Fondue sets are the perfect addition to any home. You and your family can gather around the fondue and enjoy a wonderful cheese appetizer or a chocolate fondue dessert. Some fondues are great with cooking sauces or gravies, and you can even do a main course. Beef is the most popular type of meat for the fondue – try a classic beef tenderloin or sirloin!
There are many fondue sets on the market today. Let’s go over some of the best and most popular.
Best Electric: Cuisinart CFO-3SS
The Cuisinart CFO-3SS comes in handy for a party. It is affordable and very versatile, and can be used for cheese, chocolate, or for broth. You can also use it to warm soup, chili, stew, and other dishes.
The contemporary, sleek, brushed stainless steel pot is large and can make up to three quarts of whatever you desire in a fondue. It comes with its own stand and a ring holder to catch some of the mess. This fondue is better to use for a larger gathering, as it seems a bit oversized for a smaller amount of food. Eight little color-coded forks come with the set.
This fondue is fast. In about 10 minutes, it can heat up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. An indicator light turns on when the pot is actively heating. The heating element is built into the bottom of the pot, for even heating. You can control the temperature probe easily by simply turning a numbered dial; however, it does take a bit of experimenting to determine the temperature that works best with the food you are heating.
Unlike other fondues, which require cooking your food on the stove prior to heating it in the fondue, the Cuisinart CFO-3SS can cook everything in its pot. This device does not use an open flame, as it is electric. Therefore, it is safe to use when kids or pets are around.
The inside of the fondue is non-stick, which means it is easy to clean after use. For added convenience, if you remove the probe and cord, the rest of the device is dishwasher safe.
One drawback is it is rather heavy, so it’s not that easy to move around. Also, the electrical cord is short, about two feet long, and thus it requires an extension cord if your fondue is not placed near an outlet.
- Very versatile
- Large capacity
- Fast and even heating – the heating element is built into the bottom of the pot
- Wide range of temperature settings
- Non-stick interior and dishwasher safe
- Short electric cord
Best for Cooking Meat: Trudeau Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set
Usually fondues that are great for cheese and chocolate have trouble handling the high heat needed to cook meat. Alternately, fondues that can handle the heat for meat are sometimes too hot for cheese and chocolate, leading to overcooking and burning. The Trudeau Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set has no problem working with all three.
This fondue is stylish and durable. The main pot is made of solid stainless steel and is spacious enough to hold the hot oil needed for cooking meat. Try making a nice stew or soup in this fondue and you won’t be disappointed.
The base of the fondue is electric, and it has a thermostat to control the temperature. With 1500 watts of power, the device provides plenty of heat for cooking your meat in oil or broth. The temperature gauge only has two settings marked – minimum and maximum – so you will need to estimate what setting to use.
If you’re heating cheese or chocolate, there is a ceramic pot for that, which fits into the metal pot. Simply add water to the metal pot and it will shield the ceramic pot from getting too hot. The fondue is also perfect for heating dips and similar appetizers in this way.
While cooking, you should keep track of the water level in the pot so it doesn’t evaporate away. This can be a bit of a challenge if you’re using the ceramic pot, because it is hard to see how much water is remaining in the metal pot beneath it.
This fondue includes six forks with color-coded handles, which come in handy if you’re having guests over.
In terms of safety, the device has an easy-release, magnetic power cord. However, the cord is only about a foot long so you will most likely need an extension cord.
The fondue is very easy to clean. You can simply remove the pots and pop them into the dishwasher, although the manufacturer recommends washing by hand instead. The pots are non-stick so food should come off easily. However, being stainless steel, the fondue can show smudges easily. You may be able to avoid this by drying the set by hand instead of letting it air dry.
One drawback is, depending on what you are making, you may need to prepare your food first in a separate pot on the stove and then transfer it to the fondue to keep warm. This is not very convenient as you then have to clean both that first pot and the fondue pot.
- Stylish and durable
- Three-in-one – you can cook cheese, meat, or chocolate
- Includes metal pot and ceramic pot
- 1500 watts of power
- Easy-release magnetic power cord
- Smudges show easily
- Manufacturer recommends cooking food on stove first, then transferring to fondue
- Short extension cord
Best Overall: Swissmar Lugano Cast Iron Cheese Fondue Set
The Swissmar Lugano Cast Iron Cheese Fondue Set is more traditional looking than the previous two models we profiled. It has a fondue pot made of durable, long lasting, enameled cast iron. It’s a charming, rustic set available in a variety of colors. It can be used for cheese, chocolate, oil, broth, or warming sauces or milk for hot chocolate.
While some other brands require that you heat the food in another pot on the kitchen stove and then transfer it to the fondue, with this model you do not need to do that. Its cast iron pot holds heat well and the fondue can be heated directly on your stove. When you remove the fondue from the stove, you can rest it on the included wrought iron stand, which has a gel container to add heat.
The set includes a separate burner in case you want to use the fondue outdoors, although cooking with the burner is a little slower than using the kitchen stove. This device does well with cooking at low and high temperatures.
For safety when cooking with the burner on a table top, the burner cup is elevated so as to maintain a distance between the heat source and the table surface.
To add to this fondue’s versatility, you can also use it in your kitchen oven.
The set includes six stylish and sleek, extra-long fondue forks which each have three tines instead of two, making it easier for them to hold onto food. They are not color coded, though.
This device should be used with non-stick or wooden utensils so they don’t scratch the fondue surface. To clean it, simply wash by hand. If food is burnt on, you can soak it in hot, soapy water and then rub it off with a sponge. To avoid rust, do not put it in the dishwasher.
- Charming, rustic style
- Cast iron construction
- Six high quality fondue forks
- Holds heat well
- Easy to clean
- Forks are not color coded
Best High-End: Swissmar Sierra Cast Iron Meat Fondue Set
This is a beautiful fondue set, even if it is a little smaller than the other sets we have described so far. Available in five attractive colors, the Swissmar Sierra Cast Iron Meat Fondue Set is stunning to look at, even when it’s just on display in your cabinet.
This fondue comes with an enameled cast iron fondue pot with handles, six forks, a stand, a burner, and a base.
First you will heat the pot containing your cheese or other food on your kitchen stove top (or even in your oven) and once it’s reached the desired temperature, you can transfer it to the stand. Turn on the burner, and your fondue will stay warm for your party. The stand is sturdy and allows you easy access to the burner and gel fuel. The base keeps everything held securely and keeps drips and spills from reaching your table below.
This device is primarily meant for cooking meat but it can really be used for anything, including cheese, soup, dips, gravy, sauces, chili, and chocolate. Meat is cooked at a higher heat and other food at a lower heat. If you need to use it for regular cooking on the stove or in the oven, you can do that too.
The enameled cast iron pot is easy to clean.
- Attractive exterior, available in five colors
- Enameled cast iron pot
- Versatile – intended for meat but can heat anything depending on temperature used
- Sturdy stand
- Easy to clean
- A bit pricey
- Smaller than other fondue sets
Honorable mention: Nostalgia Fps200 6-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Fondue Pot
The Nostalgia Fps200 6-Cup Stainless Steel Electric Fondue Pot is the smallest of all the models we have profiled and its petite size is perfect for intimate family gatherings. This fondue is easy to use, high quality and sturdy, with stainless steel construction, cool-touch handles, and a large base.
It is great for cooking cheese and chocolate. You can also use this device to create the perfect sauce as it offers quick and very even heat distribution, controlled by a handy adjustable temperature dial. With other fondues, you might burn your sauce, but not with this model. Also, due to the bowl’s size and shape, it can keep your food warm without getting sticky or thick.
It comes with six color coded forks so your friends can remember which is theirs. It also has a nice long electric cord.
The only drawback with this model is the messy cleaning process afterwards.
- Sturdy, stainless steel construction
- Great for cheese and chocolate, but also cooks sauces very well
- Even heat distribution
- Cool-touch handles so you won’t burn your hands
- Long electrical cord
- Small, so not suitable for larger gatherings
- Messy cleaning process
- Fondue cooking tips
Frequently asked questions
What are some good fondue cooking tips?
When preparing your food for the fondue, try to avoid using water. Instead, prepare your food with wine, broth, or another flavorful liquid. If cooking vegetables, squeeze lemon juice over them so they don’t turn brown.
Use your fondue for only one course at your get together. It can be an appetizer, main course, or dessert.
For your fondue dish, estimate about a half pound of food per person at your party. This is assuming you will have other dishes at the party.
Never leave your heated fondue unattended and watch children closely while you are using it. If there is a fire, cover the fondue with the lid. This will remove oxygen and put out the fire. Do not put water on the fire as it will cause the fire to spread.
What is the best way to clean my fondue?
If your fondue is safe to use on your kitchen stove, fill your fondue pot with water. Leave some room at the top. Place the pot on the stove and turn it on. Heat the water until boiling, at which point you can remove the pot from the stove.
If your fondue is not stove top-safe, heat water in a kettle and once it is boiling pour it into the fondue pot. Make sure to use oven mitts so your hands do not get burned.
Once the water is hot, sprinkle in a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent and stir gently. Then let it sit for a half hour so the detergent can soak into and break down the food particles. Pour the water out carefully and use a soft sponge to scrub off any residue that remains. It should come off easily.
For particularly stubborn stuck on food particles in your stainless steel pot, scrape them off using a stainless steel scrubber; use a wooden spoon to scrape off a ceramic pot.
Then rinse and dry the fondue thoroughly.