If Your Cheese Fondue is Separating, Here’s an Easy Fix

Cheese fondue is a great dish for a party or get-together, and while it isn’t that difficult to do right, you still need to follow the directions to the letter so that everything turns out great.

One of the most common problems when making fondue is the cheese separating and therefore not being smooth and gooey enough.

If your cheese fondue is separating, all you have to do is add a little bit of corn starch and water so that the cheese solids and the liquid bind together and become more solid.

Making Fondue

Cheese fondue being cooked in a pot after chef learned how to fix cheese fondue separating

Making fondue is not difficult but it does involve a few challenges. You can’t overheat the cheese and you can’t add the cheese too quickly or the entire mixture can either separate or become one big block of cheese that you can’t get melted enough. When fondue separates, it’s often because one of the steps in the instructions wasn’t followed correctly.

Each ingredient in fondue has a distinct purpose. The cheese, for example, gives the fondue its structure, while the white wine adds the moisture and acid that are needed in order for emulsification to occur. The corn starch thickens and stabilizes the dish, and the lemon juice adds more acid and gives the fondue some flavor. Instead of wine, some people use cherry brandy or even a touch of nutmeg.

However you decide to make your own fondue, it’s crucial that you follow every step in the directions exactly as they are printed. If you don’t, you can end up with lumpy cheese fondue, cheese that separates, or cheese that is too hard.

Bowl of corn starch prepared after chef learned how to prevent cheese fondue from separating
Corn starch is commonly used to thicken sauces and can also be used as a substitute for corn flour in some dishes.

Will You Have To Start All Over?

Problems with the cheese in your fondue vary depending on the type of cheese you decide to use and the other ingredients in your cheese fondue recipe. The proteins in cheese work with all the other ingredients—liquids and solids—to give the fondue the right texture, consistency, thickness and taste. If you mix a little corn starch with a little water and add that to your mixture, the fondue should develop the right texture and come together, so to speak, so that your cheese is as smooth and gooey as it should be.

If, on the other hand, your cheese becomes one big block of solid cheese that simply won’t melt, you might have to throw it out and start all over again.

If your fondue is separating and you wish to add the corn starch, remember to add one tablespoon of corn starch for every pound of grated cheese you used. This should be enough for the cheese and liquids to come back together and make your fondue chewy and tasty once again.

The bottom line is that it’s easy to take care of your fondue if the cheese is separating because the water and corn starch solution is fast, simple, and cheap.