Classic Cheese Fondue {Alcohol-Free}

This is our family’s favorite classic cheese fondue recipe! Ooey, gooey, creamy and totally cheesy. Bring back fondue night with this simple recipe!

Classic Cheese Fondue

I am so, so, so (times 1,000) excited for today.

When I announce it is fondue night, my kids pretty much do cartwheels for 10 minutes straight. It is one of our funnest and favorite family meals (and actually is one of the easier, quicker meals to put together; don’t let fondue intimidate you, it’s the simplest thing in the world).

Even though we eat dinner together 98.5% of the time, believe you me when I say that it isn’t always fun and giggles, as you can imagine. But fondue nights are totally and completely the best family dinner nights ever. We laugh and talk and really enjoy dinner together.

We’ve been doing the homemade fondue thing for years. But my modge-podge recipes have been less than stellar.

I’ve been trying to land on the perfect classic cheese fondue recipe for our family with that smooth and creamy and ultra-cheesy texture – and this is surely it.

Thanks to my friend, Kim, who shared her family’s amazing fondue (perfected by her husband who lived in Switzerland for a few years), I can honestly say I’ll never make another classic fondue recipe again; this one’s a keeper (all bets are off for how many variations of chocolate fondue I can come up with, though).

One of the reasons, fondue night manages to get us all rolling is because of this minor, little rule:
Classic Cheese Fondue

In our house, you better dip carefully because if your precious food ends up dropping into the fondue pot, your neighbor is going to get a kiss from your little lips.

Trust me, my boys don’t go around the house all huggy and kissy on a normal basis.

I’m pretty sure when they grow up, they’ll be able to say they got kisses from their siblings about the exact same number of times we ate fondue (which actually will account for quite a few smooches). I’m not entirely sure they’ll be willing to follow this rule when they are teenagers, but hey, 10 and under, and it’s still working for us.

It’s hilarious to see their reactions when they have to kiss each other on the cheek (usually consisting of “ooh, get it over quick, gross, yuck, gag!” while smiling the whole time, of course).

Back to the fondue though: this classic cheese fondue recipe is a dream. It’s creamy and cheesy and the texture is spot on. Just look how ooey and gooey it is.

Classic Cheese Fondue

And the cheese factor is through the roof.

Approximately .3 seconds after I snapped the picture below, one of the boys karate chopped through Jackson’s long cheesy monument with his fondue fork in order to have closer access to the fondue. You gotta act quickly in this house.

Classic Cheese Fondue

We dip all sorts of glorious things in our fondue. Chicken sausages, steamed broccoli and other vegetables (like carrots and cauliflower), tender potatoes, lightly sauteed mushrooms, apples, and bread.

Lots and lots of bread. (I usually make this Rustic Crusty Bread and it’s so amazingly divine in fondue, it leaves me speechless.)

And can we stop for a second and talk about fondue pots? For years, I’ve used an electric Cuisinart pot. And…I hate to throw it under the bus and all, but I don’t really recommend it (although it does get pretty good reviews on Amazon, I must be picky).

When I bought it several years ago, I thought it would be better for our family because, you know, no real, live flame and all to entice five little kids to play and get burned with, plus you can make the fondue start to finish in the pot.

But the pot doesn’t heat evenly (meaning your fondue alternately simmers and then gets cold all while on the same setting) and the cord is super short and well, we just don’t love it (and rarely use it anymore)

My friend Kim has since given me this amazing Swissmar cast iron fondue pot (and I’ve loved it enough to gift it to several other people who love fondue as much as we do).

This classic cheese fondue can still be made start to finish in the pot and we use the gel to keep the flame going. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. It’s made fondue nights a thousand times better if that’s even possible.

Classic Cheese Fondue

Sidenote: Since I don’t cook with alcohol, I’ve always made non-alcoholic fondue recipes. They’ve been ok but not stellar until this amazing recipe. 

Whether or not you like to make fondue with wine, today’s recipe is perfect for our family (think: kid-friendly) and is really the best I’ve ever had!

Since I haven’t subbed out the broth in the recipe for wine, I can’t give any tips, but there are numerous recipes online for more classic, wine-based recipes if you are looking for one like that. 

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Three Years Ago: Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Favorite Fondue Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly packed shredded Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded Swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup low-sodium, good-quality chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice (don’t leave this out! I just gave a quick squeeze of a lemon without properly measuring)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of paprika

Directions:

  1. Place both the shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheeses in a gallon-size resealable bag with the cornstarch and shake until evenly coated.
  2. In a stovetop-safe fondue pot (or in a regular saucepan or electric fondue pot), add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cheese, a small handful at a time, stirring constantly, but not briskly. It works best to use a wooden spoon and and stir in an S-shaped motion, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Once the cheese is melted and begins to just barely simmer, add the remaining spices and move it immediately to the table on the fondue stand with the sterno flame below. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Add more or less cheese for perfect consistency and additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  4. Serve with your favorite fondue dippers: steamed broccoli and/or cauliflower, carrots, apples, chicken sausages, bread (and more bread!), lightly sauteed mushrooms, tender potatoes – the options are endless! Don’t forget if you drop your food into the fondue pot, lean over and give your neighbor a kiss!

Notes:

Kim and her husband recommend adding to the recipe 1/4 teaspoon Mirador seasoning. This is a Swiss spice blend that is particularly hard to find here in the United States (I could not find it where I live). As a replacement, they suggest subbing in Knorr Aromat Seasoning. I chose to leave this out simply due to the MSG (which may not be an issue for you) and the fondue was still fabulous.

Also, don’t use pre-shredded cheese. It has a very different consistency than what you grate yourself – worth the tiny bit of extra work, I promise!

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Recipe Source: adapted just very slightly from my friend Kim Blackham

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