Beer and cheese? Yes, please! Skip the queso and make my Beer Cheese Dip for your next party. Warm cheddar infused with your favorite malted beverage and spicy seasonings makes short work of soft pretzels and shoves any thoughts of moderation out the window.
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If you have little ones in your family, you know Halloween is arguably the most anticipated holiday of the year. Kiddos seem to look forward to sacks of candy even more than that guy with the red hat who visits in December!
Adults look forward to October too, though it’s not candy that entices us. It’s Oktoberfest: the only festival celebrating an adult beverage (or at least the only one with both lager and lederhosen). Every fall, lovers of frosty, foam-topped mugs converge on venues with German Oompah music blasting, vendors selling food on sticks, and revelers honoring their German heritage, whether or not they actually have any.
There’s nothing better to represent all the fun and flavor of this wonderful October tradition of beers and brats than my warm, gooey Beer Cheese Dip.
“Beer cheese” is apparently a Kentucky thing, a dish created by a crafty restaurateur who concocted a spicy snack that would encourage his patrons to order more food and drinks.
The recipe combines shredded cheddar, garlic, mustard, and other seasonings with a bit of (flat) beer in a food processor until everything’s creamy and spreadable. The plan of attack is to use your favorite cracker, pretzel, or other beer-cheese-transportation-device.
I think the best beer cheese recipe, though, is a warm, dippable version that imparts the same cheesy, malted flavors with the creamy texture that only melted cheese can offer. This is my recipe for Beer Cheese Dip, and I think you’ll agree it’s what you’ve been missing all your life that’ll make Oktoberfest a proper party!
Beer Cheese Dip serves as popular football fare all across the country, and there are lots of versions of this recipe to choose from: Applebee’s beer cheese dip recipe, that starts with a roux to yield a nice thick bowl of yum; a Velveeta beer cheese dip that uses every cheesy dip’s friend (though typically not any other cheeses); and even a 3 ingredient beer cheese dip with just the basics of cream cheese, cheddar, and beer.
It’s obviously hard to go wrong if beer AND cheese are involved, but my recipe is carefully crafted to maximize the addictive quality of this dip.
Cream cheese is an essential ingredient that gives my Beer Cheese Dip a luscious, creamy quality, and it also gives it the thickness and body you want in a decadent dip (thus avoiding having to use cornstarch or a roux like the Applebees beer cheese dip recipe). Cream cheese does have a little tangy quality on its own, but it basically serves as a blank canvas for the flavor train that’s coming.
Cheddar is classic in beer cheese, and I like to use a nice sharp version so the flavors aren’t lost behind the beer. Because the cheese really does stand out in this dish, I prefer to use it instead of something like Velveeta which obviously imparts a lovely texture but really doesn’t mimic the flavors of a nice aged cheddar.
The addition of mozzarella is all about the melty quality and those lovely strings that reluctantly stretch themselves from the dip onto your pretzel or cracker.
That’s the cheese; let’s talk about the beer! What is the best beer for Beer Cheese Dip? Definitely steer clear of the really bitter beers like IPA or other extra-hoppy ales. Something slightly sweeter is preferable, anything from a bock or wheat beer to a pilsner or stout.
Making a German beer cheese dip, with something like Guinness or even an Oktoberfest (a sweet, brown style lager), is always a good choice. I suppose the best advice I can offer is using something you like to drink since there will be a few sips left in the bottle after making this dip!
Mustard puts a little background heat in this Beer Cheese Dip, and I use dry instead of prepared since the latter has some additional vinegar and moisture that just aren’t needed in this recipe.
Paprika brings a little heat too, plus the subtle sweetness of the dried peppers, and it enhances the soft orange color.
There are even a few splashes of hot sauce for extra tongue-tingling, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to increase the amount if you want things a little spicier.
I also add some Worcestershire – arguably the most versatile ingredient in my pantry – for the subtle salty and acidic quality that really complements the beer and cheese.
You’ll bake this, covered, for about 30 minutes. We’re not looking for crusty brown bits with bubbling edges here; you just want everything warm and melted and to give it enough time in the oven for the flavors to marry. This method also means it’ll be ready to dive into sooner so you won’t have to worry about impatient snackers risking third-degree burns.
This is obviously a delectable dip, but it’s also great drizzled over hot dogs or brats you’re warming up for game day.
Sometimes I add ½ lb. of crispy crumbled bacon too and spoon it over baked potatoes or homemade potato skins. A little chopped chives on top and you’ve got little potato boats straight from heaven!
I really love this dish, and all the complexity from the beer and other ingredients make it so much more than your average tortilla chip dip.
Grab your pretzels, and, well, a cold beer, and let’s welcome fall German-style!
Serving suggestions – If you think you need to make this Beer Cheese Dip for pretzels and pretzels alone, you’re missing out! It’s hard to beat soft (or crunchy) pretzels, but this is great with chunks of sourdough bread or baguette, crackers, crudité, and even apples. Just ask yourself, “Would I put cheese on this?” Chances are this dip will work with it.
Crockpot – Since this stuff is super rich and likely not to disappear in less than 15 minutes, I sometimes make a Beer Cheese Dip slow cooker version, both to keep from heating up my oven and to keep the dip nice and gooey throughout the whole party. You’ll want to lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker, then put all the ingredients in the pan and cook on low for at least an hour, stirring frequently, until everything’s melty and marvelous. It’ll keep on low for about 4 hours as long as you give it a stir every once in awhile.
Beer Cheese Dip Recipe
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar shredded
- 8 ounces mozzarella shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 cup beer
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined.
- Spread mixture in prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and hot through the center, about 30-40 minutes. Cover top with aluminum foil during cooking if top begins to get to brown.
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