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There are few things as comforting as melty cheese, whether it be on a pizza, burger, or pile of nachos. Fondue takes this decadent pleasure to another level: a bath of cheese traditionally seasoned with garlic, wine, and cherry brandy becomes the dip for hunks of warm bread—it's an interactive dining experience that's best shared with friends.
Luckily for those who aren't fond of dairy, fondue isn't limited to cheese; other popular iterations include meat cooked in wine sauce (akin to Chinese hot pot) or chocolate (for dipping fruit and other sweet items).
If you're looking to host your own family fondue night, we've gathered the best fondue pots for you to choose from.
Best Overall, Electric: Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker
Dishwasher safe nonstick interior
Easy-to-use temperature control
Nonstick interior is prone to scratching
Fork rest sits loosely on top of pot
While an electric fondue pot isn’t traditional, it’s certainly convenient—and this fondue pot is also very attractive. It has a brushed finish on the bowl and ring, and a mirrored finish on the stand and handles. The ring has notches to hold the forks in place.
This pot can be used with any type of fondue, including oil, broth, chocolate, or cheese. Temperature is controlled with a dial with eight different settings. Foods can be heated right in the pot—no need to heat anything on the stove first. For oil cooking, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to reach 375 degrees. The bowl is 3 quarts and has a nonstick coating for easy cleaning. After removing the temperature probe and cord, the rest of the components can be washed in the dishwasher. Eight fondue forks are included.
Our tester found this stylish pot to be easy to use and well worth the price. While this is designed for fondue, you could use it for keeping soup, stew, chili, or other foods warm for serving as well.
Material: Stainless steel with nonstick interior | Power Source: Electric | Capacity: 3 quarts | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Suitable For: Cheese, oil, broth, chocolate
"We halved a classic cheese fondue recipe for our dinner party of three and found we still had plenty of room in the pot." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Best Overall, Traditional: Swissmar Lugano 9-Piece Cheese Fondue Set
Retains heat well
Easy to clean
Forks are not color coded
Fuel must be purchased separately
This enameled cast iron fondue pot has the aesthetic of the traditional fondue pot, so it’s great for traditional cheese fondue meals. The sturdy cast iron pot retains heat well and can be used right on the stove, so you don’t need to dirty a second pot to melt the cheese and then transfer it. The stand is made from wrought iron and holds a gel container that provides the heat.
The enamel coating in the cast iron pot means that the pot doesn’t need to be seasoned before use, but nonstick or wooden utensils should be used for cooking the fondue. It should be hand washed. The pot can be used on any heat source. The pot is two quarts, so it will be useful even after the fondue is over. You can use it for warming sauces or heating milk for hot cocoa, and it’s attractive enough for serving.
Our tester noted that the pot heated quickly but did have a hot spot in the center (where it sits right over the flame), but said it was easy to clean thanks to the enameled coating.
The six included fondue forks have three tines instead of the more common two, so they hold food a little more securely. The set includes one 3-ounce fire-gel container to get you started right away.
Material: Enameled cast iron | Power Source: Fire gel | Capacity: 2 quarts | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Suitable For: Cheese, oil, broth, chocolate
"We like how the burner cup sits elevated in the rechaud so the heat source is kept away from the table surface." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Best Budget: Oster Titanium Infused DuraCeramic Electric Fondue Pot
Ceramic interior is easy to clean
Versatile for use with cheese, meat, and chocolate
Hand wash only
There’s no need to break the bank to have fun fondue. This very affordable fondue pot runs on electricity, so there’s no need to buy or store the fuel for it, and it’s ready whenever you need it. The pot has a ceramic interior that’s easy to clean when cooking is done, and the temperature control is removable with a breakaway magnetic cord for safety when the pot is on the table.
This set includes eight color-coded fondue forks that match the pot, and the fork holder ring keeps them neatly in place in the pot. The temperature can be set from warm to 400 degrees, and the dial indicates which temperature is best for chocolate, cheese, or for frying meats and vegetables in oil. It holds up to 3 quarts, so there’s plenty of space to store food without needing to refill. With the temperature probe removed, the pot can be immersed in water for cleaning, but it is not dishwasher safe.
Material: Aluminum with ceramic coating | Power Source: Electric | Capacity: 3 quarts | Dishwasher Safe: No | Suitable For: Cheese, oil, broth, chocolate
Best High-End: Swissmar Sierra Iron Fondue 11-Piece Set
Retains heat well
Wooden base protects table
Fuel must be purchased separately
This gorgeous fondue set will look stunning on your table and just as good on display in your china cabinet when it’s not in use. It includes a 1.6-quart fondue pot with handles, six forks, a splatter ring, a stand, a fuel burner, and a grooved wooden base.
The pot is made from enameled cast iron that retains heat at both low and high temperatures, so your fondue will stay at a consistent temperature while you dine. You can heat the pot on the stovetop or in the oven, then keep it warm on its stand once it reaches the proper temperature. Three sturdy legs keep the pot stable and provide easy access to the paste or gel fuel below. The wooden base holds everything securely and protects your table from drips or spills.
While it’s designed to be ideal for meat fondues, you can also use it for cheese or chocolate. When you’re not making fondue, you can also use this for soups, hot dips, sauces, gravies, and stovetop or oven cooking.
Material: Enameled cast iron | Power Source: Fire gel | Capacity: 1.6 quarts | Dishwasher Safe: No | Suitable For: Cheese, oil, broth, chocolate
Best Small: BOSKA Holland Tealight Fondue Set
Ideal for up to four people
Easy to store
Candles sold separately
Designed for cheese fondue or tapas, this short, square pot comes with a wooden stand and a metal ring to hold the tea light that warms the pot. It includes four forks and comes with one tea light for the first fondue.
Boska makes several styles of melted cheese contraptions powered with tea lights or fuel gel, from personal-sized raclette makers to 54-ounce party-sized fondue pot. This model is the smallest in the line, holding 13.5 ounces of melted goodness.
While this isn’t a classic fondue pot design, it works the same way. Its diminutive size makes it great for fondue as an appetizer or for a tapas dinner. While this is designed for cheese, it can also be used for chocolate. The ceramic pot is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Material: Ceramic | Power Source: Tea light candle | Capacity: 13.5 ounces | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Suitable For: Cheese, chocolate
Best for Meat: All-Clad Cast Aluminum Fondue Pot
Attractive metal finish
Withstands high heat
Included insert works for cheese and chocolate, too
Fuel not included
Hand wash only
This stainless steel fondue set is the right kind of pot for meat fondue, whether it be "Bourguignonne" (where meat is dipped into hot oil for cooking) or Alsatian-German "Fleischfondue" (where meat is dipped into hot broth). This style of pot can withstand the high heat necessary for these types of fondues, and an included cast aluminum insert—which is also oven and stovetop-safe—makes it suitable for use with cheese or chocolate too.
All-Clad has a reputation for top-quality cookware, so it's no surprise that this fondue pot is sturdy and offers even and efficient heating. Made from 18/10 stainless steel, this stylish design is an attractive choice that will look great on your table. The base is designed for maximum stability and the splatter guard helps prevent any spills and splashes. This set also includes eight extra-long forks and the entire set is easy to clean and resistant to scratches.
Material: Stainless steel with cast aluminum insert | Power Source: Fire gel | Capacity: 3.5 quart (pot), 2.5 quart (insert) | Dishwasher Safe: No | Suitable For: Cheese, broth, oil, chocolate
Best for Chocolate: Nostalgia CFF986 32-Ounce Stainless Steel Chocolate Fondue Fountain
Generous capacity for parties
Can also be used with liqueurs, nacho cheese, and other sauces
Disassembles for cleanup
Difficult to clean base
Some reviewers have experienced inconsistent heating
If you love chocolate fondue, why not have a fountain of chocolate? This holds up to two pounds of the sweet treat. The heated stainless steel bowl looks good and keeps the chocolate flowing at the proper temperature with an auger that moves the melted chocolate upward and ready to cascade down. Nostalgia also makes a few different models of chocolate fountains, including some with a smaller 1.5-pound capacity if this size is too large for your needs.
There are separate switches for heating and the motor. When you’re not using this for chocolate, you can use it for cheese fondues, sauces, and more. Try it with barbecue sauce for your wings and ribs. The four tiers are easy to assemble for use and just as easy to disassemble for cleaning and storage.
Material: Stainless steel | Power Source: Electric | Capacity: 1 quart | Dishwasher Safe: No | Suitable For: Chocolate
What to Look for in a Fondue Pot
Bigger isn't always better—what you really need is enough depth to dip your food into the cheese. However, in terms of size, smaller pots are great for couples or for using fondue as an appetizer, but if you want to have fondue parties or you have a big family, a large pot makes more sense.
Electric fondue pots are efficient and have excellent heat control but need a power outlet nearby to operate. Fondue pots that use gel fuel or tea lights can be used anywhere, but you’ll need to make sure you have that fuel available—plus, be careful around the open flame!
Fondue pots are made from a variety of materials, from ceramic to metal. Some are traditional, some are design-forward, and some are purely functional. Along with different heating methods, they also have different cleaning methods. Consider your needs—as well as what type of fondue you expect to make—and choose a model that makes sense.
How do you make fondue?
Traditional cheese fondue is typically made with a blend of Swiss cheese (typically a mix of cubed Emmentaler and Gruyere), dry white whine, and a touch of Kirschwasser (cherry brandy). To prepare your fondue pot, rub the inside of the pot with a cut clove of garlic, then add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add your cheese and a splash of Kirschwasser (you can substitute with cognac or brandy), then add salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg to finish. For a step-by-step tutorial, check out this Cheese Fondue Recipe.
For chocolate fondue, you will warm 2 cups of heavy cream in your fondue pot, then add 24 ounces of semisweet (or dark) chocolate chips and a touch of vanilla extract and stir until its melted through. For more detailed instruction, click here for a Classic Chocolate Fondue recipe.
What can you dip in cheese and chocolate fondues?
For cheese fondue, the most common item to dip is French bread, cut into bite-sized chunks that are easily held by a skewer. You can also dip raw or lightly cooked vegetables, cured meats, seafood, steak, crackers, and potatoes. For a more comprehensive list, you can reference this guide to Dippers and Accompaniments for Cheese Fondue.
When serving chocolate fondue, your dipping items will lean towards sweets: berries, bananas, pears, and orange segments are all excellent choices. You can also reach for more decadent items like marshmallows, cake, cookies, and fun-sized candy bars if you have a serious sweet tooth.
How do you clean a fondue pot?
Traditional fondue pots made of enameled cast iron are best cleaned by hand washing with mild dish soap and a gentle scrubber. If the cheese or chocolate has gotten cold and is difficult to scrub off, do a short soak of your pot in warm water to help soften any stuck-on food. Some fondue pots are labeled dishwasher-safe, and if that's the case, you can wash them according to the manufacturer's specification (though we do suggest trying to remove any stuck-on cheese or chocolate if possible before running it through the dishwasher).
What else can you make in a fondue pot?
Depending on the type of pot you have, you can use it to serve warm dips and keep soup or gravy warm on the table. If your pot has a temperature dial and a wide heating range, you may also be able to use it for Chinese-style hot pot, Japanese shabu shabu, or deep frying.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Donna Currie, is a food writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. A self-professed "kitchen geek," she's written many roundups on a range of essential kitchen items, from the best Thanksgiving gadgets to the top seafood kitchen tools of the year.
This piece was edited by Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. She researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.