After learning How to Make the Perfect Cheese Fondue, I wanted to create something a little out of the ordinary– a fondue with a special “zing” to it. I decided to combine cheddar and pepper jack cheese, along with diced roasted jalapeños and a little smoked paprika. The result was seriously tasty, an easy dinner, and a super fun way to use up all the extra pretzel challah I made earlier in the week! The combination of salty pretzel bread and spicy cheese was super tasty. Regular challah or French bread would work great, too. If you’re keeping gluten free or on a low carb diet, you can dip fresh or lightly steamed vegetables– broccoli and cauliflower work well.
I always get the question “can I make this without alcohol?” Well, good news! You can. It won’t taste exactly the same, but the non alcoholic version is pretty close to the original. Most fondue recipes contain wine because the acid content of the alcohol helps the cheese to melt smoothly. If you omit the wine, you’ll need to replace it with something acidic like lemon juice. To see the non alcoholic version of this recipe, click here.
One word of caution– taste your pepper jack cheese before you make the fondue, especially if you’re sensitive to spice. Pepper jacks can vary in spice intensity. If your pepper jack is particularly spicy, taste it before adding the jalapeno, and only add as much jalapeno as you need to achieve the spiciness you desire. Enjoy!
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- Prepare the fondue pot by slicing a fresh garlic clove in half, then rubbing the sides and base of the pot with the cut side of the garlic.
- Pour wine and cornstarch into a saucepan on the stovetop. Whisk over medium low heat until the cornstarch fully dissolves into the liquid.
- Begin adding the shredded cheese to the pot gradually, one handful at a time. Whisk the cheese continuously as it melts.
- Let each handful of cheese melt before adding the next handful. Do not raise the heat or let the cheese come to a boil.
- When all of the cheese is melted, check the texture. If it seems too thick or lumpy, add a little more wine and whisk until the texture is smooth and right for dipping.
- Add the minced roasted jalapenos to the pot and whisk to blend.
- Whisk in the smoked paprika until well blended.
- Transfer the melted cheese mixture to your fondue pot. Turn the pot on or light the heat source; keep the heat very low so the cheese stays soft, but doesn't boil.
- Serve cheese fondue with bread, lightly steamed vegetables, crackers, or my personal favorite--pretzel challah!