Dip, smother, and dive into this luscious, velvety, silky smooth Creamy Beer Cheese Sauce rich with two types of decadent cheese and the bold tang of mustard. This pub favorite will be the instant hit of any party whether you’re looking for a cheese sauce for pretzels or laddling it over a smoked brat burger. Just be warned, it won’t last long!
Go ahead and crack open a cold one because this molten EASY beer cheese dip will make you feel like a rockstar in the kitchen.
Using a secret ingredient not only ensures the incredible silken texture of this warm cheese dip but also makes it extra easy to make. Read on to find out how to make beer cheese!
why this recipe works
- It’s Actually Creamy – Skip the process of babysitting a roux and let science help you out. Using sodium citrate helps emulsify the melted cheese and beer into pure liquid gold. This beer cheese recipe can easily be broken down into three simple steps, warming the beer and sodium citrate so it dissolves, melting the cheeses and flavorings, and keeping it warm. Easy, cheesy!
- Customizable – You can easily mix and match your favorite brews and cheeses with this recipe. Have fun making this completely your own.
- Make Ahead – Not only is this recipe easy to make, but you can also make it several days in advance and simply reheat the beer cheese sauce on low until warm and creamy again. That makes it ideal for both party and meal prep.
What is sodium citrate?
Have you ever dipped a piece of bread into fondue or a cheese sauce and found it to be greasy on top and broken? Cheese is made up of a network of fat, casein protein, and calcium, with calcium being the binder holding it together. As the cheese melts, that network breaks down and the fat molecules begin to break away, creating that greasy, broken sauce.
Sodium citrate is a freely soluble powder that naturally occurs in citrus, giving it a slightly sour flavor. In liquid form, it’s an incredible emulsifier. When combined with cheese it reduces the cheese’s natural acidity and helps strengthen the fat-water emulsion giving you a silky texture free of any graininess or oil slicks.
You will find sodium citrate in products such as Velveeta and other types of processed cheese. Unlike those products, this beer cheese recipe combines sodium citrate with ingredients free of any mystery ingredients.
How to make beer cheese sauce
Prepare your ingredients. Hand grate your cheese. Let your beer sit out and come to room temperature. This will help prevent it from bubbling over as you warm it.
It is absolutely critical to make sure you do NOT use pre-shredded cheese, which has additives that will overly thicken the sauce.
Warm the beer and sodium citrate. Add the beer and sodium citrate to a saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir until the sodium citrate has dissolved.
Add the shredded cheese in batches. Sprinkle a handful of cheese at a time into the warm beer, stirring until it’s melted. Add the next handful once melted and continue to stir. Repeat this process until all of the cheese has been added and is completely melted.
Sprinkle in a little extra cheese if needed. The thickness of your cheese sauce will depend on both the type of beer you use and your combination of cheeses. If it seems too thin, sprinkle in a little cheese at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Keep in mind it will thicken as it cools.
Stir in the flavor accents. Add the mustard, garlic powder, and chiles if using.
Taste your beer cheese dip. Cheese is naturally salty so you shouldn’t need any additional seasonings but give it a taste. Keep in mind you’ll probably be dipping salty items into it like pretzels.
Keep the sauce warm. Turn your heat to low and keep the beer cheese dip warm until ready to serve, giving it an occasional stir. It will thicken as it cools. It may also form a skin over the top. Simply give it a quick stir to make it creamy again.
Variations for beer cheese sauce
- Mix and match your cheeses. Cheddar is a classic choice for beer cheese along with creamy mild Gouda. Nutty Gruyère, buttery Fontina, fruity Emmental, sweet Jarsberg, and tangy Edam are just some of the options. You can even get a little funky by melting in some blue cheese.
- Use your favorite beer. Amber and red ales will give a rich, smooth, malty flavor that pairs well with all types of cheese. Dark beers will give that mysterious hint of coffee and chocolate that pairs well with sharp and funky cheeses. Wheat beers such as Hefeweizen or Dunkelweizen will give a fruity, strong flavor that pairs well with almost all cheeses while also giving this sauce body. Lagers and pilsners will give more of a mild, light, bright flavor and also give the sauce a slightly thinner texture.
- Spice up this creamy beer cheese with the addition of diced jalapenos or chipotle.
- Give a little umami with a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
- Make this meaty by sprinkling Smoked Bacon Crumbles or sausage over the top.
- Use Smoked Dijon Mustard for an additional layer of flavor.
- Make this recipe completely gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free beer.
Frequently asked questions
It depends on the cheese you are adding, and also what you enjoy drinking. Fruity wheat beers such as Hefeweizen or Dunkelweizen have a strong flavor and pair well with most cheeses. Dark beers compliment smoky, sharp, and funky cheeses while red and brown ales have a rich flavor and give body to the sauce. They pair well with nutty cheeses. Unless you enjoy the bitter notes of IPAs, you may want to avoid them for this recipe.
Yes, the majority of the alcohol from the beer remains in this cheese dip. Because the sauce is never brought to a boil not much of the alcohol cooks out. Keep that in mind when serving this to minors or those with sensitivities.
Most beers with wheat, rye, or barley contain gluten. You can make this recipe gluten-free by using a certified gluten-free beer.
- 8-ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
- 8-ounces shredded Gouda cheese (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup beer, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sodium citrate
- (optional) 1/4 cup diced jalapenos, or chipotle
- Warm the beer and sodium citrate over medium heat in a saucepan until it dissolves, which should take a few minutes.
- Slowly add in the shredded cheese, whisking to melt. Adding all of it at once will cool the temperature too fast. Once the cheese is melted, add the mustard, spices, and chiles if using.
- Keep the sauce warm on low, stirring every so often, until ready to serve. It will thicken more as it cools.
- Mix and match cheeses, but try to keep them to the same weight if possible for the most consistent results.
- As the beer cheese sauce sits at a low temperature, it will form a thin skin on the top. Simply stir it before serving, and it will melt back into the sauce.
- Do not add the sodium citrate to warm beer on the stove. Warm them up together instead, and whisk to dissolve them. If you do add it after the beer is warmed, it will generally foam up and spill out of the pan.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Sauces & Salsas
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Sauce, Cheese, Condiment, Dip
Keywords: beer cheese sauce, cheese sauce, condiment, beer cheese, cheese dip