Nothing is better than sitting down and enjoying a nice cold beer. Actually, maybe there is. If you’re already drinking your beer, why not add it to your food? When you do it right, cooking with beer can be a fun—and delicious—experience. Here’s everything you need to know about cooking with beer so that you can start incorporating beer into your life in more interesting ways.
Why Should I Cook with Beer?
If you love how beer tastes, why not incorporate it into your food? Beer can add a malty, earthy note to your recipes. The exact flavor depends on the beer’s style. All beers are split into two categories: ales and lagers. Ales tend to be earthy, while lagers are dry and crisp. Depending on how your beer tastes, you can mix it into just about any recipe—from stew to cake—and get delicious results. Bitter, crisp beers complement decadent foods such as beer cheese fondue, while malty, dark beers can enrich the flavor of meat and desserts.
The biggest benefit to cooking with beer is the added taste, but you can also use it to tenderize and moisten meat or leaven cake, breads, and biscuits. As a warning, most of the beer evaporates during the cooking process, so if your goal is to get drunk, beer-infused food might not be your best bet.
The Dos and Don’ts of Cooking with Beer
Think you know everything you need to know about cooking with beer? Before you start cooking, make sure you’re familiar with the dos and don’ts of incorporating beer into a recipe.
- DO wait for your beer to come to room temperature. Open the bottle right before you plan to use it, and let the bubbles mellow out.
- DON’T use too much beer. By using too much, you’ll ruin your meat, veggies, and everything in between.
- DO use full-fat dairy. The acidity of beer can curdle lower-fat ingredients such as skim milk.
- DON’T wait before serving a beer-infused dessert. Its flavor can change over time, so it’s best to serve it when it’s fresh.
- DO cook your beer long and slow. There’s a reason it’s such a popular ingredient in stew and soup.
- DON’T rely on a beer’s subtle flavors to enhance your food; always look at the main flavor profile. The subtler flavors might cook away.
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