Get ready for an irresistibly rich and creamy vegan beer cheese dip! Loaded with flavor and your beer of choice, this is the perfect dip for soft pretzel bites. It’s even great served on pasta if you have extra and want to use it for something other than dip!
With sweet potato, cauliflower, onion and cashews providing most of the bulk, not only is this recipe super tasty, its also packed with delicious nutrition. It makes a big batch that can be refrigerated for the week or frozen for special occasions!
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Is Beer Cheese Dip Vegan?
Traditional beer cheese dip recipes aren’t vegan because of dairy ingredients used to create a cheesy flavor and creamy texture. This includes butter, milk (or cream) and cheese.
Since dairy is not vegan, all these ingredients need to be replaced with vegan alternatives. Fortunately, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to make simple swaps to classic beer and cheese dip recipes.
Butter is the most straight-forward substitution as you can simply select a vegan butter or margarine.
Milk or cream is often used to create some bulk in cheese dip recipes, but it also plays a big role in helping the other ingredients blend. You could either swap for a plant milk or do what I do in this recipe and use vegetable broth! This adds so much flavor and allows all the ingredients to blend well.
Finally, creating a cheesy flavor isn’t difficult to do. While some people may want to melt vegan cheese shreds into their sauce, I love using nutritional yeast. It combines well with the liquid ingredients to make a more yellow color and immensely cheesy taste. Yum!!
Is Beer Vegan? What Beers are Vegan-friendly?
Not all beer is vegan, but there are lots of beers for vegans to drink. Learning that alcoholic drinks may not be vegan was a surprise to me!
How can something made from plants not be vegan? Certain steps of the brewing and filtering process may use animal derived ingredients.
To ensure your beer is vegan, check out barnivore.com. Simply search for your beer of choice and they should have an answer for you!
Ingredients to Make Vegan Cheese Dip
To get started making your dip, you’ll need:
- Onion: Most onion varieties will work fine in this recipe, but I like to choose a standard white or yellow onion.
- Sweet potato: Providing nearly half of the dip’s volume, sweet potato is an essential ingredient for flavor and color.
- Cauliflower: Another ingredient you’ll use a lot of, cauliflower has a very mild taste. It adds bulk to the recipe and allows spices and other ingredients to remain dominant.
- Cashews: Providing healthy protein and fats, cashews make the cheese dip more satisfying while also creating a creamier final product.
- Vegan butter or margarine: Cooking the sweet potato and cauliflower in a small amount of vegan butter or margarine enhances their taste significantly!
- Beer: The star ingredient for this beer cheese dip, use your favorite beer! Just note that bold, flavorful beers will have more of an impact on taste than a mild or light beer.
- Vegetable broth: Cheese sauce tends to be very flavorful and salty, which is why vegetable broth is a great choice for liquid! I like to use a low sodium/ no salt added veggie broth and add more salt to taste if needed.
- Soy sauce: For depth of flavor and salt, add some soy sauce! Tamari is also a good option if you’re trying to make this dip gluten-free. If so, you’ll also want to ensure your beer is gluten-free.
- Dijon mustard: For some spicy kick, a little Dijon mustard goes a long way. It’ll add some extra flavor that you won’t want to go without!
- Nutritional yeast: Bring on the cheese! Nutritional yeast is a vegan’s best friend when making cheesy recipes, and this dip is no different. One batch of this sauce uses ¾ cup of nooch, which might sound like a lot, but is so worth it. This is the key to making a supremely cheesy pretzel dip.
- Salt: Adding salt to taste is the key to making this recipe one of your go-to favorites. Cheese is super salty and salt is key for making a vegan sauce taste like cheese dip.
- Garlic and onion powder: To further enhance the taste of this dip, use a half teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder!
- Smoked paprika: The final spice I like to add, some smoked paprika is such a great addition. If you don’t enjoy the smoky flavor, regular/ sweet paprika works perfectly instead.
How to Make Vegan Beer Cheese Sauce
Whatever the occasion, this vegan beer cheese dip (along with some soft pretzel bites) is your ultimate appetizer. Ready to make this simple recipe?! Follow the step-by-step instructions below to make it perfect on your first try.
Step 1: Prepare Base Ingredients
Begin by chopping the base ingredients: sweet potato, cauliflower and onion. I like to roughly chop everything so that most pieces are no larger than a 1-inch cube.
Once you’re done chopping, transfer these ingredients into a large frying pan along with some vegan butter or margarine and cashews (whole or pieces). I like to use cashew pieces because they’re cheaper to buy and since you’ll blend them anyways, it doesn’t matter if they’re broken apart.
Step 2: Cook Base Ingredients
Once all these vegetables and nuts are in your frying pan along with some vegan butter, cook over medium heat until everything begins to sizzle. At this point you’ll add the bottle of beer, place a lid on your pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next, remove the lid from your pan and add the vegetable broth. Simmer everything, lid off, for another 5 minutes or so until larger chunks of sweet potato and/ or cauliflower are tender and are easy to poke with a fork.
Step 3: Blend with Additional Flavors
While the dip’s base ingredients are cooking, get everything else ready in your blender. This includes soy sauce, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika.
When the vegetables are cooked, remove your pan from the stove and transfer the vegetables, nuts and all liquid into your blender. None of the liquid (beer and vegetable broth) gets wasted since it contains a lot of tasty flavor and will help the ingredients blend.
When ready, begin blending everything together until it’s smooth and creamy. Taste the dip and decide if you need more salt. If so, add more in ¼ teaspoon increments and blend thoroughly until happy with the taste.
Step 4: Serve and Enjoy
Let’s party! Pour this dairy free beer cheese dip into multiple small bowls, one big bowl, or a bread bowl. It’s fun to serve this in a bread bowl with the removed bread used as a dipper, but soft pretzel bites are my favorite way to serve this dip.
It’s best served hot, so you may want to opt for a serving bowl instead of a bread bowl. This way you can reheat it as needed and keep hot!
Vegan Cheesy Pretzel Dip Variations
While you might want to make a few simple variations on this recipe, I love to follow it exactly as-is. It’s been perfected over multiple times making it; I love it and wouldn’t change a single thing!
The only consideration you might want to make is what beer to use, if using beer at all.
Select the Right Beer for Your Pretzel Cheese Dip
There are some things to keep in mind when selecting a beer to cook with.
Since you’ll use a whole bottle of beer, so the flavor is absolutely going to come through in the dip. This means:
- If you select a light beer, the final dip won’t contain much beer flavor.
- Selecting a beer with more hops or flavor (such as an IPA) creates a more noticeable beer flavor.
- If the beer is dark in color, this can come through as well; I don’t recommend anything too dark, maybe a light amber at the darkest.
None of these options are right or wrong. It completely depends on your preferences. If you enjoy drinking the beer on its own, you’ll probably enjoy it in the dip.
Make Beer Cheese Dip without Alcohol
While I assume most people want to use an alcoholic beer, some people may prefer to skip the alcohol. You can certainly choose and alcohol-free beer if that meets your needs.
Otherwise, skip alcohol completely by replacing the beer with another liquid. I recommend vegetable broth with 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works nicely. Beer typically has a bitter taste, so vinegar helps to round out the flavors. This also makes for a gluten-free recipe (if also using tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce).
The alcohol in the beer cooks off but I understand not everyone wants to use an alcohol-containing ingredient!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Cheese Dip
This recipe makes a large quantity of beer cheese dip (about 8.5 cups or 2 liters), so it’s entirely possible you won’t eat it all in one day, even if you feed a lot of people.
If you’ll consume it later in the week, transfer any remaining dip into an airtight container and refrigerate up to 5 days. When ready to eat again, just microwave until hot and enjoy!
If you’d rather freeze this recipe and keep around for another special occasion, allow to cool completely before placing your airtight container into the freezer. It’ll keep fine for up to 6 months. To reheat, place the container in your refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight. Either dump into a pot and reheat on the stove, or microwave until hot.
You can also easily cut the recipe in half so you don’t have to worry about so much leftover!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Beer and Cheese Dip
- Dice onion, sweet potato and cauliflower. Place into a large skillet with cashews and vegan butter.1 cup onion, 4 cups sweet potato, 3 cups cauliflower, ¾ cup cashews, 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- Move the pan onto your stove over medium heat. Let the butter melt and the vegetables to begin to sizzle in the butter. Add the bottle of beer. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.1 bottle beer
- Add vegetable broth to the pan and simmer with the lid off for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender (easy to poke a fork through).1 cup vegetable broth
- While the vegetables and cashews simmer, place the remaining flavoring ingredients into a blender.2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ¾ cup nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Transfer the cooked vegetables to your blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve dip hot alongside some soft pretzel bites!
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.