This bacon beer cheese dip is like pub style beer cheese on steroids. It’s a bowl of ooey gooey goodness that tastes better when shared with friends. Whether you are hosting a holiday party, a summer time potluck, or need the best dip for this weekend’s tailgate party, this bacon beer cheese dip is the recipe you need. Warning: it will go quickly!
If you are a cheese lover like me, appetizers with cheese are a given when it comes to hosting get togethers at home. While a fancy cheese and charcuterie board is great for a dinner party, this bacon beer cheese is just the party app you need for a more casual gathering.
We start with a classic recipe for pub style beer cheese, with sharp cheddar and a hit of mustard, then crank it up a notch with the addition of bacon. It’s a hard to resist cheesy treat, that is party perfect.
Read on to learn how to make it, how to choose the best cheese and beer for beer cheese, and of course how to serve it. You can’t go wrong with bacon beer cheese.
How do I make bacon beer cheese dip?
To make homemade bacon beer cheese dip we start with my made from scratch version of pub style beer cheese. To add as much bacon flavor as possible, I made two major changes: swapping the butter for bacon fat and the addition of finely chopped bacon.
Cooking the Bacon
The first thing to do is make the bacon, as it must be fully cooked before you add it to the beer cheese dip. While I am a huge fan of the hands off method of oven bacon, for this recipe you get much better results by making the bacon in the same pan you plan to use for the beer cheese.
Chop up the bacon, pan fry it, then use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the grease and let it drain on paper towels. Once the bacon is out of the pan, carefully transfer the remaining grease into a mug or ramekin. Don’t throw it away just yet!
Gently scrape the pan with a rubber spatula, but don’t worry about removing those little bits of cooked on bacon. They will release as we build the sauce and add extra flavor.
Making the Roux
The next step is making a roux – that’s the simple fat and flour combination that will serve as the foundation for building this cheese sauce. Instead of adding butter or oil to this sauce, use the leftover bacon fat. You won’t need all of it, just two tablespoons.
Cook the roux a minute or two in order to get rid of the raw flour flavor, but don’t cook it too long or it won’t thicken as well.
Making the Bacon Beer Cheese Dip
From here it gets super simple. Add the milk and beer and whisk until it thickens. Then add the rest of the ingredients and give the cheese time to melt. Once you have a melty, cheesy dip, it’s time for the bacon.
Tip: Before you add the bacon, chop it again to make the pieces even smaller.
Raw bacon is hard to finely chop, but the finely chopped stuff does a much better job of sticking to your pretzel knots than the larger chunks. Before you stir the bacon into the beer cheese, reserve a bit to garnish the dip. Or not. The choice is up to you.
Choosing the best cheese for beer cheese dip.
The classic cheese choice for beer cheese dip is a sharp cheddar. Does that mean you must use cheddar? Not at all. You want to choose a cheese that isn’t too soft (like fresh mozzarella) or too hard (like aged parmesan). You definitely want something that melts well.
Outside of cheddar, I’ve had good luck with gouda, havarti, and pepper jack. Again, don’t go for the soft or aged versions of these cheeses.
Once you’ve decided what type of cheese to use, I recommend buying a block of it instead of using the pre-shredded stuff. Cheese that comes pre-shredded often includes cellulose or other anti-clumping agents. While they work great for keeping those shreds from sticking together, they prevent the cheese from getting perfectly gooey.
Don’t want to shred the cheese yourself? Chop it into half inch chunks instead. It’s quicker and will still melt just fine.
Picking the best beer for beer cheese dip.
The best beer for beer cheese is the one you already bought for drinking. Just like cooking with wine, you don’t want to choose a beer you don’t enjoy. Trust me, adding a bad beer to a good cheese dip will just leave you with sad beer cheese.
In our house we tend to keep different types of beer on hand depending on the time of year. I’ve successfully made bacon beer cheese with IPAs, lagers, pilsners, wheat beer, and even stouts. I would not recommend using something on the sweet or sour scale like a chocolate porter or a fruity gose, but just about anything else will work.
If in doubt, sip the beer and taste it with your cheese of choice. If it tastes good together, go for it! A good rule of thumb to follow: the darker and richer the flavor of the beer, equals the more flavor and color it will add to the beer cheese.
How should I serve bacon beer cheese dip?
Like any good dip, beer cheese dip needs something to dip in it. As any good pub menu will verify, the best dipper for beer cheese dip is soft pretzels. While it’s my first choice, soft pretzels aren’t always the easiest thing to find in grocery stores.
If I’m making this dip for a special occasion, I’ll happily go all out and make homemade pretzel knots. If I want beer cheese on a random Wednesday evening, I’d rather opt for something that takes a little less time and effort.
Some of my favorites are pretzels, pretzel chips, tortilla chips, whole wheat crackers, or even garlic knots from my favorite local pizza place.
Tips for serving and reheating:
- Bacon beer cheese dip should be served hot, so that it keeps it’s smooth texture.
- For easy party hosting, keep it in a small slow cooker or place it on a warmer.
- If it sits in a warmer/slow cooker too long, it can thicken. Add a little more milk and stir until smooth.
- You can make it a day in advance and reheat on the stovetop. Simply stir in a little extra milk to help smooth out the consistency.
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Bacon Beer Cheese Dip Recipe
Bacon beer cheese dip is as a classic, pub style beer cheese taken up a level with the addition of bacon. Made with classic sharp cheddar, it’s got a hint of mustard and worcestershire sauce. Serve it up warm with your favorite dippers at you next tailgate party, holiday get together, or any other excuse for entertaining.
For more fun party appetizer ideas check out this steamed artichokes with spicy peach mango sauce, loaded bruschetta, or sweet potato fritters (a reader favorite!) To see all my favorite party apps, check out my appetizer recipes.
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- 1/2 lb bacon
- 2 TBSP bacon fat
- 3 TBSP all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup beer of choice
- 1 TBSP worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp stone ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 7 ounces sharp cheddar cheese*
- Chop bacon and pan fry in a 4.5 quart dutch oven or 12" skillet. Once bacon reaches desired level of crispiness, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, placing on paper towels to drain.
- Carefully remove the hot bacon grease from the pan by pouring into a ramekin or coffee mug. Gently scrape with a rubber spatula to remove excess grease, but do not wash.
- Carefully measure 2 TBSP of the hot bacon grease back into the pan. The remaining bacon grease can be reserved for later, or allowed to harden then disposed of in the trash.
- Adjust the flame to medium low. Add the flour and whisk together with the bacon fat to make a roux. Allow to cook 1 - 2 minutes, until it turns a light golden brown.
- Whisk in the milk and beer, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all of the extra bits of bacon flavor from the bottom of the pan. As the mixture comes to a simmer, it will begin to thicken.
- Add in the worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Chop of shred the cheese, then stir into the sauce, allowing the cheese time to melt completely.
- Chop the now cooled bacon again to make the chunks even smaller.* Reserve a few tablespoons of bacon for garnish, if desired, then stir the rest into the beer cheese dip.
- Serve warm with homemade pretzel knots of your favorite dippers.
I recommend chopping the bacon twice. Cooking larger chunks - the kind you get by slicing a standard strip of bacon - makes them less likely to burn, but also difficult to stick to your favorite dippers. Chop it into larger chunks when raw to fix the burning issue, chop it again after it's cooked to fix the problem of having chunks too big to pick up with bread, chips, or your favorite dippers.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 743mg Carbohydrates: 6g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 17g