Beer Cheese Soup is a hearty and tasty soup recipe that comes together in a short amount of time with a surprisingly level of flavor.
My husband loves Beer Cheese Soup. If you have ever spent any time in the Mid-West, I am sure you have seen it on a menu before. It is a super creamy soup that is loaded with cheese and has the taste of beer in the background. Kind of like your favorite Cheddar Ale Dip, but in a soup form.
This recipe makes a TON of soup, I mean like 12 servings! It is commonly served as an appetizer, but serve with Pretzel Rolls for a comforting dinner.
Beer Cheese Soup Origins
While this soup is super popular today, it has been passed down since Medieval times. It was commonly served as a breakfast item with ale leftover from the festivities of the night before. I faintly remember these being called “wounded soldiers” in college.
There was little to no food waste in these times, so using a basic roux and beer, they created a soup that not only used waste, fed the soldiers, but was also a hair of the dog cure. A little cheese disguised any funky leftovers. Pair it with a slice of stale bread for sopping up the last tibits and you were off to start your day!
Through the ages, it has become more sophisticated adding more specialized cheeses and of course, veggies. And use a good quality beer for even better flavor!
What You’ll Need
The beauty of this soup is that the majority of the ingredients are fridge and pantry staples. The amounts of many can be tweaked slightly in case you have more or less.
- Bacon- Crispy bacon is the ticket here, so go for a normally sliced (not super thick) center cut bacon.
- Veggies- Yep, despite this being a beer and cheese soup, what is known in the cooking world as the trinity of vegetables is hidden into the base. I was actually super excited to use my immersion blender! These include onion, celery, carrot and garlic.
- Flour & Butter– these two make up the base for any roux- they help to thicken while also adding flavor. Allow the flour to brown slightly will deepen the taste and create a nuttier effect while simply just mixing will really allow the cheese flavors to shine through.
- Chicken stock– I like using a low sodium stock so that I have more control over the saltiness in long run. It is much easier to add more salt than try to take it away! Vegetable stock can also be used.
- Beer- Your best bet will be a lighter beer with more of a malt flavor and less hops (avoid IPAs or pale ales). Seasonal beers are fun to play with and each will add unique flavor. Try to imagine the pairing of cheese and beer… or sample a bite of cheese with the beer to get a more solid impression.
- Cheese- The namesake, it is important to use a good quality cheese. We highly recommend shredded your own- while pre-shredded cheese is convenient, it is also lightly coated in a starch to prevent clumping and this can create a funny texture or thicken your soup further.
- Milk– This adds to the body of the soup and gives it a creaminess. I like to use whole milk, but you could use any kind of milk you have.
- Dry Mustard – One of my pantry staples, this adds a tang of acid and flavor without making the whole soup taste like prepared mustard. A dab of wet Dijon can be used as well, but avoid anything with whole grains. Since you are adding it after the blitzes with the immersion blender, it won’t get incorporated into the base and you don’t want little floaters of mustard grain.
How to Make Beer Cheese Soup
Get ready because in just 30 minutes… you’ll have soup!
- Cook and brown the bacon, making sure it is crispy. The trick to super crispy bacon is to remove it right before it reaches the point of being super crunchy. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel, but reserve about a tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat in the pot.
- Next, add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, sauteing until soft and fragrant. Do not brown the veggies, you want them to still have a little body and snap.
- Add the flour and butter, stirring until it forms a paste, essentially a seasoned roux.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and beer. Add back in about 1/2 of the bacon, leaving the rest for garnish while serving.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or regular blender.
- Bring the soup to a low boil and then gradually add the cheese until fully melted.
- Lastly, add the cream and dry mustard, whisking until fully incorporated.
The base of this soup doesn’t lack for flavor, but it is also super easy to put your own spin on it, even after it is made. So now you have a lot of options for your large batch of soup!
- Add more protein– Sure bacon is protein, but don’t be scared to add a little more. Shredded chicken from a store bought rotisserie chicken or cooked, crumbed and drained ground beef, turkey or chicken are all good additions. This also helps to stretch out a portion a little longer by simply adding to the volume.
- Seasonings– Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of creole or Cajun seasoning, seafood seasoning or even Italian seasoning to add smoky, heat or savory flavors to your soup.
- More Veggies- Any cooked veggies will work, but frozen peas, chopped fresh tomatoes or corn kernels are lovely additions to this soup and can be added at the same time as the cream and mustard right at the end.
- Garnishes– Bacon is generally used because, well, it is bacon and cheese soup, but scallions, chives, fennel fronds, seasoned croutons or even a dusting of smoked paprika all add interest and beauty. More cheese is always a winner- sometimes I use a crumbly cheese, like feta, or even soft cheese like goat cheese.
- Cheese blends– of course a sharp cheddar is the most classic, and anyone in Wisconsin would probably disagree with me, but sometimes I use this soup to clean out the cheese drawer. A blend of cheese flavors adds a level of sophistication as long as the volume is the same amount. Smoked gouda and jarlsberg are two of my favorite flavor combos.
This soup makes a LOT! So unless you are having a party, there is a good chance of leftovers. Which is great, because this reheats really well. You can store in the fridge for 4-5 days and then just reheat on the stovetop or the microwave. Beware – it will be very thick when you take it out of the fridge. Don’t worry, it will loosen up as you reheat. You can also add a splash of milk or chicken broth if necessary.
Freezing – just like most soups this is great to have in the freezer. You can eat half right away, and freeze the other half for another night. Just store in an airtight container for 4-5 months. Let it thaw in the fridge and reheat on the stove to get is warmed. Add a splash of milk or chicken broth if the soup is too thick.
More Delicious Soup Recipes
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Hot & Sour Soup
- Cabbage Roll Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- Indian Lentil Soup
- Wild Rice Soup
- 3/4 cup onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 3/4 cup carrots, diced
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
- 2 (12 oz) bottles Beer (I used Spotted Cow, but any Ale or Pilsner would work)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoons dry mustard
- 1 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds Cheddar Cheese
- 3 cups milk
- In a large pot brown bacon. Remove from pan, and drain on a paper towel. Remove bacon drippings, leaving about 1 Tbls in the pan.
- Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic, saute until soft. Do not brown the veggies.
- Add flour and butter, stirring until the flour is cooked.
- Whisk in chicken stock, and beer.
- Add back in about 1/2 of the bacon, what is left will be used for garnish when serving.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or regular blender.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, over a medium heat gradually add cheese, and mix until smooth.
- Add the cream and dry mustard, whisk until combined and heated through.
- Serve garnished with bacon.
Adapted from St. Francis Brewery
This recipe can be easily cut in half.
Amount Per Serving Calories 595Total Fat 42gSaturated Fat 22gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 121mgSodium 1027mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 6gProtein 30g
Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.
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