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The secret to cooking with beer? Always keep some extra on hand for drinking.

But the real secret to cooking with beer? Don’t cook it too long so the toasty, grainy flavors stand out, or, if you’re going to go for the long game, keep on the dark stout side of the spectrum. Beer can add a robust, unique flavor to just about anything, from mussels to burgers to chili and batters for fritters. Its complex sweetness cuts through dairy for a perfect beer cheese soup; its carbonation brings lightness to Rhode Island clam cake batter; and gives beef and beans a kicker of savory depth for chili.

Here are all the ways we’re cooking with beer.

"Beer

Beer Cheese Soup

Invented by Mark Schiffler, the original chef of Wynkoop Brewery in Denver, Colorado, this Wisconsin-inspired soup has been traded and tweaked over the years into its current state: a thick, cheddar-based soup cut through with piquant Gorgonzola. Get the recipe for Beer Cheese Soup »
"Pimento

Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies

Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies
"Clam

Clam Cakes

These crisp savory doughnuts, a specialty of Rhode Island clam shacks, are bursting with clam flavor. Most restaurants and clam shacks today use pre-chopped clams for convenience, but for the best cakes, go the extra mile to steam your own quahogs. These fat bay clams have some pleasantly chewy bits and soft, flavorful bellies that melt into the batter. If you want to use canned clams instead, substitute 12 ounces of chopped clam meat and 1/2 cup of the canned clam liquor. Get the recipe for Clam Cakes »

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