Cheddar Cheese Fondue

5 from 34 votes
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This Cheddar Cheese Fondue is so versatile—it’s perfect for dipping vegetables, meat, bread, or crackers. It is smooth and creamy, with a deliciously rich sharp flavor. Plus, it’s alcohol-free so the entire family can enjoy!

Side view of warmed cheddar fondue with bread and vegetables for dipping.

My family is obsessed with this cheddar cheese fondue!. Not only because it’s delicious but there is so much you can do with this dip recipe. There are fairly few ingredients to this recipe, and it takes about 20 minutes or less to put together. For this cheddar cheese fondue recipe, I like to use the Oster 3-qt Electric Fondue pot because you can control the temperature. This fondue pot is affordable and not too big and is easy to stash away and pull out whenever you are in the mood for a special treat.

This fondue recipe is perfect for a romantic night in. You’ll also love this Easy Chocolate Fondue for dessert or this savory Melting Pot’s Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue. For a special date night, try some of our 10 Fun and Romantic Dinner Date Night at Home Ideas!

Alcohol-Free Cheese Fondue

Most fondue recipes call for white wine, or lager beer, which is kind of a bummer if you are making cheese fondue for kids or someone who does not consume alcohol. This version, on the other hand, is 100% alcohol-free! It was hard to find another recipe that I liked without alcohol, so I decided to make my own. It tastes delicious, and so fun to see the crazy combinations kids choose to dip in.

Piece of French bread smothered in warm cheddar fondue over the pot.


How to Cook Meat in a Fondue Pot

Sometimes we dip meat into the cheese fondue. The meat will need to be cooked before you dip it in. Often we end up just grilling the meat in a pan or on the grill, but you can also cook it in the fondue pot beforehand.

To do so, you will need to use oil. Make sure you read the directions for your specific pot to get the manufacturer’s recommendation. The Oster Electric Fondue Pot we use allows you to heat the oil to the exact right temperature without scorching. Once the oil is ready at 375 degrees, you are ready to start cooking.

If your pot does not have a temperature setting, one easy trick to use to see if it’s ready for meat is to heat the oil until it is hot enough that if you drop a bread cube in, it will turn golden brown in 30 seconds.

Tips for Making Smooth Fondue:

Preventing cheddar fondue from separating can be a bit tricky, but here are some tips to help you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency:

  • Quality Cheese: Start with good-quality cheddar cheese. Aged cheddar works best because it has a smoother texture due to lower moisture content. Avoid pre-packaged shredded cheese, as it often contains additives that can affect the fondue’s texture.
  • Grate the Cheese: Grate the cheese finely or cube it into small pieces. Smaller pieces melt more easily and evenly.
  • Cornstarch or Flour: Toss the grated cheese with a tablespoon or two of cornstarch or all-purpose flour before adding it to the pot. This will help stabilize the cheese sauce and prevent separation.
  • Acidic Liquid: Use an acidic liquid like dry white wine or beer to help emulsify the cheese. The acid helps keep the cheese proteins from clumping together.
  • Low Heat: Use low to medium-low heat when melting the cheese. High heat can cause the cheese to break and become grainy. Be patient; it may take a bit longer to melt at lower temperatures.
  • Stir Constantly: Stir the cheese mixture continuously in a figure-eight pattern. Stirring prevents the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot and ensures even melting.
  • Add Cheese Gradually: Add the cheese in small batches rather than all at once. Allow each batch to melt fully before adding more. This gradual addition helps maintain a smoother consistency.
  • Prevent Overheating: Avoid overheating the fondue. Once the cheese is fully melted, reduce the heat to very low or use a fondue pot with a low, consistent heat source. Too much heat can cause the cheese to separate.
  • Emulsifiers: If you’re having consistent trouble with separation, you can try adding a small amount of sodium citrate or a similar emulsifier. These can help stabilize the cheese sauce.
  • Serve Promptly: Cheddar fondue is best enjoyed right after it’s prepared. As it cools, it can become thicker and more prone to separation. Keep the fondue warm with a low heat source, like a fondue pot or a slow cooker, while serving.

Remember that achieving the perfect cheddar fondue may take some practice, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time. With these tips and a little patience, you’ll be able to enjoy a creamy and delicious cheddar fondue.

Cooking Times for Meat in a Fondue Pot

Here is a basic time-table of how long everything needs to cook for. Of course, the time estimates vary greatly depending on how thick your meat is. I generally chop my meat into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes. Before eating, make sure the meat is cooked through and your time estimations are right.

  • Shrimp (uncooked) – appx. 1 minute (or until pink and opaque)
  • Chicken — 2 min
  • Beef/Steak — 45 seconds – 1 min
  • Sausage — 1 min

Once the meat is cooked through, use a skewer or a fork to dip into the yummy cheese.

Cheddar fondue in a fondue pot with sliced bread in skewers and a bowl with extra sliced bread and vegetables on a dish for dipping.

Do I Need a Fondue Pot to Make This Recipe?

Probably. This recipe was specifically created to be used in conjunction with a fondue pot. The pot will keep your cheese mixture at high heat which will melt it evenly and then once it is melted, keep it at the perfect warm temperature without scalding the bottom. Electric fondue pots are also fairly inexpensive. The one we use costs about $30.

There are a few other ways you can try to make this cheese fondue without one. I haven’t personally tested these, but if you decide to, please come back and leave a comment to share what worked (or what didn’t).

Some people have had luck creating fondue recipes using a slow cooker on medium heat or medium-low heat setting. Other reviews I read said that a double boiler pot over the stove works as well. I personally love having a fondue pot around to make this cheese fondue, but you can always try one of the above and see if it works for you.

Cheese Variations

There’s room for creativity when it comes to cheddar cheese fondue. While cheddar is a classic choice, you can experiment with other cheeses or even swap it out entirely for different flavor profiles. Gruyère cheese is a fantastic option; it’s smooth, melts beautifully, and has a slightly nutty taste that pairs wonderfully with the creamy fondue base. Emmental, which is similar to Gruyère, is another great substitute.

For a more intense cheese experience, try incorporating Swiss cheese, known for its sharp and earthy flavor, or add some Monterey Jack for a milder, creamy twist. If you’re feeling adventurous, blue cheese can introduce a bold and tangy kick. Mixing multiple cheeses can also lead to exciting flavor combinations.

Remember, the key to a delicious fondue is achieving the right balance of flavors and textures. So, don’t hesitate to experiment with different cheese blends to find the perfect combination that suits your tastes.

Cubed French baguette dipping into the warmed cheddar fondue.

Customizations for Cheddar Fondue:

  1. Bacon Cheddar Fondue: Add crispy bacon bits for a smoky and savory twist. The saltiness of bacon pairs nicely with cheddar cheese.
  2. Spicy Cheddar Fondue: Spice it up with a pinch of cayenne pepper, diced jalapeños, or hot sauce. The heat will balance the richness of the cheese. It’s especially good for dipping tortilla chips!
  3. Beer Cheddar Fondue: Replace broth with beer for a unique flavor profile. The bitterness of beer can complement cheddar’s sharpness.
  4. Herb-Infused Fondue: Incorporate fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, or chives to add a fragrant and earthy aroma to the fondue.
  5. Garlic and Onion Cheddar Fondue: Sauté minced garlic and onions in butter before adding them to the fondue. This infusion adds depth and complexity to the flavor.
  6. Smoked Cheddar Fondue: Opt for smoked cheddar cheese for a bold, smoky taste. It pairs wonderfully with grilled or roasted vegetables.
  7. Cheddar and Gouda Fondue: Mix cheddar with gouda for a creamier texture and a delightful blend of flavors. Gouda’s mildness complements cheddar’s sharpness.
  8. Tex-Mex Cheddar Fondue: Incorporate ingredients like diced tomatoes, green chilies, and taco seasoning for a Tex-Mex flair. Serve with tortilla chips and jalapeño slices.
  9. Buffalo Cheddar Fondue: Add buffalo sauce for a tangy and slightly spicy kick. Dip chicken tenders or celery sticks for a Buffalo wing-inspired experience.
  10. Cheddar and Pesto Fondue: Swirl in a spoonful of pesto for a fresh, herbaceous flavor that pairs well with crusty bread.
  11. Cheddar and Truffle Oil Fondue: Elevate your fondue with a drizzle of truffle oil. It adds a luxurious, earthy aroma that complements cheddar’s sharpness.
Sliced bread on a cutting board with cheddar fondue and vegetables on a platter.

What to Dip into Cheese Fondue

Ready for some suggestions as to what you can dip into your cheddar cheese fondue? I have so many! Here are some of my favorites. Side note: If you are dipping veggies, I would suggest blanching them so they are JUST crisp-tender.

  • French bread
  • Any baguette
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Green or Red Pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Sausage
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Shrimp

How to Store Leftover Cheese Fondue

Cheese fondue is always best served fresh, but if you happen to have leftovers and want to save it for later, it is totally doable! First, let the remaining cheese cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container with a secure lid. Refrigerate the container, and your cheese fondue will keep well for 2-3 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, gently reheat the fondue on the stove over low heat, stirring frequently to ensure even melting. If it thickens upon cooling, you can thin it with a bit of wine, beer, or milk. Adjust the seasoning as necessary, and your fondue will be ready for another delicious round of dipping. Enjoy!

Why is my cheese fondue not blending?

Cheese fondue can be tricky and can take some practice. Be sure you are using high-quality cheese. You should also toss the shredded cheese in a little cornstarch or flour to help prevent separation. Heat low and slow and stir constantly.

What do you serve cheese fondue with?

You can serve cheese fondue with your favorite cooked protein, bread pieces, vegetables, and even sliced apples!

How do you unclump fondue?

First, remove the fondue from the heat source. Then, add a small amount of liquid (broth, wine, beer, or even water) to the clumped mixture. Return it to low heat and stir gently but continuously until the clumps dissolve and the mixture becomes smooth again. Be patient and avoid high heat, as this can cause the cheese to become grainy. If needed, you can also add a bit of cornstarch or flour mixed with liquid to help thicken and smooth out the fondue.

How to Make Cheddar Cheese Fondue

Piece of French bread smothered in warm cheddar fondue over the pot.

Cheddar Cheese Fondue

5 from 34 votes
Cheddar Cheese Fondue is so versatile! It is smooth, creamy and has a delicious sharp flavor. Perfect for dipping vegetables, meat, bread, or crackers.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Servings 12

Video

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a fondue pot or saucepan over LOW heat, combine beef broth, milk, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, dry mustard, and cornstarch. Don't let it boil or even come to a simmer.
    Pot with base for cheddar fondue with cheddar and Swiss cheese on the side to add.
  • When it is just warm enough to melt cheese gradually stir in the cheese and laughing cow cheese with a figure-8 motion.
    Fondue Pot with cheddar cheese added to make cheddar fondue.
  • Add beef broth to thin if needed.
    Cheddar fondue in a fondue pot with sliced bread in skewers and a bowl with extra sliced bread and vegetables on a dish for dipping.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 15gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 484mgPotassium: 96mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 583IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 425mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We did a Valentines fondu theme thing with the kids. Used this recipe. So good! I mixed the cornstarch into the shredded cheese, then gradually added that. Will def use this recipe again

  2. 5 stars
    Cheesy options are my favorite. I love such amazing ideas for a party at home with amazing veggies and crackers too.

  3. This sounds really good– I’d like to make it.
    In the ingredient list it calls for cornstarch but in the directions it says flour instead. Would just like to know if you use a same amount of flour as cornstarch?

    1. I wondering the same thing, I’m going to use cornstarch not flour. The fondue I’ve made in the past I mixed the cornstarch
      With the cheese before it went into the the pot.

      1. Oh thank you for catching that! I will change that right now. It is supposed to say cornstarch.

  4. 5 stars
    Fabulous! We did fondue for Christmas Eve after church. It was perfect. We did a Swiss cheese and beef teriyaki. We were too full for the chocolate fondue, so we had that on Christmas.

    Excellent blog, great recipes!