This easy beer cheese dip is made in a cast iron skillet, with cream cheese, Cheddar, and smoked Gouda, which gives it a slightly smoky flavor. You can make it over the campfire, on your camp stove, or on your stovetop at home. It's perfect for sharing with friends and can be scaled to feed a crowd.
If beer and snacks are a cherished part of your camping routine, this smoky beer cheese dip with cream cheese, Cheddar, and smoked Gouda is for you. You'll love this cheese dip for camping because it's easy to toss together, requires only a grater and your trusty cast iron skillet, and it's ready in 15 minutes.
Why This Recipe is Great for Camping
- It can be prepared and served in your cast iron skillet. No other dishes needed!
- It's incredibly easy to make and ready in just 15 minutes.
- It's a great snack or appetizer to enjoy around the campfire.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Beer--Use a lager or pale ale, and choose one that you enjoy. They'll be extra to drink, and the flavor of the beer will be noticeable in the skillet cheese dip. To make alcohol free cheese dip, use alcohol-free beer.
- Shredded cheese--This combination of Cheddar and smoked Gouda gives the dip a smoky flavor, but you can use other types of cheese, or only Cheddar, if you prefer. Don't use pre-shredded cheese as it does not melt well.
- Cream cheese--This helps to thicken the dip and also helps to stabilize the mixture so that you get a thick, creamy, scoop-able dip. Use full-fat cream cheese for best results. Cutting it into cubes will help it melt quicker.
- Spices--Mustard powder adds flavor, and cayenne adds a little bit of heat. If you are heat-averse, you can reduce the amount of cayenne (or increase it if you love spicy food!)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small cast-iron skillet
- Set over low or indirect heat and cook, stirring frequently until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Serve your cheese dip warm, directly from the cast iron skillet. You can top it with tomatoes, extra cheese, and scallions, if you like, but it's also great on its own. Tortilla chips, bread cubes, and soft pretzels all make great dippers to serve alongside. The dip is also fantastic drizzled over smokies or hot dogs.
Use a lager-style beer or pale ale for the dip. Choose one that you enjoy the taste of, but not one with an overpowering or specialty flavor. Beer and cheese is a perfect pairing, but a uniquely flavored beer can throw off the flavor of the dip.
Yes. Follow the recipe and cook it on low heat on the stovetop or grill. Take care to not heat it too quickly as the cheese can separate.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- This cast iron skillet cheese dip recipe was created for a small 6-inch skillet, which is perfect for feeding 4 to 5 people. To make a big batch, double the amounts and prepare it in a 10-inch skillet.
- Melt the cheese over low heat. I can't stress the importance of this enough. Don't try to rush it. Letting the mixture get too hot can cause the cheese to separate and become grainy.
- The dip will thicken considerably as it sits. To keep it from setting up, keep it on the edge of your grill grate or over very low heat on your stove.
- To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free beer.
- Store leftover cheese in a sealed container in your cooler or fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over low heat until warmed through.
The Most Important Thing to Remember
The most helpful piece of advice I can give you when making this recipe is to keep the dip over low heat at all times. It can be tempting to speed things along, but it is important that you don't. Heating the dip too quickly or over high heat will cause the cheese to separate and you will end up with a grainy dip. Low heat allows it to melt slowly and emulsify into a smooth sauce.
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Skillet Beer Cheese Dip
- 6-inch cast iron skillet
- ⅓ cup beer
- 4 ounces (½ block) full-fat cream cheese cut into cubes
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup smoked Gouda shredded
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Chopped tomatoes and scallions for topping (optional)
- Chips, bread cubes, or pretzels for dipping
- Prepare a campfire or camp stove for low heat. You can simply use the edge of the grill grate, away from the hot coals and flames, or set it on your stove on the lowest setting.
- Combine the beer, cream cheese, Cheddar, smoked Gouda, mustard powder, and cayenne in the skillet. Gently warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes.
- Top with tomatoes and scallions, if using, and serve with your favorite dippers.
- Double the recipe--This cast iron skillet cheese dip recipe was created for a small 6-inch skillet, which is perfect for feeding 4 to 5 people. To make a big batch, double the amounts and prepare it in a 10-inch skillet.
- Don't let it get too hot--Melt the cheese over low heat. I can't stress the importance of this enough. Don't try to rush it. Letting the mixture get too hot can cause the cheese to separate and become grainy.
- Dietary--To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free beer. To make it alcohol-free, use alcohol-free beer.
- Leftovers and reheating--Store leftover cheese in a sealed container in your cooler or fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over low heat until warmed through.