This quick and easy Beer Cheese Dip recipe combines two casual party staples (Beer! Cheese!) into one creamy, decadent cheese dip. This ooey-gooey melted cheese appetizer is similar to queso. But the Cheddar cheese we use gives it a sharp, slightly-tangy flavor that makes it really unique (in a good way!). This funky twist on fondue is the perfect thing to serve up the next time you want to impress without the stress.
WHAT IS BEER CHEESE?
This Beer Cheese Dip is precisely what it sounds like: a saucy cheese dip made with beer. The beer is simmered to reduce its alcohol content but still maintains its tangy flavor. Then it’s melded with a combo of cream cheese and extra-sharp cheddar cheese to create an ultra-rich and decadent dip. We also added Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and seasonings to round out the flavors.
This dish, which originated in Kentucky, shouldn’t be confused with the German cow’s milk cheese Bierkäse, which literally translates to “beer cheese.” It’s also very different from Obatzda, an authentic German cheese spread made with super-funky soft cheese that’s served cold alongside Bavarian-style soft pretzels.
You can use almost any kind of cheese to make this recipe, but some will be more successful than others. We used a block of extra-sharp, store-brand cheddar cheese since it’s the most traditional and budget-friendly option. It’s also super flavorful (but not too funky!). Here are some more tips to consider when using different types of cheese:
- Make sure the cheese and beer taste good together — and are ones you enjoy! (Since both heavily impact the sauce’s final flavor, color, and texture.)
- For the grated cheese, reach for a semi-firm cheese (like Cheddar, Edam, or Gouda) or a semi-soft cheese (like Mozzarella, Jack, Fontina, and Munster). Both types of cheese will shred easier when cold. Hard cheeses and ones that are “aged” or “extra-sharp” can also be used, but don’t melt as easily as their softer, milder counterparts.
It doesn’t matter what kind of beer you use for this recipe – just pick one you like to drink! We used Pabst Blue Ribbon, a budget-friendly light beer with a mild, malty taste that wouldn’t compete with the flavor of our sharp cheddar cheese.
- Light Beers: Considered best for beer cheese. Light beers are usually milder in taste. So they’re less likely to overpower easy-to-melt cheeses like basic Cheddar. Fruity wheat beers pair especially well with cheese!
- Dark Beers: Stouts and porters also make a great beer cheese sauce, but are best paired with a sharp, funky cheese that can stand up to their strong, rich flavors.
- Super-hoppy IPAs: If you love this style of beer, go for it. (They’re truly an “acquired taste!”) But if you don’t like drinking them, you probably won’t enjoy the lingering, bitter aftertaste they give your beer cheese sauce either!
Why is my beer cheese lumpy or grainy?
It’s important not to overheat your cheese dip. High heat makes the proteins and fat in the cheese separate, causing the sauce to “break” and turn into a lumpy mess. If this happens, it can be difficult (or impossible) to repair. You might be able to fix the cheese sauce by adding more cream cheese or Dijon, which are both emulsifying ingredients. Add these ingredients a little at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate them before adding any more.
DOES BEER CHEESE CONTAIN ALCOHOL?
Boiling beer reduces the alcohol content a lot but doesn’t eliminate it entirely. I promise, no one will get “drunk” from eating too much beer cheese! If consuming alcohol isn’t part of your lifestyle, you can substitute it with a non-alcoholic beer! Or try one of our other easy cheese sauce recipes, like:
eat it fresh & keep it warm
This recipe is best eaten right after it’s prepared. The leftovers probably won’t stay as smooth and creamy, so I’d suggest reducing the serving size of the recipe to avoid wasted ingredients.
Serve this decadent dip with an assortment of pretzels and crackers, apple slices, or a vegetable party tray. Our Beer Bread and Easy Soda Bread are also great vehicles for this cheese sauce!
Beer Cheese Dip
- 1 cup beer ($0.92)
- 1 Tbsp warm water ($0.00)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.03)
- 2 oz. cream cheese ($0.44)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded ($2.49)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.02)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.03)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ($0.01)
- Heat the beer in a saucepan on medium-high heat. While the beer heating up, whisk together the cornstarch and warm water in a small bowl to make a slurry.
- Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Allow the beer to come back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.
- Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into chunks, then whisk it into the beer until fully melted.
- Add the shredded cheese a handful at a time, continuing to whisk until the cheese is fully melted before adding more.
- Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
- Cover the cheese dip and keep the pot sitting over low heat so it stays warm and melted (or transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot). Stir the cheese dip occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface.
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How to Make beer cheese dip – Step by Step Photos
Heat 1 cup (8 oz.) of beer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes. While the beer heating up, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.
Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Bring the beer back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.
Turn the heat down to low. Cut 2 ounces of cream cheese into chunks, and then whisk them into the beer until fully melted.
Add 2 cups of shredded cheese to the saucepot a handful at a time. Continue whisking after each addition until all the cheese has melted before adding the next handful.
Add 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
Cover the cheese dip and keep it over low heat so it stays warm and melted. You could also transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot. Stir it occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface of the cheese sauce.
There’s nothing quite like a vat of melted cheese and a soft pretzel as big as your face, amirite?! ~ Marion :)
Is there a good substitute for dijon in this? My husband is allergic to mustard, but I bet it needs the bright kick.
You could definitely leave it out, and it would be just fine as is! However, a tiny bit of prepared horseradish might be nice and achieve a similar effect. You could also take it in more of a spicy direction and add a pinch of cayenne, ancho chili powder (for a hint of smokiness), or a tsp of hot sauce. ~ Marion :)
I haven’t made this yet, but I’m excited to try! Beer cheese is one of my favorites, a lot of places in KY will serve it cold/you can buy it cold in the grocery store, so I’m intrigued to see how it is cooled down. The recipe looks good and similar to other KY recipes I’ve come across.