Give this classic, creamy beer cheese soup a fun fall twist by adding a few fresh apples!
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 3 small apples, cored and roughly chopped (or 2 large apples)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup beer (we like a wit, a pilsner, or a light IPA here)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 cups)
- Extra shredded cheddar cheese
- Sliced green onions (scallions)
- Pepitas (what are pepitas?)
- Crispy Bacon Bits
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and celery to pot and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until onion has softened and veggies begin to brown.
- Add apples to pot and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes, until apples just begin to soften. Stir in a pinch of salt.
- Add flour, ground mustard, and paprika; stir to combine. Cook for 30-60 seconds to cook out any raw flour taste.
- Add beer to pot a little at a time, stirring well to break up any chunks of flour. Add stock and another pinch of salt; stir to combine.
- Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes until the veggies are tender and the apples are soft (you should be able to easily “smush” an apple piece by pressing it into the side of the pot with your spoon).
- Turn off the heat, then use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth. Always use caution when blending hot liquids; to avoid splattering, make sure the head of the immersion blender is completely submerged in the soup.
- Turn the heat back to medium, and let the soup simmer another 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired thickness.
- Turn off the heat. Stir heavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper into the soup until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. If the cheese starts to separate or the soup looks too grainy, blend it again with the immersion blender to smooth it all out.
- Taste soup; add extra salt or pepper if needed.
- Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with your favorite toppings, and serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Use sharp white cheddar cheese here if you like. You can also swap up to 1 cup of the cheddar cheese for smoked gouda, goat cheese, gruyere, fontina, or pepper jack cheeses. Use additional chicken or vegetable stock in place of beer, or use a nonalcoholic beer if you prefer. Use half and half instead of heavy cream if you like. You can use milk instead of cream if you need to, but the soup won’t be quite as thick.
How to measure beer. Pour beer into a liquid measuring cup until it's not quite at the 1-cup mark, let it sit for a few minutes to let any foam settle, then slowly add more beer to the measuring cup until it reaches the desired level (too much foam on top can give you an inaccurate measurement).
What kind of beer should I use? We like using pilsners, lagers, lighter IPAs, and wheat/wit beers in this recipe for best results. Super hoppy IPAs or heavy stouts and porters can overpower the other flavors here.
What kind of apples should I use? Apples that fall somewhere in the middle of the flavor spectrum (not too sweet, but not too tart) are best in this recipe. Granny smith apples are too tart here, and Red Delicious apples can border on too sweet. Apples vary WIDELY, so don’t be afraid to play around! We tested this recipe with Empire, Sansa, and Honeycrisp apples - all were delicious.
The final color of this soup will vary depending on the beer, stock, and cheese you use. In the photos above, we used a dark colored beer and store-bought veggie stock (which can run very orange-y); in our forthcoming how-to video, we used a lighter beer and homemade chicken stock, which resulted in a soup that was much lighter in color.
Adjusting the consistency. Once blended, if the soup is too thick, add a splash of stock or heavy cream to thin it out a bit. If the soup is too thin, let it simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the soup reaches your desired consistency.
Store leftover beer cheese soup in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To store, let soup cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Reheat soup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Use leftover soup as the base for a beer mac and cheese or serve it as a dipping sauce (like fondue!) with homemade soft pretzels, veggies, or sausage.
For a smoother soup, peel the apples before coring and dicing them. A strong immersion blender or countertop blender should give you a very smooth soup (even with the peels), but in our recipe testing we did notice a slight variation depending on which brand and style of immersion blender was used. If you’d like an even smoother texture, strain the blended soup through a mesh sieve or run it through the fine blade of a food mill before adding the heavy cream and shredded cheese.
No immersion blender? If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully transfer soup to a blender in batches and blend until smooth. Be sure to remove the center cap piece on your blender’s lid before blending to allow steam to escape - otherwise the steam can build up and pop the top off to make a huge mess. Cover the hole in the lid with a clean tea towel for a moment when you begin blending and again when you stop the blender to avoid splattering. Always follow the care instructions on your equipment and use caution when blending hot soups.
Keywords: beer, fall, bisque, creamy