Whole Wheat Beer Bread

By Ann Fulton

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Every summer growing up, I went to camp in Maine. I made wonderful friends there, and several of those friendships are still going strong.

One winter, I got to visit my friend, Sarah, at her home in Kansas City. I remember details from that trip like it was yesterday.

While I was there, we made beer bread. I still have the index card with the original recipe which called for self-rising flour. Over the years, I have adapted the recipe, swapping out the self-rise flour and incorporating some whole wheat flour.

Following is the basic recipe with variations noted.  While this isn’t the same as some of the other breads I bake, it is rather tasty, especially for a super-speedy, fuss-free loaf. It’s perfect with soup or spread with your favorite jam.

My kids have asked what would happen if I used root beer instead of regular beer. I go back and forth as to whether that might work (maybe with some raisins mixed in?) but haven’t tried yet. Could be a fun kitchen experiment!

This is a very old picture with the original recipe card from my camp friend.

Whole Wheat Beer Bread
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle beer, room temperature  (I usually use a lager, but anything will work, and you can experiment with flavors.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons melted butter, optional
Optional add-ins
  • cheddar cheese and dill or Italian herb blend; cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts or sunflower seeds; chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives and feta.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.  Stir in additional add-ins, as desired.  (As a guideline, I tend to use about a quarter cup of seeds, a third to a half cup of nuts, a half to a full cup of cheese, one teaspoon of cinnamon–not all together, of course!)  Pour in beer and stir just until the flour mixture is all moistened.  Spread the dough into the prepared loaf pan.  Drizzle melted butter over the top, if using.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked through.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack and cool completely.  I love plain beer bread with a smear of strawberry jam and usually toast the leftovers.
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  1. Marcia

    I made this today to go with our spaghetti and meatballs. I added Italian seasoning and toasted (dried) onions, used a dark lager (Stella midnight lager). It was delicious! (my husband bought the dark Stella by mistake, thinking he was getting my favorite). As it was baking, the house smelled so good, we couldn’t wait to dig in. :). Thanks for this simple, healthy version of beer bread.

    1. Ann Post author

      Thank YOU for your thoughtful feedback, Marcia. I’m delighted it was a hit…and I love the aroma while this bread is baking, too!

  2. Mary Lou Keller

    I have this in the oven today. ..finally! Making the butternut squash soup as well. .it is cold and dreary here so a perfect day to spend in the kitchen .

  3. Mary Lou Keller

    Tonight we are having the Butternut Squash Bake I gave you recipe for… have you made that yet? I but up my squash last night, so tonight all I need to do is assemble it and bake.

  4. Mary Lou Keller

    Ann this looks amazingly easy! i am not sure how I have missed this before but I am definitely making this over weekend. I have a butternut squash to use and want to make your soup recipe.. I think the bread and the soup would pair well together, don’t you think??

    Take care, I am browsing your recipes while eating lunch at my desk.

    1. Ann

      This bread is so easy and I do think it would be delightful with the soup, Mary Lou! (And sounds like a great lunch activity to me!!)

  5. Judy

    Made it today. Added shredded pepper jack cheese, a teaspoon of Mrs. Dash and a teaspoon of dill. It has just a nice little kick and we’re having it for dinner tonight with chili.

    1. Ann

      Love the addition of pepper jack, dill and the seasoning, Judy, and appreciate your letting me know! I bet the chili was delicious, too!

      1. Monica Mooney

        this bread is sooooo good. I have made it 2 other times aside from my original post and am about to make it again this week. I just had to post and let you know sweetie!! TY so much for an easy go to bread, that is so flavorful~!

        1. Ann

          Thank you very much, Monica! This is truly the kind of comment that make my day! I appreciate you taking the time to let me know: )