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I, A Terrible Chef, Tried Cooking The 3-Ingredient Trader Joe's "Beer Bread," And I Have Several Thoughts

Let me tell you: This was a real journey.

Hey y'all, my name is Pernell, and I don't usually do anything for St. Patrick's Day because, well, I'm not Irish — I know that's hard to believe. But I recently came across this $3 beer bread mix from Trader Joe's that they put out for the green holiday, so I figured I'd try it out.

Author holding a beer bread mix box

The only ingredients you need with the mix, according to the box, are beer and butter. Any beer should suffice, though my local Trader Joe's was kind enough to put the beer bread mix next to their recommended $7 Guinness stout beer.

Display of beer bread mix next to Guinness stout beer

While you only need the bread mix, 12 ounces of beer, and a half stick of melted butter, it's optional to also throw in shredded cheese. I appreciated that not much was needed, because I don't enjoy cooking, and my cupboard is bare.

(left) Cheese, beer bread mix, a beer can, and a stick of butter (Right) Instructions to cook the beer bread

While waiting for the oven to pre-heat to 350°F, I got started on prepping the bread. First, I poured the excess Guinness into a separate glass because I only needed 12 ounces of beer and had bought a 16-ounce can.

Guinness beer in a glass next to the can

Next, I poured the 12 ounces of beer I needed into a larger bowl that I used to mix all of the ingredients, which again, are only three things.

Author pouring beer into a large mixing bowl

Then I poured the beer bread mix into the beer. And for a brief moment in time, I felt like a chef. I remembered I was literally dumping unbleached flour (among other things) out of a box.

Author aggressively dumping flour into a mixing bowl

And then I mixed it all together and got the best of both worlds — oops! I mean a moistened bread dough. I was very careful to not over-mix the bread, because according to the box, it's meant to be a little lumpy. This was easy because I mixed it all with a fork.

Author mixing the beer bread mix

OK, so this next step I would later regret: I added the shredded vegan cheese. If you'd like to use cheese in your own beer bread, I'd recommend shredding the cheese yourself or cutting the strips into smaller pieces.

Author dropping cheese into the mixing bowl

Here's what the dough looked like before I transferred it into a loaf pan and added the melted butter.

Author holding up the beer bread mix in a large bowl

I transferred the dough into a cute little glass loaf pan. And then I melted a half stick of butter in a cup, and poured it into the pan. I pretended to not see the random strips of cheese.

Dough in a pan before and after melted butter is added

As you can tell, I was totally pleased with how it looked. The oven was hot and ready, the dough was moist and buttered, and I was unimpressed and over it. That's part of the process.

Author holding a loaf pan full of butter, with a side of dough

I slipped my new friend into the oven, set my microwave timer for 50 minutes, and prayed to Liza Minnelli that the dough would look better when it was done.

(Top) Dough with butter in a loaf pan in the oven (Bottom) Microwave timer that's counting down from 50 minutes

Then, I waited. I contemplated my life choices. I was happy. I was sad. Most of all, I was hungry. I tried a bit of the dough. It was savory.

Author eating a bit of the bread dough off his finger

I checked it halfway through, and I'll be honest, it didn't look super promising. The dough looked lumpy, sandy, and like it was drowning in butter. At least it was rising.

Dough rising in a loaf pan in the oven

I'm so glad I waited though, because when I pulled the beer bread out of the oven...she looked crisp. She was cooked. She also had random strips of cheese on top, but I chose to look past it (and so can you).

Beer bread in a glass loaf pan

I wanted to make the bread a bit more presentable, so I struggled with a spatula for a bit to scoop it out of the clear dish without breaking it. When it did come out, I gasped.

Author transferring the bread from the pan to a cutting board with a spatula

My beer bread, which I made by myself because I was now a professional chef, looked immaculate. I then sliced it with a knife, because beauty shouldn't last forever. It broke intro crumbs and I immediately noticed the inside was dense and moist. This was a good mix!

Beer bread sliced

And finally, it was my time to taste it. I sliced a piece of the $3 beer bread and took a bite. It was chewy and mostly savory, with a hint of malt. It had a toasted earthiness to it. I couldn't taste the beer, but it definitely added to the bread's aroma. The edges, as predicted, were the best part — butter will do that for you. But was just OK. I mean, it's bread.

Author trying the bread and being unimpressed

So here are my final thoughts: It's worth the $3 price tag. It's hearty; it's filling. It's perfect to have on the table if you're celebrating St. Patrick's Day with booze. I would recommend using a cheaper beer though, or whatever you already have. And if you don't drink alcohol, opt for another carbonated (and cheaper) beverage.

The final beer bread in front of the packaging

What are some other Trader Joe's products you'd like me to try out? Let me know in the comments!