Cooking Time Journal may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. This comes at no additional cost to you, and all the prices and availability are accurate at the time of publishing.
There’s nothing more crowd-pleasing than a chocolate fountain. With the right ingredients and preparation, they’re easy to set up and run. Plus, your guests get all the chocolate they can handle. What’s not to love?
If you’re going to invest in a chocolate fountain for your events, you need to consider a few things carefully before deciding on the model. If you aren’t sure where to start, that’s ok. We’ve compiled a list of 5 best chocolate fountains to get you started. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions about how to choose a fountain, what to do to prepare, and how to clean things up once your event is over. Let’s get started.
List of Top-Rated Chocolate Fountains
Here are a few models we love and think might satisfy your chocolate cravings at your next event.
1. Nostalgia CFF965 3-Tier 1.5-Pound Chocolate Fondue Fountain
2. Nostalgia CFF986 4-Tier 2-Pound Stainless Steel Chocolate Fondue Fountain
3. Nostalgia CFF1000 2-Pound Stainless Steel Cascading Fondue Fountain
4. Wilton Chocolate Pro Chocolate Fountain
5. Sephra Elite Chocolate Fountain for Home
Nostalgia’s three-tier fountain is suitable for about 15 people. It’s a very manageable size for small parties and events. It’s an auger-style fountain so you can use other types of ingredients with it besides chocolate.
The stainless steel bowl is durable and easy to clean. You can control the heat and the pump separately, which is great if you accidentally let the chocolate harden inside the fountain. If you decide to run something that isn’t warm, such as barbecue sauce, you can only run the pump and not the heating element.
The control dial is simple to use, and the three tiers assemble quickly and easily. It doesn’t have a built-in level, and the motor is a bit noisy, but overall, it’s a simple machine to set up. When you’re done, it cleans well with plain dish soap (provided you haven’t let the chocolate harden inside) and stores reasonably easily.
- Three tiers are a good size for smaller parties and events.
- Stainless Steel bowls are durable and easy to clean.
- You can use it for more than just chocolate.
- It has a separate heater and pump control.
- The motor is noisy.
- No built-in level.
This Nostalgia model is one step up from the previous model. It’s a slightly four-tier, larger capacity model that holds two pounds of chocolate. That serves roughly 20 to 25 people. It has the same stainless steel bowls for durability and even heating. It’s about 18 inches high when fully assembled.
It’s easy to assemble the tiers, so you could easily store it in pieces for more space. The motor and heat are separate controls. You can run thicker ingredients through the auger style pump, or sauces that don’t require heating.
The feet are adjustable. If the chocolate is flowing down only one side, you can adjust the feet until you get an even flow. A big downside is the motor is noisy, but if you plan to use it outside the noise may not be as big of a factor. It also doesn’t have a built-in level, so you’ll have to dig yours out of the drawer.
- There’s a slightly larger capacity for bigger parties.
- The pieces come apart quickly and easily for cleaning or storage.
- Heating and pumping is controlled separately
- You can use it for other ingredients.
- There are adjustable feet but no built-in level.
- The motor is somewhat noisy.
Another Nostalgia model! This one forgoes the traditional fountain style for an architectural design that directs the chocolate down different tiers and paths. It has a two-pound capacity. If gaps in the fountain bother you with other styles, this directed flow may be more pleasing.
It has a stainless steel base, and the tiers are easy to assemble together. It does make some noise while the motor is running. The auger style mechanism can handle other ingredients like queso dip, and you can control the heating element separately for cold sauces.
You have to align the cups exactly right, or the chocolate that gathers towards the back of each cup cools and hardens, impeding the flow. Also, we recommend cleaning all the fountains right after use, but with this model, it’s particularly important that you don’t wait to wash all the little cups. You’ll be at the sink for hours otherwise.
- The design is unusual and not something you see with typical chocolate fountains.
- It’s better if you hate gaps in the flow.
- It can handle other types of ingredients.
- There are separate heat and pump controls.
- The plastic cups don’t keep the chocolate hot, so you have to align them just right for flow.
- It makes noise when it’s running.
Wilton’s fountain is a pro-style that serves up to four pounds of chocolate (40 to 50 people). It has three tiers and stands about 16 inches high when fully assembled. The construction and deep well at the base keep chocolate flowing more smoothly.
You can adjust the feet, so there aren’t any gaps in the flow. It has a built-in bubble level, so you don’t have to figure out where your tool is to get the presentation exactly right. The tiers and the center tube disassemble so you can throw them in the dishwasher.
The motor is a little noisy, but when you’re serving a larger event, you probably won’t notice it. It also maintains the flow of chocolate well even when your guests have gotten the chocolate down to a smaller level.
Once again, make sure that you clean it up immediately, or it will be difficult to get the chocolate out of all the little pieces. It doesn’t have a separate heating element, so you won’t be able to use it with other types of cold sauces, and the pump isn’t built for thicker ingredients like nacho cheese.
- The large capacity serves more people and bigger events.
- It has a built-in level and adjustable feet so you can get the flow just right.
- The space between the tiers is perfect for dipping at all levels.
- All the pieces are dishwasher safe (aside from the electrical element.
- You can’t use it for thicker ingredients.
- There are no separate controls for heat and the pump.
This model is expensive. We’re just going to get that out of the way right now. However, if you take the plunge, it’s going to give you a lot of features that other, cheaper fountains won’t give you.
It has two different control settings for heat and pump. You can set four different temperature options for both hot and cold style sauces and ingredients. Plus, the auger pump can handle thicker ingredients such as cheese.
The tiers are food grade plastic, and they fully disassemble along with the basin for easy cleaning. Everything is dishwasher safe. Make sure you clean the parts right after use, so they don’t harden inside the tiers and basin.
The motor itself is whisper quiet, even with the higher capacity models. If you use the fountain for a variety of events, you might appreciate a slightly quieter model.
It comes in three different sizes. The 16-inch model holds up to four pounds of chocolate and is suitable for about 40 people. The 18 and 19-inch models hold between four and six pounds of chocolate. The 19-inch model gives you a little more space for more guests to take part. You can also purchase a stainless steel tier set if you’d prefer that over plastic.
- It comes in three different sizes for more choice in serving capacity.
- The inner basin is completely removable.
- Whisper quiet motor is one of the quietest on the market.
- There are four different temperature settings (off, low: 102 degrees, medium: 112 to 115 degrees, and high: 125 to 130).
- It’s a lot more expensive than other options on the list.
- The tiers are plastic. You can upgrade to stainless steel, but it’s more costly.
There are a few things you should know when you’re choosing your chocolate fountain and after you’ve made your decision so that everything runs smoothly. Let’s take a look.
How Do I Choose A Chocolate Fountain?
There are a few things to keep in mind.
Size. How many people are you feeding? A ten-tiered (is that a thing?) chocolate fountain might be show-stopping, but it will require so much chocolate to fill it that you may regret it. Generally, the two or small three-tiered fountains are plenty for small parties and events. If you’re doing this for 100 people, you may want to upgrade to a professional rental.
Cost. What’s your budget? Don’t just look at the cost of the fountain. A two-tiered fountain can take about two pounds of chocolate to flow correctly, and more massive fountains will need a lot more. Don’t blow your entire budget on the fountain and then have to scrimp on mediocre chocolate to make up for it. It’ll ruin your impact.
Noise. Machines make noise, and you can’t get around that. Consider a chocolate fountain that doesn’t put out a considerable amount of noise so your guests won’t complain about that annoying hum. If you plan to have the fountain outside exclusively, the hum may not be as big of a deal with all the outside ambient noise, but move that machine inside, and it could be a different story.
Features. Fountains with adjustable feet are great for making sure the fountain is absolutely level. Also, fountains that have different speeds or temperature settings are also a good idea.
If you plan to use the machine with other types of substances (nacho cheese fountain, anyone?), you’ll need one with an auger-style pump instead of a single pump. A single pump is often quieter, but you’ll clog it up with anything thicker than the chocolate.
Removable parts are essential if you want to get everything clean. Each tier should remove so that you can soak it or put it in the dishwasher. It’s also good if you can soak at least part of the base and flush the pump mechanism. If not, make sure it’s something you can handle cleaning regularly.
One convenient feature is a built-in level. Chocolate fountains need to be absolutely level, or the chocolate won’t flow in an even cascade. If it doesn’t have a built-in level, you’re going to have to work that out yourself with your own. A built-in level keeps you from having to find your level each time.
How Do I Set Up The Fountain?
- First, it needs to be level. We’ll say it again. It needs to be absolutely level. If it’s off even by a hair, your chocolate isn’t going to flow evenly and may also gum up the pump under pressure.
- You should make sure that all the parts are clean and in working order before you ever put in the chocolate. It should be protected from wind and any elements. Also, make sure you have some kind of cover for your table or expensive linens in you need.
- The fountain should be well out of reach of any pets or small children. It’s hot, so little fingers and paws shouldn’t be able to touch any of the heating elements. Also, chocolate is very toxic to dogs so make sure Sparky is kept out of its way.
- If your fountain is indoors, you still need to be mindful of any drafts that can splatter the chocolate. Cold drafts can harden pieces of the chocolate and put a considerable strain on the pump mechanism. It’s also best to keep it away from high traffic areas where someone might bump it accidentally.
- It’s challenging for a chocolate fountain to melt the chocolate, so it’s best if you melt the chocolate beforehand. We recommend using a double boiler while stirring gently. If you use the microwave, make sure you stop and frequently stir so that the chocolate doesn’t scorch. Put it in the microwave for five to ten seconds at a time and stir in between while keeping a watchful eye for bubbles and boiling.
What Kind Of Chocolate Do I Use?
We’re glad you asked. We have a whole article dedicated to helping you choose the right chocolate for a chocolate fountain, but let’s go over a few basics here.
You can use any chocolate, but if it isn’t specifically melting chocolate or couverture style chocolate, you’ll have to add a little extra oil to make things flow smoothly. A general rule is about a half a cup of oil per pound or so of chocolate. Vegetable or coconut oil works well and doesn’t alter the taste.
Couverture style chocolates are “covering” chocolates. They have a higher cocoa butter content and don’t need extra oil to make them flow nicely. They might be more expensive than regular bulk chocolate, but if you want a show-stopping fountain, this is the way to go.
How Do I Maintain The Fountain?
If you can get a dedicated person to watch over the fountain, this is the best choice. This person can help direct people, add in chocolate if necessary, and protect the fountain from children, pets, and unruly adults.
You should never dip crumbly items into the chocolate. If you have extra crumbly dippables, keeping little plastic pots nearby can help alleviate contamination while giving the people what they want. Also, wet items left in the chocolate put a lot of strain on the pump mechanism and can burn out the motor.
How Do I Clean The Fountain?
You may not want to clean right after the party is over but trust us. Don’t wait. If you leave the chocolate in the fountain to harden, it’s going to be a million times more difficult to clean it.
It’s best to drain the chocolate carefully for storage and take the fountain apart for cleaning. Rinse out what you can and put the safe parts in the dishwasher to clean thoroughly. Rinse out the pump and the elements of the base that are safe for water.
We recommend pouring the leftover chocolate onto a piece of wax paper on a flat baking dish and putting it into the fridge. When it hardens, you can break it into smaller pieces for storage, so it isn’t as difficult to melt later.
Our Final Thoughts
If you were intimidated by the thought of cleaning and maintaining a chocolate fountain, we’ve hopefully changed your mind. They do require a little forethought and some minor maintenance, but overall, you could hardly do better for less effort. As long as you make sure to clean the machine right after every use (and melt the chocolate or other ingredients beforehand), you’ll be rewarded with a show-stopping party favor each and every time.
What kind of events are you hoping to spice up with your chocolate fountain? Will you use other ingredients besides chocolate? Let us know in the comments below.