We made some fondue the other night, and instead of being a nice smooth dippable fondue texture, it came out grainy and lumpy. What went wrong?

Here's the recipe that we used:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup Dark Ale or Other Beer
  • 1 cup Emmenthal Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese, Shredded
  • 1/2 cup Appenzeller Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch

Slice garlic in half, rub in fondue pot. Warm beer without boiling. Mix cornstarch and cheeses. Stir cheese into beer, one handful at a time, allowing to melt in-between additions.

  • Do you remember when you had lumps? Was it when you added the corn starch? Or after a type of cheese?
    – Mien
    Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 20:20
  • Its happened to me before. My problem was an improper ratio of cheeses.
    – Derrick
    Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 4:40
  • Sorry - I can't identify when the lumps & graininess occurred.
    – KatieK
    Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


I suspect that your cheese curdled.

This happens to me if I overheat the mixture- especially in the presence of acid. (I don't have any experience with using beer.) The cornstarch is there as a safety net to prevent this but obviously it is not infallible.

Turn down the heat and try adding a little more corn starch- it may not get back to perfect fondue but you may be able to pull it back to edible.


Your family will notice if you try to "Pull it back to edible" (that sounds disgusting). Maybe use something a little more acidic next time, like a dry wine, or just a touch of lemon (not much!) if you insist on using beer. It does sound like the heat was a little too high though if you're getting the infamous ball-o-cheese fondue, so turn the fire down, keep stirring (I once heard that stirring in a figure 8 pattern helps immensely), and don't feed your family that nasty crap you made while you were learning. Just kidding love!

  • Alcohol plays the same role as the acid. Perhaps instead of more acidic the beer should just have more alcohol. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:43

Swiss guy taught me that the best way to avoid this is to marinate the grated cheese in the wine a few hours before making the fondue. Never had a grainy fondue since I started doing this!

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