A raclette is a very popular yet very specific cooking item, a device that originated in Switzerland but is also enjoyed in other areas of the continent such as France.
It is also a kind of smaller buffet-style dinner party where the food is grilled in various compartments on a small shared electrical device. Cheese is often melted on a separate plate to the meats and the vegetables, with gherkins and condiments warmed underneath in trays called coupelles.
These eccentric cooking devices are ideal for low-key social gatherings such as family barbecues, a housewarming between neighbors or a reunion between old friends. Raclettes encourage close contact and communication and they are a great way to get a conversation going.
But if you’re only just hearing about this little-known cooking device, what would you look for in your first raclette? What are the unique differences between different brands of raclette? Will you get many additional features if you shell out for a top-of-the-range version of this unique grill?
Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you into the rich and diverse world of raclettes, how much you can expect to pay for a decent one as well as some of the do’s and don’ts of raclette grilling.
Get your meats, cheese and vegetables ready and let’s get started!
Top 5 Raclette Grills
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
First, we’ll start with a tried and trusted brand of raclette, just to ease the newbies into this strange and interesting cooking niche - the Swissmar Classic 8 Person Raclette. Manufacturing raclettes for over 30 years, this 8-person grill will bring a healthy, classy and distinctive edge to your next dinner party.
It has a two-tier system, which is perfectly adapted for 8 people, with enough grilling space to allow everyone to individually prepare and cook their food!
Both upper and lower grills are rectangular-shaped, with the lower tier containing eight separate trays for cooking cheese and assorted vegetables.
It has a 1,200-watt temperature-controlled reversible top. This is the ideal if you're looking to create a stress-free, do-it-yourself dinner party. The top of the grill is very adaptable, enabling you to cook fajitas, crepes and pancakes if you fancy wowing your guests with a surprise dessert.
The reversible grill is non-stick and extremely simple to clean. The temperature control function allows you to alter it if you fancy doing stir fry or baking something sweet or bread-based.
The handles of the Swissmar are self-cooling, so you can leave it around children without fear of them burning. This versatile, safe grill is fun to use for all the family!
This cooker comes with plenty of additional features, the main one being 8 spatulas that your guests can use to flip their tailor-made dishes. Each of these separate utensils is dishwasher-friendly, again, making this something quick and easy to clean.
A wonderful addition to your kitchen, this reversible grill is suitable for family use - including younger adults who may be interested in cooking and want something simple on which they can develop their culinary skills.
The variable heat controls mean you can attempt a lot of different styles of cooking - baking, frying or grilling, nothing is off-limits with this raclette!
Its grilling surface and detachable utensils are designed for easy cleaning, perfect if you want to help teach a young teenager how to cook.
This open and simple device facilitates a fun and sociable evening for everyone.
There are no slots for storing the coupelles, which means that you might find them cluttering your worktop or tables.
Sticking with the Swissmar brand, we have a similar raclette to the last, except the only difference is that this one has a stainless steel base.
This is another two-tier grill, with the ability to cook a wide variety of foodstuffs on the top grill and storage and heating on the lower tier in 8 handheld compartments. However, the lower level is stainless steel, boosting heat and improving overall cleanliness.
Another reversible top grill, this versatile machine gives the user the ability to cook anything from slices of pork, bell peppers, onions, eggs or halloumi cheese, the heat controlling option allowing you to cook them to your preferred temperature.
With a cast-iron, non-stick surface, this raclette cannot be beaten in terms of performance, although giving it a brief dab of oil over the top does improve the quality of your final dish. With this non-stick feature, any excess buildup of food can be wiped away quickly and easily.
Be wary of using corrosive detergents to clean this grill, as it will negatively impact the non-stick feature of the pan. Also, the lower portion is electrical and cannot be submerged in water, so it will need to be cleaned with a damp microfiber towel.
The stainless steel base adds an extra level of quality and sophistication to this product, making the perfect addition to your kitchen worktop.
This raclette also comes with 8 spatulas and 8 raclette dishes, which will give your dinner party that cozy DIY feel.
The reversible top means you can switch from seafood to pancakes in the blink of an eye!
Particularly harsh detergents will damage this raclette if used often.
Next up is another extremely adaptable raclette that accommodates a large party of people in a small space with a reversible granite cooking stone - it’s the Milliard Raclette Grill.
Running on a 120V unit, it generates 1,200 watts of heat for whatever food you fancy grilling, its reversible cooktop allowing you to use a traditional steel surface or a granite worktop, in case you fancy experimenting with your dishes!
It has a two-tier framework, the lower portion housing 8 trays for storage of cheese and sauces, allowing for easy dipping and sampling.
You can use the one side of the upper tier to cook your cheeses, seafood, peppers and sweetcorns, then flip it over to heat up some pancakes or fajitas. There’s not much that doesn’t recommend this diverse little griller.
Like our other raclettes, this one has an adjustable heat dial to give you the maximum level of control over your cooking. It also has an indicator light so that you’ll know when your raclette is on or off.
This raclette comes with 8 wooden spatulas to allow everyone to cook and prepare their own dish. The cooktops are also wipe-clean and dishwasher friendly.
The stone and aluminum cooking surfaces allow for maximum versatility when preparing a diverse range of dishes.
All of the surfaces are non-stick and can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher, making this the most hygienic raclette on our list.
The wooden spatulas give this grill a more homely feel, although they'll absorb stubborn sauces which might result in discoloration.
Weighing in at 21lbs, this is a heavy unit, so make sure you’re using a car if you’re thinking about transporting this one across large distances.
Now we’re going back to the popular Swissmar brand, combining that two-tier classic design with a very stylish mottled granite stone surface.
This beautiful-looking stone grill would make a great centerpiece for any kitchen, especially those that might have that matching grey-black mottled style. The trays in the lower compartment are black, which also contributes to the nonchalant, sophisticated vibe of this raclette.
But what about its cooking power? Well, as with our other Swissmars, this raclette doesn’t pull any punches - the reversible granite cooking top makes for a very adaptable cooking experience. You can bake, fry or grill your cheeses, meats, veggies or breads, wowing your guests with a rich array of flavors and textures.
The only limit to this raclette is your imagination. The granite top lets you fry scallops or miniature baguettes. Why not even throw some gherkins or salami into the mix? With this raclette you can complement your dough with meaty smells - your food and your dinner guests will be mingling as they brood over this wonderful cooking device.
This 8 people rectangular grilling space gives off 1,200 watts of heat, which can be adjusted to your particular meal.
Swissmar has once again provided 8 spatulas with heat-resistant handles, so it’s perfectly safe to use around the kids! Also, each separate component can be put in the dishwasher, making this machine an easy one to clean.
The granite worktop allows for a wide variety of dishes, giving you plenty of options when considering your dinner party.
The large 8-person cooking space actually won’t take up a whole lot of room in your kitchen or dining room.
With 8 spatulas, everybody can get stuck in when prepping their personalized meal!
The granite cooking surface does take a little longer than usual to heat up, which may hamper the atmosphere of your gathering.
The grill has a curved edge which may result in overflowing if loaded with too many ingredients.
Our final brand of raclette is a very popular one by Hengbo, designed to serve 8 people, this one comes highly recommended for Korean barbeque, with its Teflon coating, it can cook a whole host of ingredients to perfection.
With the most powerful wattage out of all our raclettes (1,500w) this two-tiered grill can make short work of frying prawns, beans and small portions of rice. It can even tackle beef burgers!
It has a reversible top grill that heats very quickly, with its large upper pan dimensions and rim around the edge, your party can go wild cooking their ingredients with very little spillage on your kitchen counter or tabletop.
Ideal for a Christmas party or small family gathering, this raclette comes with the usual 8 pans for cheese and sauces in the lower compartments. It has heat resistant handles and users have claimed that they’re had no issues with handing them over to their children to do some minor grilling (although ensure they are supervised and the heat is turned down to medium).
With a controlling heat dial on the front, you can pick any temperature you want for your meal. This raclette is also extremely portable, which means you can take it with you on a caravanning or camping holiday.
This raclette brings the heat! Hengo has gone the extra mile to make the pan non-stick and very easy to clean.
The Hengbo model also has drainage holes, so that all the excess fat and oil from your culinary creations will run into a tray underneath, keeping your dishes healthy and low-calorie!
With plenty of accessories such as spatulas and coupelles, as well as a higher rim that will contain any splashback from hot oil, this home grill is one step up from all the rest.
The intense heat from the higher temperatures will mean that this raclette takes a while to cool down, so you might want to keep an eye on it if there are small children around.
Not so much a con as an advisory note - for that extra flavor, especially if having a Korean barbecue, you might want to add your own oil or seasoning.
Best Raclette Grills Buying Guide
So you’ve had a browse at some of the sleekest, most state-of-the-art raclettes currently gracing the market. However, first-time raclette users might still be nervous when it comes to firing it up for the first time.
We’d recommend perusing whatever instruction manual comes with your grill. However, there are a few simple steps to follow when using your raclette.
The Raclette Guide For First-Time Users
- Make sure all the parts are correctly installed before plugging in and turning up your grill. A poorly installed part could damage the entire thing.
- Wash all the constituent parts - either in the dishwasher or by hand - of the raclette before use. This is a new product and some of the packaging chemicals might have been transferred to the cooking surfaces. Some users have complained of smelling a plastic or rubbery smell when they first use their grill without washing.
- Once the grill has been washed, make sure it is dry before plugging it in. We all know that electrics and water do not mix!
- If you are cooking on a grill with a granite surface, do not use any non-stick cooking spray as it will burn straight onto it, causing significant superficial damage that will affect the grill’s ability to function.
- Make sure you wash after every use to avoid cross-contamination. Before storing your raclette in your cupboard, make sure it is completely dry.
A Few Tips On Health And Safety
- Keep an eye on children around your raclette - these grills can get hot enough to burn a child.
- Do not use your bare hands to stir or turn ingredients. These raclettes traditionally come with spatulas to cook your ingredients and transport them from one part of the grill to another. We would recommend buying separate skewers for dipping meat and veg into melted cheese and other sauces.
- Unplug your raclette before cleaning after cooking.
Best Raclette Grills FAQ's
How Do I Cook Cheese On A Raclette?
Traditionally, the cheese is melted in the coupelles underneath the top tier of the raclette. It’s very much the same as fondue, with the cheese slowly melted over a low or medium heat over time. To melt your cheese quicker, pop it in the oven before transferring it to the raclette.
Which Raclette Is Right One For Me?
Consider the type of meal you’ll be making. Will it be a large dinner party or a smaller affair? How many guests do you usually entertain? What style of cuisine will you be eating? A raclette can cook a diverse range of dishes: Korean barbecue, seafood, hot dogs, burgers, Chinese stir fry, Indian street food and many others.
You can acquire larger raclettes that serve up to 12 people. You can also buy a variety of raclettes for use at the same function, although we recommend using one at first to get used to the controls.
The upper hot plates are great for prepping appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, whilst the lower trays are used to simmer sauces that can accompany the main meal or spread.