Ooh-la-la, let’s make a classic, easy Chocolate Fondue recipe! Grab a few bars of chocolate and your favorite dippers—it’s going to be a good night.
To make chocolate fondue, high-quality, chopped chocolate is melted into creamy half-and-half, then slowly stirred with vanilla, (optional) booze, and espresso powder.
It’s a luscious bowl of chocolate beguiling your favorite fruit, salty snack, or sweet treat to take a dip.
Chocolate fondue is a memory-maker.
Celebratory in nature, fondue brings people together, which you know if you’ve made Cheese Fondue before.
Now let’s do a perfect chocolate version.
Whether for a sweetheart’s birthday, New Year’s, a kid’s party, or Valentine’s Day, chocolate fondue is a special-occasion sort of treat that will find its way to a memorable tradition.
Chocolate fondue is not just a dessert; it’s an experience.
There is an entire restaurant dedicated to the fondue experience, in fact. Maybe you know it?
With this easy chocolate fondue recipe, you can stay cozy at home and share velvety, rich fondue with your favorite company.
Chocolate fondue makes it altogether acceptable, and even romantic, to eat an entire bowl of chocolate dipped with even MORE dessert.
The Best Chocolate Fondue Recipe Tips
With these tips and this chocolate fondue recipe, you’ll be well on your way to everyone’s favorite person when you serve this silky, dunkable dessert.
- High-Quality Chocolate. This should go without saying, but, the better the chocolate, the better the fondue. Splurge for the good stuff; it makes all the difference.
- Chopped, Not Chips. Chopping a chocolate bar rather than using chocolate chips is recommended (although chocolate chips still work). Chocolate chips will harden faster than chopped chocolate, and a bar of chocolate melts more smoothly.
- “Next Level” Ingredients. The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor, and the booze is, well, boozy and adds another flavor note. These are optional but really bring it up a notch.
- How Low Can You Go. Warm the half-and-half on LOW heat so as not to accidentally scorch it. Don’t be tempted to do medium heat or high to speed it along.
- Stir In OFF the Heat. As soon as the half-and-half is hot, you will make the rest of the recipe OFF of the heat.
- Don’t Burn Me, Baby. Chocolate fondue burns easily. If you need to reheat it, be cautious to do so very gently on low, or even over a double boiler.
- Adjust Consistency. The consistency is adjustable! If your fondue is too thick or starts to get grainy, stir more half-and-half into the mixture.
How to Make This Easy Chocolate Fondue Recipe
You can make chocolate fondue with or without a fondue pot!
It is a special dish that comes together quite easily, and you get to choose your dippers.
This recipe is for a perfect, classic dark chocolate fondue, but you can swap your favorite chocolate or a mix.
- Half-and-Half. The just-right balance of creaminess. You could also use heavy cream if you want it ultra decadent (or use half heavy cream and half whole milk if that’s what you have on hand; those two essentially make half-and-half).
- Chocolate. This is a rich, dark chocolate fondue recipe, using a mix of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. I recommend using a chocolate bar, but you can also use semi-sweet chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate chips.
About Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate: What’s the difference?
- Dark chocolate is a “catch-all” term. It contains 50%-90% cocoa solids, which is a large range of flavor profiles. The higher the % of cocoa, the less sugar, meaning your chocolate will be stronger and less sweet as the percentage goes up.
- Semisweet and bittersweet are both types of dark chocolate.
- Semisweet contains less cocoa than bittersweet (around 40%-50%), so it tastes sweeter than bittersweet chocolate, which typically has up to 70% cocoa solids.
- For reference milk chocolate must contain at least 25% cocoa solids and can have up to 40%.
While you can typically interchange semisweet and bittersweet chocolate in baking recipes (as long as you don’t mind the bittersweet being stronger in chocolate flavor and taste less sweet), I do not recommend using entirely bittersweet chocolate for fondue. Since the chocolate is the recipe, the chocolate fondue will indeed be too bitter.
- Vanilla. Makes every sweet taste better and ups the homemade factor.
- Espresso Powder. Instant coffee granules may also be used. This is a baker’s trick to intensifying anything chocolate, like One Bowl Brownies, applies to chocolate fondue.
- Liqueur. Grand Marnier, Chambord, cherry brandy, Kahlua, or Cassis add a fun spike if you like.
Chocolate Fondue Dippers
If you agree everything tastes better with either chocolate (or cheese) on it, we’ll be great friends.
You can dip just about anything in chocolate fondue. (Could we have a solution to get kids to eat their broccoli??…I jest.)
- Cookies. Bake a batch of Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies or Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. Oreos, Nutter Butters, biscotti, vanilla wafer cookies, and Milanos are of course good store-bought options.
- Cakes. Plain cake donut holes, angel food cake, and pound cake cut into cubes.
- Other Treats. Rice Krispies Treats, graham crackers, and large marshmallows.
- Fruit. Fresh fruits: strawberries, blackberries, pears, kiwi, raspberries, bananas, and pineapple. Dried fruits: apricots and oranges.
- Salty Things. Potato chips and pretzels. Pair the salt with the sweet!
- Chop chocolate.
- Heat half-and-half until it just begins to simmer.
- Remove from heat and add chocolate.
- Gently stir the chocolate. Be patient!
- Continue stirring until completely melted.
- Stir in the espresso powder, vanilla extract, and liqueur. Immediately transfer to a fondue pot. ENJOY!
Become the hostess with the mostess when your chocolate fondue party is a slam dunk.
How to Serve Chocolate Fondue
- Chocolate fondue stays soft and dippable even when it starts to cool. If made on the stovetop and you do not have a fondue pot, simply serve straight from the warm saucepan, placing right on the table on a trivet. That’ll start a party.
- If you want to keep it continuously warm but do not have a fondue pot, you can transfer to a small slow cooker like this one and keep on WARM.
- Do not keep it over the heat as the chocolate will burn. If you need to reheat, do so very gently on low.
How to Serve Chocolate Fondue Dippers
- Before cooking the fondue, prep all of your dippers, so once the fondue is ready, you can serve it right away.
- Cut fruit, cake, cookies, and crispy treats into bite-sized pieces. Items that are easy to dip whole, such as pretzels and marshmallows, do not need to be cut.
- Arrange dippers on a serving platter. If you have a larger group, divide the dippers between two platters then place on on each side of the pot for easy access.
Chocolate Fondue Variations
- S’Mores. Add a big plop of marshmallow creme on top of the hot fondue, and give it one gentle stir. Dip with graham crackers.
- Peanut Butter. Partially stir in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter into the hot fondue.
- Peppermint Chocolate. Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract along with the vanilla extract.
- Toffee. Stir in 1/4 cup toffee bits along with the chocolate to add delightful, crunchy toffee bits to your fondue.
- To Store. Chocolate fondue stores well! Save in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in an airtight storage container.
- To Reheat. Remelt chilled chocolate fondue gently over low heat (in a bowl over a pot of simmering water is ideal), or in a slow cooker on LOW.
- To Freeze. This chocolate fondue recipe can be frozen for up to 1 month in a freezer-safe, airtight storage container. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before rewarming.
Meal Prep Tip
This chocolate fondue recipe can be made 3 to 4 days in advance and then gently reheated prior to serving.
I know you won’t let a drop of this chocolate fondue recipe go to waste! If you want to repurpose any extra chocolate fondue, here are some ideas.
- Hot Chocolate. Use leftover chocolate fondue as a base for hot chocolate; add milk and gently warm. Another way to make Easy Hot Chocolate.
- Ice Cream. Pour over your favorite ice cream a-la fudge. I recommend this Oat Milk Ice Cream.
- Baked Treats. Use leftover, chilled fondue as you would a ganache, frosting Coconut Cookies or slice of Mocha Cake.
- No Leftovers Recipe Needed: Grab a spoon.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Electric Fondue Pot. This is the easiest, trustiest tool for making fondue and really adds to the classic Swiss element.
- Fondue Forks. Complete you fondue set with pokers!
- Chocolate Fountain. I love how over-the-top this would be for serving chocolate fondue. The brand is literally called “Nostalgia,” taking you back to the 1960s.
Cast Iron Fondue Pot
Make cheese or chocolate fondue over your lifetime with this classic, cast iron fondue pot. It is beautiful and easy to place anywhere because it does not have a plug. Don’t forget to also purchase a sterno.
If you have never made a chocolate fondue recipe before, I think it would be a fon-tastic special occasion tradition to start in your home.
It will delight, entertain, and make any occasion memorable.
Say I DO to chocolate fondue, and the event is sure to be totally FUNdue (sorry, not sorry for the onslaught of punniness).
Frequently Asked Questions
Beware: chocolate fondue burns easily (and that would be a travesty). When cooking chocolate fondue, you will take the half-and-half off of the heat entirely when you stir in the chocolate, not kept on the burner. If you desire to keep the chocolate fondue warm, a crock pot or fondue pot can be used. It can also be reheated very gently on low while stirring, ideally in a bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water.
Water can cause chocolate fondue to seize, or be clumpy and lumpy rather than the smooth, glossy consistency we want. Make sure that anything that will touch the fondue is completely dry, from the fondue pot to the whisk. Overheating your chocolate fondue can also cause it to separate or otherwise go awry.
Fondue pots are as helpful to preparing and keeping fondue warm as they are fun, though not required to make chocolate fondue. If you do not have a fondue pot, chocolate fondue can be prepared in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, and served directly in the saucepan or transferred to a small slow cooker.
For the Chocolate Fondue:
- 2/3 cup half-and-half plus a few teaspoons if needed
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped into small pieces (or 1-cup high quality chocolate chips—see recipe note*)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 55% to 65%, chopped into small pieces (or 3/4-cup high quality chocolate chips—see recipe note*)—or use more semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules or espresso powder for a more intense chocolate taste, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons liqueur of choice such as Grand Marnier, Chambord, or Cassis, optional
Dippers of Choice:
- Fruit: strawberries banana, pineapple
- Baked treats: plain cake donut holes crispy squares, poundcake, vanilla wafer cookies, graham crackers
- Salty things: Mini pretzels potato chips
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Make sure anything that will touch the fondue is very dry, as water can cause chocolate to seize. Prep all of your dippers: cut fruit, poundcake, and crispy treats into bite-sized pieces (no need to cut items that are easy to dip whole, such as mini-pretzels and marshmallows). Arrange on a serving platter (if you have a larger group, divide them between two platters, then place one on each side of the pot for easy access).
In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half over medium-high heat, until it is just beginning to gently simmer and bubbles have formed around the edges (do not bring to a full boil). Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let sit undisturbed for 1 minute.
With a rubber spatula, slowly and gently stir the chocolate until the warm half-and-half melts it completely. The fondue should look smooth and glossy. If at any point it begins to look gritty, add more half-and-half 1 teaspoon at a time to smooth it out. As long as you’ve chopped the chocolate small, it should all melt within a minute or two of stirring. If it doesn’t, place the sauce pan over very LOW heat and SLOWLY warm the chocolate, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat as soon as it is nearly melted (chocolate can burn easily, and once it does there is no going back).
Off the heat, stir in the espresso powder, vanilla extract, and liqueur. Immediately transfer to a fondue pot. Enjoy warm with dippers.
*The better the chocolate, the better the fondue, so this is a good place to splurge. If using chocolate chips, Ghirardelli and Guittard are the only two brands that melted smoothly for me; Nestle and Hershey did not. (I have not tried Trader Joe’s; I imagine good quality chocolate feves would likely melt well). If you are unsure, chopped chocolate bars are the safest bet (I do like Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Baker’s Bar).
- TO STORE: Chocolate fondue store well! Save in refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight storage container.
- TO REHEAT: Remelt chilled chocolate fondue gently over low heat (in a bowl over a pot of simmering water is ideal), or in a slow cooker on LOW.
- TO FREEZE: This chocolate fondue recipe can be frozen for up to one month in a freezer-safe, airtight storage container. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before rewarming.
Serving: 1of 8Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: -1mgPotassium: 231mgFiber: 3gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 89IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
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Because “there’s no such thing as too much chocolate” should be a life motto.