A resident of “Brew City,” I’ve come to a new appreciation of beer. Combine it with a lifetime affinity for carbs, and it was only a matter of time until this warm loaf of Beer Bread graced our table.
Beer bread is a savory quick bread that uses the carbonation in beer for leavening.
Like other quick bread recipes, you make beer bread without yeast, a shortcut that makes it especially easy to prepare.
Beer bread is buttery and moist.
The inside crumb is sturdy but tender. The outside is lightly craggly.
One of my favorite parts about eating beer bread is picking off that textured top!
I’m hesitant to use the phrase “you can whip this right up!” when describing a recipe, because whenever I see it elsewhere, it turns out to be an overpromise.
With this best beer bread recipe, however, the whip-it-up sentiment truly applies!
This easy beer bread batter comes together in ONE bowl and takes fewer than 10 minutes to stir together.
It’s an ideal side dish for soups and chilis, and I love it toasted at breakfast too.
Does Beer Bread Taste Like Beer
The short answer is yes, beer bread tastes like beer.
How strong that beer flavor is will depend upon the type of beer you use. The stronger the beer, the more intense the bread.
What Beer is Best for Beer Bread
You can use 12 ounces of any kind of beer for beer bread. I usually opt for whatever is in the refrigerator, but you can also use the type of beer as an opportunity to play around with the recipe.
- Mild Beer Bread. Use a plain, ultra light beer like Miller Light. (If you live in Wisconsin and want an upgrade, try New Glarus Spotted Cow.)
- Go Seasonal. Try making beer bread with pumpkin ale, a nutty brown winter ale, or even a hard cider.
- Beer Lover’s Choice. Use a fully flavored beer. I adore IPA in my beer bread.
- Middle Ground. Amber beers strike a nice balance. The beer flavor is present and pleasant, but not as pronounced as a beer bread made with IPA.
- Irish Beer Bread. For a St. Patrick’s Day recipe, use an Irish beer. Guinness Beer Bread or an Irish red ale such as Smithwick’s would both be festive.
How to Make Beer Bread
This beer bread is made of simple ingredients, meaning you likely have many of the ingredients in your pantry already.
Start with this basic beer bread recipe, then check out the variations below to see if any grab your appetite. Our house favorite is a cheese beer bread recipe with garlic.
- Flour. Adding some white whole wheat flour along with the all-purpose flour adds a nutritional boost.
- Beer. The star of the show! Beer reacts with the flour and baking powder to help the bread rise. I recommend using a beer you like drinking for the most enjoyable flavor. See “The Best Beer for Beer Bread” above for more tips.
- Garlic Powder. An optional but truly delicious mix-in. It gives the bread a savory touch.
- Honey. For a hint of sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the beer flavor. While it adds a touch of natural sweetness, it will not make this a sweet beer bread.
- Butter. A drizzle of melted butter over the top of the bread batter results in an exceptionally scrumptious crust and gives it a beautiful color.
- Stir the dry ingredients together.
- Pour in the beer and honey. Gently stir until incorporated. Add mix-ins.
- Transfer the batter to a loaf pan, then drizzle and brush the butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 38 to 42 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes. Slice and ENJOY!
Beer Bread Recipe Variations
The point of beer bread is having fun with it. Try one of these additions, or make a combination. For example, I have a Rosemary Cheddar Cornbread in my cookbook that is heavenly.
- Cheese Beer Bread. Fold in 2/3 cup shredded cheese. Cheddar is classic, pepper jack will make the beer bread a little spicy, and fontina or gouda is fun for an Italian twist.
- Herb. Fold in 2 teaspoons dried herbs or 1 tablespoon fresh. Try rosemary, basil, or thyme.
- Parmesan Beer Bread. Fold in 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (great combined with herbs and garlic).
- Garlic Beer Bread. Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder in with the dry ingredients. (Spread a clove of Roasted Garlic on your slice to really take things over the top.)
- Spicy Beer Bread. Fold in 1 diced jalapeno and 2/3 cup pepper jack cheese.
- To Store. Store bread in a paper towel-lined airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Freeze bread in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
I like to individually wrap my bread slices in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing so that I can easily thaw them as needed.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Loaf Pan. Perfect for making this quick bread recipe!
- Instant Read Thermometer. The easiest way to check your bread for doneness.
- Mixing Bowls. Ideal for mixing the beer bread recipe ingredients.
This easy beer bread recipe is an instant upgrade! Serve it with tonight’s dinner, enjoy the leftovers tomorrow at breakfast, or surprise your friends with a loaf.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, beer bread is fine to serve for kids and those who can’t have alcohol. The alcohol evaporates during baking, making it safe. If you’d feel better not using alcohol at all, you can certainly swap it for an alcohol-free beer option.
I have not tried making this beer bread recipe with gluten free flour, but you could experiment with it. Swap the flours for a 1:1 GF baking flour.
If you’d like your beer bread to have a kick, you can use hot honey instead of regular honey. (This would be delicious paired with Crockpot Vegetable Beef Soup.)
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or additional all-purpose flour or regular whole wheat flour*
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1 tablespoon baking powder*
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder optional
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer any kind you like! Amber or IPA are my go-tos
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Optional mix-ins: 2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese diced jalapeno, minced fresh herbs (see blog post above for more ideas)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder (if using).
- Slowly pour in the beer, then add the honey. With a rubber spatula, stir gently, until the foaming subsides and you no longer see dry bits of flour. The batter will be very stiff. Gently fold in any desired mix-ins. Don’t over mix; as soon as the flour disappears it is good to go.
- Spread the batter into an even layer in the prepared loaf pan, then drizzle the melted butter on top and brush to spread it evenly over the batter. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean (I like to use an instant read thermometer. When the bread reaches 200 degrees F in the center, it is done).
- Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Gently remove from the pan. Let cool completely or with a serrated knife, slice, and enjoy immediately.
- *You can swap the flours, baking powder, and salt for 3 cups of self-rising flour.
- TO STORE: Store beer bread in a paper towel-lined airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze bread in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy slices as desired.
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