This incredible Southwestern Cheddar Beer Soup is made with creamy Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar and is perfect for the cool weather ahead. It would be amazing served with a side salad or even a buttery baked potato. Shoot, you could even drizzle a little of the cheesy goodness on top of the potato if you’re feeling adventurous. Either way, it’s sure to warm your soul from the inside out.
It’s kinda funny how I can’t stand the taste of beer, yet at the same time, I absolutely adore Beer Can Chicken, Smoked Beer Brats, and even Beer Battered Fish. As of yesterday, I added Southwest Cheddar Beer Soup to my list. There’s just something about cooking with malt beverages that create a party for the senses.
I kicked up my classic Cheddar Beer Soup recipe by adding cumin, red bell peppers, and zesty jalapeño cheese to give it a southwestern flare. We like it extra spicy so I added cayenne and hot sauce but this is totally optional. For a pop of color – and a bunch of crunch – I went with tortilla strips as garnish.
I instantly fell in love with the smooth texture of Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar combined with the creamy milk and savory broth. I didn’t want the flavor of the beer to be overwhelming so I went with a light ale instead of a dark lager. What you use is entirely up to you. Just keep in mind, a darker beer will result in a stronger, more pronounced flavor.
This recipe for Southwestern Cheddar Beer Soup seems like it has a ton of ingredients but it really doesn’t. For me, I had most everything except the beer, tortilla strips, and red bell pepper. The Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar was delivered right to my doorstep (which is totally awesome because I didn’t want to have to wait until Christmas to buy it at the mall!).
Side note: I absolutely love that I can order my favorite Hickory Farms products year-round online!
Since you won’t have much time once things start rolling, be sure to have all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go beforehand. Chopping the veggies will be the most time-consuming part of the recipe (it takes all of 10 minutes). I think I ended up using just under two packages of the Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese so I shredded the rest and served it at the table for everyone to add to their soup.
Time to get cookin’!
You will need two pots (I know, I know – the extra dishes are totally worth it, I promise). There will be one for the veggies and the other will be for the cheese mixture. Make sure both pots are fairly large so you don’t run out of room like I did.
Most recipes say to add the milk directly to the roux but I have found that if you add stock (and in this case, beer also), that it will prevent the dairy from curdling. This also helps to keep everything nice and smooth without any grittiness. Once all the cheese is stirred in and has had a chance to fully melt, simply combine both pots and serve!
After I sat down to eat, I started thinking of all these garnish ideas that would go really well with Southwestern Cheddar Beer Soup. Some of my ideas were: Crispy Bacon, Croutons, Green Onions, Popcorn, and of course, Tortilla Strips (Tip: If you can’t find tortilla strips, just break up some tortilla chips, it’s practically the same thing!)
This Southwestern Cheddar Beer Soup is a winner in my book and I look forward to making it again. For the time being, I’m all set because I froze the leftovers to enjoy again in a few weeks!
What are some of your favorite soups that you’re looking forward to making this fall?
Southwestern Cheddar Beer Soup Recipe
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 40 min
- 3 cups Hickory Farms Farmhouse Cheddar, shredded
- 2 cups Hickory Farms Jalapeño and Cheddar Blend, shredded (Pepper Jack can also be used)
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 7 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, salt, pepper, and ground mustard
- 1 (12 oz) bottle of ale
- 3 cups milk
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
- Tortilla strips for garnish
- In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and garlic. Stir in the cumin, salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add half of the beer and 1/3 of the stock to deglaze the pan (you don’t have to be exact, just eyeball it). Turn to low while you prepare the cheese mixture.
For the roux and cheese mixture:
- *Note: Be sure to whisk continuously throughout the following process.
- In a high sided pot, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, constantly stirring to prevent it from scorching. Cook the roux until it has a nutty fragrance and has darkened slightly in color, about 5 minutes.
- While continuing to whisk, slowly add the remaining beer and the stock. Let this gently boil for another 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.
- Add the milk and let it come back to a gentle boil. Add in the cheese by the handful and stir until melted.
To finish the soup:
- Add the cheese mixture to the vegetables. Let this heat up to your liking and garnish with tortilla strips.
- Kick it up a notch by adding cayenne and hot sauce.
- This soup would also be great with diced potatoes, broccoli, or even shredded chicken stirred in!
- Would be excellent to serve with either a side salad or baked potato (ladle some of the soup over top of the potato for an extra treat!)
- Can’t find tortilla strips? Simply crush up tortilla chips instead!
Erin Fesperman is the editor, food stylist, and photographer of Faith Food Family Fun, an up-and-coming food blog which features weekly kitchen tips as well as a variety of mouth-watering recipes. She has a passion for cooking and has been creating exclusive content for Hickory Farms since 2015.