Many of us are burrowing in our homes right now, and at the same time, we’re limited in our food options. Combine that with the fact that many find baking to be a stress reliever, and you’ve got a sort of oven-cooked renaissance. People who have never had the time or the interest are suddenly enjoying getting to experiment with cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and more. It’s helping us get creative with our time and resources, it’s helping us eat delicious things, and it’s helping us work through all our emotions as we set our focus on making scrumptious baked goods.
While some are going mad for sourdough bread, items that are a bit simpler and can actually be made in the same day are picking up even more traction -- beer bread is one item making its first of many appearances in kitchens across the country right now. Since another thing we’re all finding some much needed joy in right now (and, okay, always) is being able to enjoy craft beer at home while also supporting breweries we love, we started thinking about how to combine those two: there are tons of recipes out there for baking delectable meals and snacks, sweet and savory, with beer. From tropical cupcakes to versatile beer bread to indulgent macaroni and cheese, these are recipes so good and accessible, we have a feeling we’ll be whipping these up long after we’re able to leave the house more often. A new way to love lagers, stouts, and everything in between, these recipes are keepers.
More cheesy comfort food made even better with beer, anyone? Beer plays a role in the dough of this pizza recipe from Food52, which means you can get creative with the toppings and really do whatever you want based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.
A very helpful note from the creator of this recipe is that the trick is to warm up the beer before adding it to the dry ingredients. That hack will save you some less than stellar batches so you get something beautifully crisp on the outside, doughy on the inside from your first go. Food52 also points out that this recipe makes a lot of dough, so you can freeze half and have it ready to go for your future pizza-making needs -- super convenient. They use a brown ale, which could give your pizza dough some real depth. Brown ales are a bit roasty, and they have caramel and chocolate notes that would bake out to be just a touch of sweetness for some spicy sauce and toppings to play against. Something like the Black Sheep American Brown Ale from Arrowood Farms would work well.
Beer Cheese Mac
We didn’t even know you could make macaroni and cheese with beer, but isn’t life better now with this discovery? Smothered in beer cheese instead of just any old regular cheese, this dish is comfort food squared. In case you’re not familiar with beer cheese, it’s a southern favorite (Kentucky, to be precise) that’s made by combining sharp cheddar cheese, beer, garlic, pepper, and something to add a little heat, like cayenne.
This Beer Cheese Mac recipe from Delish leaves the beer ingredient open to interpretation. The traditional beer to use in beer cheese is a German lager or pilsner, thanks to the crackery, bready malt flavors and quietly spicy hop notes that will add complexity without overpowering any other elements. The Shower Beer Pilsner from Champion Brewing Company fits that bill perfectly (and it would pair pretty well with this dish when it comes time to dig in, too).
Honey Beer Bread
Beer bread is having a moment right now and we’d be happy if that moment lasted forever. It’s easier and quicker to make than something like sourdough, it doesn’t require yeast, and it does require beer. This recipe from Gimme Some Oven takes a luscious honey approach for a buttery finish. It’s also only six ingredients, so you can probably whip this up without making a grocery store trek.
Gimme Some Oven blogger Ali uses an IPA for this, which gives you a lot of flavor and aroma range for your bread. Depending on the IPA you choose, you could add quiet citrus and herbal notes. The Sliced Nectarine IPA from Moody Tongue Brewing Company would be a nice choice, especially if you play it up with one of Ali’s suggestions, fresh or dried rosemary.
Bamberg Stuffed Onion with Smoked Beer
A beer Instagrammer with a flair for cooking, @BrewGhoul recommends the Bamberg Onion, a dish she loves in and of itself as well as for its inclusion of traditional Bavarian brews that are close to her heart. This famous dish employs the Schlenkerla Smokebeer, but you can play around with smoky brews. Try Moody Tongue’s Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale, which provides smoky, earthy warmth.
This recipe from Craft Beer leaves the choice of smoky beer up to the home chef. While it calls for ground pork, @BrewGhoul also adds that the Bamberg Onion can be made with the meat of your choice. You stuff sautéed onions with meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, and spices, you bake them, and then you sit down to feast. You can create a gravy from the drippings, and you can serve the Bamberg Onion with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. What you should definitely do is pair it with a beer and pretend you’re in a rustic restaurant in Bavaria.
Soft Beer Pretzels with Beer Cheese Dip
A good soft pretzel is something many of us are missing from our favorite bars and breweries. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make yourself some chewy, salty pretzels to go with your beer right at home -- we dare say it’s even fun, and no one will judge how your twists come out. This recipe from Fox-and-Briar also includes a dip -- remember that beer cheese? It’s time to break that creamy goodness back out. Just like with the beer cheese, these pretzels call for a lager. A lager is perfectly bready with low-key flavors and aromas of hops that might be herbal, earthy, or fruity. Gay Beer’s Golden Lager would check all the right boxes with a touch of honey.
Triple Chocolate Stout Beer Brownies
Sometimes you just need to indulge your sweet tooth. You deserve something decadently chocolate, and this recipe from Food.com is just the ticket. These brownies have chopped semisweet chocolate and chopped white chocolate, and the addition of a stout makes them even richer and fudgier. This recipe uses a chocolate stout, but the way we see it, the possibilities are endless thanks to how creative breweries get with stouts.
The Brig Mocha Stout from Springdale Beer Company would add some roasty coffee notes. The On Fleek Imperial Stout from Stillwater Artisanal would add the caramel character of dark sugars and the spice of molasses. Moody Tongue’s Bourbon Barrel Gingerbread Imperial Stout would add the warmth of bourbon plus spicy gingerbread. The Wild Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Split Spread Imperial Stout from Evil Twin Brewing would add roastiness, nuttiness, and sweet banana.
Pineapple Pilsner Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
This fresh take on a classic comes from Jacquelyn Dodd Mallory, a.k.a. The Beeroness. The Beeroness is an expert on cooking and baking with beer. She’s written three beer cookbooks, contributes to food and drink magazines, and appears on TV to introduce viewers to beer-centric recipes. Her ideas demonstrate a true love of craft beer and they’re irresistibly inventive. As we cruise into spring and summer, Mallory’s Pineapple Pilsner Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Ginger Frosting really stand out. As she points out on The Beeroness, these treats are “like a tropical vacation that doesn’t require social distancing, but for your mouth.” We’ll take that trip!
For the cupcakes, you can use a pilsner, wheat ale, or pale ale -- something on the light end. Have some fun thinking about the flavors that the beer you pick might impart. For example, the OttoBahn Helles Lager from Mayflower Brewing Company will offer a hint of the flowery, spicy, minty notes of German hops Hallertauer and Tettnanger. Those qualities could create a nice, complex result with the acidic pineapple, sweet coconut, and spicy ginger happening with these cupcakes. Get the full recipe here.
Beer Doughnut HolesThis Beer and Baking doughnut hole recipe from Craft Beer is surprisingly simple and, you know, it ends in doughnut holes. Do any of us need more convincing? You could make these in your air fryer, but all you really need is a nice tall pot. This recipe used a Belgian dubbel, but this is the best part about these doughnut holes: you can pretty much go nuts picking your favorite brews and getting different flavors in the finished product. Avoid IPAs since very hoppy beers can turn a bit astringent in the high heat of frying. Turn your attention to something like the Earl Grey Wheat, a Belgian wit from Collective Arts Brewing that will treat your doughnuts to notes of bright citrus, fragrant tea, and spicy coriander.