Pretzel Cheese Dip

This simple Pretzel Cheese Dip is the perfect gameday appetizer! Made from just three ingredients, this classic Beer Cheese Dip pairs perfectly with pretzels. Makes 6 servings.

Love dips like this one? Be sure to try out Homemade Loaded Queso and Shrimp Spinach Artichoke Dip!

Pretzel Cheese Dip in a bowl sits on a white plate with pretzels and pretzel bites next to beer glasses

Today’s the day—it’s Freaky Friday Winter 2021! And I’m thrilled to announce that I’m cooking from Sam’s blog, The Culinary Compass, today.

Sam and I met online a few years back through a mutual friend. And we got to meet in person at that same friend’s wedding in 2019, which was so much fun!

I was tickled pink when I was assigned her blog because I’ve always loved how Sam brings an eclectic mix of food to the table—from appetizers to dinners and drinks and everything in between.

I struggled over what to choose, though, because she has so many options. Whipped Feta Dip would be delicious, but so would Cast Iron Filet Mignon. (Hi, hello, wouldn’t that make the perfect centerpiece for Valentine’s Day?)

I was also really tempted to make her Chambord and Champagne Cocktail, as well as her Baileys Grasshopper.

But in the end, I kept coming back to her creamy, dreamy Beer Cheese Dip for pretzels because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And because I thought it would be an amazing appetizer to bring to the table just in time for that big football game happening this weekend. 😉

More appetizers to make for gameday festivities similar to this cheese sauce for pretzels: Caramelized Onion Guacamole / Pepperoni Pizza Rolls / Black Bean Dip / Parmesan Pretzel Bites

Need appetizer inspiration? I’ve got you covered! Head on over to my Appetizers & Starters Recipe Index.

Pink banner with the words 'Freaky Friday: a good old-fashioned blog hop'

Let me tell you about Sam and The Culinary Compass

Sam is a lifelong food lover, but dreamed of being an engineer—but her dreams were dashed when she realized she wasn’t into physics. Halfway through college, she realized she wanted to work with food in some capacity, so she decided to minor in Food Science and Technology along with her degree in Industrial Engineering.

At the same time, she was working in the study abroad office at school, dreaming of where she could travel, the places she could go and the foods she could try while there.

How did her blog, The Culinary Compass, come into being? “I knew I wanted to work with food, but where I was wasn’t the dream I was thinking of. I wanted to be hands on, developing recipes, and sharing those with friends, family, or whoever wanted to read them.”

Sam has created her own little corner of the Internet, marrying her love for travel, food science and her love for experiencing other cultures through their food.

So… What Is Freaky Friday?

It’s an old-fashioned blog hop. A blog hop is a collaboration between bloggers where everyone has a post to share and you link to one another in your posts as they go live.

Michaela from An Affair from the Heart, the lovely lady who founded this quarterly collab, secretly assigns everyone another blogger, who we will choose and make a recipe from.

We make their recipe, photograph it as if it were our own, write a post about it with our own personal anecdote and then all share our posts on the selected Friday.

We hope that this collaboration helps you discover some amazing new recipes, as well as find new bloggers to follow!

For previous Freaky Friday exchanges, I’ve made Shortbread Brown Butter CookiesBoozy Bacon Pretzel Peanut Butter BarsInstant Pot Macaroni and CheeseCherry Bourbon Slush , Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Valentine’s Day Dessert BoardChicken Pesto Pasta, Pepperoni Dip, Upside Down Cranberry Cake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge.

Take a look at all of our 2021 Freaky Friday Winter Edition Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Copy Cat Taco Bell Enchirito
  2. Aunt Bee’s Recipes – Three Cheese Jalapeno Poppers
  3. The Carefree Kitchen – Lemon Bundt Cake
  4. The Culinary Compass – Rotel Sausage Dip
  5. Devour Dinner – Cheese Enchiladas
  6. The Foodie Affair – Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread
  7. The Fresh Cooky – Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
  8. House of Nash Eats – Pineapple Casserole
  9. Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog – Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
  10. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Red Beans & Rice
  11. Life, Love & Good Food – Pan Seared Scallops 
  12. Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish – Weeknight Broccoli Shrimp Stir Fry
  13. Off the Eaten Path – Extra Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
  14. Soulfully Made –  Stuffed Pepper Meatloaf
  15. Sugar Dish Me – Cheesecake Brownies with Graham Cracker Crust
  16. Take Two Tapas – Buffalo Chicken Taquitos in the Air Fryer
  17. West Via Midwest – Frito Corn Salad
Ingredients for beer cheese dip sit on a countertop next to a measuring cup and a small saucepan

What you’ll need to make Beer Cheese Dip for Pretzels

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In addition to these tools, you’re going to need a few ingredients to make Pretzel Cheese Dip, as well.

  • Beer—your favorite drinking one that doesn’t have additional flavor added (like strawberry, etc.)
  • Cream cheese
  • Sharp cheddar cheese—you could also use a different blend of cheese, though I encourage you to shred your own because it will melt more easily.
  • Soft pretzels, for serving—you can make your own or you can find these in the freezer section of the grocery store

Fun variations on this easy cheese sauce for pretzels

The world is your oyster when it comes to Beer Cheese Dip with Pretzels, and there are so many different directions you could take this recipe by swapping out the shredded cheese and beer.

Here are a few ideas I think would be delicious:

  • Pair a Mexican lager with a Mexican blend of cheeses for a ligher twist on pretzel cheese dip.
  • Swap out the cheddar cheese for Swiss or gruyere and use a Bock beer for a different twist.
  • Use provolone alongside a pale ale for another lighter rendition of this.  
Collage of six images showing how to make Beer Cheese Dip

How to make Pretzel Cheese Dip

In a medium saucepan, bring your beer to a simmer over medium heat. This will take 2-3 minutes, depending on how strong your burner is.

Once simmering, add cream cheese cubes. Lower the heat and stir until melted, about 2-3 minutes. If it’s too hot, the cheese will become grainy, so the temperature you’re using is important. (I learned this the hard way.)

Add in the shredded cheese by the handful, stirring as you go. Continue stirring until all the cheese has been added, and it’s completely melted.

Serve warm with soft pretzels or transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm until time to serve!

A bowl holding Pretzel Cheese Dip sits on a white tray next to pretzels and near two cups of beer

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Hi, hello. Pretzel Cheese Dip is the perfect dip and appetizer to serve at any gathering, but especially a gathering that revolves around watching sports. It would also be great for birthday parties, happy hours and more because it’s versatile.

Also, who doesn’t love a good cheese sauce for pretzels?

Here are a few ideas to making this goodness for a crowd:

  • Double the recipe! We had more than enough for our family of four, but if you’ve got some cheese lovers coming over, make life easier on yourself and make more.
  • Make the beer cheese dip 2-3 hours in advance, and transfer to the slow cooker. Keep it warm in there, and let guests ladle spoonfuls onto their plates when it’s time to serve.
  • If you’re feeding kids, consider using a lighter beer. Why? You taste the beer in the cheese. The more hops in the beer, the more bitter the dip will become. (Obviously, hops and bitterness aren’t a bad thing, but some kids have more sensitive palates than adults.)
  • Serve it with more than just pretzels. Yes, I love a good pretzel, but this easy cheese sauce also works on tortilla chips, as well as your favorite chopped vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is beer cheese?

It’s a dip that combines—you guessed it!—beer and cheese. In this recipe, we’re using  beer alongside cream cheese and sharp cheddar cheese to create a dreamy, creamy dip that’s perfect for pretzels.

What is the best beer for beer cheese dip?

Whatever beer you like to drink. Sam recommends using a lighter beer, like a lager or an IPA. I ended up using a dark wheat beer because that’s what we had on hand, and it was delicious. I should note, however, that you will taste the beer you use in this recipe, so it needs to be one you enjoy drinking, too.

What is good to dip pretzels in?

This cheese sauce for pretzels is especially delicious! It’s creamy and delicious and sticks to the pretzels well. If you’re looking for something sweet, I suggest trying out Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cheese Dip!

How do you keep Cheese Dip from hardening?

As the dip cools, it will harden and there’s no stopping that. However, I suggest keeping the Pretzel Cheese Dip warm in a slow cooker so it doesn’t harden. Let guests serve themselves straight out of the slow cooker so the rest of the dip stays warm!

How do you make cheese dip smoother?

You don’t want your heat on high because the heat will curdle the cheese and cause it to break apart. Also, add the cheese in small portions so it doesn’t clump, and stir it vigorously as it melts.

Close up of a bowl holding beer cheese dip next to pretzels

Quick Tips for making the best Beer Cheese Sauce for pretzels:

  • We simmer the beer first to cook off some of the alcohol. This also helps the cream cheese melt more easily.
  • Don’t add the shredded cheese all at once—but a handful at a time. This will ensure the sauce doesn’t get clumpy.
  • Add different flavors by using a different type of beer. Sam used a light beer (Bell’s Two Hearted Ale) and I used a dark wheat-style ale (Oak Highlands Brewery DFDub.) I do not recommend using a fruit-based beer.
  • You can try different cheeses, too, to add different flavors. Perhaps you want to go in a TexMex direction and add shredded Mexican blend cheese.
  • Store leftover cheese sauce for pretzels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat, warm in the slow cooker or zap in the microwave. Be prepared to add a little extra beer or a bit of milk to make it creamier if it’s still pretty thick.
Pretzel Cheese Dip in a bowl sits on a white plate with pretzels and pretzel bites next to beer glasses
Yield: 6 servings

Pretzel Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This simple Pretzel Cheese Dip is the perfect gameday appetizer! Made from just three ingredients, this classic Beer Cheese Dip pairs perfectly with pretzels.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beer
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Soft pretzels, to serve

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the beer to a simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add cream cheese cubes and lower the heat. Stir until melted, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add in shredded cheese by the handful. Stir until melted.
  4. Serve warm with soft pretzels.

Notes

Any light beer should work! The flavor of the beer will come through the flavor of the sauce, so take that into consideration. Sam used Bell's Two Hearted Ale while I used Oak Highlands Brewery DFDub, which is a dark-style lager.

Quick Tips for making the best Beer Cheese Dip for pretzels:

  • We simmer the beer first to cook off some of the alcohol. This also helps the cream cheese melt more easily.
  • Don’t add the shredded cheese all at once—but a handful at a time. This will ensure the sauce doesn’t get clumpy.
  • Add different flavors by using a different type of beer. Make sure it’s a beer you like, though.
  • You can try different cheeses, too, to add different flavors. Perhaps you want to go in a TexMex direction and add shredded Mexican blend cheese.
  • Store leftover Pretzel Cheese Dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, warm in the slow cooker or zap in the microwave. Be prepared to add a little extra beer or a bit of milk to make it creamier if it’s still pretty thick.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 servings

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 712mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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18 Comments

  1. This looks incredible! Beer cheese dip and pretzels are meant to go together. I’ve been looking for a beer cheese recipe for the our Super Bowl spread and this one is perfect!

  2. Beer and cheese? Yes please for me! I love how easy this recipe is and that its just a few ingredients. Your photos make it look so delicious!

  3. Perfect timing— we needed a snack for the game and I had everything to make it! We devoured it… everyone LOVED it!

  4. These pretzels look so perfect!! Saving this one and baking up a batch this weekend!! Love that beer cheese sauce too.

  5. Would it be inappropriate to just grab a spoon and dig in? The cheesy sauce looks amazing. Love the ease of turning a pre-made appetizer into something spectacular with a homemade dip!

  6. Excellent call serving warm soft pretzels with this delicious cheese dip! Does it make me a total child that I want to pour the leftovers over my broccoli? That’s okay, right?

  7. Cheese is my favorite food so when I saw these I knew it would be amazing! We made this for a family party this weekend and everyone loved them! Thanks for the great recipe, keep ’em coming!

  8. There couldn’t be a better way to snack during the “big game” than those soft pretzels, that cheese dip, and an ice-cold beer! YES! Nailed it!

  9. Very soupy. And not “cheesy”. So I added more cheddar to take care of both problems…didn’t work. Put in about 1.5tsp of corn starch, it thickened, but the taste was still just blah. Won’t be making this again, wasted good cheese.

    1. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, Walter. This beer cheese is a little runnier than a typical queso or a thick cheese dip you might purchase, but it’s disappointing to hear that you didn’t like the flavor, either.

  10. Who would deny Cheese? Come on, any food that has cheese involved is always Superb! I know this sounds so cheesy! But OMG This Pretzel cheese dip becomes my bucket list for my next cooking now. Such the best recipe ever! Thanks for sharing the tip, love it^^

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