The Unexpected Fizzy Liquid Your Baked Potato Soup Seriously Needs

Making a quick potato soup recipe can be fairly simple (think a mix of potatoes, broth, cream, and maybe a few spices and seasonings), or it can be complex and loaded with flavor, à la loaded baked potato soup with bacon, additional veggies, loads of cheese, and other fixings. However, if you're hoping to add a lot of flavor to your baked potato soup without doing a lot of work — and maybe even without too much time spent simmering on the stovetop — there's one unexpected ingredient that you need to reach for, and it might already be in your fridge: beer.

While wine is a pretty common ingredient in cooking, beer doesn't get the same amount of attention. Even so, beer can seriously upgrade your baked potato soup, as well as a range of other soup recipes. The same ingredients in beer that give a brew an earthy or nutty flavor profile lend those same flavors to your baked potato soup, adding complexity where you might otherwise just have something basic.

How to add beer to baked potato soup

When adding beer to your baked potato soup, don't just toss in any old lager and call it a day. You'll want to consider a few things beforehand to ensure you give your soup the proper flavor and consistency. For example, your beer should complement the flavors you're already working with; as such, don't add a holiday-themed, hot chocolate-inspired stout to your potato soup. Instead, opt for a beer that you already like on its own, especially an ale or wheat beer, as neither of these will overpower your soup's chicken stock, vegetables, and cheese. Additionally, unless you're trying to thin out your soup, replace some of your recipe's required stock with beer. This will ensure you don't end up with a runny consistency (potato soup is expected to be a little thick, after all).

Have you added too much beer to your baked potato soup and now need to thicken it up? An easy way to do this is with pre-cooked hash browns, leftover mashed potatoes, or instant mashed potatoes. In fact, if you're craving potato soup and don't have any fresh spuds on hand, you can even use frozen hash browns as your potato soup base.