Cheese Fondue Recipe With Cognac or Brandy

Cheese fondue recipe

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
728 Calories
22g Fat
89g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 728
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 11g 57%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 1313mg 57%
Total Carbohydrate 89g 32%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 633mg 49%
Iron 7mg 37%
Potassium 287mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Modern cheese fondue originated in Switzerland, which is why it typically features Swiss cheeses like Emmental and Gruyère.

Fondue was initially devised as a way of using up stale bread and scraps of cheese. But over time it has become a holiday tradition, particularly around Christmas and New Year's. Which makes sense, since fondue is a communal dish, and it's perfect for cold weather because it's so warm and satisfying—and also because no one probably feels like cooking and a lot of restaurants might be closed.

This traditional cheese fondue recipe features both Emmental and Gruyère cheeses as well as a type of brandy called Kirschwasser (also called Kirsch), which is made from cherries. If you can't find Kirschwasser, you can substitute brandy or cognac. But don't use cherry liqueur — it's too sweet.

Also, if you can't find Emmental and/or Gruyère, you could substitute domestic Swiss cheese, Gouda or Fontina. But be careful of making too many substitutions, or what you end up with may not really resemble traditional cheese fondue.

You'll need a good heatproof fondue pot for this fondue recipe. Personally I prefer the type that where you can melt the cheese on the stovetop and then keep it warm with one of those little fire gel containers. I've seen electric fondue pots, but you have to run the power cord off your dinner table, which means it's pretty much guaranteed that someone is going to trip over it and knock a whole pot of molten hot cheese onto someone. Serve with a classic brandy cocktail to complete the experience.


  • 1 day-old French baguette

  • 1/4 pound Emmental cheese

  • 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese

  • 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser (see note above)

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Chablis or Riesling, or even a dry Champagne

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Pinch of nutmeg

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cheese fondue
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Cut bread into bite-sized cubes.

    Cut bread into cubes
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Roughly cut the cheeses into small chunks. This technique is preferable to grating it, as it will melt more smoothly.

    Cut cheese into cubes
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Combine the cornstarch and Kirsch and mix to form a slurry.

    Combine cornstarch and Kirsch
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Peel the garlic clove and cut it in half, then rub the inside of a heatproof fondue pot with the cut garlic clove.

    Peel garlic clove
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Pour in the wine and bring it to a gentle simmer, but don't boil. Stir in the cornstarch-Kirsch slurry until combined.

    Pour the wine
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  7. Add the cheese a handful or so at a time, stirring until it's melted before adding more.

    Add the cheese
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  8. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

    Season to taste
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  9. Adjust the consistency of the cheese sauce with warmed wine if it becomes too thick.

    Adjust cheese sauce
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  10. Serve bread cubes with skewers or long fondue forks for dipping into the fondue.

    Serve bread cubes with skewers
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck
  11. Enjoy!

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck