Recipe for Cold Beer Cheese Spread

Beer cheese is one of those dishes that has an endless number of variations. About the only common ingredients are…beer and cheese. Some recipes are hot, some are cold. Some are spreads, some are dips, others are in-between. This beer cheese recipe is creamy and soft enough for a dip,  easy to slather on with a spreader and sturdy enough to stay put on a slippery pretzel or cracker. I won’t say it’s the perfect beer cheese recipe, but it’s darned close.

beer cheese and pretzels

How to make beer cheese spread

Beer Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of shredded sharp cheddar, room temperature
  • 1 brick of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 bottle of beer, room temperature – see below for suggestions
  • several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • salt
  • mustard, powdered
  • nutmeg, grated
  • cayenne, ground

Shred the cheddar and put into the food processor bowl with the cream cheese and butter. Pulse to begin combining. Scrap the sides of the food processor bowl down as needed. Once the cheeses and butter start to blend, slowly pour the beer in while the food processor is running. Stop and scrape as needed.

When those ingredients are thoroughly combined and smooth, add the remaining ingredients. Then run the food processor to mix them in.

Making beer cheese without a food processor

Use an electric mixer to break down the cheeses and combine them. The end product will be fairly uniform and smooth, even though there’s no heat.

Once the two cheeses are thoroughly combined, add the beer in 1/2 cup increments. Mix the beer into the cheese thoroughly before adding the next round. I find it’s easiest to use a wooden spoon to fold in the first few doses of beer, and then the mixer for the final rounds.

With the cheeses and the beer mixed completely, add the Worcestershire, lemon juice and seasonings, then blend to integrate.

Making beer cheese in a food processor versus with a mixer

If you want a chunkier finished product, use the mixer. It leaves more of the cheddar in chunks and has a thicker texture. The food processor creates a smoother finish. The mixer is best for beer cheese for spreads while the food processor makes the texture perfect for dipping.

A note about seasoning beer cheese:

Other than the salt, increase or omit the other seasonings if you don’t care for them. Personally, I like my beer cheese a bit spicy and I think cayenne and cheddar are a perfect combination – but not everyone is into spice. You can also add Tabasco for heat, if you prefer that.

In general, it’s pretty easy to customize the flavor of this beer cheese to your liking. The flavors will meld and develop the longer it sits, so if you’re  not planning to eat it right away, hold off on the final seasoning.

Other delicious additions include fresh herbs like dill, tarragon or thyme, or finely minced red bell peppers.

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What kind of cheese do you use for beer cheese?

Make this beer cheese with a very sharp cheddar. Honestly, the big brick of yellow cheddar from the dairy section is  ideal for this recipe – don’t waste a gorgeously crumbling artisan cheddar for this recipe.

Grate the entire pound of cheese by hand or with a food processor. Don’t buy shredded cheese for this, it won’t break down and become creamy. Plus, the flavor of freshly grated cheese is so much better. For the cream cheese, just buy a block of full-fat original.

Which beer do you put into beer cheese?

Since this recipe isn’t cooked, the full flavor, and alcohol, of the beer is going to be present in the finished product. Because of that you need to use a beer in your beer cheese that you enjoy the taste of. While you can (and should!) experiment with the way different beers will flavor the final dish, I like to use a  lager or ale.

My go-to choices for this are Sam Adam’s Boston Lager and Yuengling Traditional Lager but the sky’s the limit here. If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what beer you use!

What to do with homemade beer cheese

Of course you’re making beer cheese to eat. But this particular beer cheese recipe is perfectly suited to:

Sandwich spread – it’s thick and hearty enough to be the main deal on a sandwich, or just a delicious spread with meat or veg. Try it on these incredible sourdough rolls, as pictured.

Dip – if you’re using it for a dip, and I highly recommend that, let it come up to room temperature.

Charcuterie Board – it’s perfect on crackers and it pairs really well with cured meats, pickles and olives. Again, let it come up to room temperature first.

This beer cheese is definitely a thicker spread, not a runny dip, so bear that in mind when you’re planning how you’ll serve it. You can warm this beer cheese up and it will become nicely liquid and pourable but I don’t think that’s the ideal use for it.

recipe for beer cheese with pretzels

How to store beer cheese

Once the beer cheese is fully mixed up and you’re happy with the seasonings, stick it in a sealed container in the fridge. I suggest storing it in something like this lidded crock, which you can also serve it from.

The beer cheese will keep for several days. An important thing about this beer cheese recipe – the longer it sits, the more the flavors mellow and meld. Freshly mixed, the beer cheese is very tangy and the beer flavor is strong. Depending on your other pairings, you may want to serve it very fresh or let it age. If you’re planning to let it age, check the final seasoning after it’s done, since the flavors will change pretty dramatically.

It spreads easily on bread or a roll when cold but it’s best to bring it up to room temperature, or even warm it slightly on the stove if you’re going to use it as a dip.

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