Beer Cheese Mac and Cheese with Pretzel Topping

mac and cheese in white bowls on a wood board

Beer Cheese Mac and Cheese combines the classic comfort food of macaroni and cheese with the adult twist of beer flavor in a beer cheese. Topped with crunchy pretzels, this makes a great game-day dish!



2 tablespoons butter
2 and 1/4 cups uncooked elbow noodle macaroni pasta
1 cup mini pretzels
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 and 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I buy two 8oz blocks and shred it myself. You won’t use all of the second block)
3/4 cup beer (see note below)
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic power
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
A few dashes of paprika to add color to top layer


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then cook the macaroni pasta. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour 1 cup of mini pretzels into a resealable bag. Use a meat tenderizer (or a hammer like I did) and pound to crush the mini pretzels. You don’t want to make a powder out of all the pretzels, you still want some chunky pieces in there. Pour into a bowl.
  3. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Next, add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir to combine. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour in the 3/4 cup of beer, cook for 30 seconds then add the 1 cup of half and half. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes to slightly thicken the sauce. Next add the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, the 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and stir so all of the seasonings have blended into the sauce.
  5. Next, pour in the 4 cups of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (1 cup at a time) and whisk until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  6. Pour the cooked macaroni into the 9×13 baking dish, then cover with the cheese sauce, stirring so all noodles are coated with the beer cheese sauce. Top with the buttery crushed pretzels, then sprinkle with paprika (for color). Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to get cheese browned.


When it comes to the beer, choose a good quality beer. I’d stay away from cheaper bargain brands and I haven’t tested this recipes using dark beers.

Keywords: beer cheese mac and cheese