Chocolate Fondue

Southern Living Chocolate Fondue ready to serve with fruit and cake to dip
PHOTO: FRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY

Active Time:

15 mins

Total Time:

20 mins

Servings:

6

You shouldn’t save special occasion desserts like chocolate fondue for Valentine’s Day dinners or once-a-year birthday celebrations. This chocolate fondue recipe calls for just five ingredients, and it’s a snap to make. So go ahead and plan on having a pot of fondue for your next family dinner night or for an upcoming holiday weekend. It’s so much fun, and you can let everyone be a little creative with their fondue dippers.

Learn how to make chocolate fondue, and enjoy this silky, creamy dessert any time you want.

Ingredients for Chocolate Fondue

Our chocolate fondue recipe calls for just five ingredients, but you can get creative and add more if you want. We offer a few ideas further below.

  • Heavy whipping cream: This is the bulk of the fondue and provides the creamy, silky texture.
  • Milk: Whole milk cuts the cream so the chocolate mixture isn’t too heavy for the dippers.
  • Vanilla extract: Elevates the fondue’s flavor and makes this dessert taste more well-rounded.
  • Fine sea salt: A hint of sea salt balances the sweetness. We prefer the smaller crystals of fine sea salt so they’ll melt more easily.
  • Semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate: If you prefer a less intense chocolate flavor, use semisweet chocolate, or a combination of semisweet and bittersweet should work. Bittersweet is ideal for people who appreciate the nuances of dark chocolate.
  • Dippers: More on this below, but you know the drill: strawberries, marshmallows, fruit, cookies. You name it, you can dip it.

What To Dip in Chocolate Fondue

Get creative, and have some fun when picking dippers for chocolate fondue. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • orange wedges
  • pretzel rods
  • butter cookies
  • pecans
  • marshmallows
  • pound cake cubes
  • crispy rice treats
  • cherries
  • pineapples
  • dried mango
  • bacon
  • potato chips
Southern Living Chocolate Fondue ingredients
FRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY

How To Make Chocolate Fondue

This chocolate fondue recipe is easy and straightforward. It is also quite forgiving, so it is beginner friendly as well. Here’s a brief outline of the process; the full recipe is below.

  • Step 1. Heat the cream, milk, vanilla, and sea salt until the milk mixture is steaming.
  • Step 2. Add chocolate, and let sit so chocolate will melt.
  • Step 3. Whisk chocolate until smooth.
  • Step 4. Serve and keep warm in a fondue pot, or reheat on the stove as the fondue begins to cool and thicken.

We like that this chocolate fondue recipe is forgiving off the heat. Even after it cooled, the chocolate is unlikely to seize. But if you want it warm, you can put the saucepan back on the stove, and heat until warm again.

How Do You Keep Chocolate Fondue From Seizing?

Once the chocolate is off the heat (and if you’re not using a fondue pot), it may begin to thicken slightly, but in our testing, the mixture did not seize fully. If your chocolate fondue seizes or becomes so thick you can no longer dip, try warming it up on the stove again. If it’s still thick, stir in boiling water, one teaspoon at a time, until smooth.

Tips for the Best Chocolate Fondue

This easy chocolate fondue recipe is great for first-time fondue makers, or even the most experienced, so our Test Kitchen offers a few tips to make it the best fondue you’ve ever had:

  • Splurge for good chocolate. Your fondue will only be as good as the chocolate you use, so use your favorite bars and brands.
  • Give chocolate a chop: Chop the chocolate uniformly so that it melts evenly in the milk. The method of adding the chocolate to heated milk ensures that the chocolate won’t burn. 
  • Change chocolates: Use chocolate chips instead of chocolate bars if you need to save time with chopping chocolate or like the flavor of some chips better than bars.

Do You Need a Fondue Pot for Chocolate Fondue?

No, you do not need a fondue pot for chocolate fondue, but using one will certainly keep the fondue silky and smooth longer, without the risk of seizing. It’s also fun to bring the pot to the table with the coordinating skewers and serving plates.

If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can place the saucepan on a heat pad, and let people dip right from that. This way, if the chocolate needs to be reheated, you can go back to the stove without changing pans.

How To Store Leftover Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate fondue is meant to be eaten the day it’s made, so there is no real benefit to making it ahead or trying to save leftovers. However, that doesn’t mean you should dump the fondue into the trash.

Instead, make a quick candy: Pour leftover fondue onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and chill the tray until the chocolate has hardened. (You could add chopped up ingredients like dried fruit or marshmallows, too.) Once hard, break up the chocolate into pieces, store in a ziplock bag, and keep them in the fridge. Eat as a snack, or cut some up and sprinkle over cakes, cupcakes, or ice cream.

Substitutions and Variations

Have some fun with your chocolate fondue. We love these ideas:

  • Add booze: Stir your favorite liqueur into the finished fondue. We recommend Chambord, Kahlua, Cointreau, or Frangelico. Bailey’s Irish Cream would be great, too.
  • Steep spices: Add spices to the milk mixture as it heats. Dried chiles, cardamom pods, and cinnamon would be great. Just remove the whole spices before you add the chocolate.
  • Intensify the chocolate flavor: Add espresso powder. This trick will leave you with a deep, darker chocolate flavor.
  • Change up the extract: Peppermint extract would be cooling and delicious. Orange extract and orange zest would be unique.
Southern Living Chocolate Fondue dipping a marshmallow in the fondue
FRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 10 oz. 60% cacao semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 2 1/4 cups) 
  • Fresh strawberries, pretzel rods, marshmallows, pound cake cubes, and fresh pineapple chunks, for dipping

Directions

  1. Warm cream:Heat cream, milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until milk is steaming, 6 to 7 minutes.Southern Living Chocolate Fondue heating the milk and creamFRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY
  2. Add chocolate:Stir in chocolate, and remove from heat. Let stand 4 minutes.Southern Living Chocolate Fondue melting the chocolate FRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY
  3. Whisk:Whisk until completely smooth.
    Southern Living Chocolate Fondue whisking until smoothFRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY
  4. Keep warm:Pour mixture into a fondue pot, and keep warm over a fondue burner. (Alternatively, serve fondue directly from saucepan.) If fondue starts to harden, place saucepan over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, just until warm and loose. Serve with dippers, as desired.Southern Living Chocolate Fondue ready to serve in the fondue potFRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY