spray an 8 x 10 casserole dish with pan spray, then use a spatula to transfer the mixture. For individual servings, spray eight individual heat-resistant serving bowls, such as soufflé cups, with pan spray and fill each with ½ cup of mixture.
Place individual bowls on a baking sheet. Using a large spoon, spread cheese mixture to create an even surface. Bake on center rack in oven. After five minutes, place baking sheet with bread, still covered, on top rack in oven. Bake for an additional five minutes. Remove bread and fonduta from oven, and garnish with diced tomatoes and parsley. Arrange bread around bowl(s) and serve immediately.
Recommended wine pairings: We like the light heat and tang of this dish, so we favor an acidic white wine in this round. Try a 2012 Rock Point Pinot Gris, whose hearty fruit flavors make it a perfect match for this robust dish.
7. Gouda, Pancetta, and Onion Fondue with Pretzels
Nothing against toasted bread crumbs, but there are other, more exciting breads you can pair with your fondue. Food & Wine decided warm soft pretzels would be perfect for dipping in this gouda-based fondue that serves 8.
- 4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound Gouda, coarsely shredded
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup dry Riesling
- 8 soft pretzels, warmed
- Cubed and seeded rye bread, cornichons and other pickled vegetables, for serving
Directions: In a medium skillet, cook the chopped pancetta over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Add the sliced onion, cover and cook over moderate heat until it is softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the cumin and season the onion with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, toss the cheese with the flour. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the cheese in handfuls and stir constantly until each batch is completely melted before adding more. Cook, stirring vigorously, until creamy, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the pancetta and half of the onion and season generously with pepper. Float the remaining onion on top of the fondue and serve with warm pretzels, rye bread cubes, cornichons, and pickled vegetables.
Recommended wine pairings: To balance the pickled vegetables and to add some heft to the spicy notes of this dish, we’re in favor of introducing a little fruit into the mix. Try a 2008 Reilly’s Barking Mad Riesling, which is perfectly dry with just a hint of sugar on the finish.
8. Champagne Cheddar Fondue
The fondue from Whole Foods has a double dose of champagne flavor. First it appears in champagne cheddar cheese, a specialty cheese you can find in the grocery store. Next you’ll use a sparkling wine or champagne where wine or beer appeared in earlier recipes. It will serve 6.
- 2 cups shredded Champagne Cheddar (about 8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup Champagne or sparkling wine
- 1 clove garlic, slivered
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Toasted baguette slices or cubes
- Slice apples and/or pears
Directions: In a medium bowl, toss cheese with cornstarch. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring Champagne to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cheese mixture, parsley and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until cheese is melted and mixture has thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Keep warm in a fondue pot or on the stove and serve with bread and fruit for dipping.
Recommended wine pairings: Several wines will work here, so experiment and see which combination you like best. Some of our favorites are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. For specific bottles, we’re partial to a 2013 Letterpress Pinot Noir or a 2010 Lorenz Symphony German Riesling.