The Surefire Way To Smooth Out Lumps In Cheese Fondue

In the mood for rich, comfort food on a cold night? Why not return to the '60s and fire up the 'ole fondue pot for some cheese fondue? Some people have poked fun at this dish because it was such a fad when people started making it in the U.S., but really and truly, what's not to love? Melted cheese, chunks of crusty bread, succulent potatoes ... You don't have to live near the Swiss or Italian Alps to enjoy this dish, and you don't even need a proper fondue pot.

Let's say you're all in on a fondue night. You've melted the cheese and cut up your dipping accouterments, but then suddenly, the cheese gets lumpy. What do you do? For starters, don't panic. There is a way to repair lumpy fondue, but turning the heat back up to full blast is absolutely not the way.

Go low and slow with melting the cheese and reworking the lumps

If your beautiful fondue has taken on a lumpy texture, the issue could be too high of heat. Once a cheese has reached its melting point, the curds can separate from the whey and seize up. This causes those dreaded lumps you do not want to deal with. 

One way to nurse the fondue back to health is to warm it very slowly, turning the flame to low and allowing the cheese to melt. Sometimes this will relax the cheese curds, and you can incorporate the lumps back in. If all else fails, you can create a healing slurry of cornstarch and white wine. Mix three tablespoons of cornstarch with a quarter cup of white wine, and whisk the mixture into your newly warmed cheese. If you're wary of adding too much slurry, start with a small amount and then continue to add more as you whisk. Continue until your fondue returns to the ideal consistency.

A pro tip: Be sure you're using the right cheese for fondue. Swiss fondue is traditionally made with gruyere, fontina, or gouda cheese since these melt more seamlessly than others. You can use one, two, or a mixture of all three — just remember that fondue night may not be the right time to get experimental with a crumbly cheese like goat cheese or a hard cheese like pecorino.