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The Best Cheese Fondue

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1/2 pound shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 pound shredded Havarti cheese
1/4 pound shredded fontina
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch garlic powder
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey mustard
bread cubes
apple slices
cooked tiny sausages
cooked meatballs
crisp tater tots

The Best Cheese Fondue

Creamy and dreamy cheese fondue is the perfect recipe for entertaining during the holidays.

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

About This Recipe

When you are thinking of what to make for guests during the holiday season, you may consider everything from Steak House Steak to Pizza Spaghetti Style to a luscious ham or roast chicken. But why not shake things up a bit and serve the best cheese fondue?

I know, I know, it’s retro. But fondue is so good and fabulous for entertaining. There’s something about a communal meal that is – literally – communal, that is festive and heartwarming. And it’s so easy!

All you have to do is heat up some wine (carefully – it is flammable, after all) – and add cheese, stirring constantly, I’m afraid, until it melts and everything gets all creamy. Then you just add dippers – I prefer really crusty bread, cut into cubes so each piece has a lot of crunchy crust, hot meatballs, some sliced green apples, and hot cooked sausages – and you’re set. Add a green salad and some wine, with Christmas cookies for dessert, and you have quite a feast.

Light a fire in the fireplace – or put a fireplace DVD on the TV, play some soft music, and set a pretty table and you are ready to ring in the New Year. Or just celebrate because you want to!

Tips for making the best cheese fondue:

  • The type of wine you use is important, because the flavor of the wine is paramount in this recipe. Choose a good drinkable wine that you enjoy. I myself like Piesporter Michelsburg or any other good German white wine. That’s probably because I was introduced to this recipe by my husband’s family; he grew up in Germany and always went to the Swiss Alps for Christmas, where they had, naturally enough, fondue.
  • The cheese is crucial too. The classic recipe calls for Gruyere, but you can use any Swiss cheese you want, from regular Swiss to Havarti. Grate it yourself. Do not buy preshredded cheese because it will never melt smoothly.
  • And remember to stir and stir and stir. That’s the only way the finished fondue will be silky smooth.
  • It’s traditional to add cherry brandy, or kirsch, just before serving, but I don’t like the flavor so I omit it.

Why this recipe works:

  • The tart and slightly sour wine is perfect with the nutty cheese. And the crisp and chewy bread is the perfect complement to the smooth fondue. Apples are tart and sweet, and salty sausage is the perfect addition to the classic recipe. For an American touch, tater tots are great too!

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In a large bowl, toss the cheeses with the cornstarch and garlic powder to coat.


In an electric fondue pot or over low heat in a heavy saucepan, heat the wine just until bubbles start forming around the edges.


Add the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring constantly. As the cheese melts, add more. When you have added half of the cheese, stir in the lemon juice and honey mustard.


Continue adding the cheese, always stirring constantly, until everything melts and is smooth and velvety. If you made the fondue in a saucepan, transfer it to a fondue pot with a sterno base or a candle and serve immediately with all of the dippers.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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