Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup
Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup is a rich, cheesy soup that tastes like it was made in a restaurant. It is great served with a pretzel bun for dipping! I include instructions for a gluten free option as well as low carb.
Every fall, my mom, aunt, sister, and I plan a shopping a trip to Main Street St. Charles. For many years, we have had lunch at Trailhead Brewery during our shopping day. I always ordered the Beer Cheese Soup and looked forward to having it on this yearly trip.
Last year, I wasn’t able to order the soup because I was avoiding gluten. This year, due to COVID we aren’t even doing our shopping trip at all, and now I have learned that Trailhead Brewery was replaced with Schlafly, which does not even have Beer Cheese Soup on the menu!
I decided it was time to develop a homemade recipe. This recipe can be made gluten free by using my favorite gluten free flour and a gluten free beer. Here’s a guide to the top 12 Gluten Free Beers!
I started with a recipe from Food & Wine, and pulled in elements from other recipes as well. This may look like a lot of ingredients, but the method is quite simple.
First, the vegetables are sauteed in butter a big stock pot or Dutch/French oven. Once softened, the vegetables are seasoned with garlic, dry mustard, thyme, and Worchestershire. Then, half the amount of beer is added and simmered until the volume is reduced by half. Next, the chicken broth is added to the mixture and brought back to a simmer. Note: if you prefer a smooth soup, you may use an immersion blender at this point.
I love a one pot meal as much as anyone, so I tried this recipe as a one pot method. I compared it to making a separate roux, and I prefer this extra step. Although it dirties a small skillet, it makes the soup extra creamy and smooth.
The roux is made by melting butter in a small skillet, then stirring in the flour and cooking for 2 minutes. The roux is then whisked into the soup, which is brought back to a simmer and cooked for about 8 minutes until thickened.
Finally, the heavy cream, cheeses, and remaining half beer is added to the soup and stirred until melted and creamy.
The girls LOVE pretzel buns and enjoyed dipping them in this soup.
Gluten Free Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup
To make this soup gluten free, choose a gluten free beer (here’s a list of the top rated gluten free beers) and use a cup-for-cup gluten free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
Low Carb Beer Cheese Soup
Choose a low carb beer such as Blue Moon Light Sky. Instead of using flour in the roux, you’ll use xanthan gum, but much less. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in the small skillet, then whisk in 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, then whisk in 1/4 teaspoon more and cook briefly before whisking into to the soup (total of 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for 4 tablespoons butter). The butter mixture will not be thick, it will just look like melted butter, but when whisked into the soup it will thicken quickly.
Looking for More Soup and Chili Recipes?
Check out these other Soups and Chilis:
Chicken Sonoma Stew
Simplified Chicken Tortilla Soup
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Leek and Potato Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup
Homemade Turkey Soup
Black Bean Soup
Low Carb White Chicken Chili
Classic Turkey Chili
Fancy Turkey Chili
Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- 5 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1 celery rib (chopped small)
- 1 carrot (peeled and chopped small)
- 1 small onion (chopped small)
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped small)
- 1 large jalapeno (ribs and seeds removed and minced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon Worchestershire
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 12 ounces beer (ale, lager, or pilsner )
- 2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup flour (see note)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar (shredded)
- 4 ounces smoked cheddar (shredded)
- Cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Green onions (sliced thin)
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large soup pot or Dutch/French oven. Saute celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in thyme and Worchestershire.
- Add half of the beer and bring to a simmer until volume of beer is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Then add the chicken broth and bring back to a simmer. If you prefer a smooth soup, use an immersion blender to puree at this step. If not, proceed with next step.
- In a separate small skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk this roux mixture into the soup and bring it to a simmer. Cook until the soup is thickened, approximately 8 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and cheeses and the rest of the beer. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Add a bit more broth if the soup is too thick for your preference.
- Serve with optional toppings of shredded cheese and sliced green onions.