Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Raclette is a must in many German households, especially on public holidays. Especially at Christmas and New Year's Eve, many people take out their raclette grill and enjoy the Swiss speciality together with friends or family. If you're looking for the right raclette, you've come to the right place. In our big raclette test 2021 you will learn everything you need to know when buying a raclette grill. We explain the different types, the advantages and disadvantages and much more. In addition, we have included essential criteria that can help you find the perfect raclette grill for you.




Summary

  • Raclette machines allow you to prepare raclette in the usual way. The raclette cheese is heated professionally and each guest can decide individually what they would like to eat.
  • A basic distinction is made between raclette machines with a grill function and the Swiss raclette oven. Within the category of raclette grills with grill function, a distinction can be made between a raclette grill with a stone plate, one with a metal plate and the raclette fondue combination.
  • Raclette grills are very suitable if you prefer the usual way of preparing raclette with pans. A raclette oven, on the other hand, brings you a different dining experience where only the cheese is melted.

The Best Raclette: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a raclette machine

To help you decide which raclette machine is right for you, we would like to start this article by giving you some basic information. Among other things, we will tell you how much such a device costs and where you can buy it.

What are the advantages of raclettes compared to other cooking methods?

In principle, it is possible to prepare raclette in the oven, on the fire, on the cooker or in the microwave. The cheese only needs heat to melt, and this can also come from other kitchen appliances or directly from the fire. Real raclette lovers will prefer the classic preparation methods and taste the difference.

Raclette offers many options, and with the right alternatives there is definitely something for vegetarians and vegans too. (Image source: pixabay.com / veve)

In summary, a raclette machine offers you the following notable advantages over other preparation methods:

  • The cheese is heated professionally
  • Individual preparation
  • Preparation directly at the guest
  • Communicative long dining experience instead of short meal
  • Everything is freshly prepared
  • Preparation takes little time

The cheese is heated properly in a raclette machine. Each guest can choose their ingredients and the state of the raclette cheese (lightly or heavily melted; browned) according to their preferences. In doing so, everyone can cater to their own needs, habits and tolerances. No one has to simply eat what comes out of the kitchen. Normally, vegetarians, vegans and allergy sufferers can also enjoy their own raclette. Only the raclette oven makes it difficult for these guests. Raclette cheese is also not ideal for vegetarians, as many types of cheese contain rennet. Rennet is obtained from the stomach of young cows and is therefore not suitable for vegetarians.

Preparation directly at the guest's home not only brings individuality, but also communication. People talk to each other and are not only concerned with the eating process. Maybe you'll acquire a taste for it and be inspired by others to create new dishes. This way of eating also promotes the cosiness of a convivial evening. The host also has a clear advantage. He doesn't have to prepare very much, let alone cook. He prepares the individual ingredients and provides everything. He then leaves the preparation to his guests. In this way, everyone is their "own chef". Even allergy sufferers or different eating habits of the guests only have to be taken into account when shopping for ingredients. In the end, everyone will find something they like to eat in the wide range of raclette ingredients. The host therefore does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but can devote himself entirely to his guests.

Who is the raclette suitable for?

In principle, raclette machines are suitable for anyone who likes to eat raclette. The appliances are ideal for sociable evenings and are particularly popular on public holidays. The host's effort is not very high, as everyone prepares their own dish. Only vegans and vegetarians are required to find cheese alternatives. For them, the special raclette oven is not recommended either, as only one type of cheese can be prepared here.

What alternatives are there to conventional raclette?

An alternative to the raclette devices mentioned above is a powerless raclette melter. It is designed for one or two people and is heated by tea lights. Ideally, the raclette pans are coated with enamel and thus protected from the flame of the tea lights. The melted cheese can be enjoyed after just four to five minutes.
Did you know that you can also eat the rind of raclette cheese? Normally, the rind of cheese is always discarded because it is full of preservatives. With raclette cheese, however, the rind is edible and adds the finishing touch to the meal!

A new trend and another alternative is the pizza raclette. There is a special pizza raclette oven, but also "normal" raclettes that are suitable for this. The important thing with the pizza variant is the additional heat source underneath the pans. The bottom heat guarantees the success of the mini pizzas and also benefits "fully packed" raclette pans. Such a pizza is ready within five to ten minutes and this variant offers a whole new experience for your guests. An alternative for pizza lovers is a pizza oven.

Decision: What types of raclette ovens are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, a distinction can be made between four different types of raclette makers:

  • Raclette grill with metal plate for frying
  • Raclette grill with hot stone
  • Raclette fondue combination
  • Swiss raclette oven

For each of these types, the preparation method or the equipment is slightly different, which brings individual advantages and disadvantages. Depending on how you prefer to prepare raclette and what features and equipment you value most, a different type of raclette machine is ideal for you. In the following section, we would like to help you find out which type of raclette is best for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to all of the above-mentioned types of raclette makers and clearly show you what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

How does a raclette grill with a metal roasting plate work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The raclette cheese is heated with other ingredients in small pans under a heating coil. Above this heating element is a metal plate on which oil can be added for frying. The raclette pans are made of metal and are usually non-stick, which makes it much easier to enjoy the melted cheese. The pans are filled with all kinds of ingredients and covered with raclette cheese so that it can be heated and melted in the lower part of the raclette. This type of raclette grill is equipped with a metal plate or contact grill in the upper area. Meat, firm fish, sausage (such as chorizo or smoked sausage), vegetables, fruit and potatoes can be roasted here. There are different designs, some are grooved over the entire surface so that meat roasts very well. Others have smooth sections on which you can even make crêpes or pancakes.

Advantages
  • Cheap to buy
  • Food comes off easily
  • Light weight
  • Easy to clean
Disadvantages
  • Coating can come off
  • Material wears out
  • Addition of oil necessary

One advantage of a raclette grill with a metal plate is the non-stick coating, which is essential. This allows the food to come off the grill surface easily, ensuring optimal enjoyment. This coating also makes cleaning easier. The disadvantage here, however, is that depending on the quality and workmanship, the coating can come off. The addition of oil is very important with this variant in order to achieve a good frying result on the grill surface. (Dab oil onto the grill plate or brush it on with a brush) This version of the raclette machine with contact grill is usually the cheapest and can be described as a standard machine. It is also most often available in supermarkets and discount stores. It can be described as a lightweight among raclettes. However, it also wears out more quickly than the version with a stone plate, which is presented below.

How does a raclette grill with a hot stone work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Here, too, the raclette cheese is usually heated with other ingredients in pans under a heating coil. Above this is a stone plate, also called a hot stone, on which the cheese can be fried. The small raclette pans are also made of metal and have a non-stick coating. The pans are filled with cheese and other ingredients and heated and melted in the lower part of the raclette. This type of raclette grill is equipped with a stone plate in the upper area. The hot stone ensures an optimal roasting result and a very high quality, as the original taste of the grilled food is well preserved. Here you can fry without or with very little oil. This promotes healthy eating and is a change from fatty raclette cheese.

Advantages
  • Very good grill quality
  • No/low addition of fat
  • No coating that peels off
Disadvantages
  • Risk of breakage
  • High weight
  • Requires a lot of electricity
  • Somewhat more expensive to buy

The high grilling quality is one of the advantages of the hot stone. The meat pores close very quickly, which ensures a very good roasting result. Especially steak lovers get their money's worth. Prawns and other types of meat and fish also succeed excellently on the hot natural stone. The original taste is also preserved because no oil needs to be added.

Stone plates are not only more robust, they also retain their natural flavour.

Another advantage over the metal plate is that no coating can peel off. The stone plate is much more robust and therefore more durable. However, this is only ensured by proper treatment, as otherwise the plate can also break. Cleaning is somewhat more difficult, as something can quickly burn into the plate that is difficult to remove. The higher weight and cost are also negative factors. The stone plate means that the raclette grill is of a higher quality and therefore relatively more expensive to buy than the version with a metal plate. And the power consumption required to get the stone plate really hot is also higher than with other raclette grills. If you don't want to choose between these two variants, you can use a combination. Some suppliers sell a mixture of stone and metal plates, which offers the right one for every taste. In this way, both types of grill can be enjoyed and each guest can roast his or her own food according to preference.

How does a raclette-fondue combination work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The fondue is integrated into the upper part of the raclette grill and can be used simultaneously. With a raclette-fondue, you don't have to choose, but can enjoy both dishes. The raclette grill works in the same way as the two models described above. The filled pans cook under the heating coil. On the top, the fondue pot is integrated into the grill plate and is heated by the heating coil underneath. Fondue forks can then be used to dip the desired ingredient into the filled pot. The fondue pot is filled either with cheese or, as a change from raclette, with hot broth, oil or melted chocolate.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • The same ingredients are needed
  • No need to decide between 2 dishes
Disadvantages
  • Little space on the griddle
  • Impractical if only one part is used

A big advantage is that as a host you don't have to decide on a speciality. You can offer both forms to your guests or family and everyone can enjoy according to preference. By combining them in one appliance, you save space on an already very full table. It is also obvious to offer both dishes as the same ingredients are needed. One negative point is the very small grilling surface that remains next to the fondue pot. It is also often problematic if only part of the combination is used. For example, if only the fondue is to be used, the lower part is rather bulky and awkward. If you only want to use the raclette grill, the pot often has to remain on the grill surface, otherwise the heat escapes in the area of the pans. Some manufacturers supply another plate for this case, which can be placed in the opening. This solves the problem and the grilling surface is also as large as usual.

How does a Swiss raclette oven work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A very special experience is the raclette oven, which is "filled" with a half or quarter wheel of cheese and is reminiscent of the original shape of the Valais raclette. This type is particularly popular in Switzerland. Here, a whole piece of cheese, preferably a quarter loaf, is placed in the holder below the heating coil. As it heats up, a layer of the raclette cheese keeps coming off and can be scraped onto a plate by turning and tilting the holder with a raclette knife. You can then garnish it with other ingredients. This method is the closest to the original form, heating half or quarter a wheel of cheese over a fire. Traditionally, it is served with jacket potatoes, gherkins and silver onions.

Advantages
  • Close to tradition
  • Different eating experience
Disadvantages
  • Long waiting time
  • More expensive than a raclette grill
  • Only cheese is prepared

This form is very close to tradition and a very special experience for guests and the family, as this type is only very well known in Switzerland. We are also very unaccustomed to chucking in a whole piece of cheese. The cheese remains the "star" of the evening and is served as the main course. If you want to keep it original, you don't use any sauce either, just pepper to taste. A possible disadvantage is that only the raclette cheese is heated and nothing can be fried or created in pans. Individuality is lost here. Of course, it is not necessary to stick to tradition and other ingredients can be offered in addition. However, these are cold and the raclette we know appears here in a completely different form.

If you prefer more variety in your food, the Swiss raclette oven is not for you.

Another disadvantage is the long waiting time. Since only one portion can be prepared at a time, guests have to be patient. You can also accommodate them here and offer something more for the time in between. The price is also a minus point, as the raclette oven is more expensive than raclette grills. An alternative to the large raclette oven is the simply constructed cheese melter. Here, individual slices of cheese are melted in portions. The heat comes from below via a paste burner. The slice of cheese is heated on a metal plate and can then simply be scraped onto a plate or directly onto a slice of bread. Preparation is quicker and easier. Unfortunately, the special experience of the raclette oven is lost here, but the purchase is much cheaper.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate raclette ovens

In the following, we would like to show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate raclette ovens. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular appliance is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • The method of preparation
  • Size/preparation quantity
  • Preparation time
  • Cleaning
  • Design
  • Equipment

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Type of preparation

The type of preparation with the different models has already been discussed in detail above. It is probably the most important criterion when buying a raclette grill. First ask yourself how you like your raclette best.

  • Melted cheese and roasted vegetables: Here

If you want to melt the cheese and prepare other ingredients, the only option is the raclette grill in its various versions. If you only want to melt cheese and prefer raclette the traditional way, the Swiss raclette oven is an exciting alternative. Depending on your taste, you can choose between three types of raclette grill.

  • Raclettewith metal plate: The version with a metal plate for roasting is the standard model and perfect for roasting meat, vegetables and potatoes.
  • Raclettewith stone plate: If you like to eat steaks and prawns and particularly value very good grilling quality, the raclette grill with hot stone is the right choice.
  • Raclette withfondue and plate: Here, the appliance is combined with a fondue and so two dishes can be prepared at the same time. Here, too, there is the option of choosing a product that contains both a natural stone and metal plate.

The metal plate for roasting is always present in this triple combination. The fondue pot and the stone plate can be exchanged. So you always have to choose between a raclette grill with stone and metal plate and a raclette grill with fondue and metal plate. If you prefer raclette without a lot of waiting time and with individual preparation and, above all, want to melt more than just cheese, a raclette machine with an integrated grill and raclette pans is usually the best choice for you. In all other cases, you should at least have a look at the alternatives.

Size and quantity

Depending on how you prefer to enjoy raclette, whether alone or in a larger group, a different appliance is interesting for you. First and foremost, it is important that you adapt the size of the raclette device to the number of family members/guests. Of course, a raclette maker always takes up space in the cupboard - don't forget that. Here you need to consider how often you make raclette. Depending on this, a suitable place must be found. If you only make raclette once a year, you can also store the appliance so that it is not immediately at hand. The cheese melter, the smaller, electricity-free version of the raclette oven, is particularly space-saving. This can also be accommodated in a very small household. The raclette grill takes up more space depending on the size and number of pans. The size of the raclette grill has a particular influence on the amount of food prepared. If you only want to enjoy a raclette meal alone or as a couple, you will need a smaller appliance than for a meal with friends. The number of pans is decisive for the raclette grill. If eight people are eating raclette, there should also be eight raclette pans. You also need to consider the size of the raclette oven. The standard model can only prepare one portion of cheese at a time. Depending on the number of guests, this type of preparation involves a long wait. There are professional raclette ovens that can heat two or even three pieces of cheese at the same time. However, these are very expensive to buy and therefore rather unsuitable for home use. Here, the purchase of a cheese melter can also be considered. Since these are not so expensive, you can possibly buy two devices to be able to serve a larger number of guests more quickly. If you want to get by without a lot of waiting time, the raclette grill is the right choice. Everyone can prepare their own portion of cheese and/or side dishes and doesn't have to follow anyone else. Here, everyone is able to replenish quickly and easily.

Preparation time

Most appliances hardly differ in the preparation time. The longer waiting time depends more on the full pans or, in the case of the raclette oven, on the number of guests. Depending on the model and wattage, the preparation time differs minimally, although there is no fundamental difference between the systems. Preparing raclette cheese in one piece is more time-consuming. Especially because only one portion can be heated at a time, guests must be patient. With the raclette-fondue combination, preparation in the fondue pot often takes significantly longer than with individual fondue devices with a paste burner. Here, the heat is not concentrated on the fondue pot alone, but is distributed over the entire device. However, the actual raclette preparation is not affected.

Cleaning

At the end of an extended raclette evening, it is time to clean the raclette machine. If you don't have the time or inclination for time-consuming cleaning, you should make sure that you choose an appliance where cleaning is quick and uncomplicated.

All appliances should be cleaned at least one day after use.

A raclette grill with a metal roasting plate is usually non-stick and therefore easy to clean. The metal plate is usually removable and can therefore be easily washed. The appliance should only be cleaned with a damp cloth to avoid damaging the electronics. However, due to the non-stick coating, the grill plate is also susceptible to scratches. Therefore, no abrasive or scratching objects should be used. A few grill surfaces are enamelled and therefore easy to clean and protected from scratching. The raclette grill with hot stone is much less sensitive, but there is a risk of breakage if handled incorrectly. The stone plate is sometimes more difficult to clean than the non-stick metal plate. Burnt-on food is more difficult to remove. However, there is no danger of the non-stick coating coming off during cleaning, as can be the case with the metal plate. With the raclette-fondue combination, the fondue pot can be removed and is therefore easy to wash. The raclette pans are usually also non-stick and usually dishwasher-safe. Here, too, you should not use any sharp or abrasive objects for cleaning. The Swiss raclette oven is uncomplicated and does not require a lot of cleaning. Because there are only a few parts, there is not too much washing up or cleaning to do. The tray on which the cheese is placed is rinsed and the actual appliance is wiped with a damp cloth.

Type Ease of cleaning
Swiss raclette oven Very fast and simple
Raclette grill with metal plate Fast and simple
Raclette-fondue combination Fast and simple
Raclette grill with hot stone Fast but a little heavier

In general, the removable components are easy to clean and usually dishwasher-safe. With raclette grills, cleaning is generally relatively easy, although not quite as quick and easy as with special raclette ovens.

Shape and design

Raclette machines come in various shapes and designs. Depending on the shape of the table and the seating arrangement, a different type of raclette is ideal. In addition, it also depends on how many people you want to serve with your raclette device. The standard raclette oven (for one piece of cheese) always finds a place on the table and is only available in one shape. The raclette grill, however, can be purchased in different shapes and should therefore be adapted to your needs. The raclette can therefore be adapted to your individual needs. Some appliances are only accessible from two sides, while others allow the raclette pans to be placed in the appliance from all four sides.

Equipment

The equipment varies depending on the raclette machine. In addition to the pans, the raclette grill often comes with cheese scrapers. A distinction is made between wooden and plastic scrapers. Both are heat-resistant, but wood is more difficult to clean and looks worn quickly. Higher-quality raclette grills in particular are equipped with extra functions. Some of the plates can be rotated for roasting and can thus be used in different ways. A Swiss raclette oven always requires a raclette knife. Sometimes this is already included with the appliance, but often it must be purchased separately.

Facts worth knowing about raclette

Finally, we would like to tell you a few interesting facts. In addition to the history of raclette, you can also find out here what you need for a successful evening with raclette.

The history of raclette

Raclette originated in Valais, a canton in Switzerland (in the Swiss Alps). There, the cheese was melted by the herdsmen and shepherds directly on the open fire. What was initially just called "Bratchäs" was later given the name "Raclette", which comes from the local French dialect (racler French: to scrape). It was not until the 20th century that the tradition of melting cheese in the Valais became widespread, and in 1970, with the invention of the modern raclette grill, it became known worldwide.

Raclette cheese originated in Switzerland.

Original Swiss raclette cheese is traditionally used. It has the ideal melting properties and the right seasoning. However, German or French raclette cheese is also commonly used. In the case of French, Comté is particularly popular. However, another cheese can also be used depending on preference. All cheeses that melt are ideal for raclette (especially the special raclette cheese, but also mozzarella, camembert, mountain cheese, Tilsiter, Edam, Gouda, butter cheese, cheddar, Gorgonzola, goat cheese, sheep's cheese such as feta). Cut the cheese in portions into slices or small pieces so that there is enough room in the pan. You should calculate 200 to 250 grams of raclette cheese per person and it is important to take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before eating. Another tip: Raclette cheese is excellent for freezing. When using a raclette oven, it is even preferred to melt the cheese when it is frozen, as this makes it much more compact on the holder.

What ingredients are needed to make raclette? What goes well with raclette?

There are no limits to the imagination when it comes to side dishes and ingredients for raclette. Unless you are very "strict" and stick to Swiss tradition. In this case, only potatoes, cornichons and silver onions come into question as side dishes. Pre-cooked potatoes and baguette or rolls go very well with raclette, as do pickled vegetables such as cornichons and onions. You can also wash or peel vegetables and fruit, such as apples, pears or pineapple, and cut them into small pieces so that they fit into the pan.

Did you know that, according to the Swiss, you shouldn't drink water with raclette? It makes the fatty cheese clump in your stomach. You drink tea, beer or wine with raclette.

Fish and meat are often eaten with it, preferably roasted on a hot plate. Everything can be individually seasoned and garnished, and sauce and dip must not be missing. These make each portion something very special and round off an enjoyable evening. Everyone can design their raclette according to their own taste or use recipes. There are no limits to the imagination. Dry white wine is the preferred accompaniment. The connoisseur also likes to take herbal or black tea, as this stimulates digestion and the cheese does not clump in the stomach.

When is raclette most often used?

The cold season is particularly inviting for warm and cosy evenings with raclette. The cheese warms you from the inside and time is spent with friends. The dish is particularly popular on New Year's Eve and at Christmas. We recommend about 200g of cheese per person. Raclette is an ideal opportunity to sit around a table with family or friends, eat well and chat with each other. If you are not sure how much cheese you should get per person, we recommend 200g of "Chäs" per person. That's about 5-6 slices. The trend is for raclette to be celebrated during the warmer months of the year. With electricity-free alternatives, the warm, melted cheese can even be enjoyed outdoors and is a real alternative to barbecuing.

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