Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup - Vegetarian Style
Beer Cheese Soup at Its Best
If there are two things folks from Wisconsin know, they're beer and cheese. No doubt about it! And when you bring together really good cheese and a craft beer in a soup, you have a comfort food that will warm you right down to your toes. It's delicious for lunch or dinner, any time of the year.
I will share our version of an old beer cheese soup recipe - made Wisconsin style of course - adapted to fit our vegetarian eating choices. I hope you enjoy the recipe and get ready to serve up this warm bowl of soup with a fresh, hearty bread of your choice.
Photos on this page are my own.
Cook More with Real Wisconsin Cheese
This book absolutely makes my mouth water! It's a tour of Wisconsin's artisanal cheeses, plus recipes to make with every single one. This book is highly rated on Amazon, so even if you don't live in Wisconsin, you'll enjoy it and the recipes you find there.
Have you ever eaten Beer Cheese Soup?
Have you ever eaten Beer Cheese Soup?
The original recipe comes from an old cookbook called From Minnesota with Love (shhh! Don't tell anyone it's from Minnesota). We love the base recipe, but it called for chicken stock, fewer vegetables, and 3 cups of American cheese, which any true Wisconsinite will tell you is only "cheese food" and not real cheese. It adds the creaminess to make this soup work, but it's the Cheddar that adds the flavor (see my notes below about cheese).
So we made the adaptations to the recipe to make it a vegetarian cream soup dream!
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups diced potato
- 1.5 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup sliced carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 6 teaspoons instant vegetable bouillon or 6 bouillon cubes
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1.5 cups shredded American Cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 1.5 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup beer
- Combine water, vegetables, butter and bouillon in large saucepan.
- Heat to boiling; then reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Combine flour and milk in small bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually blend into simmering pot.
- Slowly add cheese, mustard and cayenne. Cook and stir just until cheese melts.
- Stir in beer; heat through. (real vegetable stock or broth can be used instead of bouillon and water.)
A Few Words about Cheese and Cheese Soups
There are a lot of cheese soup recipes out there that use things like pre-made cheese soups or Velveeta as the base to make them creamy. These products definitely make the soup-making process easy, but they add a lot of unnecessary transfats and sodium to your diet. I would never claim that the recipe I'm sharing here is healthy, but it's much better than those recipes that use these overly-processed, cheese-like products.
My favorite cheese to use in this recipe is a locally-made extra sharp cheddar, but you'll have to use what you have available where you live. The most important thing is that you use real cheese and that you like the flavor of the cheese(s) you choose. I encourage you to experiment with this recipe. Most recently, we used a shredded cheese blend from another Wisconsin-based cheese plant that included Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella cheeses, and it was outstanding.
Finally, if you can get your American cheese in a brick, do so. It melts into the soup much better if it's shredded. If you can only get it pre-sliced, make sure you break it up into small pieces before stirring it into the soup to make it easier for the cheese to melt down.
Needed: One Good Soup Pot
To make great soups, you need a great soup pot. I love this pot from Ecolution for its looks, its environmental awareness, and its ease of use. PFOA free non-stick coating is my new favorite thing - you can have nonstick washability without worrying about what else you're getting into your food.
Beer is added late in the process so the flavor still comes through. We typically use a handcrafted standard lager from one of the many Wisconsin craft breweries. We also like to play with the flavors. For example, a porter or stout adds a real richness to the recipe, with an extra flavor of warmth on a cold winter's day. The flavor of a hearty wheat beer or light lager makes it seem a little less heavy during the warmer seasons.
Again, play with flavors. Have fun with this recipe. We have our favorite combinations, but we've never made a batch we didn't like!
Share: Beer Cheese and Vegetable Soup travels and reheats well in a crockpot. I've never met anyone who doesn't love this soup, so it's great for potlucks, parties, and other gatherings. Make it one day and serve it the next. It's versatile! Just remember to warm it back up slowly and stir often so the cheese doesn't "break" - or separate into globby yuck and greasy fats.
Keep it all for yourself: My husband and I make a full batch, then eat it for days as lunchtime leftovers. It heats nicely in the microwave (in a glass dish, partially covered to avoid explosions that mess up your microwave). Then just stir it up. I love taking leftover hearty bread and dunking it in the soup.
Make Comfort Food for Your Next Potluck - Crockpots on Amazon
This programmable crock brings the idea of "set it and forget it" home again. This is a highly rated crockpot that's perfect for traveling or cooking your favorite meal(s) at home.
The latching lid is a great feature of this affordable slow cooker.
Crock pots aren't just functional anymore. They're beautiful too! You'll enjoy this pattern as much as the foods you cook in it.
More Vegetable Cheese Soup Recipe Ideas
Like I said, it is difficult to find cheese soups that don't call for using a canned cheese or a processed cheese-like product. American is the least authentic cheese I'm willing to use and still call it a cheese soup. I hope you like the real cheese recipes I included here!
- Creamy Bowl of Cheese & Vegetables
DAIRY, SUB VEG BROTH - Choose your favorite melty cheese to include in this recipe. The recipe suggests Gouda (consider smoked) or Edam and I do too.
- Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
DAIRY - This hearty recipe focuses on the many vegetables you put in. The cheesiness is a delicious vegetable delivery vehicle.
- Wisconsin Broccoli Cheddar Cheese
DAIRY - Sharp cheddar cheese makes this one perfect for game day or any other day.