Beer Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzels Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Beer Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzels

10 reviews / 4.5 average

Beer Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzels! WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO SAY. Creamy homemade comfort food.

Alright alright alright. Beer cheese soup, she says.

Beer cheese soup and soft pretzels is gonna change your dinner game this month. And lunch game. And snack game? I don't know, it's basically the same as soft pretzels dipped in queso, and that sounds pretty standard for snackage if you ask me.

This Beer Cheese Soup recipe is:

  • velvety smooth
  • low-key
  • just the right amount of spicy
  • ultra-cozy
  • smoky like it has bacon, but with no bacon (thank u paprika!)
  • not a total nutritional wash, because celery and bell peppers and stuff, right mom?
  • but also kind of an awesome splurge - it's beer cheese soup, for crying out loud.

How To Make Our Beer Cheese Soup:

Bowls of Beer Cheese Soup with spoonful.
Ingredients for Beer Cheese Soup in bowl.

This soup itself comes together fairly quickly. But I feel it's my job to be honest with you and the honest truth is that if I were still a teacher instead of a professional food eater, and if I were still getting home from work at 5pm, and if I were still recovering from the woes of the workday, I definitely would not have the energy to make soft pretzels from scratch AND casually whip up a pot of beer cheese soup.

I would suggest one of the following if you're hoping to enjoy both pretzels and beer cheese soup, but you happen to be strapped for time:

  1. Make semi-homemade pretzels (directions in the recipe).
  2. Make the soup the day before.
  3. Make your pretzels the day before.
  4. Make both on the weekend. You'll just have more time. ♡
  5. Quit your job! WORTH IT.

No, don't quit your job, okay?

But do try to make your pretzels from scratch. Doesn't have to be the first time around - maybe make some beer cheese soup a few times first to get comfy with it (no one will ever complain about beer cheese soup as homework) and then, when you're ready, whip up a batch of soft pretzels as your beer cheese soup side-hustle. I have full faith that you can make this happen and that you will not regret spending a little extra time in the kitchen for these. It is a borderline crime to enjoy one without the other.

Spoonful of Beer Cheese Soup in bowl.

But is it even worth talking about or did you just want to dive in headfirst to a luscious bowl of creamy cheese soup? OKAY THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT.

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Beer Cheese Soup with pretzel dipping in.

Beer Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzels

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings (makes 6-ish cups) 1x


This beer cheese soup is creamy, smokey, and velvety smooth - the perfect dunking situation for your soft pretzels.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • half an onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (adds a bacon-like flavor)
  • 1 bottle of beer (I used Blue Moon - just a basic wheat beer)
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk (high fat milk is better)
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot (see notes) over medium high heat. Add the vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, jalapeno, red pepper, smoked paprika). Saute for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add half of the beer and all of the broth. Bring to a low simmer.
  3. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour. Cook for 5-ish minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Add this butter-and-flour mixture to the simmering soup pot. Let the soup simmer for a few minutes. It should start to thicken. Slowly whisk in the milk and remaining beer. Simmer again for 5-10 minutes until creamy and slightly thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and wait for a few minutes for the soup to cool down slightly. Stir in the cheese until evenly melted. Season with salt and pepper. Grab your spoonssss!


Soft Pretzel Options:

  1. Homemade (recipe here)
  2. Semi-homemade (recipe here)
  3. Store-bought pretzel rolls. No judgement.

We recommend using a heavy pot for best results, like a enamel coated Dutch oven (affiliate link). We made this many times in a stainless steel pot and it always gave us chunky results (the cheese didn't melt smoothly).

Cheese Clump Warning: Don't add the cheese to your soup when it's piping hot. The cheese will not melt smoothly - it will clump up and get gritty. You just have to be gentle with the heat / cheese in order to get it perfectly smooth.

Instant Pot: Cook vegetables, beer, and broth for 10-15 minutes on high pressure. Release steam, turn off heat, and allow the soup to cool for 30 minutes (otherwise you're gonna get gritty, clumpy cheese). Make your roux on the stovetop. Whisk the roux into the Instant Pot and add the milk and cheese. (This has a differently, slightly less thick texture than the stovetop version. I found when I made this in the Instant Pot that it didn't really simmer to thicken the base of the soup, so therefore it didn't need as much liquid. I chose to just omit the other half of the beer, but you could omit some of the broth or milk as well.)

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: beer cheese soup, soup recipe, beer cheese, pretzel recipe

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is great, been looking forward to this all weekend since I saw you making these on IG. I think hubby will will heart me forever if I make these for him:)

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Step 1 references “chipotle”, but I do not see that in the ingredients.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey there
    Can I skip or change the milk? Would love to try this recipe but got a dairy allergy (not affected by cheese!) and can not ingest any milk

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Unfortunately the milk is pretty vital to the recipe, but you could maybe give a non-dairy milk a try. The high fat content of whole milk helps bring it together, so you might not get quite the same result in texture/creaminess. Would love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hope this isn’t too dorky of a question, but what would happen if I left out the beer? Can I substitute something else or is this essential?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This looks amazing, I just ordered beer cheese w/ giant pretzel at one of our local small town restaurants. Cant wait to make this at home. For those asking to leave out the beer, they can substitute with a non-alcoholic beer.

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just had someone reach out to me to try and find a beer cheese soup recipe from a local historical establishment. Then, I see this beauty.

    I am pretty sure that the universe is telling me I need beer cheese soup.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can I leave out the celery and Jalepeño or would it change the flavor too much? And if I wanted to add bacon how much and when would I incorporate it?
    Making it this weekend! Can’t wait!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Bekah! Feel free to leave those out if you’d like. We’d probably cook up the bacon in the pot before the soup ingredients go in and then remove it to add at the end, and then use the bacon fat to saute the veggies. 🙂

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Definitely making this tonight. Our local Fred Meyer has yummy pretzels in the bakery section you can just bake in the oven. Not as good as homemade, but will be an easier alternative for this teacher, and perfect for dipping while watching the Men’s Snowboarding tonight.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great soup with the soft pretzels. I made half a recipe for the pretzels but the entire soup recipe. Great dinner for our cold and snowy day.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    My husband took one bite and said, “This is the best beer cheese soup I’ve ever had, and it doesn’t make you feel unhealthy.” Thanks for a great recipe!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks for the tip on not adding the cheese to quickly, I think that is my downfall when making mac & cheese. I add it too quickly and it gets gritty. I am going to have to give both of these a try. Love that they both don’t take too much time to make. I am hoping to find a smoked cheddar at the store today. plus I love that you include the nutrition info.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow I would really love to try this!
    Can you tell me the difference between the cheddar and smoked cheddar? I live in The Netherlands and we have plenty of cheese to choose from but not the cheddar kinds.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Gouda works well. Edamer would also work well or even a Munster.

      The smoked cheddar has had additional curing in a smokehouse. Again, if you can get a smoked Gouda, that’s an excellent replacement. In fact, that’s what I used tonight when I tried the recipe because it’s what I found in the store that was smoked. I’m guessing you also can’t get a product called liquid smoke that adds a smoky flavor.

      It’s no wonder Europeans think so poorly of cheddar when the only cheddar you have available pales in comparison to a good cheddar from the US. Choose a good, rich cheese that you like and don’t worry about cheddar.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I was thinking I’d replace the regular cheddar with some gruyere. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    any tips for fixing the texture if you make the mistake of adding the cheese when it’s too hot? my turned out gritty and I tried adding a little more milk to try and smooth it out but that didn’t seem to help