Perhaps best described as a cross between a BBQ and a fondue party, a raclette grill will not only get your friends and family talking, but it also means they get to cook and eat exactly what they want to eat! The raclette grill is a European invention which allows us to grill meat, fish and vegetables and melt cheese easily without needing to have an open fire to hand.In this article we take a detailed look at the raclette grill and just exactly what it has which makes it ideal for family get togethers, house parties, pool parties and more. We offer some tips on what to look for when selecting a raclette grill, what to cook on it and perhaps most importantly, what cheeses work the best on a raclette grill. We also review ten of the best raclette grills currently available to assist you to choose the right raclette grill for your home.
The 1200 watt Swissmar Classic eight person raclette grill with its reversible grill plate and recipe booklet is our best pick of the raclette grills.
The Salton eight person raclette grill with its color coded pans and immersible grill plate is our budget raclette grill pick.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Raclette Grills
- 1. Swissmar KF-77041 Classic Eight Person Raclette Grill
- 2. Salton PG1645 8 Person Raclette
- 3. King of Raclette Six Person Raclette Grill
- 4. Hamilton Beach 31602 Raclette
- 5. Milliard Eight Person Raclette Grill
- 6. Techwood Raclette Grill
- 7. Artestia Electric Raclette Grill
- 8. Gourmia GEG1400 Electric Raclette
- 9. Swissmar KF-77088 Ticino 8- Person Raclette
- 10. NutriChef Eight Person Raclette Grill
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Raclette Grill
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Raclette Grills
1. Swissmar KF-77041 Classic Eight Person Raclette Grill
The Swissmar Classic eight person raclette grill (KF-77041) has a reversible cast aluminum non-stick grill/crepe plate. This comes with eight non-stick raclette pans that have cool-touch handles and eight heat resistant spatulas, although a few buyers consider that this particular rectangular raclette grill is not really large enough for eight people.This is a 1200 watt model with variable temperature control and it also comes with a recipe booklet. The base of this raclette grill is enameled steel and you also have the option to purchase a granite stone or cast iron grill plate for this raclette. This has a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
2. Salton PG1645 8 Person Raclette
With adjustable temperature control, the 1400 watts Salton eight person raclette grill is rectangular and has eight larger color coded raclette pans and eight spatulas with stay cool handles to remove food easily. The grill plate is also fully immersible for easy cleaning. This also comes with a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer.Some owners have found the spatulas to be less than robust and although the pans are color coded, the color markings can soon wear away. Even though the grill plate is non-stick, you may find that you need to grease well before using as its non-stick capabilities could be better.
3. King of Raclette Six Person Raclette Grill
The circular shaped King of Raclette six person raclette grill has an interchangeable stainless steel non-stick grill plate and a granite stone plate. With 1000 watts of power and temperature adjustment, this raclette grill also comes with six triangular pans and six spatulas.This also comes with a three year limited warranty from the manufacturer. Some owners do consider that the pans for this grill are on the smaller side and the non-stick surface may not be as robust as you would expect.
4. Hamilton Beach 31602 Raclette
Comprising an eight pan heating section and non-stick rectangular grill, the 1200 watt Hamilton Beach eight person raclette grill has adjustable temperature settings and comes with eight pans and eight heat resistant cooking spatulas.Coming with a selection of recipes and a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer, the non-stick grill, pans and spatulas are also dishwasher safe. Some owners have found that the coating can start to flake off on the lower side of the grill plate, and the non-stick coating on the grill side may also begin to wear off, especially if you need to scrub it to get it clean after use.
5. Milliard Eight Person Raclette Grill
The Milliard eight person raclette grill has a reversible non-stick grill top for grilling and a flat side for cooking other foods such as pancakes. This rectangular raclette also comes with a granite stone top for slower searing of meats and fish and eight non-stick pans, which along with the non-stick grill top are dishwasher safe.This 1200 watt grill is also ETL certified and has adjustable grill temperature. It also comes with eight wooden spatulas. The odd buyer has found that heating of the cheese pans can sometimes be inconsistent. This may also take longer to heat up than other raclette grills and its build is a little less robust than premium models.
6. Techwood Raclette Grill
The 1500 watt Techwood eight person raclette grill has a reversible non-stick grill for grill and flat/crepe cooking. This rectangular grill also has a fan system to minimize smoke while cooking. The pans have stay cool handles and the grill comes with a 60 day satisfaction guarantee and a three year limited warranty.This also has an adjustable temperature for cooking from warming to searing temperatures, although the odd buyer has found that this has not been able to reach its advertised higher temperatures; making it harder to cook steaks on. The grill top, pans and drip tray are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The owner’s manual may not be the clearest for this grill which means it may take you a little longer to get it up and running.
7. Artestia Electric Raclette Grill
Coming with a reversible aluminum grill plate and a high density granite grill stone, the Artestia eight person raclette grill can cook up to a temperature of 375°F. This ETL Certified rectangular grill is 1200 watt and it comes with eight spatulas and eight pans that have heat resistant handles.The pans and spatulas are dishwasher safe and as this does grill does cook to a lower temperature, it may not be as suitable for searing some meats. A few owners have also commented that it takes too long to warm up.
8. Gourmia GEG1400 Electric Raclette
The sombrero-style Gourmia vertical six person raclette has a cone grilling area with pegs to support food and a brim to catch any spills. This brim also doubles as a broth reservoir which you can use to boil vegetables. Underneath the grill, there are six triangular pans for the cheese.It can sometimes be difficult to get the food to stick to the grill surface and it can be awkward cleaning around the spikes afterward. Some owners also prefer the flat raclette grill as this offers more flexibility, rather than the limits of choice and size that vertical grilling can create.
9. Swissmar KF-77088 Ticino 8- Person Raclette
The Swissmar Ticino eight person raclette grill (KF-77088) has a granite stone top with eight pans underneath, and eight wooden spatulas. This is a 1300 watt rectangular grill which may need some practice with temperature adjustments as it the granite heats differently and takes much longer to cool than a non-stick metal grill when you lower the temperature.
Unlike other raclette grills from this manufacturer, there is no option to purchase a different style of grill top, such as cast iron or aluminum. This also does not have an on/off switch, which means you need to get up and turn it off at the outlet when you want to stop cooking. This comes with a one year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
10. NutriChef Eight Person Raclette Grill
The NutriChef eight person raclette grill has dual cooking surfaces, with half of the top surface containing a grill plate and the other half a granite stone plate for multipurpose cooking. Coming with eight pans and eight spatulas, this is a rectangular 1200 watt grill with adjustable temperature control.As the grill surface is dual cooking, you will need to adjust cooking times to take account of the different surfaces and the granite surface will also be more difficult to clean.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Raclette Grill
Using a raclette grill is a great way to get family and friends together to eat without needing to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a formal meal. Not only does using the raclette grill make a great conversation starter, but guests can choose exactly what (and when) they want to eat.
Unlike a traditional charcoal grill, you can also use a raclette grill safely on the dining table, in the kitchen, or you may choose to use it outside (weather permitting).
When selecting a raclette grill, there are some things to consider. Most are two tier models, with the grill plate on the top (above the heating element) and the cheese pans or coupelles underneath the heating element.
Raclette grills are usually rectangular shaped, but they can also be oval or circular. Most raclette grills require an electrical outlet, but some which are portable may be powered differently. Generally, those designed to sit on the tabletop are sized for between two and ten diners and there are even larger ones designed to serve more at parties.
If you are thinking of investing in a bigger or a more advanced raclette grill, then not only will you need plenty of tabletop space for when it is in use, but also suitable storage space in between.
The grill plates on a raclette grill are often aluminum to offer fast heating and lighter weight, or stainless steel. Look for ones that are non-stick for easier cooking and cleaning up, although you will need to make sure you use suitable utensils – such as silicone, wood or plastic – on these to prevent any damage to the non-stick surface. Some non-stick grill plates are also fully immersible or dishwasher safe which makes cleaning up even easier.
Some grill plates are also cast iron. Like any cast iron cookware, this type of grill plate will need pre-seasoning before using. You should only then need to wipe it down after use.
Most metal grill plates have a ridged grill surface, but some may also be reversible and have a flat surface that can be used for cooking crepes and other foods. Grill plates may also have room to heat a fondue pan as well.
Some raclette grills will come with a metal grill plate and a granite stone; or the manufacturer may offer the option for you to buy different surfaces.
Granite does not heat up as quickly as a metal grilling surface and it will not be suitable if you want to cook food quickly or grill raw vegetables and meats. However, granite stone is ideal for searing meats as the granite will lock moisture and flavor into the meat as it sears, giving it more flavor. Granite can also spread heat evenly across its surface and as it retains heat, it helps to keep food hot during the meal.
If you have a granite plate, then you should not use any non-stick cooking spray on it as it will just burn on the surface of the stone. Granite will also need preheating for around 30 minutes or so before cooking, or you can preheat it in the oven at around 350°F.
After use and when cold, a granite top can be scrubbed in warm soapy water and then left to dry. Also be aware that a granite stone will stain with use.
When considering the cheese pans, look for pans that have cool-touch or stay cool handles. Some pans may also be color coded which can help your guests to remember which their pan is. The spatulas are usually wood, plastic or silicone. If wood, these will need hand washing rather than being put in the dishwasher.
Ideally, the raclette grill should have a separate on/off switch so you do not need to keep unplugging it from the power outlet and it should also be temperature adjustable so that you can cook a variety of foods on it and be able to turn the heat down to keep the foods warm once cooked.
A raclette is both a grill and a Swiss cheese! As far back as the late 1200s, shepherds from the Valais region would take cheese and potatoes up on to the Alps as not only was this food cheap, it was less likely to spoil during the hotter summer months.
The potatoes would be cooked in the fire and a piece of raclette cheese put next to the fire and allowed to start melting. Once melting, it would be scraped onto the cooked potatoes, in fact ‘to scrape’ translates to ‘racler’ in French and this is where the word raclette comes from.
Even today in parts of Switzerland and France, raclette cheese is still melted by an open fire and served over bread, meat, potatoes and other foods. As fewer people have open fires today, the raclette grill and the raclette melter have removed the need for the fire.
Like the cheese, the raclette grill is also popular in Switzerland and the Alps regions, allowing people to socialize while sitting around the grill and cooking their food.
What to Cook on A Raclette Grill
Where the raclette grill is concerned, almost anything goes! Thin slices of steak, sausages, salmon chunks, diced pork and chicken, and seafoods cook well on a raclette grill, or you may just want to stick to the more traditional cured meats.
Potatoes are a traditional accompaniment to raclette cheese along with pickles. Small potatoes with skins on are better and should be at least part-boiled, if not fully boiled or even roasted beforehand. The potatoes can then be placed in the pans on the raclette grill to keep warm and the cheese placed on top of them to melt.
Sliced onions, garlic, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and more can all be left in dishes, alongside the meats, fish and seafoods for guests to add to the grill as they wish. Also leave a selection of herbs and spices in small dishes so guests can season their cheese as they like.
You do not need to cook anything apart from the potatoes beforehand, everything else can just be chopped and sliced ready to place on the grill. You can also slice or grate the cheese and plate it ready for melting.
Skewers can be left on the table for guests to make up their own skewers or shish kabobs and some soft cheeses such as mozzarella can also be cooked on the grill plate. Guests should be encouraged to mix and match foods and try more unusual pairings. You can also leave bowls of salad, slaw and crispy breads to eat with the grill.
A raclette grill is not just for savory foods either. Try sweeter foods such as crepes and you can also slice up fruits such as apples, pears and pineapple for grilling.
Lighter desserts such as fruit salad or sorbet will round off a raclette grill dinner and typical drink accompaniments are dry white wines as the acid in the wine will keep the cheese smooth tasting, or some may prefer to drink red wine. Light beers, mineral water or even hot tea are other drink options for a raclette party, tea in particular is a popular non-alcoholic option for aiding digestion of the cheese!
It does all depend on what you choose to cook on a raclette grill, but as a method of cooking, it can be a healthier way to cook, especially if the grill plate is non-stick and you use minimal olive oil to grease it with. Of course, any benefits from healthy grilling will probably be knocked out by a quantity of melted cheese!
Cheese Suitable for Raclette Grilling
You may not be able to easily find traditional raclette cheese and it may be quite expensive. Raclette cheese is a Swiss semi-hard cheese, usually made from cow’s milk, that is best eaten melted. It has a buttery and nutty flavor and if you can obtain raclette cheese, then the age of it will determine whether its flavor will be mild or tangy. It can also be quite pungent cold, so not always suitable for the fainter-hearted!
As well as traditional raclette cheese, there can be flavored varieties available, such as with peppercorns or garlic, and offering different flavors for the raclette grill is a great way to get your guests experimenting with their meal.
Other European cheeses similar to raclette cheese include Gruyère, Emmantaler and Jarlsberg. Like raclette, Gruyère is a Swiss cheese made from whole milk and contains small holes. When Gruyère is young, it is nutty and buttery, with a sweet and slightly salty taste. As it matures it becomes grainier, so keep to a younger Gruyère if you want a similar taste to raclette cheese.
Emmantaler is another Swiss cheese, but this has larger and more irregular holes. When it melts though, it is similar to raclette cheese with its buttery and nutty flavor. Because Emmantaler is a harder cheese than raclette cheese, you do need to make sure it is properly melted before serving.
Jarlsberg is a semi-firm Norwegian cheese with small holes and a similar flavor profile and melting ability to raclette cheese. Other popular options for the raclette grill include gouda, brie or even gorgonzola.
The US also produces some award-winning raclette-style cheeses which you should be able to find quite easily, or you can also use other variations of cheese, either what you can easily get, or what you prefer. Using a raclette grill is an ideal way to experiment with different types and flavors of cheeses.
Ideally, allow between 6 to 9 oz of cheese per person, with a little extra as spare. Slice the cheese thinly to fit into the pans and if the cheese does have a rind, leave some of it on as this will crisp up and add some flavor to the cheese. You can also dice or grate the cheese, but if it is a soft cheese you are using, then you may want to firm it up in the freezer for 30 minutes or so before grating.
Avoid overcooking the cheese on the raclette grill as if you do, it will start to separate and get grainy. Any leftover cheese from the grill can be cooled and then wrapped up and refrigerated or frozen. If you refrigerate, just use it up in the next few days as a meltover or on toasted snacks.
Tips When Using the Raclette Grill
Make sure that you have a suitable tabletop protector or mat underneath the raclette grill as it can get very hot underneath. It can be useful if a sensible person is designated grill master so they can keep an eye on the raclette grill to keep the younger family members away from it and prevent anything from burning,
It is better to preheat the raclette grill before adding the food, the manufacturer will usually advise how long this should take. Some people choose to start preheating the grill when guests start to arrive, so it is warming up during early drinks.
Even if the raclette grill plate is non-stick, a little oil will be helpful and if you sprinkle some salt on the surface of the plate this will also help stop food from sticking. Do not use herb salt as this will stick to the grill plate.
If the grill plate is cast iron, then it should have been pre-seasoned in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations beforehand.
Always avoid adding too much food and cheese to the raclette pans as this will cause uneven cooking and a risk of the cheese burning as it is nearer to the grilling element. Remember that you can also use the pans on the grill top – in fact, this is a great and mess-free way to cook eggs!
Always use suitable utensils, such as wood or silicone, to turn over grill foods and remove the utensils from the grill once you have finished turning foods over.
Even if the pans on your raclette grill are non-stick, there is always a risk that the cheese can burn. If you do have burnt on cheese in the pans, the easiest way to remove it is just to place the pans in soak for an hour or so with some hot water and dish soap.
Once the water has cooled you can start to gently peel or scrape away the cheese with a disposable soft dish scrubber. If you pans are non-stick it is important not to use anything too abrasive as this can damage the non-stick surface. If the cheese is still stuck on the pans, then add fresh hot water and dish soap and leave to soak for a second time.
Also do remember to air your house well after a raclette grill as otherwise the smell of cheese may be lingering for a while!
If you are looking to buy a raclette grill, we hope that this article has been informative and even if you just wanted to know exactly what a raclette grill was (but were too afraid to ask) then we trust that we have not only answered your questions, but also that we have persuaded you to invest in one.Ideal for cooking a wide variety of foods and different cheeses, we trust our reviews of raclette grills will assist you to choose the best raclette grill and also ensure that your raclette grill parties will give your friends something to talk about!