*Cozy October is Here!
Here at PWWB, we always crave warm & hearty dishes as the seasons change. This month we’re featuring our favorite comfort food meals to cozy up with on a chilly evening. From long braises to simple, nostalgic flavors – & plenty of pasta! – Cozy October explores the many ways food brings joy & comfort this fall. ♡
Navigate This Post
Adding Beer to Broccoli Cheese Soup is the Ultimate Wisconsin-Style Twist! 🍻🧀
My absolute favorite cold weather meal is a cozy bowl of soup. While some people are very “soup isn’t a full meal” (ahem, Chris, ahem), I’m fiercely the opposite. & this particular recipe is pretty much TWO soups in one – it’s hard to get more satisfying than that! 😉
Broccoli cheddar soup & beer cheese soup are 2 of the most iconic classic soups here in the Midwest. We’ve brought them together in this recipe, using a dark, malty beer to give classic broccoli cheese soup some extra richness & an earthy complexity. It’s like the ultimate broccoli cheese soup recipe with the BEST Wisconsin-style secret ingredient. 🤫
As a born & raised Wisconsinite, beer is one of my favorite secret ingredients for added flavor – PWWB faves like Beer Brats, Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball, & Beer-Braised Carnitas use it too! You’d honestly never guess there was beer in this broccoli cheese soup if you didn’t know, but it adds a lot.
Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup Recipe Highlights
We originally shared this recipe back in 2018. We love it so much that we’ve updated it with a few more flavor-boosting ingredients & improved directions. This version makes use of a russet potato for creaminess, a bit of Worcestershire for depth, & freshly grated nutmeg for a special finishing touch.
The result is a broccoli beer cheese soup that’s straight-up obsession-worthy. It’s…
ONE-POT PREP. Soups are the ultimate one-pot wonder! Build & simmer broccoli beer cheese soup all in one pot for easy clean-up & minimal dishes to wash at the end of the night.
A COMFORT FOOD MASHUP. This recipe has all the best components of 2 iconic Midwest soups – Wisconsin beer cheese soup + classic broccoli cheddar soup. It’s creamy, cheesy, & super cozy!
LOW-KEY FLAVOR LOADED. Rich & malty beer adds a subtle earthiness to classic broccoli cheese soup – you can’t necessarily tell it’s there, but you’ll definitely notice the difference it makes!
Cheers to next-level broccoli cheddar soup! 🍻 ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Beer Cheese Broccoli Cheddar Soup, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Beer – I recommend choosing a dark, malty beer for beer cheese broccoli soup. Think a brown ale, dark lager, or porter – these will have a more earthy & complex flavor than, say, an amber, IPA, or pale ale. See the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!
- Veggies – Broccoli is a must, of course. But we’ll also use some yellow onion, carrots, & a russet potato for extra veggies!
- Spices & aromatics – Some garlic, mustard powder, & paprika add aromatic flavor & a tiny bit of heat. Nutmeg adds warmth & special “oooh what is that?!” kind of finishing touch.
- Cheddar cheese – I highly recommend buying a block of high-quality cheddar & grating it yourself for this recipe. This creates much better melty results than using pre-shredded cheese, as store-bought shredded cheeses are often packaged with an anti-caking agent that hinders melt-ability.
- Worcestershire sauce – My favorite pantry-staple umami flavor bomb! The littlest bit adds a ton of rich depth, which is so helpful for a quick-cooking soup recipe.
- Vegetable broth – I opt for a vegetable broth, which keeps this broccoli & cheese soup recipe entirely vegetarian. If you only have chicken broth or chicken stock on hand, feel free to use it instead!
- Heavy cream – To finish the soup with extra creaminess. You can easily use a little sour cream or cream cheese instead if you prefer.
Meal Prep Tip!
This broccoli cheese soup recipe moves fast once you get the stove turned on! I highly recommend taking care of all chopping & measuring beforehand. With mise en place out of the way, you can focus on building the soup once you begin cooking, without worrying about multitasking. Dice the broccoli, onion, carrot, & potatoes & grate your cheddar cheese ahead of time, then you’re good to go.
How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup with Beer
This one-pot dinner comes together quickly & simmers on the stovetop in under 1 hour. It’s one of my favorite easy soup recipes to make on a chilly winter day!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Soften the broccoli. This recipe uses both the broccoli florets & stems so no part goes to waste – it’s all delicious! 🥦 Soften onion in melted butter, then add the broccoli. Once it’s vibrant green, stir in a little garlic. Tip! ⇢ Transfer the veggie mixture to a plate set aside. No need to dirty another soup pot, just keep building the soup in this one!
Build a roux. Melt butter in the pot & turn up the heat. Sprinkle some flour over top & whisk constantly until the mixture turns golden-brown. Why? ⇢ This mixture is a roux! It’s a simple way to thicken the soup for classic creamy texture.
Add the beer. Slowly pour the beer into the pot with the roux, whisking to remove any lumps. Simmer, allowing the liquid to reduce slightly. Why? ⇢ This step captures the rich flavors of the beer while burning off its alcohol. It’s exactly like how you’d deglaze a pan with wine to infuse more flavor!
Build & simmer the soup. Build the soup with vegetable stock, grated carrots, potato, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, smoked paprika, & ⅔ of the broccoli mixture. Allow the earthy & aromatic flavors to meld together – this is where everything really starts to build!
Tips for Blending Soup
Once the veggies are totally softened & tender, blend the mixture to create the signature smooth & creamy texture of broccoli cheddar & beer cheese soups. There are 2 options for blending your broccoli cheese soup:
- Use an immersion blender. As its name suggests, you can place an immersion blender directly into the pot to blend – nice & easy! Be sure to take the soup off the heat, then work slowly & carefully to blend the soup until smooth. Tip! ⇢ Avoid splatter by turning the immersion blender on only once it’s fully submerged in the broccoli cheese soup.
- Transfer the soup to a stand blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender on hand, no worries! A stand blender, like Vitamix, works well too. Be sure to work in batches to avoid overfilling the blender, remove the cap from the center of the lid, & securely hold a thick kitchen towel over the lid as you blend. Return the blended soup to the pot when for its finishing touches!
Finishing Touches & Serving Suggestions
Finishing the blended broccoli cheese soup.
- With the pot over medium-low heat, add the heavy cream & reserved broccoli. While blending broke down most of the broccoli, leaving pretty speckles of green throughout, adding some larger pieces back in gives the soup a bit more texture.
- Working one handful at a time, mix in the shredded cheddar cheese. It’s best to turn the burner off at this point since the cheese is delicate & we want it to gently melt into the soup without breaking.
- Finish with a touch of nutmeg for a bit of unexpected spice & warmth (it’s a classic broccoli cheddar secret ingredient!).
I love topping each bowl of soup with some extra shredded cheese for serving – there’s no such thing as too much cheese at our house! If you like a little garnish, crispy croutons, thinly sliced chives or green onions, or a few fresh thyme leaves are always welcome additions.
Grab a big spoon & enjoy with some buttered crusty bread or a pretzel roll for dipping. Every spoonful will warm you up from the inside out – there’s nothing better on a cold winter day!
Storing & Reheating Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup
One of the reasons I love soup so much is because it makes the best leftovers. Making a big pot & eating it throughout the week is one of my all-time fave cozy season meal prep moves.
Storage & Reheating
Leftover broccoli cheese soup lasts in the fridge up to 5 days, exactly 1 whole week of WFH lunches. 😋
Simply reheat your soup in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of vegetable stock or water to loosen things up. Thick soups with dairy need a bit of extra liquid & a few stirs to get back to their original consistency.
Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!
Thoughts on Freezing
Since this soup is dairy-heavy, I do not recommend freezing any leftovers. All the cheese & cream break easily after freezing & thawing, affecting the soup’s creamy & velvety texture. It simply won’t be as smooth & creamy as when it’s fresh off the stove!
If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat all the leftovers, feel free to cut this recipe in half. A half batch yields 2-3 generous servings.
I can’t wait for you to try this Beer Cheese Broccoli Cheddar Soup! It’s insanely rich & comforting – just the type of meal to warm you up from the inside out on a cold day. I think you’ll love it just as much as we do!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!]
Psyched for Soup Season?
Soup Recipes to Simmer All Winter Long!
We take soup season pretty seriously here at PWWB, & this particular Beer Cheese Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe remixes 2 beloved Midwest soups into 1 seriously epic meal!
It’s essentially a pretty classic broccoli cheese soup recipe – loaded with broccoli, carrots, & a little potato to help build creamy texture – but we’ve enhanced its flavor with the best Wisconsin-style flavor booster…beer!
As a born & raised Wisconsinite, beer is one of my favorite secret ingredients for added flavor. It layers this soup with beautiful rich & earthy complexity. You can’t necessarily tell it’s there, but you’ll definitely notice the difference it makes in the overall flavor of the soup! For best results, use a dark & malty beer, which tends to have more complex flavors that lend well to cooking. See the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Aside from picking the right beer, the other ingredient you’ll want to be a little more selective about is the cheese. As you might imagine, the quality of cheese you use has a pretty big effect on the overall flavor of the broccoli cheddar beer cheese soup. Be sure to grab a block of nice sharp cheddar – yellow or white, whatever you prefer – & shred it yourself. See the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Happy Soup Season! ♡
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 medium head fresh broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized pieces and stems peeled & diced(approx. 4 heaping cups or 1 pound)
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces dark, malty beer (see Recipe Notes)
- 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 2 medium carrots, peeled as desired & grated
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled & diced
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder (can sub 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard)
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded (approx. 3 cups shredded, see Recipe Notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Prep: Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above – once you begin cooking, this beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup comes together pretty quickly so it’s helpful to get any chopping & measuring done ahead of time. Dice 1 yellow onion, break down 1 head of broccoli, peel & dice 1 potato, shred 12 ounces cheese, measure liquid ingredients, etc. Place everything within arm’s reach of the stove.
- Soften the broccoli: Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the onion, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add in the broccoli, seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired, & cook, stirring occasionally, until vibrantly green & slightly softened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Carefully transfer the broccoli mixture to a plate & set aside.
- Build the roux: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the same pot, increasing heat to medium-high. Once melted, sprinkle the flour over top, whisking vigorously to eliminate any lumps. Cook the roux for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Slowly pour the beer into the pot, whisking constantly to eliminate any lumps in the roux. Simmer 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beer is fragrant & reduced slightly.
- Build & simmer the soup: Stir in the vegetable stock, grated carrots, diced potato, Worcestershire, mustard powder, smoked paprika, & about 2/3 of the reserved broccoli mixture from Step 2. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer & simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the veggies are very tender & the soup is thickened some.
- Blend the soup: Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth & creamy, or to your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can also carefully transfer the soup into a stand blender. If so, remember to blend with caution. Work in batches to ensure the blender jar is never more than 2/3 full & be sure to remove the cap from the center of the lid. Place a thick kitchen towel over the hole & securely hold it in place as you blend the soup. Return the soup to the pot & heat to a gentle simmer.
- Finishing touches: Remove soup from heat and add the remaining broccoli mixture from Step 2 back into the pot, along with the heavy cream. Working 1 handful at a time, slowly stir the cheese into the soup, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next handful. Stir in the grated nutmeg. Taste & season with additional salt & ground black pepper as desired.
- Serve immediately, ladling the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with extra shredded cheese & serve alongside some buttered crusty bread as desired. Enjoy!
- Ingredient Notes:
- Beer: For best results, choose a dark, malty beer for this beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup (e.g. brown ale, dark ale, strong ale, dark lager, bock, porter, etc.), which tend to have earthier & more complex flavor than hoppy beers (e.g. amber, ESB, IPA, pale ale, etc.). This is especially important for cooking – once the beer’s alcohol is cooked off, we really want its flavor to come through. I developed this recipe using Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen, though any other dark, malty beer will work well. Learn more HERE.
- Cheese: The quality of cheese you use to make this beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup has a pretty big effect in the overall flavor of the soup. Be sure to grab a block of nice sharp cheddar – yellow or white, whatever you prefer. The cheese doesn’t have to be extremely premium & high-end, but opt for something on the slightly nicer end of the spectrum. It’s also important to buy a block of cheese & grate it yourself instead of buying a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Store-bought shredded cheeses are often coated in anti-caking agents to prevent them from clumping in the bag – unfortunately, it also prevents them from melting down into a silky-smooth soup.
- Bacon: If you’ve enjoyed our original recipe, you might notice an absence of bacon in this updated version. When I retested the recipe, I noticed the bacon got a little lost in all the other rich flavors happening in the soup, so I’ve opted to eliminate it for more streamlined cooking. If you want to add bacon, feel free! Render thinly sliced bacon in the soup pot before softening the veggies in Step 2. Once it’s crispy, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, then add a little butter to the pot as needed & continue to cook the recipe as directed. To serve, garnish each bowl with crispy bacon bits.
- Storage & Freezing:
- Storage & Reheating: Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through, adding in an extra splash of vegetable stock or water as needed to help achieve your desired consistency.
- Freezing: Given the amount of dairy & cheese in this beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup, I do not recommend freezing any leftovers. The soup may break as it freezes, making the consistency of the thawed soup less than ideal. If you don’t think you’ll get to all of your leftovers, simply prepare a half batch.
- 15-Minute Meal Prep: Once you’ve got all of the components prepared & ready to go, this beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup comes together with very little hands-on time required. To make this an even faster weeknight dinner, eliminate active prep time by prepping a few things in advance:
- Prepare the vegetables: Dice 1 yellow onion, break down 1 head of broccoli, & grate 2 medium carrots. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (10 minutes active).
- Shred 12 ounces cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (<5 minutes active prep).
Keywords: bacon beer cheese broccoli cheddar soup, broccoli cheese soup, beer cheese soup
Recipe and Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.