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Slow Cooker (or not) Oktoberfest Soup
with pretzels / beer cheese

Active: 50 Total: 530

Can't make it over to Germany this fall? Not to worry - we're bringing Oktoberfest to your home kitchen with this savory, tart soup and pretzels on the side.
Smarts #1: Be sure to grate the cheese for the beer cheese yourself. Pre-grated cheese can turn grainy. Also, the beer cheese will retain the flavor of the beer. If you're not a fan of the flavor of beer, use milk or stock instead.
Smarts #2: Check on your slow cooker towards the end of the cook time on the soup and be sure it is simmering. You'll need the soup to reach a simmer in order to cook the alcohol out.
Cooking methods: This recipe includes instructions for using the slow cooker or stovetop. Select your preferred method.

Tags

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Oktoberfest Soup:
  • Onions, medium - 1/2, diced
  • Carrots - 8 oz, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves, chopped
  • Sauerkraut - 1 1/2 cups, drained and chopped
  • Sausage - 8 oz (preferably German-style like Bratwurst)
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Potatoes, Yukon gold - 10 oz, cubed
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Coleslaw mix - 5 oz (sub shredded cabbage)
  • Stock, any type - 3 1/2 cups
  • Beer, German-style Lager (12 oz / 355 mL) - 1/2 bottle (sub stock)
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 1 Tbsp
  • Bay leaf - 1
Pretzels and Beer Cheese:
  • Cheese, cheddar - 3 cups, grated (sub any type of cheese)
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Flour, all-purpose - 2 Tbsp
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Beer, German-style Lager (12 oz / 355 mL) - 1/2 bottle (sub milk or stock)
  • Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
  • Soft pretzels or pretzel rolls - 4

Nutrition Facts

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Choose Cooking Method

Prep

  1. Cheese / Onions / Carrots / Garlic / Sauerkraut - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Bratwurst - Remove casings. Crumble or chop bratwurst into bite-sized pieces. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Brown bratwurst - Heat oil in a skillet. Add bratwurst and saute until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  4. Potatoes - Peel and cube potatoes.

  5. Slow cook soup - Combine onions, carrots, garlic, salt, sauerkraut, bratwurst, potatoes, coleslaw mix, stock, beer (portion for soup), vinegar, and bay leaf in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours (or high for 5 to 6 hours).

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Make

  1. When soup is nearly finished cooking, heat a sauce pan with butter over medium heat. When butter melts, sprinkle flour over top and stir well until no dry spots remain and the flour turns lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Slowly pour milk and then beer over the flour mixture while whisking. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes to cook the alcohol out of the beer and let it thicken a bit. Remove pan from heat and let it cool slightly (this is the first key to a smooth, creamy cheese sauce), 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. When mixture has cooled off a bit, whisk in garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and mustard. Finally, add in cheese in 3 additions, whisking well after each addition (this is the second key to a great cheese sauce - let each addition of cheese have time to melt into the sauce before adding more).

  4. Toast pretzels / pretzel rolls if you’d like them warm.

  5. Return to soup and give it a good stir. Remove and discard bay leaf. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. You can stir in some extra apple cider vinegar if you’d like the soup to have a bit more tart flavor.

  6. Serve soup with beer cheese and pretzels on the side. Enjoy!

Prep

  1. Cheese / Onions / Carrots / Garlic / Sauerkraut - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Bratwurst - Remove casings. Crumble or chop bratwurst into bite-sized pieces. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Potatoes - Peel and cube potatoes.

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Learn More

Make

  1. Heat a Dutch oven with oil over medium-high heat. Add bratwurst and saute until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add in onions, carrots, garlic, and salt and saute until onions are starting to soften, 5 to 6 minutes more.

  2. To Dutch oven add potatoes, sauerkraut, coleslaw mix, stock, beer (portion for soup), vinegar, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer.

  3. Cover pan with a lid and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Simmer until potatoes are tender, ~20 minutes.

  4. Once soup is simmering, heat a sauce pan with butter over medium heat. When butter melts, sprinkle flour over top and stir well until no dry spots remain and the flour turns lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Slowly pour milk and then beer over the flour mixture while whisking. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes to cook the alcohol out of the beer and let it thicken a bit. Remove pan from heat and let it cool slightly (this is the first key to a smooth, creamy cheese sauce), 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. When mixture has cooled off a bit, whisk in garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and mustard. Finally, add in cheese in 3 additions, whisking well after each addition (this is the second key to a great cheese sauce - let each addition of cheese have time to melt into the sauce before adding more).

  7. Toast pretzels / pretzel rolls if you’d like them warm.

  8. Return to soup and give it a good stir. Remove and discard bay leaf. Taste and season with some salt and pepper. You can stir in some extra apple cider vinegar if you’d like the soup to have a bit more tart flavor.

  9. Serve soup with beer cheese and pretzels on the side. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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Increase your nutrition smarts


Reviews

Ratings

Original (49)
Gluten-free (3)
Paleo (5)
Vegetarian (8)

Most Helpful

Soup was good, but too heavy on the sauerkraut. Beer cheese was also good but way too much. We halfed it and it was perfect. Our grocery store doesnt sell soft pretzels so we made them from scratch using the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction "easy homemade soft pretzels" the pretzels were 5 stars and easily the highlight of the meal, but not a cooksmarts recipe. Would recommend cooksmarts include a pretzel recipe next time!

By: Caitlin
Posted: Oct 04, 2021
Diet: Original
2 Helpful

31 reviews

The soup is filling and delicious. I used pretzel rolls, but I think the beer I chose for the beer cheese gave the cheese sauce an odd flavor. (Shiner Bock) If I did this again, I'd either skip the beer or choose a different beer. I added extra coleslaw as I didn't want to have a small amount of coleslaw left over.

By: Caroline
Posted: Nov 24, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

I didn't like the acidity of the soup.

By: Kimberly
Posted: Nov 09, 2021
Diet: Paleo
0 Helpful

Such interesting flavor!

By: Markell
Posted: Nov 02, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

We loved this! I added a little extra sauerkraut because I did not want to store the remaining kraut. We loved the sour flavor!

By: Sara
Posted: Oct 19, 2021
Diet: Paleo
0 Helpful

I love all things sauerkraut, but this just made me want an old family favorite: sauerkraut, potatoes, and either smoked sausage/kielbasa or chunks of pork slow cooked. Much simpler and more satisfying. Heavier, though. Loved the beer cheese.

By: Jackie
Posted: Oct 13, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

This was outstanding! We loved the soup, especially the saurkraut. I couldn't find soft pretzels at our store, so we made the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction, and they were delicious and easy. Thanks for another excellent Cook Smarts meal!

By: Jenny
Posted: Oct 13, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful