Beer and Cheddar Soup


This creamy beer cheese soup is mildly spiced with jalapeños and enhanced by smoky bacon. Served with garlic toast, it's a comfort food classic.

Total Time:
45 mins
6 servings

When chef Jonathon Erdeljac opened his restaurant Jonathon's Oak Cliff in Dallas, he knew he wanted to serve this rich beer cheese soup. It's a favorite of his, especially with jalapeños and bacon stirred in. Garlic toasts take the soup over the edge, making this a full-on comfort dish. Slice the bread thick and toast lightly, keeping it soft like traditional garlic bread, or slice it a bit thinner and toast until completely crisp like croutons. To further accentuate the smoky flavors, sprinkle the bread with a bit of smoked paprika.

There are lots of options when it comes to selecting a beer for this recipe. Because the beer's flavor gets concentrated as it cooks, it's important to pick one that you enjoy. We recommend sticking with a light to medium-bodied beer that will not overtake the taste of the smoked cheddar, bacon, and jalapeño. Steer clear of anything very hoppy, as it will impart too much bitterness. Sweeter, maltier beers tend to be the most complementary — German beers are a great choice.


  • 1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3-inch thick and cut into 1/3-inch dice

  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager or pilsner, divided

  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

  • 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses, and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few more tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.

Beer-and-Cheddar Soup
© Con Poulos

Make ahead

The cheddar beer soup can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm gently and thin with additional broth.

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