Cooking with Beer

Beer is a versatile, nuanced cooking ingredient

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.

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.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 mussles 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.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.Yossy Arefi
Spicy Michelada

Spicy Michelada

For this take on a classic beer cocktail from Taqueria Mi Lindo Apatzingan in Rio Linda, Tajín (a Mexican seasoning blend of dried chiles, lime, and salt) adds both heat and tang.Dylan + Jeni
Beer-Braised Pork Belly

Beer-Braised Pork Belly Salad

This chile-rubbed, beer-braised pork belly is cooked until tender and served atop arugula and pears. Get the recipe for Beer-Braised Pork Belly Salad »Penny De Los Santos
Flemish Beef and Beer Stew (Carbonnade)

Flemish Beef and Beer Stew (Carbonnade)

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 »Barbara Ries
Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

A flavorful batter infused with honey, paprika, and lager beer is the secret to these crunchy onion rings.Todd Coleman
Roasted Parsnip Salad with Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette

Roasted Parsnip Salad with Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese, and Wheat Beer Vinaigrette

Parsnips offer sweetness, while spicy hazelnuts and coarse pumpernickel crumbs add crunch, to this modern salad from New German Cooking (Chronicle Books, January 2015) by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen.Ingalls Photography
Chavela (Mexican Beer with Tomato Juice)

Chavela (Mexican Beer with Tomato Juice)

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.Maxime Iattoni
Michelada Bloody Mary

Michelada Bloody Mary

Chef Rick Bayless suggested this recipe for a bloody mary made with beer, citrus, and tequila.Michael Kraus
English Sticky Toffee Pudding

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

In this version of the classic English dessert, adapted from one in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), dates are soaked in stout beer and then pureed, resulting in a super-moist crumb.Eilon Paz
Braised Rabbit with Mushrooms and Celery Root

Braised Rabbit with Mushrooms and Celery Root

Wild rabbit, a favorite among hunters in Kansas, is braised in beer and chicken stock to make this autumnal dish.James Oseland
Fried Anchovy-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Fried Anchovy-Stuffed 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.Landon Nordeman
Peach-Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Dijon-Peach Spread

Peach-Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Dijon-Peach Spread

Canned peaches melt deliciously into the braise for the pork shoulder in these satisfying sandwiches. Get the recipe for Peach-Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches »James Roper
Rye's Red Chili

Rye's Red Chili

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.Todd Coleman
Perfectly Melting Cheese Slice

Perfectly Melting Cheese Slice

Any cheese—Gruyere, blue, goat—can melt as evenly as American-style cheese, with this revelatory recipe from the cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, the home-cooking follow-up to their six-volume Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.Chris Hoover/Modernist Cuisine, LLC
Steamed Blue Crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs

Well-seasoned crabs steamed with beer and vinegar are an East Coast summer classic.Landon Nordeman
Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail (Refajo)

Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail (Refajo)

Crisp and bittersweet, this Colombian lager-based cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon around the grill.Helen Rosner
Beef Cheek and Stout Pie with Stilton Pastry, British Pies

Beef Cheek and Stout Pie with Stilton Pastry

"If making a pie, one should make it indulgent," says chef Daniel Doherty of London and New York's Duck & Waffle. He follows his own advice for this meat-stuffed pie with a pungent crust. Get the recipe for Beef Cheek and Stout Pie with Stilton Pastry »Bill Phelps

Six-Onion Pizza

Six-Onion Pizza
This sweet and savory pizza showcases the flavor of six kinds of onion.Todd Coleman
Venison Sausage Braised in Beer

Venison Sausage Braised in Beer

With carrots, leeks, apples, and savoy cabbage, venison sausage takes on a rich, yeasty flavor when braised in lager-style beer.Melanie Acevedo

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos
Adding beer to the batter helps the fish for these tacos fry up golden brown and lightly crispy.Penny De Los Santos