Tips for the Perfect Raclette Dinner

by ally redmond
overhead shot of raclette

A smooth, savory dish that melts in your mouth is a simple pleasure during the cold winter months — and raclette is a wonderful choice. A deliciously creamy cheese that retains its flavor exceedingly well when heated, it is ideal for wintry dinners and cozy get-togethers. Synonymous with the snow-capped beauty of the Swiss Alps and the Savoie, it’s a warming and comforting treat to indulge in as the temperature drops.

Below, find our tips on how to create the perfect raclette dinner. 

Best Raclette Grills to Buy

To prepare this classic winter dish, it is advisable to use an official raclette grill. You can be bold and purchase a raclette wheel, but a grill allows for more flexibility, and you can cook your accompanying sides at the same time. Two of our favorites — one smaller one larger — on the market are below.

Lumi Raclette with Tea-Light

lumi cookut raclette grill

A cute, compact grill that’s the perfect choice for a raclette dinner for smaller gatherings. Enjoy by a crackling fire, the sea or even the mountains — no electricity is required! This grill melts your cheese in just three minutes by the flame of a simple tea-light. Très simple! Comes in a set of two, four or 12.

Swissmar Stelvio 8-Person Raclette Grill

The joy of a big dinner with loved ones is made easy with this raclette grill for eight people. Thanks to the granite stone top, everything cooks evenly, and it even comes with a dial enabling you to easily control the temperature. No cooking oil is needed either!

Preparing a Raclette Dinner

Preparing raclette is a quick and straightforward process. It is advised to have about 150 g (5 oz) of raclette per person. And while this particular cheese is the traditional choice, a flavorsome Emmentaler, Reblochon or even a nutty Appenzeller are good alternatives if you can’t find it.

Before preparing the raclette itself, boil some small new or fingerling potatoes (the classic accompaniment to this dish), allowing for about three to five per person. Cook for 20 minutes.

During this time, slice your cheese thickly (8 mm), so the pieces will fit neatly into coupelles (Editor’s note: small, individual pans for the raclette) and evenly melt when placed under the grill. Most raclette grills come with several coupelles, which makes this dish perfect for dinner parties — each guest can prepare their cheese to their own liking. Arrange the uncooked slices on a serving platter alongside your accompaniments and toppings, so attendees can pick and choose their pairings. 

When you’re ready to eat, place a slice of cheese in a coupelle, and cook at a medium-high heat under the raclette grill for roughly five minutes (keep a close eye on it to ensure it does not overcook, as this will ruin the consistency). Any vegetables or meats can be grilled on the griddle at the same time.

How to Serve a Raclette Dinner

When traditionally serving this humble meal, gently scoop the piping hot raclette out of its coupelle and generously pour straight over the boiled potatoes. Some prefer to serve the gooey goodness over tenderly cooked meat — also a heavenly combination. Others go with vegetables; chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, zucchinis and onions are popular pairings for this hearty meal. 

raclette being scraped on meat and vegetables

A wide range of side dishes also usually accompany raclette: just-baked bread (for mopping up delicious remnants), rashers of bacon and a platter of charcuterie. Be sure to include cornichons and pickled onions on the side for a little piquant kick to offset the cheese’s strong flavor. And for garnishing, don’t forget to have some black pepper and paprika on the table!

raclette and sides

Drinks to Accompany a Raclette Dinner

Crisp, white wines tend to pair well with the creamy richness of the raclette, but a Chablis or Muscadet wine work as suitable pairings, too. You’ll have a number of grape varieties to choose from, but appellations such as a Loire Valley Cheverny or even one from the Savoie region itself (like a Roussette de Savoie) are popular choices to go with for a wonderful balance of flavor. The perfect wintry meal!

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