Cooking with Beer (the Healthy Way)

Did you know beer is more than for just drinking? Enjoy the flavor in some of your favorite dishes. Cooking with beer can actually be a healthy way to flavor food—here’s why.
Beer Braised Chicken _13.tif

Beer Braised Chicken _13.tif

Food Styling: Jamie Kimm Prop Styling: Marina Malchin

Surprising but true: Cooking with beer can actually be a healthy way to flavor food—here's why.

The Nutrition Facts

A 12-ounce bottle of regular beer has about 150 calories and is free of fat and cholesterol. It also has very little sodium-only 1% of the recommended daily allowance. Interestingly, beer also has numerous vitamins and minerals like vitamin B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium.

Tossing back a few too many bottles can help pack on the pounds, but when beer, wine or hard alcohol is heated it loses some of its alcohol (and calories) through evaporation. The amount of alcohol dissipated depends on cooking time and the temperature. Although 100% of the alcohol will never be lost, it usually ranges from about 15% to 95% of the calories. Data published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found the following:

  • When alcohol is stirred into a hot liquid, it loses 15% of the alcohol content. Example: Irish coffee
  • When alcohol is stirred and simmered or baked for 15 minutes, it loses 20% of the alcohol content. Example: Mulled wine
  • When alcohol is simmered or baked for 1 hour, it loses 75% of the alcohol content. Example: Chicken cacciatore
  • When alcohol is simmered or baked for 2.5 hours, it loses 95% of the alcohol content. Example: Beef stew
5 Ways to Cook with Beer

1.  Simmer chicken thighs in beer, onions, potatoes, and mustard for an outstanding weeknight dinner

Recipe to try: Beer-Braised Chicken (above, from Food Network Magazine)

2.    Use beer as part of the batter when breading fish
3.    Add a yummy dark lager to a fish soup

Recipe to try: Fisherman’s Stoup
4.    Add beer to sloppy Joe’s for a delicious and moist flavor

Recipe to try: Spicy Vegan Sloppy Joes
5.    Beer braised brisket anyone?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

Robin's Healthy Take: Cooking With Beer

A splash of your favorite brew is a low-cal way to add rich flavor to your favorite dishes.

Cooking with Beer

Add flavor to your favorite recipes with a splash of brew.

6 Tasty Ways to Cook with Beer

Don’t limit beer to drinking — especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Find sweet and savory recipe ideas for cooking with beer.

Beyond the Bottle: New Ways to Cook with Beer for Oktoberfest

Think outside the bottle and put beer to work in Food Network's sweet and savory recipes.

Healthy Microwave Cooking

We’re not talking about zapping frozen entrees. How about real ingredients and healthy meals straight out of the microwave oven!?

Healthy Cooking Method: Parchment Packet Cooking

This easy cooking method doesn't use a lot of fat to flavor food, plus everything's made in one packet so there's very little cleanup required. Learn how to cook in parchment.

Two Ways to Use: Root Beer

Food Network is tackling and transforming root beer -- the sweet, carbonated soda pop -- into root beer recipes like a chocolate bundt cake and grown-up root beer float.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.