How to make and serve raclette, a traditional Swiss dish, at home with a raclette grill. Tips on what kind of cheese to use, and what to serve with raclette.
The word raclette is both the name of a type of Swiss cheese and the name of the dish itself.
As soon as the nights start to become a bit chilly, the Swiss can be seen tucking into a bubbling pot of Cheese Fondue or sharing a raclette dinner with friends. Raclette is always a fun option for entertaining, primarily because nearly everybody loves cheese (if you live in Switzerland, eating cheese is almost obligatory), and it hardly takes any effort to prepare.
In fact, after a long hike in the winter snow or a day spent skiing on the slopes, Raclette is perhaps one of the easiest meals to put together because, aside from boiling some potatoes, everything else can be picked up from the supermarket on your way home.
What is Raclette Cheese?
Raclette cheese is traditionally made from cow’s milk, although you can also find some varieties made from sheep’s milk.
Raclette cheese is a semi-hard cheese which is thickly sliced (less than 1 cm) and used for melting and grilling; it is not intended to be eaten raw. The mild varieties have a characteristic pungency, so it is definitely a dish for cheese-lovers only.
These days, supermarkets and cheesemongers stock a wide selection of raclette cheese, from the classic mild variety, to those flavoured with peppercorns, chillies, or garlic. My favourite are the smoked raclette cheese and the blue cheese variety.
How to Use a Raclette Grill
At home, a raclette meal is served using a table-top grill, like one pictured in these photos. The cheese is melted in small pans called coupelles, which are placed under the heating element. The grill plate is used to cook meat and vegetables, although we have eaten with friends who don’t use the grill plate at all.
And this is partly the reason why I love raclette so much – you can customise the meal to your liking and serve the melted raclette cheese with whatever you like. Haven eaten raclette in the homes of many Swiss friends, I have taken a few ideas here and there to make the dish my own.
How to Serve Raclette
Raclette is a really fun meal to share with friends and family, and what I love is that it is a stress-free dinner! There is no cooking in advance – except to boil some potatoes – and the preparation is limited to chopping up a few vegetables and plating up the cheese.
For a raclette dinner, you will need about 200g (7 oz) raclette cheese per person. I always buy an extra portion in case someone has a hearty appetite that night!
I also like to buy a selection of different raclette cheese to keep the flavours interesting but, as a general rule, at least half of the assortment should be mild raclette cheese.
In my family, we like to cook lots of vegetables on the raclette grill. Cheese and potatoes on its own can be quite heavy and filling, and I think the addition of grilled vegetables make it more of a complete meal.
These days, we also like to cook sausages for the children, and sometimes I will buy a nice piece of beef fillet if we have guests joining us.
If you don’t want to cook meat on the grill, it is also traditional to serve a plate of cold charcuterie (salami, ham, dry-cured meat, etc) as an accompaniment.
The melted raclette cheese is usually served over boiled potatoes, with cornichons and pickled onions on the side. But I have many Swiss friends who like to pour their cheese over their grilled vegetables and pickles; some even chop up their potatoes and place these directly in the coupelles so that the cheese can melt directly on top!
A dry white wine goes best with cheese dishes like raclette.
Please see my recipe below for more ideas.
And don’t think you need to eat raclette with a lot of people; I have always wanted a mini raclette grill for two – they just look so cute!
More Swiss Recipes
If you are looking for more Swiss recipes, you might enjoy:
Zurich-Style Veal with Creamy Mushroom SaucePrint
How to Make Raclette
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Swiss
How to make raclette, a traditional Swiss dish, at home with a raclette grill.
- 150–200g (5-7 oz) raclette cheese, per person, sliced into 8mm slices
- new potatoes, boiled (about 4 to 6 per person)
- rashers of bacon
- beef fillet, sliced thickly
- chipolata sausages, or other small pork sausages
- courgette (zucchini), sliced thickly
- red capscium (bell peppers), sliced thickly
- cornichons or pickled gherkins
- pickled baby corn
- barbecue sauce and/or ketchup for the sausages and meat
- If necessary, cut the raclette cheese to fit the coupelles or small trays under the raclette grill.
- Turn the raclette grill on to medium-high heat.
- If you are using bacon, place the bacon rashers onto the grill plate and cook until your liking.
- Use the bacon fat to cook the other ingredients.
- If you are not using bacon, simply brush the grill plate with some oil.
- Place some meat and vegetables on the hot grill plate.
- While the meat and vegetables are cooking on the grill plate, place a slice of raclette cheese into the coupelles or small trays, and place them under the heating element.
- The melted raclette cheese is usually served over the warm potatoes on your plate, which you should slice just before adding the cheese. But it is also common to place the melted cheese over the cooked vegetables. Some people even put slices of potatoes into the coupelles so that the cheese melts directly on top. Do as you please!
- Be careful to not overcook the meat on the grill plate.
It is entirely up to you what meat and vegetables you wish to serve with raclette.
You could even make the meal vegetarian by grilling only vegetables, or even not using the grill plate and simply making a salad to go alongside.
Instead of grilling meat and sausages, it is also traditional to serve a plate of charcuterie or cold cuts, such as salami, ham and other deli meats.
I like to add half a teaspoon of brined green peppercorns to plain raclette cheese before grilling it. This gives the cheese a spicy kick and saves me from having to buy too many different types of raclette cheese.
Any leftover raclette cheese is wonderful for toasting on bread with ham under the grill. Yum!
You can buy special potato prongs to hold the hot potatoes so you can peel them easily at the table. However, I prefer to use new potatoes and to eat them with the skin on.
Depending on what is in season, I also like to make the following to cook on the grill plate:
* asparagus wrapped in prosciutto or thinly sliced bacon
* mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese (I like Cantadou)
* thick slices of fresh pineapple
Whoah! This has my name written all over it. You can never have too much cheese!
I agree! I’m a big lover of cheese 🙂
Cheese is a daily thing for me, I love it! This looks so good!
We also eat cheese on a daily basis. But after a raclette meal, we go a bit easy on the dairy for a few days 😉
These pictures are beautiful and the food looks delicious!
I just love your raclette grill and I HAVE to make some raclette!! This looks like so much fun for a dinner party!
We love raclette dinner parties. They are indeed always fun!
Love raclette, we have it a lot here in France. In fact, I though it was French. Anyway it doesn’t matter as long as there is cheese.
Ha ha – I’m sure the Swiss and the French are always arguing about where fondue, raclette, meringue and other dishes originate 😉 My husband is French and grew up eating raclette from time to time. I wonder if the same variety of raclette cheese is available in France?
This looks so wonderful! I just bought some raclette cheese and this has inspired me to come up with interesting things to eat with it. I love reading about your family’s merging of two traditions into something even more delicious!
I hope you enjoyed your raclette meal! I’m always looking forward to our next raclette dinner party – nothing better than melted cheese with lots of potatoes and meat 🙂 I ought to make my family’s version at home as I did really love eating Asian-spiced food alongside the raclette cheese!
Is there a print feature that I don’t see for printing the recipes?
Yes, you can print the recipes on my website. Just above the recipe card, you should see a “Print” button which you can press. Sometimes, there might be an ad covering this Print button, but I am working on removing the ad in this space. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Oooh, this looks SO good!!! Can’t wait to try this one!
We are Californians living in Germany and have fallen in love with Raclette at the Christmas markets, We have a Raclette grill now and plan to make this our New Years Day meal. I may be slightly more excited than my family for the whole experience. My husband is happy with the cheese melted over a baguette with chopped onions and gherkins sprinkled over the top. Your page looks amazing and I am so happy to have found your information.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Is raclette popular in Germany? I guess it is just across the border from us 🙂 I love the idea of eating the melted raclette cheese with a baguette … yum!
Great help for a first timer!
Cheese is my every day thing, Its beautiful and delicious.
Great suggestions! I grew up with raclette! An other food item that we always have when doing a raclette dinner is proscuitto. You can actually add it to the cheese in the coupelles. Delicious!
Thank you for the best way of explaining in detail about raclette ?
What is a Swiss dessert we can serve with this special meal? Using easily-found items in Kansas!
Racletteis a tradition in our family. We use muester cheese and prefer it over the specialized raclette cheese. We serve ours over sliced baguette or boiled potatoes. We do lots of veggies too. For dessert I serve a lemon mousse- light and tart – with nuts or blueberries.
That’s a great idea to serve the melted cheese over sliced baguette! That sounds a bit like making Käseschnitte, which is melted raclette cheese over thick slices of bread. And I love the sound of a lemon mousse for dessert – yum!
This article is totally misleading. The normal way to make raclette is to use a half wheel and a proper raclette oven if not using an open fire. I hope I know what I’m talking about. I should. I’m Swiss and spend half my life in the canton Valais. Viande Séchée, cornichons: yes. Bacon, sausages, bell peppers etc. No. This dish was developed in the mountains when the cows were up in the alpages in the summer so could only use materials available up there.
I’m Swiss, too 🙂 Every family serves raclette a bit differently, and the ideas I have shared here come from different Swiss families with whom we have shared a raclette meal with over the years. For sure, the traditional way of making raclette is by slicing the cheese from a half wheel and to melt it over an open fire, but my instructions here are for the more common table-top raclette grill. En guete!
My daughter lives in Liechtenstein and they had raclette for dinner. It looked exactly like yours! I wondered how you got a Vietnamese name and, after reading your story, I saw that your parents had a Vietnamese bakery. I am making an assumption on the origin of your name, but I love it!
Liechtenstein is such a beautiful place. Yes, my parents are originally from Vietnam, which is why I have a Vietnamese name 🙂 Thanks for popping by!
Great article, are there any Raclette grills you would recommend?
Excellent tips for making raclette at home. We usually eat raclette with just boiled potatoes and salad, but now that I have seen your photos, I am going to grill vegetables and sausages too!
I like the idea of adding sausages and other vegetables besides the potatoes. As the author states just potato and cheese can be heavy.
Excellent tips for making raclette at home.
Like your idea! Looks so delicious.
Ok this settles it , I am getting an electronic grill!
Excellent tips for making raclette at home. Thanks!
Great tips for making raclette! I didn’t know how much cheese to buy so your advice was perfect. Thank you!
My husband is Swiss and he says your recipe for raclette is too gourmet. But just cheese and potatoes is too heavy for me. So I used your idea for grilling vegetables which I thought made the meal much more enjoyable. Even the kids had fun cooking on the grill!
My kids have never like raclette. Last night, we made raclette and I bought chipolata sausages to cook on the grill. Now they can’t eat enough raclette lol!
I hosted my first raclette dinner this evening with some Swiss friends in attendance and it was a huge success! Thank you for all of your tips!!
This looks so tasty and easy to make. I have it on the menu for this week and I am so excited to try it.