Cheddar Ale Soup




So this isn’t a “light” recipe.  This isn’t one to have before you are going on a beach vacation (which I was, which then allowed me to have a momentary lapse of guilt when I donned the swimsuit I hadn’t worn in over a year—ooops).  And it’s not one that I felt like *trying* to make healthier (you’ll find that this vegetarian version of this soup IS a bit healthier than the original).

It is what it is.

A rustic, Wisconsin-proud, autumn/football/wear a fuzzy sweater kind of soup.

Yeah.  Sometimes you need one of those.  And this one is pretty satisfying when you need a dietary-bring-it-on-kind-of-indulgement.

I couldn’t stop eating the leftovers with this one (for the leftovers, I slowly reheated mine over low heat, stirring constantly).  I had some small pretzel rolls stashed in my freezer that went perfectly with this.   And, of course, since popcorn is a much-loved staple in my diet, throwing some on top pretty much made it the icing on the cake.

You can’t go wrong here, really, if you like beer and cheese. (Sidenote: when I interviewed for my job here in Wisconsin, I was told that in order to live here, especially in Milwaukee, I needed to have a true love for beer and cheese.   Not a tough requirement for me.  “Well,” I thought, “I’ll fit just like a glove.”)






Cheddar Ale Soup

Servings: 6-8



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 carrots, grated and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 bottle (355 ml) beer, of your choice.  I recommend an IPA (you know, for the whole “Ale” part of the title).

1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

2 cups milk (I used skim)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 and 1/4 pound cheddar cheese, grated (I used a combination of sharp and medium cheddars)



1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.

2. Add the onion, carrots and celery, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or so, until they are softened.

3. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Add the beer and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add the Worcestershire sauce, milk and broth, stirring constantly.

7. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

8. Remove the pot from the heat (or turn off the heat) and (very carefully) puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.  Alternatively, puree in a blender in batches (please be careful).

9. Return the pot to the stove over medium-low heat and add the cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the cheese is completely melted. (Don’t let the soup boil-it will mess with your cheese smoothness.) Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.


Source:  Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

October 31, 2013 - 11:32 am

Maria Tadic - I’ve never had a beer and cheddar soup! But I’ve always wanted to try it! Question tho…my husband loves IPA’s and I dislike them a lot! Way to strong. Does the flavor from the IPA really stand out? Or could I go with another more mild beer?

October 31, 2013 - 11:49 am

Holly - This looks so yummy!! And the boyfriend would be a fan just for the fact that it would get me to buy some IPAs (which he loves and I do not).
Also, I didn’t realize you were a fellow Wisconsinite (Wisconsonian?) — been following your blog for quite awhile and somehow never put that together. :]

October 31, 2013 - 2:42 pm

srlacy - Hey Maria-
It’s definitely got that strong ale flavor (but it honestly kind of balances out with all that glorious cheese). You could definitely substitute in another kind of beer. I’m not usually an IPA fan either, but I actually liked the flavor profile here with it. 🙂

October 31, 2013 - 3:51 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - This looks awesome! I love the ale in it 🙂

October 31, 2013 - 6:04 pm

Joanne - Those popcorn croutons are seriously adorable. We all need a totally indulgent meal every once in a while…and this fits the bill!

October 31, 2013 - 6:56 pm

Chelsea - This seriously looks incredible! I cannot wait to make it. Thanks for sharing such a delicious soup!

November 6, 2013 - 12:32 pm

Jess - This is a classy way to do the Wisco beer & cheese thing. Yum!

November 7, 2013 - 5:00 am

Whole Wheat Beer Cheese Bread » The Curvy Carrot - […] know I just posted a Cheddar Ale Soup.  But I’ve kind of been on a serious beer/cheese kick lately.   I think it’s the […]

March 10, 2015 - 12:45 pm

Dave - This was a great base recipe…I played with it a bit to put a spicy twist on it, but I’m sure it would have been delicious as is. The texture is spot-on and awesome.

I subbed out the IPA for an amber ale because I generally don’t like the way the bittering hops linger even after cooking, and I added a couple jalapenos to the aromatics and then a couple chipotles to the softened veggies before simmering/blending. I also subbed out 1 tsp of liquid smoke for the 1 tbsp Worcestershire to continue with the smokey/spicy vibe. Lastly, I subbed out 1/4 lb of cheddar for a habanero cheddarjack blend I like.

The soup got rave reviews, and I have definitely bookmarked this for future use, both as-is and further tweakings. Thanks!