What is Raclette? The Best Cheese Dish You’ve Never Heard Of

Updated: Aug. 17, 2023

Raclette is the classic Swiss dish you need to be making right now. Learn about what it is and how to make it.

If you like a cheesy fondue, you’ll love raclette! It’s decadent and so much fun to make and eat, perfect for cold winter evenings when you’re entertaining a small group of friends at home. Ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about the king of Swiss cheese dishes.

Psst! You should know about these types of cheeses.

What Is Raclette?

Raclette is both the name of a cheese and the name of a quintessential après-ski sharing dish which is made from that same cheese. It has Swiss origins, although you’ll also find it the region of France that shares a border with Switzerland. It gets its name from the French racler which means “to scrape.”

How does raclette taste? This fantastic cow’s milk cheese has a wonderful creamy texture and a salty, slightly sweet, slightly nutty flavor not unlike Gruyere. It’s fairly aromatic and becomes more pungent the longer the cheese wheel is aged. Don’t let the smell fool you, though; raclette doesn’t taste as strong as it smells.

Flavored versions of the cheese also exist. You may come across raclette made with peppercorns, herbs, garlic and even truffles!

How to Make Raclette

This hearty, flavorful dish is incredibly easy to make. First thing’s first, you’ll need a raclette grill and some raclette. You can pick the cheese up from your local cheesemonger or artisan food store. You’ll want to serve a selection of meats (think cured and smoked charcuterie), veggies and potatoes to dip into your raclette. A fresh baguette wouldn’t be out of place and cornichons (aka pickles) are an absolute must.

Start by firing up your raclette grill. While you’re waiting for it to heat up, cut up several slices of raclette. Don’t be shy—you’ll want thicker slices of cheese. Once the grill is hot, melt the cheese in the individual pans and cook the meats and veggies. Once everything is cooked to your liking, go ahead and plate your selections and scrape the melted cheese on top with a knife.

What to Drink with Raclette

Traditionally, this cheesy delight is served with tea, wine or beer. The best wines for raclette are pinot gris (the French style), riesling or Swiss white wines like chasselas. If you ever get the opportunity to try this wonderful dish in its native country, the Swiss will tell you that drinking water with your raclette is a major no-no. You’ll want something with a bit of acidity to help break down all the fats in raclette and keep your palate fresh between bites.

Looking for a few more fab dinner party ideas? Get inspired by our favorite retro party recipes!

For even more cheese dishes, check out how to make cheese crisps.

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