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Best Fondue Pots

Back in the ‘70s, everyone had a metal fondue pot with the over-sized tray and a not-quite-full-set of color-coded forks. It was a novelty for North American consumers who embraced the craze during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, but they later became dust-collectors that eventually wound up at garage sales. However, for true foodies that appreciate how this 18th century Swiss dish originally used remnants of cheese, wine, and stale bread, to extend peasants’ meals, its popularity never waned. In fact, over the past decade fondue has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance as many pots now work with oils, broths, chocolate and even savory sauces. That’s how our 5 fondue pots short-listed below, can cover off all uses including electric versus flame heat. So, grab a fork and lets dip in.

Our Top Picks for Fondue Pots

Cuisinart Electric 3-Quart Fondue Pot with Accessories: For Those New to Fondue

Overview:

Type: Electric

Capacity: 3 quarts

Material: Stainless-steel

Wattage: 1000 watts

Warranty: 3-year

If you’re totally new to the world of fondue cooking, it helps to have a pot that can show you the way. That’s where this Cuisinart, brushed stainless-steel electric fondue maker steps up. Not only is this slick looking, 3-quart model large enough to feed 8 hungry people, it comes with an adjustable temperature control, so you never have to worry about your meal burning, or starting to cool down too soon. It’s the perfect pot for melting all your favorite cheeses for dipping breads of even steamed veggies. But it also works great with chocolate, broths, and even oils for tempura. It features 1000 watts of power, so you know it’s quick to heat up and because it comes with a recipe book, you never have to guess at timing or heat levels. What I love is that the interior is non-stick, it disassembles easily, and the bowl is dishwasher safe, making clean-ups quick and simple. And because this pot also comes with a wire base, a temperature probe (with 8 settings), 8 forks, and a notched stainless-steel fork rack, you can practically to yell “dinners ready”, the moment you take it out of the box.

Pros:

  • Large, 3-quart
  • 8 temperature settings
  • Perfect for cheese, chocolate, broth or oils
  • Non-stick interior
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Cord is short and may require an extension

If you enjoy fondues, but aren’t sure where to begin with prepping and heating, this electric pot with 8 temperature settings and cookbook, is your problem solved.

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Nostalgia Electric 1.5-Quart Fondue Pot with Temperature Control: For Those Who Love Easy Entertaining

Overview:

Type: Electric

Capacity: 1.5 quarts

Material: Stainless-steel

Wattage: n/a

Warranty: 1-year

For those that love the idea of a fondue pot that can do double or even triple duty, this electric Nostalgia fondue maker is the one for you. Not only can it melt your favorite cheeses down to perfection, it’s ideal for when you switch over to dessert mode and want a quick and easy chocolate fix. For casual entertaining, why not load it up with a hot dipping sauce to serve alongside wings, ribs, or any other savory food you can think of. Stainless-steel construction and heat-proof handles make it a snap to use this pot directly on your stove-top to melt foods, then safely transfer to the electric warming base to maintain the heat. And speaking of keeping food warm, I love that it includes temperature controls that can maintain the ideal level of heat regardless of the type of fondue you’re serving – because who doesn’t want to get back to the party versus monitor the food station. It includes six color-coded forks (so no mix-ups here), and a separate, notched rim that helps keeps each fork in its place. And with its easy to disassemble, one-piece, stainless-steel construction, its dishwasher safe so makes clean-ups a breeze.

Pros:

  • Convenient, 1.5-quart capacity
  • Cool touch handles
  • Ideal for cheese, chocolate, sauces
  • Temperature controls
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Cord is short and may require an extension
  • Not suitable for oils

If you’ve been looking for a great little electric fondue pot that tackles, cheeses, chocolate and sauces for when you’re entertaining, this is just the ticket!

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Cuisinart Fuel-Based 1.5-quart Cast Iron Fondue Pot: For Those Who Love the Tradition of an Open Flame

Overview:

Type: Gel fuel

Capacity: 1.5 quarts

Material: Enamel on Cast Iron

Wattage: n/a

Warranty: Lifetime

Just because you love the charm of a traditional, flame-fired fondue rather than electric, it doesn’t mean you have to forego the convenience of a quick melt process. With Cuisinart’s cast iron fondue maker, you can really kick-start the melting of your favorite cheeses, chocolate or creamy sauces by using a gas, electric or induction stove-top. And because cast iron heats evenly, you can build the temperature without worry of hot spots or burning. When ready, simply transfer the pot over to the handy wire stand and light the gel fuel to maintain the ideal consistency. Now, if you prefer the ritual of watching your cheese or chocolate slowly melting down and beginning to bubble, you’ll want to go straight to the stand and open flame. You get the same overall, even heat, but at a slower pace. And when you’ve hit your optimal temperature, you’ll really begin to appreciate the heat-retention capabilities of cast iron. Once hot, it keeps sauces melted and at dipping consistency without having to be re-heated. What I love is the fiery red enamel coating that looks great and makes this pot dishwasher-safe. That, and those sizeable forks that let you dip down really deep.

Pros:

  • Cast iron retains heat
  • 5-quart capacity
  • Ideal for cheese, chocolate, cream sauces
  • Includes 6 forks, stand, fuel cup
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons:

  • Not suitable for oils
  • Slower than electric models

If your idea of the ultimate fondue involves heating your cheese, chocolate, or creamy sauces over an open flame, then this cast iron pot is the one for you.

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Swissmar Fuel-based 1.6-quart Cast Iron Fondue Pot: For Those Who Want to Try More Than Just Cheese

Overview:

Type: Gel fuel

Capacity: 1.6 quarts

Material: Enamel on Cast Iron

Wattage: n/a

Warranty: n/a

When it’s time to expand upon your fondue making repertoire, this Swissmar cast iron pot is exactly what you’re looking for. While it does a great job melting cheeses, chocolate and any sauce you can dream up, it’s also designed to hold super-heated oil at a temperature optimal for cooking meats and tempura. Now, you may wonder what makes this pot more suitable than others, and it would have to start with its deeper sides that minimize the open surface space while still allowing for a substantial amount of fluid. Remember, we’re talking boiling oil, so the removeable cast iron splatter guard is another important feature that keeps hands and fingers burn-free. But there’s more, because it features two substantial handles that let you carry the heated liquid from your stove-top to the table with confidence. And a sturdy, 3-legged metal stand easily supports a full pot of cheese, sauce, or oil, while the gel fuel burner maintains optimal heat. I particularly appreciate the handy wooden base that not only protects table-tops but helps stabilize the pot. Now, if you’re not sure where to begin, they’ve included recipes for everything from classic cheese fondue, to soups, to hot oil cooking.

Pros:

  • 6-quart capacity
  • Cast iron retains optimal heat
  • Ideal for hot oil, cheese or chocolate
  • Includes 6 forks, stand, fuel cup
  • Cast iron splatter guard for safety

Cons:

  • May require oil to be pre-heated on a stovetop

If you want to explore cooking meats or tempura in addition to cheeses, this large-capacity, multi-function pot is perfect.

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Swissmar Lausanne Fuel-based 1.3-quart Three-in-One Pot: For the Fondue Pro

Overview:

Type: Gel fuel

Capacity: 1.3 quarts

Material: Stainless-steel, copper, ceramic

Wattage: n/a

Warranty: n/a

Having the right type of equipment is key to preparing a great meal for friends, family, or just for yourself to enjoy. Which is why, if you consider yourself to be a budding gourmet, you’re going to appreciate the options this Swissmar Lausanne fondue pot set delivers. From the onset, you’re not limited to just cheese or chocolate – its designed to also heat broths and even oils for cooking meats and tempura. And unlike some of the cast iron designs that can transition from heating creamy foods to boiling oils – all in the same pot – this one uses a different pot for each purpose. A copper-clad, stainless-steel option is ideal for delivering consistent, even heat to broths and oils. Fill it with water, add the ceramic insert to the top and you have a double boiler, that’s perfect for melting your favorite cheeses or chocolate. An adjustable fuel burner lets you control the amount of heat to prevent burning while a separate splatter ring keeps fingers safe from hot oil and includes notched edges so forks can rest without slipping during the cooking process. While it does include a recipe book, sadly only the ceramic pot is dishwasher-safe.

Pros:

  • Copper-clad stainless-steel for even heat distribution
  • 3-quart capacity
  • Ideal for chocolate, cheese, broths or oil
  • Includes 6 stainless-steel forks
  • Notched splatter guard for safety

Cons:

  • All fondues will require pre-heating on a stove-top
  • Copper will require buffing maintenance

If you want a fondue pot that not only looks pretty darned impressive but offers multiple cooking options, this copper-clad design is a perfect choice.

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You May Be Surprised at How Quick and Easy Fondue Can Be

Way back when, everyone gathered round and waited. The pots were aluminum, they could burn foods so needed monitoring, and the process was akin to watching grass grow. Not anymore. Today’s pots include myriad options such as splatter guards, more stable stands, and fabrications that can be used on any stove-top surface to begin the heating process safely and easily.  It’s no longer flimsy aluminum that scorches and causes foods to stick, they’re now made of quality materials including cast iron or stainless steel, and most have non-stick coatings to make clean up a breeze.

Electric versus Gel-Flame – You Choose

Whether you enjoy the ritual of preparing your fondue by heating it over an open-flame source, or you love the convenience of just plugging it in and walking away, there’s a fondue maker for you. Both the electric and gel-fuel models are really just designed for heat maintenance rather than melting foods down from scratch – so neither performs that particular function better than the other. However, today’s fondue pots are made with materials that disperse heat evenly and retain it for a longer period of time. So, once you’ve transferred from the stove-top to the fondue maker, you can dip with confidence, knowing you won’t lose heat or consistency. As to electric versus gel-flame, it comes down to convenience. Electric tend to have notoriously short power cords, so are restricted in terms of where you want to place them. On the other hand, gel-flame designs can be moved to any location in your house, however not all people are comfortable with the concept of an open flame.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Look for in a Fondue Pot?

Look for something that suits your culinary palette. If you won’t be deep frying meats or make tempura, opt for the cast iron design that’s perfect for creamy foods and sauces such as cheese and chocolate. Non-stick surfaces are another important feature and make cleaning up, so much easier. Because so many designs now offer this type of finish, it shouldn’t be hard to find a pot that meets all of your criterion, plus has a non-stick interior. Size is also important. Will it be used for entertaining a group, or is it just for family or personal use? If for entertaining look for a capacity of at least 1.5-quarts. For family, 1-quart or more should be the minimum size or you’ll end up needing a top up.

Which Fuel Source is Better – Gel or Liquid?

For a fuel that will have people gathered around it, you should look at a gel-fuel. The difference between gel and liquid is that gel fuel is colored and liquid fuel is not. This is important in instances where it may be slopped or spilled onto the table surface. In instances like that, a quick clean-up is important to prevent the flame from catching and spreading. It also makes dispensing it into the burner easier – you see exactly how much is being poured so will never over-fill.

Can I Use Tea-Lights as a Source of Heat?

No. While tea-lights look like a perfect option given their small size, they don’t provide nearly enough heat to be able to keep a pot full of fondue, oil or broth, warm.

Why Do So Many Brands Recommend Melting on the Stove-top First?

Stove-top melting is recommended because it simply speeds up the process. You can quickly melt foods or heat oils, as you watch. The moment it reaches the right consistency or boiling point, you simply transfer to the fondue to keep it hot. Now, that’s not to say you can’t do the same thing over a fondue-maker, however it would be much slower and will require constant monitoring so the heat can be lowered or turned off at the right time.

Can I Use My Stainless-Steel Fondue Pot to Melt Cheese?

You can, but it isn’t recommended. Stainless-steel isn’t known to be a great conductor of heat and it can develop hot spots. This will cause any thick or creamy food such as cheese, chocolate or sauces to burn, stick and be difficult to clean out. That’s something you won’t experience with the ceramic or cast-iron fondue pots that have been designed specifically for this type of food and often come with non-stick coatings.

Conclusion

Fondue is a universal food in that it can be indulgent with gooey cheeses or creamy chocolate or it can be healthy when dipping veggies and seafood into heated broths. But once you’ve tried it, you’re going to be hooked. I mean, today’s fondue pots make it quick and easy to prepare this tasty dish, and equally quick and easy to clean up afterwards – and its dinner in one pot, what more could you ask for? Yes, this little cooking vessel has literally adapted to suit today’s lifestyle. It offers a fun, communal way to dine with kids, family, or guests and it encourages everyone to sample different foods – just think of all the steamed veggies your kids will eat if they get to dip them into melted cheese. Our top 5 fondue pot picks covered a variety of features from electric to gel-flame, cast-iron or stainless-steel. We touched on safety features, that some heated creamy foods, others heated oils, and one did them both. Your pot, your choice – enjoy!

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