Our Favorite Ways to Cook With Beer

From dark, spicy chile to light-as-air fried squash blossoms

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.

Braised Brisket Burgers with Pimento Cheese
Braised Brisket Burgers with Pimento Cheese
Brisket is braised in stout, bourbon, and soy sauce in these spicy pimento cheese-topped sliders from Edward Lee, executive chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY. Get the recipe for Braised Brisket Burgers with Pimento Cheese »Matt Taylor-Gross
Beer Cheese Soup
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli
Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli
While we highly recommend sourcing Montauk Brewing Co.'s Driftwood Ale, any English-style pale ale will work for these herb-y steamed mussels from Eli Sussman. Don't forget plenty of crusty bread—as anyone who loves mussels will tell you, the best part of enjoying the dish is sopping up the heady, aromatic jus that collects at the bottom of the bowl. Get the recipe for Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli »Matt Taylor-Gross
Triple Chocolate Beef & Bean Chili
Triple Chocolate Beef & Bean Chili
Cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate lend darkness and depth to this hearty chili, rounded out with the complex bitterness of chocolate stout beer. Get the recipe for Triple Chocolate Beef & Bean Chili »Yossy Arefi
Brisket Tacos
Brisket Tacos
Rough-chopped and served on fresh, homemade tortillas is New York City chef Julian Medina's way of showcasing brisket. Get the recipe for Brisket Tacos »Matt Taylor-Gross
Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies
Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies
Hushpuppies—little cornbread fritters you could eat like popcorn—get a dose of zesty pimento cheese for extra richness. Get the recipe for Pimento Cheese Hush Puppies »Matt Taylor-Gross
Kansas City-Style Chili
Kansas City-Style Chili
Pulled pork stands in for the burnt ends of barbecued brisket in this robust Kansas City-style bean chili. Get the recipe for Kansas City-Style Chili »Todd Coleman
Fried Anchovy-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
Zucchini Blossoms
Light and airy, with a subtle squash flavor, zucchini blossoms are wonderful to cook; they make a flavorful, delicate appetizer when stuffed with salty anchovies and fried. Since the blossoms have a short shelf life, use them within a day of purchasing. Be sure to remove the stamens before working with them. Get the recipe for Fried Anchovy-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms »Landon Nordeman
Clam Cakes
Clam Cake
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 »Matt Taylor-Gross
Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich (Panes con Pavo)
Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich (Panes con Pavo)
This gently spiced sandwich is a unique and tasty way to serve turkey. Pack some up to satisfy a crowd for a day of tailgating. Get the recipe for Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich (Panes con Pavo) »Matt Taylor-Gross
Green Chicken and White Bean Chili
Saveur Cookbook, Green Chicken and White Bean Chili, Soups & Stews
This rich tomatillo- and green chile-based stew cooks much faster than versions made with red meat, but tastes like it cooked all day. Get the recipe for Green Chicken and White Bean Chili »Joseph De Leo