Oil Fondue: Fun and Delicious for All

Nov 6, 2020 | Appetizers and Snacks, Recipes

Oil fondue is a delicious and interactive way to enjoy a meal with friends and family. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know to enjoy oil fondue deliciously, including choosing the right oil, maintaining the proper oil temperature, selecting the best ingredients, and serving up tasty dipping sauces. From the best oils for fondue to tasty ingredients and sauce ideas, we’ve got you covered. So read on and get ready to experience all the deliciousness of oil fondue.

The Elephant In The Room

Oil fondue can be a delicious and fun addition to any gathering, but it’s important to prioritize safety to ensure everyone can enjoy the experience fully. Hot oil can be dangerous if not handled properly, so it’s crucial to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings while enjoying oil fondue. If children are present, supervise them at all times and keep them safe from the fondue pot to avoid accidental burns or spills. It may also be a good idea to have a separate, child-friendly fondue option available, such as cheese or chocolate fondue. Remember, the most important thing is for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time together. With a little caution and mindful behaviour, you can enjoy all the deliciousness of oil fondue without any mishaps.

Choosing the Right Oil for Fondue

The right oil is an important factor to consider when it comes to enjoying oil fondue. Choosing a neutral oil with a high smoke point is important to ensure that the fondue is safe and flavorful. Olive oil, while delicious, is not the best choice for fondue because it has a strong flavour and a relatively low smoke point. Instead, consider using Canola oil, which is inexpensive, has a neutral flavour, and has a high smoke point. Peanut oil, grapeseed oil, and sunflower seed oil are good options.

No matter which type of oil you choose, it’s important to be mindful of the volume of oil you use. Don’t fill the fondue pot more than halfway, as the oil will expand and bubble when it gets hot. Overfilling the pot can lead to a hot, dangerous mess.

Best oil for fondue

Tips for Managing Oil Temperature in a Fondue Pot

Maintaining the right oil temperature is crucial for enjoying oil fondue. The process of cooking food in an oil fondue pot is similar to a combination of deep-frying and oil poaching, with the oil being heated to a high temperature. However, the amount of oil in the fondue pot is insufficient to maintain that temperature when cold food is added. This means that when you first add food to the oil, it will get a sear, but then it will need to sit and essentially poach rather than fry. Keep in mind that the more food you add to the oil, the lower the temperature will get and the longer it will take to cook.

While it’s important to heat the oil to a high enough temperature to ensure the food is cooked properly, don’t worry too much about reaching a specific temperature. Use a thermometer to ensure the oil is hot enough, and adjust the heat accordingly. When you first light the burner under the fondue pot and begin heating the oil, allow it to heat up for ten to fifteen minutes. This will give the oil time to reach the right temperature. You can test the oil’s readiness by placing a piece of cubed bread into it. If the bread browns in less than a minute, the oil is ready.

As you continue cooking, keep in mind that you are not deep-frying your food – this is fondue, not deep-frying. To maintain the right oil temperature, try to balance the amount of food you add to the pot with the time it has to recover after the food has been taken out. As a general rule, try not to cover more than 60-70% of the pot’s surface with food. If you have a mix of room-temperature and fridge-temperature ingredients, put them in the pot together. If all the ingredients are fridge-temperature, the oil temperature will drop dramatically and take a long time to recover.

Fondue vs. Deep-Frying: What’s the Difference?

Earlier, we mentioned that oil fondue is a combination of deep-frying and oil poaching. It can be helpful to keep this in mind as you cook, as it will influence the texture and flavour of the food. With oil poaching, the food is slowly cooked in the oil and takes on a silky texture, similar to olive oil-poached fish. In an oil fondue, you want the oil to be hot enough to brown the food slightly, but then the temperature should fall and the food will essentially poach. This creates the best of both worlds and, in my opinion, is the true glory of oil fondue.

As you choose your ingredients, keep in mind that you are not cooking mini spring rolls or breaded chicken fingers in the fondue pot. Foods with breading or coatings will absorb the oil if it isn’t hot enough, and they can also quickly ruin the oil. Instead, opt for fresh, un-breaded foods for the best results.

Fondue Oil Temperature

What to Cook in an Oil Fondue: Ingredient Options

When it comes to ingredients for an oil fondue, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure they are dry. Wash and dry your vegetables, and pat your meat and seafood dry with a paper towel. Any water droplets can cause the oil to spit and potentially bubble over, so it’s important to ensure that your ingredients are as dry as possible before adding them to the hot oil.

Meat and fish are typically the main components of an oil fondue. Some people like to use chicken and pork, but I prefer to stick with beef because it is less likely to cause problems if it is slightly undercooked. When choosing the cut of beef, consider using strip loin or tenderloin rather than a fatty cut like rib-eye, as the fat may not have time to render and you may end up eating chunks of unrendered fat. Bison and lamb are also good substitutes for beef. To ensure that everything cooks evenly and there is enough space in the fondue pot, be sure to cut all of your ingredients to the same size.

In terms of seafood, shrimp and scallops are excellent ingredients for an oil fondue if you can eat them. Fish can also be used, but avoid overly flaky options like haddock or cod, as they may fall apart. Salmon and tuna are good alternatives.

It’s important to note that if you or anyone in your group has allergies, you should be aware of the potential for cross-contamination. If you are using the same oil to cook a variety of ingredients, be sure to label the different items clearly and keep track of which ingredients have been cooked in the oil. This can help prevent any accidental exposure to allergens. You may want to have a few pots going if there is someone with an allergy present.

Fondue Vegetables

When it comes to vegetables for an oil fondue, the options are virtually limitless. However, it’s important to avoid using frozen vegetables, as they can cause the oil to boil over. If you want to include potatoes or sweet potatoes, it’s best to precut them and precook them slightly, as they will take a long time to cook from raw in the oil. Waxy potatoes, like yellow potatoes, tend to work better in an oil fondue than other varieties.

In terms of variety, try to include a mix of vegetables to add flavour and nutrition to your fondue. Just make sure to wash and dry the vegetables thoroughly before adding them to the hot oil to prevent spitting and bubbling. Some vegetables that work well in an oil fondue include:

  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Squash (pre-cooked)
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Remember to cut the vegetables into small, evenly-sized pieces to ensure that they cook evenly and there is enough space in the fondue pot. Experiment with different combinations to find the ones that you and your group enjoy the most!

Dipping Sauces

When it comes to dipping sauces for an oil fondue, the options are endless. Having a variety of sauces on hand allows you to mix and match different flavours to create unique and delicious combinations. Some options to consider include:

  • Mustard
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Horseradish
  • Ranch dressing
  • Sour cream

You can also get creative and mix together different sauces to create your own custom dips. This is a great opportunity to use up any extra condiments that may be taking up space in your refrigerator. Experiment with different flavour combinations to find the ones that you and your group enjoy the most. You can also provide a selection of herbs and spices, such as chopped chives, parsley, cilantro, or paprika, to allow your guests to add a finishing touch to their dips.

Fondue Cooking Times

Cooking time can vary significantly when it comes to an oil fondue, as it depends on a number of variables, including the temperature of the oil, the starting temperature of the food, the size of the food, and how much food is in the pot. For this reason, it can be challenging to provide exact cooking times for specific ingredients. To ensure that your food is cooked properly, it’s best to choose ingredients that are okay to be eaten slightly undercooked, such as steak, scallops, and vegetables. This will allow for some leeway in terms of cooking time while still ensuring that the food is safe to eat.

As you cook different pieces of food, you will get a feel for how long they take to cook in your fondue pot. For example, thin slices of meat will cook faster than thicker pieces, and small pieces of vegetables will cook faster than larger ones. Pay attention to the food as it cooks, and use a thermometer to check for doneness if necessary. With practice, you’ll be able to determine the optimal cooking times for the ingredients that you enjoy in your oil fondue.


Oil fondue, and fondue in general, is a wonderful way to bring people together, slow down, and have a fun and relaxed evening. One of the great things about fondue is that it encourages conversation and socialization, as you can’t rush the process of cooking your food. Instead, you are forced to stand and chat while your food is cooking, creating a sense of camaraderie and connection. As a chef, one of the things I love about fondue is that it provides an opportunity to enjoy a meal for a longer period of time. Unlike many meals that are prepared over the course of hours but eaten in just a few minutes, fondue takes just a few minutes to prepare but can be enjoyed over a longer period of time.

Whether you’re looking for a fun family evening, a romantic dinner with your partner, or a social gathering with friends, oil fondue is a great choice. It’s a unique and interactive way to enjoy a meal and spend quality time with the people you care about. So why not gather your loved ones around the fondue pot and create some lasting memories? Like this post? You might also like the Cheese Fondue. Or, if you’re looking for something sweet, the Chocolate fondue is for you.

Oil Fondue

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  1. Doris Samson Betts

    So I freeze lean beef steak, chicken breast and pork tenderloin. Then, as it thaws but is still slightly frozen, I slice the meat into thin slices. These are easy to pick up and twist around the fondue sticks and I make some of my sauces using Presidents Choice ” Memories of” purchased sauces mixed with mayo. Easy to get interesting flavors that way. Veggies are done as well as they can be tender crisp so don’t need much cooking time. And, of course, bread and beverages are served. It’s been too long since we have done this! Thanks for your post!

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Doris, that all sounds delicious. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Cheryl M Hurlburt

    I have 3 pots, one for anything chicken and the other for my meat and fish ad the other for veggies…now mind you..I have 8 pots in my cupboard

  4. Chef Ben Kelly

    Lol that’s a lot of fondue pots. I love it

  5. Kari

    Thanks for some helpful tips!

  6. Chef Ben Kelly

    It’s my pleasure. I’m glad you found the post helpful!
    Thank you for your comment.

  7. Deb H

    We use canned biscuits (the cheap store brand work best – cut into quarters) to add fry bread to the menu. Dough does not work well if the pot is too full and therefore low temp, so we try to have only two to three diners to each pot.

    Garlic butter is always one of our sauces as is sour cream

    If there are uncooked biscuits left, we let one of the pots come up to temp and fry up the dough chunks. They can be tossed with a bit of garlic butter or rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

  8. Chef Ben Kelly

    Sounds good! Thank you for sharing

  9. Kophaas

    I am planning a retro evening with oil fondue so this was helpful!

  10. Chef Ben Kelly

    I’m happy to hear that. Enjoy!

  11. Emily

    This is simply the best article I have read on hot oil fondue cooking. Glad I found it, as we are going to have this tonight, and I needed the education about the food being DRY.

    I am planning on using some beef, ahi tuna, okra, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mushrooms. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and the cautions and tips in your article will make it a more pleasant experience.

    Thank you!

  12. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you Emily! I’m glad you found the article helpful. Enjoy your fondue!!

  13. Terry

    If someone is allergic to shrimp do you need a separate pot of oil?
    I found this article to be very helpful.

  14. Chef Ben Kelly

    Hi Terry, that’s a great question! Yes I would suggest different pots of oils if anyone has allergies. I’m glad you found the post helpful. Enjoy your fondue!

  15. Lorrie

    What do you do with the oil afterwards?

  16. Chloe Chiavacci

    I’m wondering what are the best mushrooms for oil fondue

  17. Chef Ben Kelly

    I prefer either cremini or button mushrooms.


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