Learn how to make delicious beer cheese soup quickly – in under 15 minutes! This recipe has Canadian bacon for smoky flavor and crunchy garlic croutons on top.
This is the best Beer Cheese Soup recipe, not only because of the creaminess and amazing flavor, but also because it’s ready in about 15 minutes. It’s even topped with garlicky homemade croutons, so you know you’re in for a comforting bowl of soup.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Beer Cheese Soup?
When we were at Epcot awhile ago I noticed Cheddar Cheese Soup on the menu at the Canadian restaurant, Le Cellier. Seeing it there reminded me that I hadn’t made it in awhile, possibly not since we moved to the States from Canada. I decided it was time. And since I’m currently doing this SOUPin15 series of quick soup recipes, I decided to adapt the recipe to be really fast, ready in under 15 minutes in fact.
I should note before going further that while Canadians do make this soup, so do Americans. It’s especially popular in Wisconsin where it’s called Beer Cheese Soup. I’ve opted to use this name for today’s recipe because the Le Cellier name doesn’t get across that there’s beer involved here and that it’s crucial to the flavor.
And the beer really is important. It adds a rich, dark behind-the-scenes flavor that is hard to get with anything else. Together with some aged cheese, it’s really outstanding. They go together so well that Beer Cheese Dip exists as a thing.
Using Alcohol In Soups
Before I get to today’s Beer Cheese Soup recipe I’m going to tell you about the SouperTip for this soup. That’s the thing that makes this soup so delicious so quickly. If you guessed that it would be the beer, you’d be right. Partially. It’s actually alcohol more generally. Adding a splash of beer, wine, or even vodka or brandy to a soup will add a great deal of flavor. More than just the flavor of the alcohol itself as well.
Alcohol helps things taste better in two ways. First, it evaporates quickly and so the smells get to your nose more easily, which in turn adds to how we experience the food’s taste. Second, alcohol bonds with both fat and water which results in more flavors being dissolved and more flavors penetrating throughout the dish.
The beer is crucial. But the cheese is pretty necessary too. If you’re loving the idea of this quick cheesy beer soup I bet you’ll also love this other cheese-lover’s soup too – Broccoli Cheese Soup!
What Kind Of Beer For Beer Cheese Soup?
Choosing the beer for your cheese soup is going to be based on your personal preference and how much beer flavor you want to be able to taste. You can use a mild lager or pale ale if you want something more subtle. An amber ale or doppelbock will give you more flavor, and something like a brown ale will be richer still.
I suggest staying away from IPAs which are very hoppy and can add too much bitterness. Stouts and porters are also not my favorites for this because they can overpower the cheese and turn the soup into an unappetizing color. And of course, any beers with added flavors like fruit or chocolate should be avoided here.
How To Make Beer Cheese Soup, Quickly
To actually make this quick Cheddar Beer soup in 15 minutes, I encourage you to read through the recipe and gather your ingredients and equipment at the start.
First, put the chicken or vegetable broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat on the stovetop. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper. Cover and allow the broth to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
While the broth is heating up, warm the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Mince the celery, add it to the pan and stir. Finely chop the onion and add it in and stir some more. Let that cook for a few minutes while you do the following.
Toast the slices of bread in the toaster and finely chop the Canadian bacon, add it to the onions, and stir. (You could leave this out if you’d like the soup to be vegetarian, but it does add a lot of flavor!) Mince one garlic clove and add it to the pan as well. Reduce the heat to low.
Cut the second garlic clove in half and rub the slices of toast with the cut side of the garlic clove. Cut each slice of bread into 16-20 cubes for our delicious homemade croutons. Set aside till ready to serve.
Add flour to the onion mixture in the skillet. Mix to coat everything in flour and add about 1/4 cup of beer and stir. Add another 1/4 cup of beer and stir some more. Continue until all the beer has been added.
Take the broth off of the heat. Add in the beer mixture all at once and then put the soup back on high heat and bring it to a simmer. Add the half and half and let it return to a simmer. Remove the soup from the heat and add the shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Stir until it melts in. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste then ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with the garlic croutons.
Podcast Episode About Making Beer Cheese Soup
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this soup, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
This quick beer cheese soup has some Canadian bacon in it for smoky flavor and it’s topped with quick garlic croutons for some crunch.
To make this soup in under 15 minutes, first read through the recipe. As you read gather together all of the ingredients, tools, pots and pans you’ll need so that everything is ready to go. There is however no need to prep any ingredients. All of the prep is explained in the instructions and is included in the 15 minute time. See you in 15!
Yield 6 cups.
- 3 cups low or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- Black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. neutral oil (grape seed or vegetable)
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 rib celery
- 1 small onion
- 2 thick slices of bread
- 2 garlic cloves, divided
- 6 oz. Canadian bacon or black forest ham
- 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 12 oz. beer (lager or ale, depending on what you like)
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (buy it shredded)
- Put the broth in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper. Cover and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
- While the broth heats, warm the oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Mince the celery and add it to the skillet. Stir. Finely chop the onion and add it. Stir. Let it cook. Put the bread into the toaster and toast it. Meanwhile, finely chop the Canadian bacon and add it to the onions. Stir. Mince one garlic clove and add it as well. Reduce heat to low.
- Cut the second garlic clove in half. When the toast has finished toasting, rub the toasts with the cut side of the garlic clove. Discard remaining garlic (or save it for another use). Cut each slice of bread into 16-20 cubes. Set aside.
- Add the flour to the onion mixture in the skillet. Stir to coat everything in flour. Add about 1/4 cup of beer. Stir. Add another 1/4 cup of beer. Stir. Continue until all the beer has been added.
- Take the broth off of the heat. Add the beer mixture all at once. Stir and then put the soup back on high heat and bring it to a simmer. Add the half and half. Return to a simmer. Remove the soup from the heat and add the shredded cheese. Stir until it melts in. Taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with garlic croutons.
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This post originally appeared in January 2015 and was revised and republished in June 2023.