Yes, it’s a boozy, effervescent beverage that’s popular throughout the world, but there’s more to beer than just, well, chugging it. This malty, yeasty alcohol provides a depth and nuttiness to both savory and sweet dishes, while its fizziness makes it a great addition to batters for frying. So, we’re celebrating #NationalBeerDay with, of course, a frosty mug of beer, alongside some recipes that wouldn’t be the same without the surprising ingredient. And, if you’re cooking with younger eaters in mind, not to worry! All the booze will burn off in the cooking, leaving just its unmistakeable flavor.
Beer Braised Pulled Chicken
Beer and chicken make a perfect pair—which is why we’ve brought them together in this hearty recipe for Beer-Braised Chicken with Rice & Queso Fresco. Here, chicken is seared, then braised in a flavorful, fragrant mix of oregano, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer until incredibly tender.
Beer Can Chicken with Salt and Vinegar Potatoes
Beer can chicken is one of those dishes that is almost as fun to make as it is to eat. True to its name, the dish entails placing a can of beer in the cavity of the chicken to create steam during cooking. The result? Super tender meat!
.125 ounce fresh thyme
2 ounces baby arugula
12 ounces peanut potatoes
1 small chicken
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
.25 teaspoon coriander
.5 teaspoon cumin
.5 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can beer
.5 cup white vinegar
1 packet honey
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2.5 tablespoons olive oil
- Remove top rack of oven to make room for chicken, then preheat to 400°F. Halve lemon. Rinse thyme and strip leaves, discarding stems. Rinse arugula and potatoes. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and remove and discard giblet bag from cavity. Rub all over with spice mix. Season outside and cavity with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.
- Open soda or beer, if using, and place can on a foil-lined baking sheet. Slide cavity of chicken over can as far down as possible to secure and balance upright. Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast until skin is browned and crisp and chicken is cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Remove chicken from baking sheet and set aside, leaving oven on. Once chicken has cooled slightly, carefully remove can (it’s hot!) and discard. Discard foil.
- While chicken roasts, place potatoes in a medium pot. Add white vinegar and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, 17-18 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat and set aside.
- While potatoes boil, in a medium bowl, whisk together honey, juice of 1 lemon, and 1.5 tablespoons olive oil. Season with .125 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Add arugula and toss to coat. Set aside. Line baking sheet with fresh foil.
Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Return roasted chicken breast-side up to foil-lined baking sheet and brush top with barbecue sauce. Add thyme and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pot with potatoes and toss to coat. Season with .25 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Scatter potatoes around chicken, transfer to oven, and roast together until chicken skin is crisp and potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
- Place chicken back-side up on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors or a large knife, cut along each side of backbone and discard the bone (see Recipe Tip). Halve through breastplate. Serve with roasted potatoes and arugula salad. #BeerCanChicken
Chocolate Beer Cake
Dark beer adds nuttiness to this densely delicious chocolate cake. Cream cheese frosting puts this cake right over the edge.
For the cake:
Butter for pan
1 cup dark beer (stout)
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
For the frosting:
1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup heavy cream
- For the cake: heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine beer and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour beer mixture into bowl with eggs. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.
- For the frosting: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners’ sugar. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.
Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of beer.