Mac and Cheese Beer Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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.