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Non-alcoholic fondue - need recipe!

I was asked to bring a non-alcoholic fondue to a dinner party Thursday. Can I just substitute juice (like grape or apple) for the wine in a traditional recipe? Any other suggestions?

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  1. Yes, probably, but add a little lemon juice or other acid like a little vinegar. The point of the wine beyond taste, as far as I know, is to add a little acid that helps the cheese melt smoothly and stabilize it so it doesn't seize with minor temperature changes. If I were you, I'd find a recipe that calls for a very small amount of wine or kirsch and sub 3/4 juice with 1/4 either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (maybe use more if its apple cider vin since I think it's less acidic than lemon). I'm curious to see what other people suggest. Please tell me if my food science is wrong! Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: slowfoodgrrl

      Slowfoodgrrl is right. The alcohol prevents the cheese from seizing so you will need to add some acid to prevent that from happening.

    2. Here's one I've made before. It's not my favourite, but it works well enough and can sit in for a regular wine-based fondue if necessary:

      Creamy Cheddar Fondue
      3/4 cup milk
      3/4 cup apple juice or cider
      1/4 cup all purpose flour
      1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
      1 tsp. salt
      1/4 tsp. black pepper
      2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
      French bread, cut into cubes
      Lightly steamed vegetables, cut into chunks

      In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, apple juice, flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Let simmer for about a minute, then remove from heat. Add the shredded cheese by handfuls, stirring between each addition, until all the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot over a flame and serve with bread cubes and vegetables for dipping.

      Makes 2 servings, but can easily be doubled.

      My other suggestion would be to use a traditional fondue recipe and substitute de-alcoholized wine for regular. Or do something along the lines of a cheddar beer fondue but use non-alcoholic beer.

      1. Great ideas! Thanks!

        1. If de-alcoholized wine or beer is acceptable, use that. Otherwise, recognize that it'll taste "funny" to anyone expecting the standard, but I think I'd use weak broth - beef, chicken, veg, onion - something with a basically compatible flavor to the cheese you're going to use. Apple juice could work with some cheese in terms of flavor, but it'll taste like a regular fondue recipe with several tablespoons or so of sugar added. Not good IMO.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MikeG

            I have never had wine (>>gasp<<, I know), so I just assumed that it would have the same sugar content as the juice that it came from. Broth is a good idea.

            1. re: Aimi

              When I sub for wine, I use a mixture of broth, juice and a dash of vinegar.

              1. re: Aimi

                FWIW, wine grapes are generally very sweet - sweeter than table grapes in fact - but the sugar is what yeast "convert" to alcohol. Some wines are made to be very sweet after fermentation but they don't make good fondue, either. ;)

            2. I think I would second the dealcoholized wine suggestion (if acceptable) and be sure to get good (ie strong) gruyere and emmental to compensate for lack of kirsch and any possible sweetness from the dealc wine. Mainly though I really want to know what you decided and how it worked out!

              3 Replies
              1. re: waver

                What is dealcoholized wine and where does one find this?

                1. re: Aimi

                  When I was in high school I used to buy this stuff at Trader Joe's. Was recently served some, and found it incredibly sweet, and perhaps too sweet for fondue. I don't know how representative the stuff I had was, and don't remember any details on maker, type, etc.
                  I've never had dealcoholized beer, but that might be a better substitution for the savory tang of wine in fondue.

                  1. re: Aimi

                    In So. Cal., most supermarkets carry a limited selection non-alcoholic wine and beer. If you can't find them in your supermarket, then try your favorite wine store.

                    Here's a link to one brand: http://www.arielvineyards.com/wines.html

                    Here's a link to a webpage which lists both non-alcoholic wines and beers:


                    If you don't want to go with non-alcoholic wine, you could always use Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider.

                2. I usually substitute a little apple juice/cider - the less processed the better. It turns out just fine, especially if you're using a fairly strong cheese.

                  1. Wow! So many great ideas!
                    I got some really good strong swiss cheeses (Emmentaler and Gruyere) from the cheese shop yesterday. I think I will use a mixture of liquids to get the best flavor - some broth, some tart apple cider, lemon juice, and some water or milk to get the right consistency.
                    Thanks everyone!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Aimi

                      My final recipe (it turned out delicious - thanks to all the suggestions!)
                      1 cup dealcoholized wine (I found this in Meijer, next to the sparkling cider/juice)
                      1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
                      Juice of 1 lemon
                      Garlic cloves (to rub the pot with)
                      12 oz Emmentaler
                      6 oz Gruyere
                      1 Tbs corn starch
                      1 tsp dry mustard

                      We had it with day-old sourdough bread, baked chicken (cubed), and lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower.