This easy beer mac and cheese recipe is ready in 30 minutes. Vegetarian.
If you like this recipe, don't miss Mac and Cheese 101!
It's DAY 3 of MAC AND CHEESE WEEK! Today's pick: beer mac and cheese.
Are you excited? Because I.AM.STOKED.
I'm even more excited because THIS mac and cheese recipe involves one of my most favorite things (besides mac and cheese).
And that would be beer.
Mac and cheese + beer + green onions = probably one of the greatest booze-related combinations in the world.
You can use just about any beer you want to change the flavor of this dish.
I like a good Pale Ale or a light IPA, but if you're a stout fan you can also use something like Guinness for a great, deep flavor.
This beer mac and cheese is also perfect for your favorite mix-ins: add bacon, sausage, grilled chicken, or your favorite veggies to make it a little heartier.
A quick mac and cheese primer
There are two main styles of macaroni and cheese: The French-leaning version builds a creamy sauce using a basic stovetop béchamel sauce (a flour-and-butter base - called a roux - with lots of milk). Southern mac and cheese is typically baked and sometimes features eggs or evaporated milk in addition to a blend of cheeses and seasonings.
The "right" way to make mac and cheese is different for everyone. Our mac and cheese recipes have plenty of riffs and mix-ins, and they lean towards the French style: excellent right off the stovetop or baked with breadcrumbs or extra cheese on top.
Easy beer mac and cheese, ready in 30 minutes.
- ¾ lb. pasta (I like to use cavatappi)
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 green onions, chopped (optional: chop 1 additional green onion for garnish)
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- ⅔ cup beer of your choice (see recipe notes).
- 1 and ⅓ cups milk (I used skim)
- 2.5 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente. When pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.
- Return pasta pot to stove over medium heat.
- Add butter to pot and heat until melted.
- Add green onions to butter and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute until onions have softened.
- Whisk flour into the butter to form a roux. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until roux is bubbling and has slightly darkened.
- Slowly add beer to roux, whisking constantly to work out any lumps.
- Slowly whisk milk into sauce, whisking constantly to work out any lumps.
- Cook sauce, whisking frequently, until mixture has thickened and is barely simmering, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss to coat.
- Top mac and cheese with additional green onions (optional) and serve immediately.
I used a Pale Ale in this recipe, but it's also good with pilsners, IPAs, or even Guinness. You can use any beer you like in this recipe, but keep in mind that the beer flavor does come through quite a bit, so the darker/heavier the beer, the heavier your mac and cheese will be. General rule of thumb: Use a beer you like to drink.
Feel free to mix up the cheeses in this recipe. You can use sharp cheddar, gruyere, or a mix of your favorite cheeses - just make sure that the total amount of shredded cheese is 2.5 cups as indicated in the recipe for best results. See Mac and Cheese 101 for suggestions on cheese substitutions.
Add bacon, grilled chicken, sausage, or your favorite veggies to this recipe to make it a little heartier. For specific customization ideas, see Mac and Cheese 101.
This post was recently updated to include new photos - don't worry if it looks a little bit different!
Keywords: pasta, beer sauce, cavatappi
MACARONI AND CHEESE WEEK LINEUP!!
Tuesday - White Cheddar Avocado Mac and Cheese
Wednesday - Beer Mac and Cheese
Thursday - White Cheddar Arugula Pesto Mac and Cheese