What We Like
Easy-to-control temperature dial
Large 3-quart capacity
Recipe book included
What We Don't Like
Metal utensils may scratch nonstick coating
Fork rest sits loosely on top of pot
Classic fondue recipes—whether cheese, chocolate, broth, or oil—are typically prepared tableside in specially designed pots that rest over an open flame. Although quaint and traditional, tableside, open-flame cooking may not be the best option for all kitchens or gatherings—especially when children or pets are present. The Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker allows you to enjoy all the fun of a fondue meal without worrying about the use of fire. Read on for our full assessment of the fondue maker’s performance.
Performance: Fondue, fast
With the Cuisinart all washed up and ready to go, we decided to start with a classic cheese fondue made from grated Swiss and sharp cheddar cheeses. The fondue pot heated quickly and evenly, the temperature was easy to regulate with the numbered dial, and our cheese stayed a perfect consistency for dipping while we ate. The set was so fast and easy to use, we considered making fondue a regular meal!
Design: Fit to feed a crowd
With a 3-quart (AKA 12-cup) capacity and eight color-coded fondue forks, this set can easily feed six to eight people. We halved a classic cheese fondue recipe for our dinner party of three and found we still had plenty of room in the pot. For small batches of fondue, the pot does feel a bit oversized.
The pot is also somewhat heavy (especially when filled), since the stand and heating element are attached to it. The fork ring is a nice inclusion, but it doesn’t fit well and sits loosely on top of the pot. We did find the heat was easy to control, though, as a numbered dial lets you adjust the heat from 1 to 8 (low to high).
We halved a classic cheese fondue recipe for our dinner party of three and found we still had plenty of room in the pot.
The electrical cord is about 2 feet in length, which necessitates the use of an extension cord if your tabletop isn’t positioned near an outlet. It’s a bit of a hassle and trip hazard, but the cord attaches magnetically to the temperature probe as a safety precaution.
Material: A mix of brushed and polished stainless steel
The pot is made from brushed stainless steel with a nonstick interior while the attached base is made of polished stainless steel. We found this combination of finishes to be quite sleek and attractive on our dining room table.
As with all nonstick cookware, this pot is easy to rinse and wipe clean. However, you have to be careful when using metal utensils, fondue forks included, to prevent scratching the coating.
Heating Capacity: Gets hot fast and self-regulates temperature
With all eight heat settings, we found the pot heated up quickly, reaching our desired temperature in just a couple of minutes. Since the heating element is built into the bottom of the pot, the entire pot heats evenly without any hot spots.
An indicator light cycles on and off to indicate when the unit is actively heating up. The pot seems to retain its temperature for about two to three minutes before the light turns back on to maintain temperature. Once you have the correct warming setting, the unit does all the work so you can set it and forget it while you eat.
The electrical cord is about 2 feet in length, which necessitates the use of an extension cord if your tabletop isn’t positioned near an outlet.
The hardest part of using the pot is figuring out which heat setting to use during cooking and which to use for warming. The manual does contain guidelines depending on which type of fondue you’re preparing, though. We found the medium-high setting worked best to simmer broth and melt cheese, but wouldn’t suggested anything above a 3 for keeping your cheese warm. Levels 4 and above quickly boil the cheese.
Cleaning: A little awkward
We’re not going to lie—we were a little nervous when it came to cleaning. Since the stand and heating element are built into the bottom of the pot, we were concerned about getting the temperature probe receptacle wet.
When we were absolutely sure there was no way to detach the pot from the stand, we washed it by hand. It’s a little clunky and awkward to do since it’s basically a pot with legs, but the nonstick interior wiped clean quite easily.
Once you remove the temperature probe and cord, the pot is also dishwasher safe. Again, the permanently-attached stand means it’s going to take up a lot of space in the rack, but it is doable.
Price: Affordable and worth it
Cuisinart’s Electric Fondue Maker retails for $60, but it’s worth shopping around to find the best price. Depending on which retailer you choose to purchase from, you can usually find it for $40 to $50. That price range makes the Cuisinart one of the most affordable electric fondue pot options, as similar electric models typically go for $30 to $100, depending on the brand.
Even if you pay full price, it’s a worthwhile buy. Cuisinart is a well-trusted, reputable kitchen brand and the fondue pot is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Cuisinart CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker vs. Trudeau Alto 3-in-1 Electric Fondue Set
There are plenty of electric fondue sets out there, but if you want something sleek and stylish, you can’t go wrong with options from Cuisinart or Trudeau. Both feature pots made of stainless steel, so they heat quickly and evenly and appear more high-end than plastic fondue sets. Priced around $100, the Trudeau 84-ounce pot and base are made entirely of polished stainless steel, making it the smaller and more expensive of the two sets.
The main difference between the two is their heating set up. The Cuisinart’s heating element is built right into the bottom of the pot, whereas the Trudeau pot sits on top of a separate heating element—essentially a warming plate. The Trudeau also comes with a stoneware insert, which turns the stainless steel pot into a double boiler for cheese and chocolate fondue. The manufacturer recommends preparing cheese and chocolate on the stove top and then transferring to the double boiler. The same recipes can be made directly in the Cuisinart nonstick coated pot without risk of sticking or scorching (granted you mind the heat setting!), but the stoneware insert offers the ability to serve a multi-course fondue meal from the same pot.
- Product Name CFO-3SS Electric Fondue Maker
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- MPN CFO-3SS
- Price $59.95
- Weight 5.49 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 14 x 9.6 x 7 in.
- Material Stainless steel
- Capacity 3 qt
- Wattage 1000 W
- Warranty 3-year limited
- What’s included Fondue pot with base, fork ring, eight forks, temperature probe, electrical cord