Like wine, beer is a versatile, nuanced cooking ingredient. Dark beers add a layer of complex flavor to stews, sauces, and marinades, while a crisp, fizzy lager does a great job lightening batters for fried treats like onion rings. We've rounded up our favorite recipes for cooking with beer.
The carbonation in beer makes for extra light and crispy fried foods. The red snapper in our fish tacos have a mild flour and egg batter, while our beer-battered onion rings are just a little sweet-spicy thanks to honey and paprika. One of our favorite fried appetizers is an elegant dish of zucchini blossoms stuffed with anchovies and fried in a simple lager or seltzer batter.
Beer is also a flavorful braising liquid. For a fruity pulled pork, braise the meat in lager, spices, and canned peaches. It makes a great sandwich with arugula, red onion, and a dijon-peach spread. For a rich brisket, cook the beef in a mixture of stout beer, bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, balsamic, and thyme. A creamy pimento cheese adds brightness.
To wash down these dishes, try a beer cocktail. To make a chavela, mix a Mexican lager with tomato juice and hot sauce. To turn your chavela into a michelada, add lime juice and Tajín, a Mexican seasoning blend of dried chiles, lime, and salt. Famed chef Rick Bayless like to make a michelada-bloody mary hybrid. It's made with beer, tomato and citrus juices, hot sauce, and a shot of tequila.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of recipes for cooking with beer.
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 »
Unlike French beef stews made with wine, carbonnade—a Flemish stew—relies on the deep, dark flavor of Belgian abbey-style beer. But what really gives the dish its distinctive character is the addition of brown sugar and cider vinegar, a sweet-sour combination that plays beautifully against the caramelized onions and rich beer. Get the recipe for Flemish Beef and Beer Stew »
A classic version of a Mexican cerveza preparada (prepared beer), the chavela couldn’t be simpler: tomato juice, hot sauce, beer, lemon, and ice, with a salted rim.
Chef Rick Bayless suggested this recipe for a bloody mary made with beer, citrus, and tequila.
Wild rabbit, a favorite among hunters in Kansas, is braised in beer and chicken stock to make this autumnal dish.
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.
Pulled pork stands in for the burnt ends of barbecued brisket in this robust Kansas City-style bean chili inspired by one from the restaurant Rye KC in Leawood, Kansas.
With carrots, leeks, apples, and savoy cabbage, venison sausage takes on a rich, yeasty flavor when braised in lager-style beer.
Adding beer to the batter helps the fish for these tacos fry up golden brown and lightly crispy.