Soaking up the oozing, melting goodness that is raclette is one of the most treasured traditions of the Alps' winter way of life. Taking its name from the French word racler, or to scrape, this stronghold of Swiss and French Alpine cuisine dates back to the late 13th century, where farmers would melt cheese on an open fire and stick it between some bread.
Nowadays, you can bring all this deliciousness back home with your own electric raclette grill or 'machine', thanks to brands like Boska and Cooks Professional whose top quality grills are set to melt you into a raclette coma. We've ranked the 10 best online buys from Amazon, Argos and more to give you a head start in emanating an at-home slice of the alpine life.
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Choosing a raclette grill to suit your future dinner parties and cosy nights in will come down to a few defining features. From the way in which it functions to the number of paddles it's packing, this simple buying guide will get you up to speed on all things raclette and grill.
For the most part, raclette grills are powered like any other appliance – via your mains electricity. However, there are also some smaller, more romantically-driven raclettes that are simply fuelled by candlelight, allowing an air of unforgettable melting moments. Here's what you need to know about both.
Just about every raclette is powered by electricity. From the raclette-specific restaurants of the Alps to the home grilling options, electricity is seen as the industry standard for efficient cooking. Quick to heat and with a consistently hot grill, these styles of machines can and have been relied on time after time.
They are large in size, strong in power and able to house up to eight cheese-melting pans under their grill. They're also known to include a sizzling hotplate, where charcuterie and vegetables can be fried. When looking to feed a family or host a raclette dinner party, you'll find electric the best fit for the grilling job at hand.
"Two's company and three's a crowd", as the saying goes, so for a cheesy night in with that special someone, why not consider a candlelit grill?
Equipped with one or two pans and very basic in design, they're essentially a sophisticatedly-styled metal box; by placing lit candles underneath, you're able to warm the paddles to just the right temperature to melt your cheese to perfection.
They're obviously not so suitable for dinner parties or groups, but thanks to their simple structure, they can be used anywhere where the wind isn't blowing, giving rise to some alfresco-style dining wherever you and your love see fit. They're also a more affordable way to enjoy the occasional raclette treat.
Just like families, raclette grills come in all shapes and sizes. Narrowing down the cheese-grilling field in terms of size will land you on the winning formula when melting fromage and filling bellies is the order of the night.
As previously hinted at, the amount of pans each raclette comes equipped with is its most defining feature. Indicating how many grilling stations are built into a machine, this number will give you the best idea of whether each specific product is right for your imagined raclette nights.
Most home raclette machines on the market today will offer between two and eight pans, with six or eight being the most readily available and therefore the most popular too. Match the quantity to your family or group, but remember, it's better to have too much than not enough, especially where cheese is concerned!
Simply put, without a scraping paddle, your melted cheese will have a hard time finding its way to where it needs to be. The nails tend to come out between family members when there's a lack of paddles, as getting the melted cheese onto your plate becomes the sole quest.
Raclettes will come with a varying amount of paddles from as few as one to a much more useful eight, so it's worth a double-check. An unfortunate trend amongst some online offerings is that they don't have as many paddles as pans, which makes sourcing your own extra paddles a clever idea to keep the in-house bickering at bay.
Relating specifically to electric raclette grills, the total wattage and temperature control dial are influential components in figuring out how effective a raclette grill will be.
As some of you already know, watts is the international standard for measuring the power output of electrically-charged products. It's essentially seen as the 'miles-per-hour' measurement that indicates the potential speed at which electrons pass through an electrical current.
Electric raclette grills can be powerful pieces of kit, with the strongest reaching a mighty 1500 watts. This kind of power will ensure the grill won't skip a beat while reaching its maximum heat efficiently, and it'll also give the greatest scope in terms of size.
On the other end of the scale are miniature raclette grills, which tend to tap out at 110 watts. These less powerful and more budget-friendly grills are best suited for two to four pans at a maximum, allowing you to grill with less and for less.
Temperature control dials are a great addition to any raclette designed for more than two people. A dial allows you to finesse your grilling, giving you a greater range of heating potential and making you unstoppable in your cheese-melting domination.
These are especially useful with the strongest of grills, as they enable you to grill for fewer people when required, say, when you just want a simple dinner for two. If you only had an on/off switch, your grill would be overpoweringly hot when fired up even though you'd only be using a couple of its pans.
Raclette machines are generally multi-purpose in design, allowing you to not only grill cheese underneath but also grill and fry food on top. This hot plate will sit snugly atop the grill itself, giving you the opportunity to sizzle and serve a whole array of food items alongside your melted cheese.
The best metal hot plates will be coated with the same non-stick Teflon that the cheese pans are built with. You'll have a choice of a flat plate or one with ribs, which can both give meat, vegetables and even crêpes a specific place to fry to perfection.
If a hot plate isn't made from non-stick, chances are it'll be natural stone. Stone is seen as the best way to retain the flavours and juices of charcuterie meats, for which raclette is famous. If you can't decide, don't worry – some brands have kindly included non-stick and stone hot plates, so you can get the best of both worlds.
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Bamboo Raclette Grill
Feature-Packed With a Stylish Bamboo Design
Eight Person Raclette Grill
The Best of Both With Non-Stick and Stone Plates
Eight Person Raclette Grill
A High-Powered Raclette for Faster Feeding
Stone Raclette Grill
Retain Every Drop of Flavour With a Stone Hot Plate
Four Person Raclette Grill
A Versatile 4-Person Machine to Keep the Good Times Grilling
Raclette Sombrero Grill
Sombrero-Inspired for a Fun and Versatile Meal
Six Person Raclette Grill
Six-Person Grill With Just as Many Paddles as Pans
Paxton and Whitefield
Cheese Raclette Set
Delightfully Designed With Tea Lights Included
Mini Raclette Grill
A Perfectly-Sized Grill for Two to Dine in Style
Simple but Affordable Candle-Powered Grill
Setting the bar at the top in terms of elegant design comes this bamboo raclette by the market-leading, forward-thinking Princess team. Unlike many other grills, this one has two hot plates sitting side-by-side so you can keep the meat and vegetables separate if you so desire.
As you'd hope, there are eight pans and eight bamboo-handled paddles which are not only practical but really stylish too. A silvery, smooth temperature dial finishes off this modern machine's credentials. This raclette packs in the features while looking the part, making it a clear winner in our eyes.
What's not to adore about this eight-person raclette by the famed Cooks Professional brand? Coming ready to rumble with not just one but two hot plates of stone and non-stick varieties, this grill gives you options upon options.
Better yet, the machine also comes adorned with eight melting pans and paddles, which will allow you to melt and scrape every last delectable bit of cheese on the table. Add that to the temperature dial and good wattage, and it's clear that this clever machine is hitting all the right melting notes.
Arguably the best feature of this grill from Hengbo is its impressive 1500 watts of melting power, which ensures that up to eight people will be able to indulge in raclette without waiting more than a few seconds for the next round.
Another great feature is that the non-stick hot plate has a deep-set lip, so you'll be able to fry an assortment of food without the fear of it falling over the edge. It also comes with a temperature dial and eight pans and paddles, resulting in a well-rounded family-feeding raclette machine well worth the price.
With a clear leap in melting capabilities, this raclette grill by Progress is poised to melt eight people into a cheese-induced euphoria. The stone hot plate will provide your meat and vegetables with a slower, more refined style of cooking that'll soak up flavour and hold in all the delicious juices.
Thanks to its 1200 watts of power, it should have no issues melting through even the thickest chunks of raclette cheese. Knowing it comes stocked with eight non-stick pans and eight wooden paddles mean it'll hold up to larger dinner parties with no additional purchases needed.
Another inclusion from the esteemed kitchen brand Domo, this four-person raclette grill is ticking all the boxes in all the right places. For one, there are both non-stick and stone hot plates, so you'll be able to tailor your raclette experience depending on the foods you intend to partake in.
Also included are four pans and paddles, which as you already know, is essential for raclette-eating peace and harmony. With an included temperature dial too, this clever machine can be scaled back to be perfectly heated for two on date night.
Gourmia have done things a little differently with this sombrero-style raclette grill, which isn't only fun but also brings you an unmatched number of frying and grilling options. You can literally peg your meats to the sombrero so you can keep a watchful eye on your heavenly melted cheese-to-be.
The deep bowl running round the outside also enables you to steam vegetables, ensuring the whole family will be sufficiently full on not just cheese. This grill comes with six melting pans but unfortunately no paddles, so we'd advise making sure you've got a few more sourced before use.
This six-person raclette grill from Domo will have you and your guests head over heels with cheese-eating excitement. With six pans and paddles, everyone lucky enough to be seated at the table can have their own cheese melting station, filling their bellies in a gloriously decadent style.
Its 800 watts of cooking power means it'll also have no trouble cooking whatever you cheesy well please on the completely flat die-cast, non-stick hot-plate. The only hitch is the lack of a temperature dial for tailored adjustments.
Paxton and Whitefield are acclaimed London-based cheesemongers who've been bringing French cheese across the channel since 1797. So, of course they were going to have their own take on the raclette dinner for two.
This rustic candlelit grill comes ready to go with eight tealights, allowing you to focus on the sourcing of the cheese and other essentials. Also included are two pans and two silicone paddles, proving that this is a raclette set built by cheese lovers, for cheese lovers.
This irresistibly cute mini raclette by esteemed fondue brand Boska is electrically charged, running with 220 watts of melting momentum. It comes stocked with two pans and two silicone paddles, ensuring you and your companion don't have to wait your turn to devour.
The hot plate is also ribbed to allow some charred cooking of charcuterie and vegetables. The only flaw to speak of is the lack of sizing info, as it simply states that the length is 29 cm. However, we can trust that this is a quality product, especially as it comes with a 10-year guarantee.
Raclette grills don't come much cheaper than this. Hicoosee have made raclette accessible for anyone who's sitting on the fence and fancies dipping their toes into melted cheese dinners without forking out too much.
As there's only one melting pan, you'll need a sharing is caring approach to divide up the melted cheese as it happens. The red metal box with crosses on the side makes for an appealing look though, which should allow the candlelight to shine through and melt some hearts as well as cheese.
Maybe it's the taste, maybe it's the decadence, or maybe it's the childhood memories that it evokes – whatever the reason, grilling and melting cheese is an across-the-board foodie favourite. Find more of our curated 10 rankings below, all of which put an emphasis on melting cheesy bits into their most delicious form.
No. 1: Princess｜Bamboo Raclette Grill
No. 2: Cooks Professional｜Eight Person Raclette Grill
No. 3: Hengbo｜Eight Person Raclette Grill
No. 4: Progress｜Stone Raclette Grill
No. 5: Domo｜Four Person Raclette Grill
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