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Mac and Cheese Beer Soup

Cheesy, hoppy, rich, and savory, Mac and Cheese Beer Soup is pure winter comfort soup for grown-ups!

Overhead view of Mac and Cheese Beer Soup in a large Dutch oven.

Soup-lovin’ Friends, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to wrap 2016 in a brown paper bag, bind it up with rope and those fancy knots I’d have to Google to learn how to make, and kick it to the curb.

And maybe further down the street.

2016 was a hot mess on multiple fronts, and I’ll just be glad to see it in the rearview mirror this weekend, because fresh starts feel so damn good. Even though it’s just another day on the calendar, really, the psychological pop of beginning anew is revitalizing and outlook-shifting.

Another chance to do things better. Cooking, photography. Gardening. Friends and family. Health. Life.

I can’t wait!

Close-up of a spoonful of Mac & Cheese Beer Soup.

But between now and that annual magical milestone, let’s pull up a seat at the table and chow down on some hearty winter Mac and Cheese Beer soup!

Oh, speaking of winter, it was 71°F today — officially warmer outside than in my house! — and not only was that a record, but warm breezes made it feel strangely spring-like.

It was just for one day, but I’ll take it, because when I watched the evening news and saw the blizzards up in the Dakotas … hokey smokes. They don’t have snow, they have SSNNOOWW. And eventually, it will be coming to the Ohio Valley.

Close-up of Mac and Cheese Beer Soup in a soup pot.

As for today’s soup … I must emphasize that this isn’t just soupy mac and cheese. No, that’s just gross.

No, this is a full-flavored soup made creamy with cheeses and hearty with pasta, and extra tasty with a long pour of beer.

Lots more tasty goodness is built right in, thanks to the addition of savory vegetables. Not that this is health soup, lol. It’s simply that vegetables add soooo much flavor and texture to soups, and they take even mac and cheese to a whole ‘nother level.

Can you make Mac and Cheese Beer Soup for the kids? Absolutely. Like most alcohol, most of it will burn off during cooking, and you’ll be left with a vague beer tang that adds a little extra oomph.

But of course, you can substitute the beer with more chicken broth. And if you must, you can also replace the bright and bold peppers with something a little more vegetable invisible, like finely chopped celery and carrots. I would keep something in there, though, otherwise it will just taste like soupy mac and cheese which is, you know, gross, lol.

And this soup should be anything but gross, because … mac and cheese in a savory, beery broth = happy dance

Angled view of a bowl of Mac and Cheese Beer Soup with a spoon.

Before signing off for the year, I just wanted to say Thank You for reading this blog, whether regularly or now-and-then. I love cooking, I love soup, and I love writing about both, so it’s immensely gratifying when peeps from near and far visit, leave comments, connect on social media, and share my recipes with their friends and family. Amazing, actually, to know that we’re just a few clicks away from each other, even though we may be miles or oceans apart on a map.

People who love food are the best, sez me, and I can’t wait to share more recipes with you in the New Year. Oh, the soups I have planned!

See you then! 🙂

Karen xo
A bowl of Mac and Cheese Beer Soup
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Mac and Cheese Beer Soup

Cheesy, hoppy, rich and savory, Mac and Cheese Beer Soup is the perfect winter comfort soup for grown-ups!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beer cheese, mac and cheese, mac and cheese soup
Servings: 4 generous servings
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 2 cups dried elbow pasta

for the soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus an extra splash
  • 1/2 of a small/medium onion chopped
  • 1 small leek chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped (use half if pepper is large)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup 8 ounces beer
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

for the roux

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups grated flavorful cheese e.g., sharp cheddar, asiago, fontina, gouda – a mix is nice


  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions, undercooking the pasta slightly. Drain, and set aside.

for the soup:

  • Heat olive oil in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium until shimmering. Add the onions, leeks, and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent (4 to 5 minutes). Add the garlic, and stir until fragrant.
  • Scootch the vegetables to one side of the pan and add a splash of olive oil to the cleared space. Sprink the paprkia, turmeric, and a pinch of salt over the oil, and stir to create a loose paste. Mix in with the vegetables.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, and add the beer. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the broth, and bring all to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

for the roux

  • While the soup simmers, heat the butter in a small sauce pot over medium until melted. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and mustard, mixing well into the flour paste. Add the milk 1/4 cup at a time, combining thoroughly with the flour paste until the flour smooths out to a thick, but fluid, consistency.
  • Remove the roux from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely incorporated into the sauce.

finish the soup

  • Pour the cheese sauce into the soup and stir until thickened. Add the drained pasta. Top the soup with a few grinds of black pepper. Taste, and add more salt as needed.
  • Serve immediately.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Recipe Rating

velva-tomatoes on the vine

Tuesday 27th of December 2016

Happy New Year!Y es, there is definitely something about starting a new year. There have been a lot of changes in our house too. I am ready for 2017! I am hoping to spend some of my time cooking and in the garden too.

looking forward to enjoying all your new posts.


Tuesday 27th of December 2016

Hi Velva, I've been majorly jealous of your Meyer lemons, btw ;) but so happy for you that you've left the rat race and can focus on the things that matter most!


Tuesday 27th of December 2016

This looks delicious!!! I've never cooked with beer before, what kind do you recommend?


Tuesday 27th of December 2016

Hi Lindsay, We have lots of young microbreweries here in Cincinnati - and shops that sell the mind-boggling array of options ;) - so I always use a local brew. If you're a beer fan, I would just use something you like to drink (following the cooking-with-wine advice). I'm not particularly fond of beer (aaaannd all my German ancestors just rolled over in their graves), so I usually go for something that looks rich and dark. But I think I've even made this with pumpkin beer once (I know, sounds iffy, right? Turned out a-okay), so, I don't think you can make a wrong pick.