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gel fuel fondue burner unit photo: gourmetsleuth.com

Fondue Fuel

There are several types of fondue fuel most commonly used in fondue making.   Read about the fuel options and uses.

Article by: Barbara Bowman


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Fondue Fuel Types

The type of fondue you are making dictates the type of pot and fuel you should be using. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions that came with the pot for the proper fuel for your fondue unit.

Fondue Fuel

  • Butane Fondue Burner Unit

    Butate is very versatile can be used on low for chocolate fondue, medium for cheese and high for broth and oil fondues.

    Butane Fondue Fuel Unit
    butane fondue unit

    This is a new style fondue fuel unit. It is a one piece design that stores butane in the tank. It offers the most adjustability of any fondue fuel unit.  The butane is odorless and safe to use.
    Butane Refill Canister
    butane fondue fuel cannister

    Butane fuel:  refill canisters are available at most hardware stores and come with a variety of "tips" to fit a range of household butane devices like lighters and cooking torches.

    Uses: Any fondue, cheese, chocolate, oil or broth. It is the best choice for oil and broth.

    Heat Duration: High, 1 hour, medium 3 hours, low, 9 hours. This can vary depending on the size of your butane unit.

    Other Features: butane is safe and odor-free and and provides excellent control over the amount of heat produced.

  • Alcohol

    Alchohol is as versatile as butane when used with an adjustable burner unit. A small flame is good for chocolate, medium for cheese fondue and maximum for oil or broth.


    alcohol fondue burner unit

    There are two types of alcohol units. The one show above is a small tin filled with glass wool.  Alcohol is poured over the wool then ignited with a match.  The other style actually has a small receptacle with a wick. The receptacle is filled with alcohol and the wick is ignited.  The flame on both style burners is controlled by the amount of air that is allowed to flow through the adjustable lid.

    Alcohol
    fuel- Use only Denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.

    Uses: Any fondue, cheese, chocolate, oil or broth. It is as good as butane for for oil and broth fondue but is more cumbersome to deal with.

    Heat Duration: 3 ounces on High will burn approximately 90 minutes.

    Other Features: Generally safe and easily obtained at most hardware stores or grocery stores.

    Never
    add more fuel to the tin while the fuel is burning.
    Never add more than 3 ounces at a time OR overfill the container.  Overfilling can cause dangerous flare ups.
    Never move a fondue unit while the heat source is burning.

  • Gel Fondue Fuel

    Gel fuel includes Sterno in tins or small units or bottled. Again when used with an adjustable burner unit it works for most fondue types but does not as desirable as alcohol or butane for oil or broth fondue.

    Gel fuel fondue burner unit
    gel fuel fondue burner unit photo: gourmetsleuth.com

    This is a very common style fondue burner. It has three pieces. The piece shown on the left is the "extinguisher". This should be placed on top of the burner when you want to extinguish the flame. The burner unit has a bottom that holds the gel fuel and a fitted cover with adjustable vent holes to dampen the flame up or down.

    Uses:  Best for cheese or chocolate fondue. Not the best choice for hot oil and broth fondue.

    Heat Duration: 3 ounces on High will burn approximately 90 minutes.

    Other Features: Generally safe and easily obtained at most hardware stores or grocery stores. **Never add to the fuel tin while the fuel is burning.


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More Gel Fuel Options

Buy Fondue Fuel

  • Paste Fuel - Buy fondue paste fuel at GourmetSleuth.com
  • Butane Fuel Canisters - This fuel can be purchased in stores like Target or large chain drug stores like Walgreens.   The canisters can be used for any refillable butane appliance.  There are online sources as well but most can ship ground only, not air.
  • Alcohol - Purchase denatured alcohol in hardware stores.
  • Sterno - Sterno brand gel fuel can be purchased in stores like Target or your local hardware store and even in some larger grocery stores.

Buy Online