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Make an extra creamy Cheese Fondue at home with this easy three cheese recipe! It’s made without wine, and instead uses half and half, which makes it so creamy. This is a fun spin on classic Swiss cheese fondue, and it’s delicious served with bread, veggies or roasted baby potatoes for dipping. Fondue is the perfect party food, and also great for a romantic date night!
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If you’ve never made fondue at home, here’s your sign to start now. It sounds fancy, but it’s actually an easy dish to make. And it’s a fun and unique dinner party idea that will immediately transport you to a chalet in Switzerland.
You can easily find a fondue pot for under $40 online, or you can simply use a pot on stove. It’s great for sharing and perfect for small dinner parties or special occasions. You can even make a chocolate fondue for dessert, after the cheese fondue, for a true fondue party experience!
My husband has been making this exact fondue recipe for me every year for Valentine’s Day since 2016. In recent years, we also started making it every year on New Year’s Eve for a festive dinner with friends.
This year, I told him that I wanted to share the fondue recipe on the blog before New Year’s Eve so that other people could make it to ring in the new year.
I was surprised to see that he makes his fondue recipe without alcohol. A traditional Swiss fondue is made with white wine and kirsch, a clear, colorless brandy. Skeptical about which version was better, his extra creamy fondue or a traditional Swiss fondue, we made both, and I actually preferred his extra creamy three cheese fondue!
While it might not be as classic as the recipes with white wine, if you want a fondue recipe without alcohol that’s still made with traditional fondue cheeses and is extra creamy and cheesy, then this is the recipe for you!
For the full ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Olive oil
- Shallot – the mild, sweeter cousin of the onion, the delicate flavor of a shallot is perfect in this recipe. If you don’t have a shallot, you can use finely minced onion in it’s place, but just note that it will have a stronger onion flavor than the shallot.
- Swiss cheese – a classic fondue recipe is always made with Swiss cheese. For this recipe, we’re using half traditional Swiss and half “fancy Swiss”.
- Emmentaler cheese (or gruyere cheese) – both of these are Swiss-type, Alpine style cheeses that have a medium-hard texture and melt well. If you wanted to get really fancy, you could leave out the plain Swiss cheese and use half emmentaler and half gruyere. In the end, you’ll want 1 pound of Swiss-style cheese to make this recipe.
- Cream cheese – while not traditionally used in Swiss fondue, adding this cheese helps make this cheese fondue extra creamy.
- Half and half – since this recipe is made without wine, half and half is used as the liquid to make the fondue smooth and easily dippable! You can also use 2% or whole milk, but the end result will not be as thick and creamy.
- Salt + white pepper – to season the fondue. I use white pepper to keep the silky white color of the fondue. You can also use black pepper in this recipe.
- Nutmeg – freshly grate whole nutmeg into the fondue for the best flavor. If you don’t have whole nutmeg on hand, you can use ground nutmeg, but the flavor won’t be as strong.
I’ve included step by step photos below to make this recipe super easy to follow at home. For the full detailed recipe instructions, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Grate the cheeses. Grate one pound of cheese into a large bowl and set aside. This can be any combination of Swiss, emmentaler or gruyere cheese.
- Saute the shallots. Heat a fondue pot, or medium saucepan on the stove, over medium heat. Add olive oil and cook the shallots for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese. Add cubed pieces of cream cheese in with the shallots. Reduce the heat down to medium-low, then add the half and half.
- Stir until creamy, then add 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Stir in another 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Once that cheese melts, stir in the remaining shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese fondue is smooth and creamy. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Serve the fondue immediately with your favorite fruits, vegetables or bread for dipping. Continue to stir the bottom of the pot to make sure the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
What to dip in cheese fondue
There are dozens of options when it comes to what to dip in a cheese fondue. The most important thing to think about when preparing the items for dipping is that they’re cut into bite-sized pieces. I always prepare a tray of dippers before starting the fondue recipe, so when the cheese is warm and melty, you’re ready to serve it with all of your favorite dippers!
Over the years, we’ve tried several different fruits, veggies, meats and breads for dipping in the fondue, and these are our favorites.
- Baguette – I like to warm up the whole baguette in a 350°F oven for 5- 7 minutes, then slice it into cubes. This is also a great way to use up stale bread. Simply heat it up in the oven, then slice it into crusty cubes of bread for dipping up the cheese.
- Cured meats – we cube a Hickory Farms beef summer sausage to dip in the fondue, and it’s always a hit! You could also purchase a salami and slice it into small cubes.
- Roasted baby potatoes – this is a newer addition to our fondue accoutrements, but one that I now cannot live without! Flavorful crispy potatoes dipped into extra creamy cheese fondue, it’s literally the perfect pairing! Click the link for my easy recipe.
- Broccoli – you can serve raw or lightly steamed broccoli with the fondue. You just want to make sure it’s still firm enough to dip into the cheese without falling apart. If steaming the fondue on the stove, I recommend only steaming it for 2-3 minutes, to soften it a bit, while still keeping its crunchy texture.
- Bell peppers – any color will work, we just use whatever we have on hand. If I’m buying a bell pepper specifically for this recipe, I usually buy a red pepper because they’re sweeter, and I like to the flavor paired with the cheeses in this recipe.
- Cherry tomatoes – the perfect little juicy dipper for this recipe. Quick tip, add them to a small bowl for serving, so they don’t roll off the serving tray.
- Apple – I like to use a firm, tart apple like a Granny smith, that pairs well with the nutty Swiss cheese. I always toss the diced apples with a squeeze of lemon juice. This will help them from browning while you prepare the fondue.
Other options to add to your dipping board are cubed pears, pieces of warm soft pretzels, sugar snap peas, cornichons or cauliflower.
- If you don’t have a fondue pot at home, you can make this recipe in a medium saucepan on the stove. The only problem here is that when you’re serving it, you’ll have to return it to the stove every 5-10 minutes to keep it warm and creamy. If you have a camping stove, propane stove or hot plate, you can place the saucepan on any of these options in the middle of the table, with the heat turned to low. This will keep the cheese fondue warm and creamy for serving.
- If the fondue seems like it’s not coming together, after you’ve added the shredded cheese, continue stirring it for a few minutes. If it’s still not smooth and creamy, you can add additional half and half or milk. I recommend adding 2-3 tablespoons at a time until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Always add the cheese to the fondue in 3-4 parts. If you add all of the shredded cheese at one time, it will be more likely to clump and you won’t get velvety smooth cheese fondue.
- Salt to taste. After you’ve made the fondue, dip a piece of bread into it and decide if you’d like more salt. If so, add a few dashes of salt at a time until it reaches the flavor you’d like.
- This recipe will serve 4-6 people as a meal. If serving this recipe as part of an appetizer spread, at a party, it will easily serve 8-12 people.
Storage and reheating
Store leftover fondue in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat it, add the leftover fondue back to a fondue pot, or a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. As the fondue starts to thin out and bubble, stir the fondue, then turn the heat down to low and dip your favorite fruits, veggies or bread into the fondue.
- Grate the emmanteler and swiss cheese into a large bowl, and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a fondue pot, or medium saucepan on the stove, over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the finely chopped shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, then add the cream cheese and half and half, and stir until it’s smooth.
- Reduce the heat to low, then add ⅓ of the shredded cheese and stir until it’s smooth and melted. Repeat with another ⅓ of the cheese, stirring again until melted, then with the remaining ⅓ of cheese, until all of the cheese is melted.
- Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Serve with any of the optional sides for dipping.
- The nutrition information provided is only for the cheese fondue, and does not include the ingredients for dipping in the fondue.
- Prepare a tray of dippers before starting the fondue recipe, so when the cheese is warm and melty, you’re ready to serve it with all of your favorite dippers! When preparing the items for dipping, make sure that they’re cut into bite-sized pieces.
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