How to prepare a red wine fondue… without red wine!

The traditional red wine fondue is inspired by a culinary fusion between Chinese and French cuisine. The meeting of the Chinese hot pot tradition with the French heritage of Quebec settlers resulted in the delicious broth fondue that we enjoy today.

Did anyone say French cuisine? That means red wine, of course! A classic red wine fondue broth is made by combining red wine with beef broth, onions, bay leaves, and some secret ingredients that are specific to each family! But how do you make this classic recipe work if you want to avoid red wine?

Why would you make a red wine fondue without red wine?

There are plenty of good reasons to make a classic fondue without red wine. If you ended up here, you probably have your own (or are naturally curious!)

You may want to prepare a red wine fondue without red wine because you simply don’t like it, because you’re afraid that its taste will bother children or those with more sensitive palates, for religious reasons, because you’re trying to save money, or because you’re allergic to it.

Whatever your reason for replacing red wine in your fondue, we have a method that will work for you!

Understanding wine to better replace it

In a traditional fondue broth recipe, red wine plays several roles. It helps increase the total liquid volume in your fondue bowl and adds a tangy, slightly sweet note to the mix to promote a good flavour balance.

Does the word “tannin” ring a bell? Like when we say that a strong-tasting wine is “tannic”? Well, one of the little-known advantages of adding red wine to a fondue broth is the tannins that it contains! These substances of the polyphenol family are found in the skins of the grapes used to make red wine. They give it its slightly raspy and dry taste, which can sometimes be reminiscent of an underripe banana. Tannins are known to help bring out the flavours of red meat, so it makes sense to use red wine in the classic fondue recipe, which usually features beef as one of the key dipping ingredients!

Alternatives that actually work to replace wine in the broth

Now, let’s get straight to the point! To make up for the lack of liquid caused by removing the red wine from your preparation, you can simply add more beef stock and a packet of onion soup powder to it, for a little extra taste!

However, as you now know, you will still be missing three important flavours to properly replace red wine: acidity, a touch of sweetness, and tannins! Here are our top 3 combinations of substitutes that will ensure a successful wine-free classic fondue broth:

  • Balsamic vinegar in smaller quantities than you would have used wine, with a splash of maple syrup for a sweet finish
  • 100% natural cold-pressed apple juice, combined with a dash of red wine vinegar
  • Some tomato juice and a bit of red beer will also work well if the reason for replacing wine is that you don’t like its taste, or that you want to bring the cost of your meal down! Although beer does not contain tannins, the bitterness of the hops will compensate for the bitterness from the grape skins.

The best Fondussimo broth fondue recipes without alcohol

It’s entirely possible to prepare a delicious classic fondue without using red wine! But as you can see, wine is a sophisticated ingredient, so substituting it will usually result in a slightly less savoury outcome. Our recommendation? Forget grandma’s fondue recipe, and let the fondue revolution experts inspire you! We’ve developed dozens of exclusive fondue recipes, each equally unique and delicious, and most of them contain no alcohol!

Discover three of Fondussimo’s most popular reinvented fondue recipes, all of which contain no alcohol!

  • The Korean Beef Fondue: its sweet and sour broth contains a mixture of apple and pear juice combined with beef broth that’ll have you begging for more!
  • The Butter Chicken Fondue: let’s stay in an exotic atmosphere, but in a different region! This recipe’s broth is super easy to prepare and will offer a wonderful explosion of flavours.
  • The Greek Fondue: an original recipe that contains no alcohol and that will encourage each guest to prepare their own delicious pitas!

The Fondussimo fondue set: your solution to rediscover broth fondue

The classic fondue broth is great and all, but don’t hesitate to broaden your horizons! The Fondussimo fondue set will allow you to experience fondue like never before. As we like to say: the only limit is your imagination!

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