If you like beer cheese soup, then you are going to love this! Crispy bacon, sharp white cheddar, beer, and pasta all come together to make the perfect adult substitution for traditional mac & cheese. Plus, now you and all your frat boy friends can enjoy eating macaroni & cheese together without feeling like you’re 8 years old again, considering it has bacon AND beer in it. Problem solved.
With St. Patricks day around the corner, I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe that uses beer (duh). So would it be confusing if I started out by saying how much I actually hate the taste of beer? Yup, I know that’s just about the most Un-American thing a person could say, but I can’t even stand the smell of it. When all my friends and I would be playing beer pong in high school, (Mom, cover your eyes) I would secretly pour my whole cup of beer into my partner’s cups when they weren’t looking! It’s no wonder why everyone always questioned how I wasn’t even buzzed…
With that being said, I do enjoy cooking with beer, and I like the hoppy flavor it adds to beer cheese soup; so the moral of the story is, even if you aren’t a big fan of beer, there’s a 98% chance you’ll still love this! And for the other 2% that don’t, well, you’re just weird.
The even greater thing about this recipe, is that it’s simple enough that you can whip it up for an easy weeknight dinner, but it’s also gorgeous enough to make for special occasions; and everyone from little kids, to grown ups, and everyone in between will enjoy it!
It all starts by cooking up some bacon for the crispy topping, then lightly caramelizing a small onion for the creamy beer cheese béchamel (white sauce). You’ll notice that I use some heavy cream in the sauce, which is crucial to achieve a rich, creamy consistency since we are using beer in the base, rather than just milk like traditional cheese sauces do. You’ll need that little bit of extra fat to make up for the lack of creaminess from the beer, so put the skim milk down. I repeat, put the skim milk down!
I like using Kerrygold’s Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, because it has way more flavor than the generic white cheddar from the grocery store. It has an intense, buttery, slight sweetness that you just can’t find in regular cheddar cheese. The recipe calls for 20-ounces of white cheddar, but I highly recommend grating up 3 whole 7-ounce blocks of cheese if you’re using Kerrygold, because we both know you’ll be snacking on it through the entire process.
After your beer-cheese sauce is made, you add in the cooked pasta and thoroughly coat it so that the sauce adheres to each nook and cranny. Pour the pasta into a large baking dish and cover it in a blank of bacon and panko bread crumbs. You can find Panko bread crumbs in the asian section of your grocery store, but you could certainly replace them with regular breadcrumbs, but panko cooks up so light and crisp, so I highly urge you to splurge for the panko.
Bake it until golden and bubbly, and that’s it! But PLEASE let it rest for a good 10 minutes before digging into it. I know it will be tempting to just sneak one bite in real quick, so go ahead, but I’m not responsible for your 3rd degree burns…
This post was sponsored by Kerrygold, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.
For more tasty recipes using Kerrygold products, click on the pictures below!
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