Cooking with Beer: 15 Recipes That Use Ales, Stouts, and Other Brews

Photo: Spiegelau

A bottle of your favorite brew can make an ordinary recipe taste tremendously savory with earthy, nutty flavor. Here are our favorite ways to cook with beer.

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Beer is, of course, delicious to sip after a long day or at a casual weekend party, but did you know that you can also cook with it? From a light lager to a hoppy IPA, beer not only adds flavor to recipes, but it can also tenderize meat, caramelize vegetables, and create a rich, robust gravy for a stew. These recipes that use beer are creative, innovative, and absolutely delicious.

Start with our Aged-Cheddar and Beer Dip, a crowd-friendly appetizer that's just right for game day or your next family gathering. A combination of cream cheese, extra-sharp cheddar, and Gruyère come together as a luscious, melty, and creamy dip with plenty of nutty flavor. The secret? A bottle of lager serves as the dip's base. Pair that delicious cheddar-beer combination with our Soft Pretzels, which are made with a pale ale-style beer. The beer helps to keep the dough light and fluffy; the result is a pretzel that's just right for soaking up your favorite condiments. Be sure to sprinkle your finished bites with flaky sea salt or caraway seed, because what would a soft pretzel be without a little garnish?

The perfect main course to follow pretzels and dip are these pulled chicken sandwiches. This barbecue-inspired entrée uses a homemade sauce made from ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, paprika, and a lager (we recommend Stella Artois here). Pile the saucy, tender chicken high atop soft potato buns and you're ready for a memorable summer feast.

With these recipes that use beer, your summer meals are sure to win over friends, family, neighbors, and everyone in between.

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Pulled BBQ-Chicken Sandwiches

pulled chicken bbq sandwich

These pulled chicken sandwiches have all of the sweet, tangy, smoky flavor found in traditional pulled pork sandwiches, but they also have a tasty sauce made with lager beer to boot.

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Aged-Cheddar and Beer Dip

aged-cheddar and beer dip
Ryan Liebe

One kind of cheese just isn't enough for an ooey-gooey flavorful dip, so we used three. Nutty Gruyère, sharp cheddar, and cream cheese work not double—but triple—duty alongside a bottle of lager in this appetizer.

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Lina Kulchinsky's Soft Pretzels

Marcus Nilsson

Soft pretzels are make for a delicious appetizer during a casual summer party or an Oktoberfest-inspired gathering. They get plenty of nutty flavor from dark brown sugar, unbleached bread flour, and pale ale-style beer.

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Stout-Braised Lamb

Stout-Braised Lamb
Yuki Sugiura

While you certainly don't need a holiday feast as an excuse to make this lamb dinner, the combination of fresh herbs, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and stout beer make this a truly extraordinary meal befitting of an important gathering.

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Martha's Favorite Onion Rings


The carbonation from a lager or pilsner creates a light, airy coating for sliced onions that crisps up beautifully when fried. Plus, it adds more flavor than club soda or seltzer water.

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Wisconsin Beer Brats

wisconsin beer brats
Armando Rafael

Hot diggity dog! Bratwurst are simmered with aromatic seasonings including caraway seeds, spicy brown mustard, brown sugar, and a lager. They're finished on the grill for a charred exterior and smoky flavor.

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Chili-Braised Brisket

Romulo Yanes

Next time you host a dinner party, consider making an out-of-this-world brisket. The beef is rubbed with a combination of chili powder and fennel seeds, seared, then simmered with onions, garlic, tomato paste, and beer until tender.

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Beer-Baked White Beans


Instead of sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, these baked beans are made with a Belgian-style white ale, plus bacon, herbs, honey, and Dijon mustard.

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Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

pork chops with apples and onions
Jeff Sowder

Seared pork chops are always delicious but the real star of the show is a side of sautéed apples and onions, which soften and caramelize in butter and beer—or hard cider.

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Irish Lamb Stew

irish beef and vegetable stew

There's nothing quite like a hearty dinner of meat and potatoes, but this one is extra-special because it's made with lamb, creamy new potatoes, and robust dark beer.

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Chili Con Carne

chili con carne

This super flavorful dinner has plenty of heat. Two bottles of beer are added to the chili as it cooks low and slow for a smoky scoop.

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Stovetop Clambake

Raymond Hom

Take your seaside clambake one step further by adding pale ale to a stockpot along with potatoes, chorizo, and plenty of shellfish. It's a genius inclusion for a summer day feast.

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Sweet-Potato Shepherd's Pie

Bryan Gardner

Pilsner is added to a mixture of mushrooms and onions, which activates the caramelized flavors and creates a rich sauce in this amped-up shepherd's pie made with ground beef. Using sweet potatoes, not regular white potatoes, on top brings an enticing orange color and lots of flavor.

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Traditional Crepes Suzette

crepes suzette
Gentl and Hyers

Here's an unexpected twist on this traditional French dish. Light beer is used in the crepe batter; the carbonation from the beer keeps the crepes airy and loose.

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Slow-Roasted Pork with Kumquats

Slow-Roasted Pork
Jonny Valiant

Tart kumquats, a tiny citrus fruit native to China, are a fabulous contrast to sweet, fatty pork shoulder. The meat roasts with the kumquats, pale ale, and honey until it becomes tender on the inside and lightly caramelized on the outside.

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