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How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol

Misty Thomas
By Misty Thomas. Updated: July 2, 2024
How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol

Many home cooks love using beer and wine to add depth of flavor to their dishes. But what if you want that delicious flavor without the alcohol? While complete removal isn't possible through simple cooking, several techniques can significantly reduce the alcohol content.

This oneHOWTO guide explores how long you need to cook beer to reduce alcohol and different effective methods you can use.

You may also be interested in: Cooking Tips for Indian Working Mothers
  1. Can you remove alcohol from beer by cooking it?
  2. Simmering or boiling
  3. Flaming (Flambé)
  4. Overnight evaporation
  5. Baking

Can you remove alcohol from beer by cooking it?

Cooking can definitely reduce the alcohol content in beer, but it won't completely eliminate it. Most cooking methods can remove around 40% to 85% of the alcohol, depending on the heat and duration. Even with extended cooking, a small amount of alcohol (around 5%) typically remains.

So, if you're completely avoiding alcohol, cooking might not be enough.

It is important to note that high heat can affect the delicate flavors of beer. In the following sections, we will explore the most common methods for removing alcohol from beer through cooking.

Ever wondered if there's more to beer than just a delicious beverage? Our other article explores the surprising ways beer can be used for hair care.

How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol - Can you remove alcohol from beer by cooking it?

Simmering or boiling

Simmering and boiling are classic methods for reducing alcohol content in beer. This approach works by driving off the alcohol, which has a lower boiling point than water, as steam. The effectiveness is impressive, with up to 85% of the alcohol evaporating during the process.

Keep in mind that the simmering process reduces the liquid volume, concentrating the remaining flavors in the beer. This can be desirable for some dishes, but for others, it might lead to an overly intense or bitter taste.

Unfortunately, prolonged boiling can drive off these subtle characteristics, leaving a harsher, less nuanced flavor profile. As the alcohol evaporates, the beer's flavor will concentrate. Be sure to taste your dish periodically and adjust seasonings or add a splash of water or broth to avoid an overly intense flavor.

To address this situation, if the recipe allows, consider adding the beer later in the cooking process. This ensures the beer simmers for a shorter duration, preserving more of its delicate notes.

Here's how to simmer beer to remove alcohol:

  1. Select a saucepan or pot with a wide surface area for faster evaporation.

  2. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the beer to a simmer. You'll see gentle bubbles forming on the surface, but not a rolling boil.

  3. Maintain a simmer and keep an eye on the liquid level. The beer will reduce as the alcohol evaporates.

  4. Aim to simmer for 15-20 minutes for an alcohol reduction of around 70-85%.

Once simmering is complete, taste the reduced beer. You might need to adjust seasonings in your recipe to account for the concentrated flavors.

Instead, if you prefer boiling, these are the steps to follow:

Follow steps 1-3 from simmering instructions.

  1. Turn the heat to high and bring the beer to a rolling boil.

  2. Maintain a rolling boil and keep an eye on the liquid level. The beer will reduce significantly as the alcohol evaporates. Boiling is faster than simmering but can be harsher on flavor.

  3. Aim to boil for 5-10 minutes for a very high alcohol reduction of around 80-85%.

Keep in mind that both simmering and boiling can concentrate the flavors in the beer. This might be desirable for some dishes, but for others, it could lead to an overly intense or bitter taste.

Flaming (Flambé)

Flambéing involves igniting the alcohol vapors in a dish to enhance flavor and add a touch of visual flair. While it boasts a removal rate of around 75% of the alcohol, it's crucial to prioritize safety. Here's a breakdown of this method:

Here is how to do it:

  1. Heat your beer in a saucepan or skillet until it simmers gently. This step allows some alcohol to evaporate beforehand, increasing the concentration of flammable vapors for a successful flambé.

  2. Never pour liquor directly from the bottle into a hot pan. Instead, use a long-handled lighter or a match with an extended handle to ignite the vapors.

  3. While holding the ignition source at a safe distance, tilt the pan slightly away from you and carefully ignite the vapors. You should see a brief, controlled flame.

  4. Allow the flames to subside naturally. Do not attempt to extinguish them with water or a lid, as this can create a dangerous flash fire. Once the flames die out, the remaining alcohol will have mostly burned off.

For extra safety, ensure there are no flammable materials like dish towels or curtains near the cooking area. If you're unsure, consider alternative methods like simmering or using non-alcoholic beer substitutes.

How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol - Flaming (Flambé)

Overnight evaporation

This surprisingly effective method utilizes time and a little surface area to achieve a significant reduction in alcohol content. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. This means it evaporates more readily at room temperature. By transferring the beer to a shallow container with a wide surface area, you increase the rate of evaporation. The larger surface allows more alcohol molecules to escape into the air.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Select a pan, baking dish, or even a large plate with a wide, flat surface. The broader the surface area, the faster the evaporation. Then, transfer the measured amount of beer you need for your recipe into the chosen shallow container.

  2. Place the container, uncovered, in your refrigerator. The cool temperature helps to slow down the evaporation of water while still allowing the alcohol to readily escape.

  3. While some reduction will occur within a few hours, aim for at least 8-12 hours of refrigeration time for optimal alcohol removal.

  4. If time is limited, consider further increasing the surface area. You can achieve this by using a baking sheet, or by briefly whisking the beer every few hours to agitate the surface and facilitate additional evaporation.

Check out our other article for essential fridge storage tips to keep your beer at its best.


Similar to simmering, baking utilizes heat to drive off alcohol vapors. As the oven temperature rises, the alcohol in the beer reaches its boiling point and evaporates. The longer the beer is exposed to baking heat, the more alcohol evaporates. However, baking times also impact the overall dish.

Here is how to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified in your recipe.

  2. Depending on the recipe, you might add the beer directly to the baking dish with other ingredients, or pre-heat the beer separately to encourage some initial evaporation.

Baking for 25 minutes removes around 45% of the alcohol. Extending the baking time significantly reduces the alcohol content, leaving only about 5%. However, prolonged baking can affect the texture and overall flavor of your dish.

If possible, consider adding the beer later in the baking process. This allows other ingredients to cook through without excessive exposure to heat, minimizing the impact on flavor.

The kind of beer you choose also affects the final result. Lighter beers generally have lower alcohol content to begin with. Using them allows you to achieve a good balance of flavor and reduced alcohol even with shorter baking times.

If extended baking is necessary to achieve your desired alcohol level but you're concerned about losing flavor, consider using a concentrated beer stock or reduction alongside a smaller amount of the reduced beer. This can help maintain a more robust beer presence in your dish.

This article explored methods for reducing alcohol in beer for cooking. But have you considered the calorie content of the beer you're using? Our other article delves deeper, unveiling the hidden calories in your favorite drinks, including beer and wine.

How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol - Baking

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How Long do you Cook Beer to Remove Alcohol