Fondue Sets Review
We spent over 36 hours researching and testing 15 different types of fondue sets and found that materials used in construction, performance, and ease of use were most important. The Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker scored high marks in all categories and is our top pick. The brushed stainless steel bowl holds 3 quarts and has a nonstick interior that prevented food from sticking to the sides. This makes cleaning up very simple. The removable temperature control can be adjusted for a wide range of recipes and ingredients. This pot works for oil, cheese, broth, and chocolate fondues and heats up in just about 10 minutes.
Introduction to the Fondue Sets
Using a fondue set when entertaining guests provides a very relaxing and enjoyable eating experience. There is minimal preparation time involved which means you can be out mingling and interacting with your guests rather than being in the kitchen while they socialize. Fondue meals can be romantic and just for two or for whole families to enjoy.
There are many different styles and types of fondue sets on the market to choose from. Knowing the differences between the sets can equip you with the knowledge you need to choose the perfect fondue set for your home and entertaining needs.
The purpose of this buyer’s guide is to provide you with the information you will need to make this important decision. You will learn the differences between the fondue sets available as well as how to determine your needs and preferences. This knowledge will enable you to make a confident, informed decision on a fondue set that will be perfect for you.
Fondue Sets Summary
With all of the different fondue sets on the market you may have trouble deciding which one is the right choice for you. The three main types of fondue are cheese, meat, and chocolate.
Each fondue set may be more suited to a specific kind of fondue but ideally you want to find a fondue set that can handle all types of fondue. This will give you the most flexibility and enjoyment from the set.
The three fondue sets we have reviewed above are top rated choices, popular with consumers for many reasons. All three of these fondue sets are able to handle all the different types of fondue from cheese to broth.
All three are electric sets which is more convenient and consistent to cook with than other types. If you see one you like, that’s great. You will definitely be happy with the performance and style of any one of these.
If the top rated choices are not what you are looking for, read the buyer’s guide below. This will give you the needed information to identify the different types of fondue sets and sort through them so you can choose the perfect one for all your fondue needs.
Fondue Set Comparison
Fondue Set Buying Guide
Types of Fondue
There are three main types of fondue that you can cook with a fondue set: meat, chocolate and cheese. Each type of ingredient has a different need or requirement when it comes to the pot, fuel and heat. You will need to understand the requirements to ensure that you choose a fondue set that encompasses these features. We have listed this helpful information below.
- Meat – Meat fondue is something that not all people realize can be done. Meat fondues involve everyone cooking their own meat in the fondue pot that is in the center of the table. You can cook vegetables the same way you cook the meat. These foods will be cooked in either broth or oil that has been heated to the proper temperature.
- Cheese – Cheese fondue is a favorite with most people. Who doesn’t like different foods dipped in melted cheese? It can be used as an appetizer before the main course or in some cases it can be the main course. If you are using the fondue set for a party, it can be a great tasting part of the party food. Popular items that are placed in bowls to dip into the cheese include crusty breads, cooked chunks of meat, and certain vegetables. Fondue is excellent for a supervised children’s party or a more elegant occasion such as a wine and cheese party.
- Chocolate – Chocolate fondue is a huge favorite among a lot of people, especially if you already love chocolate. You can set out all kinds of fruit such as strawberries, pineapple pieces, and apples as well as tiny Rice Krispie treats, brownie bites, marshmallows and more. Dipping these in the warm melted chocolate makes a fantastic tasting dessert you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Fondue Pot Heating Sources
There are several different types of heating sources that a fondue pot can use: electricity, candles or fuel. These heating sources are responsible for melting the contents or keeping the contents at the required cooking temperature. Each ingredient needs to be kept at a proper temperature to ensure proper taste and cooking, especially for meat fondue.
- Electric – Electric power provides stable temperature control for the ingredients you are melting and/or cooking. This is the biggest advantage that electric fondue pots have over the other types of fuel. Most electric fondue pots have adjustable temperature controls and are suitable for all types of fondue ingredients. By maintaining steady temperature, cheese and chocolate don’t solidify or burn and it prevents oil and broth from reaching temperatures that are too low to cook the meat properly or too high to be safe.
- Fuel – Fondue sets that use fuel provide portability that electric fondue sets don’t have. You can transport electric fondue sets but you must ensure that there is access to a power source before you can use them. Fondue sets that use a fuel source can be set up anywhere, even outside for a cookout and the fuel ensures that they are at the proper temperatures. There are a few different types of fuel that are used with fondue sets. Although it may not be as precise as electric fondue pots are, you can still adjust the temperature of the fuel to low, medium or high.
- Butane – Butane fuel offers the greatest temperature control of all the fuel types. It is the newest type of fuel source available. You can refill butane burners with regular butane cartridges. Butane’s flexibility makes butane suitable for all types of fondue.
- Alcohol – When alcohol is used in a burner that is adjustable, denatured alcohol is almost equal to the versatility that butane offers. This type of fuel works very well for meat and cheese fondue but it is not always a good choice for chocolate due to the tendency for the chocolate to burn even when the heat is minimized. You should only use denatured or isopropyl alcohol in these fuel burners.
- Gel Fuel – Steno is a form of gel fuel that can be used for fondue pots. This type of fuel does not burn as hot as liquid alcohol does. For this reason, it is a good fuel choice for chocolate and cheese but not meat. This is because of the high heat that is needed for the oil or broth to cook the meat.
Although these fuel sources eliminate the need for cords, some feel that the risk of spilling the fuel is much more dangerous than the inconvenience of using a cord. Whenever using any type of fuel source follow all safety precautions and do not have the fondue pot or the fuel source where children and pets can topple it. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the event of an emergency.
- Candle – The low heat that a candle provides makes it perfect for using with chocolate fondue. As the chocolate melts in another pot before it is placed in the fondue pot, you will only need to provide enough heat to keep it from hardening back up. Tealights provide plenty of heat and won’t burn hot enough to burn or scorch the chocolate. It is not hot enough for melting the cheese or cooking meat.
There are several pieces that make up a fondue set. We have listed each piece of the set and the characteristics of each. This will help you understand what features to look for when it comes to the different aspects of your fondue set.
- Fondue Pots – When it comes to choosing the right fondue pot, take into consideration what type of fondue you want to offer. There is a difference between a cooking pot and a dipping pot. It is important to match the right type of pot with the task unless you find a fondue set that offers a pot that can be used for all types of fondue.
- Meat – the best materials for cooking meat are cast iron, steel and copper. These pots retain the heat that is needed to keep the oil or broth at the right temperature that will cook the meat thoroughly. The pots can handle the high temperatures without worry of them breaking or cracking. The pots that are designed for cooking meat curve in at the top and feature a splashguard. The purpose of the splashguard is to prevent hot oil or liquid from splattering. Most pots for meat can hold 4 to 6 skewers. Plan on using one fondue pot per 6 people. Using it for more than 6 people lowers the cooking temperature too much to properly cook the meat.
- Chocolate and Cheese – Fondue pots that are designed for chocolate and cheese can be made from ceramic or earthenware. They have flat bottoms and the sides of the pots are straight. They also have low heat retention. The top of pot is either flared outward slightly or straight up and down providing plenty of room for dipping and swirling the food morsels in the cheese or chocolate. Pots that are designed for cooking meat fondue are not good for cheese or chocolate because the higher heat retention can cause the contents to burn.
- Fondue Forks – A good rule of thumb is to provide two fondue forks per person, one for cooking or dipping the food and the other for eating. This will prevent people from placing the fork they eat with into the pot that everyone is using. It will also prevent anyone getting burned from eating with the forks that have been in the hot liquid. For dipping most fondue sets contain fondue forks which are long handled, skewer type forks that have a heatproof tip. You can use regular forks for eating. Many fondue sets have color-coded fondue forks that make it much easier to tell on person’s fondue fork from another.
- Burners – Make sure that you use the right burner for the appropriate fuel type. This information will be listed on the guide that the manufacturer provides with the burner.
- Temperature Probe – Temperature plays an important part in meat fondues. It is important to make sure that the oil or broth maintains the proper temperature of 375 to cook the meat properly. If you don’t have a temperature probe handy, drop a cube of bread into the oil. If it cooks to a golden brown in 30 seconds, the oil or broth is the right temperature.
Fondue sets provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a unique and enjoyable method of dining. The food that is cooked with a fondue set is delicious and the interactive nature of cooking or dipping the food is one that facilitates great conversation.
Purchasing a quality fondue set or two is an investment in quality time with family and friends that they will remember for years to come. Don’t forget to include the children; fondue meals will be something they talk about and enjoy for years and will likely do with their own families.
- Cuisinart – https://www.cuisinart.com/
- Nostalgia – http://nostalgiaelectrics.com/
- VonShef – http://www.vonshef.com/