How to make the best wine-free, alcohol-free, Cheese Fondue.
I went travelling for the first in two years, and it was to Switzerland! Of course, Cheese Fondue was a meal choice a lot of the times. I knew I had to recreate it at home, and after a couple of failed attempts (so many curdled cheese *sobs*), this is the final, fool-proof recipe.
What Type of Cheese to use for Cheese Fondue
One of my souvenirs from Switzerland were cheese! Specifically Gruyere (also known as Swiss Cheese) and Emmental. These are known as easy-melting cheese.
You can use any easy-melting cheese of choice! I like using Cheddar Cheese too which has a lot of flavour.
The recommended type of cheese to use would be the block ones, instead of the readily-shredded versions. Those tend to have anti caking agents so it doesn’t clump together in the bag, which also makes it harder to melt. That said, I’ve used the readily shredded versions, and I got great results too. It will melt slower but eventually you’ll get there.
In the video, I used a food processor to quickly and easily grate my cheese! I got granules instead of shreds – but no worries, it works too. I even used the food processor to mix in the cornstarch. It’s my favourite cheese grating hack ever.
Alternative Base to Wine
Traditional cheese fondue uses white wine as its base, but this recipe has no wine at all and therefore alcohol-free. This means that this is a kid-friendly, fully Halal dish. Instead of wine, I like to use a combination of low sodium stock and milk. You can actually use water, but if I can add flavour and richness, I will do it!
Stock: Any stock of your choice will work. I used Chicken Stock here, but vegetable stock can work too if you want a vegetarian cheese fondue. If you have no-salt stock, that’s even better (and healthier). Most ready-made stock or bouillon cubes will have salt though though, so I recommend finding a low sodium version. If you have a regular sodium version, add more water to mitigate the salt levels.
Milk: I like to combine stock with milk to give it a nice richness.
You can also just use stock or milk in the fondue. Just stock alone, it could get too salty, and with just milk it got too rich and I got sick of it quite quickly. So my easy solution is to do a 50/50 of both!
How to get a Smooth Cheese Fondue
To get a smooth cheese fondue, use low heat to melt the cheese. You might be tempted to crank the temperature up because your cheese is not melting quickly… do not be tempted! This was my exact experience attempting cheese fondue for the first time. My cheese broke and became clumpy 🙁
So be patient, and continuously stir gently over low heat until the cheese melts.
Cornstarch is added to stabilise the cheese for a smoother fondue. It also helps to thicken the fondue later on. The cornstarch helps the cheese to mesh together with the liquids.
Wine also acts as a stabiliser due to the levels of tartaric acid. Since wine is not used here, add lemon juice! Lemon juice has citric acid to mimic the tartaric acid in wine. Besides lemon juice, you can also use lime juice. I love the lemon juice too since it adds a nice brightness to the otherwise heavy cheese sauce.
Serving the Perfect Cheese Fondue
The secret to maintaining good cheese fondue is keeping a constant low temperature, while stirring with the food. Too high and the cheese will burn, or break and curdle. Too low, and the cheese will set and thicken.
This is why a fondue set is used. The heat from the tealights or burning mechanism is low and gentle enough to properly heat the fondue.
What if you do not have a fondue pot set? You can also serve fondue! Make the fondue in a saucepan over an induction or portable stove cooker. With the cooker, you can also easily control the temperature. In fact, even though I have a fondue set, I prefer serving fondue with the saucepan over induction cooker setup. I do not have to wait for the fondue to heat up for long, and I can easily keep a constant temperature.
Also sometimes I need a quick fondue break – it’s a lot simpler to turn the induction cooker on and off, versus lighting up the tea lights for the fondue pot.
What to Serve Cheese Fondue With
In Switzerland, the cheese fondue is often served with cubes of crusty bread, roasted or boiled potatoes, and gherkins and pickled onions.
To make the easiest crusty bread ever, make sure you check out my recipe right here.
I also absolutely love serving this with blanched vegetables! Hardier vegetables work the best, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and capsicums – these are what I served in this recipe too.
Blanch the vegetables so it livens up. Lightly salt the boiling water, and boil the vegetables for just a minute or two. No need to cook the vegetables till soft!
A snapshot of what you can serve cheese fondue with:
- Crusty Bread
- Roasted or Boiled Potatoes
- Blanched Vegetables
- Gherkins and Pickled Onions
- Apples and Pears
- Pasta – bigger shells or rigatoni work exceptionally well
Now you’re ready to enjoy your cheese fondue! Do not dip – always swirl your toppings. This is the Swiss way! Not only will this make sure you get cheese everrryyywhereee, it will also help to stir the cheese so it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Enjoy!
- Pepper Lunch Beef Pepper Rice
- Cheesy Curry Baked Rice
- Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Did you try this recipe? Let me know! Tag me @nomadetteats #nomadetteats on Instagram!
Cheese FondueCourse: Recipes
200g Shredded Cheese of choice (I used Gruyere or Swiss Cheese)
1 tbsp Cornflour
100ml Low Sodium Chicken Stock
1/2 tsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Optional Spices and Seasonings:
1/4 tsp Ground Sweet Paprika
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground White Pepper
- Serve With:
Blanched Vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Capsicums, Cherry Tomatoes
- To shredded cheese, add the cornstarch and toss through to evenly coat the cheese.
- To a cold saucepan or your fondue pot, add the stock, milk and garlic. You have the option of rubbing the saucepan with the garlic clove so you only get a hint of garlic. Turn on the heat, and over low to medium heat, allow this mixture to come to a gentle simmer.
- Once the mixture starts to gently simmer, add the cheese gradually and in batches. Gently stir the saucepan – I like to use a spatula or a wooden spoon for this – so that the cheese melts or almost completely melts, before adding the next batch of cheese. Be patient!
- Once you’ve added all the cheese, and it has almost completely melted, add the ground sweet paprika, nutmeg and pepper, if using. Continue to stir to combine. The cheese fondue should also start to thicken.
- Once all of the cheese has melted, finish off by stirring in the lemon juice. Cheese fondue is ready to serve!
- Swirl in your toppings right in the saucepan over low heat or transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm for a melty, ooey gooey cheese fondue!