Beer Mac and Cheese

Small white plate of beer mac and cheese.

Upgrade your fall menu with this delicious Beer Mac and Cheese. A rich, hoppy beer cheese sauce tossed with perfectly cooked pasta and topped with cracker crumbs makes the best side dish.

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Just when you thought homemade mac and cheese couldn’t get any better, we decided to add beer to the mix. This makes it perfect for game day and big gatherings.

It’s also a great option for the upcoming holidays if you want to add something extra delicious to your usual menu. With two cheeses, a hit of beer at the end and a crumbly topping, what’s not to love?!

Large white baking skillet filled with beer mac and cheese. Spoon resting in the dish.

Ingredients for Beer Mac and Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese is easier than you may think. Here’s what you need to whip up this recipe:

  • Pasta: Short cut pasta works best for homemade macaroni and cheese. Elbows, shells, cavatappi and penne are great options.
  • Butter: I like to use unsalted so I can better control the amount of salt in the sauce.
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Beer: We’ll talk about the best types of beer to use in the next section.
  • Milk: Whole milk is best to provide a thick and creamy sauce.
  • Cheese: I like sharp cheddar and provolone best in this recipe. The sharpness and smokiness add lots of flavor.
  • Ritz crackers: I like a crispy topping on my macaroni and cheese and ritz crackers provide the best crumb in my opinion. If you can find the “everything” seasoned ritz, I recommend them.
  • Smoked paprika: To combine with the cracker crumbs to add more smoky flavor.
Small white plate filled with beer cheese mac and cheese.

Best Beer for Beer Cheese

The best type of beer for this sauce is a pale ale or pilsner. One with some brightness and a little bit of bitterness pairs really nicely with the cheese.

If you go with something really hoppy, you will be able to taste it through the sauce. If you don’t want the flavor of hops throughout your sauce, go with a lager instead.

Straight down shot of beer mac and cheese on a small white round plate.

Make the Beer Cheese Sauce

Start by heating a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter and allow it to melt. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes to allow the raw flour taste to cook out.

Next, it’s time to add the beer. Whisk it in and cook, continuing to stir, until it starts to thicken.

Add half the milk and whisk until slightly thickened. Repeat with the remaining milk then season with salt and pepper.

Once the sauce is thick, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Large white skillet filled with beer mac and cheese with a spoon digging into it.

Finishing Touches

Add cooked pasta to a 13×9 pan then pour in the sauce. Toss until well coated.

Now it’s time to prepare the topping. Crush the crackers into fine crumbs and combine with the smoked paprika. Sprinkle over the top of the beer mac and cheese then bake for a few minutes, until hot, bubbly and golden.

Close up of beer mac and cheese on a small white plate.

More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes To Try

Small white plate of beer mac and cheese.
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Beer Mac and Cheese

Upgrade your fall menu with this delicious Beer Mac and Cheese. A rich, hoppy beer cheese sauce tossed with perfectly cooked pasta and topped with cracker crumbs makes the best side dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Active Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beer mac and cheese
Yield: 12 servings
Author: Meghan Payne-Hensley

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces short cut pasta
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 pound provolone, shredded
  • 3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions.
  • Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add butter and allow to melt. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper and cook for one minute. Add beer and whisk in well. Continue cooking, while whisking, until slightly thickened. Add half the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook until thickened. Add remaining milk and repeat process until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
  • Add pasta to a 13×9 pan. Pour cheese sauce over the pasta and stir until coated. In a small bowl, mix together the cracker crumbs and smoked paprika. Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake for 15 minutes.

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