Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe - Culinary Ginger (2024)

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Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe is an open-faced grilled cheese or cheese on toast. Toasted bread slices are topped with a savory cheese sauce made from beer, cheese, butter, mustard, then browned in the oven to golden, bubbly perfection. This may just be the tastiest grilled cheese ever!

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This easy, comfort food is basically a grown-up grilled cheese made with with beer, mustard and cheese. What’s not to love?

As a kid, cheese on toast, as we Brits call it, was one of my favorites things to eat. It was also a meal when my parents were out that I could make myself. Then I met Welsh rarebit.

What is the difference between cheese on toast (grilled cheese) and Welsh rarebit?

Cheese on toast is just that, cheese melted on top of bread. A grilled cheese is cheese melted between 2 slices of bread cooked in a pan. Welsh rarebit is a toasted slice of bread topped with a cheese and beer sauce and broiled/grilled until the top is bubbly.

Why do they call it Welsh Rarebit?

In Welsh it is called Mochyn Du.The recipe is over 2 centuries old and common in Southern and Western England and the rarebit/rabbit part is the cheese sauce that is poured over toasted bread.

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Welsh Rarebit origin is a little sketchy, but it is said the dish was a way to highlight the Welsh wheat bread and cheese. Some say that toasted cheese is so popular in Wales that it spread like rabbits, others say only the wealthiest of people could afford to eat rabbit, so they alternative ‘Welsh rarebit’ was born. A much more appetizing name I think and since there is no rabbit in the dish, a more befitting name.

The best bread for Welsh rarebit

A good, hearty, thick sliced bread is optimal for this recipe. A bread that can hold up to the weight of the cheese sauce and not turn soggy on you. Sourdough or grain bread are all good choices.

Welsh rarebit without beer

If you don’t want to serve beer to your kids, you can substitute the beer for milk.

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What do you serve with Welsh Rarebit?

I serve this Welsh Rarebit with a side of Warm Cherry Tomato and Basil Salad. You can also serve with a simple lettuce salad or a vegetable of your choice.

National Welsh Rarebit Day

Yes, it has a National Day and falls on 3rd September every year. I don’t know why, but there seems to be a National holiday for just about any food and dish, so why not.

Welsh Rarebit Cheese

A good sharp white cheddar is best for this recipe. If you can find a Welsh cheddar, even better. A grocery store with a large cheese department will most likely have white Welsh cheddar. I found it at my Kroger store. I have also seen it Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

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Leftover cheese sauce

Sometimes when I make this, I have sauce leftover. It keeps well in a sealed container refrigerated for up to 4 days. Then you can enjoy Welsh rarebit for days.

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe – Step by Step

Toast bread slices until browned on both sides.

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Melt butter in a saucepan until bubbling.

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Whisk flour into the melted butter and cook for 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.

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Whisk dark ale, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder into the flour mix.

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Add white sharp cheddar cheese and stir until completely melted and smooth.

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Spread the cheese sauce onto the slices of toasted bread. Broil until melted, brown and bubbly.

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If you’ve tried this Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 4

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe - Culinary Ginger (11)

A thick slice of bread is topped with a savory cheese sauce made from beer, cheese, butter, mustard and broiled to bubbly perfection.

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time15 minutes

Total Time20 minutes


  • 4 slices thick bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (79 ml) dark beer/ale, room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups/8 ounces (226 grams ) aged/mature/sharp white cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Toast the bread on both sides.
  2. To a saucepan, add the butter over medium heat.When the butter is melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Continue whisking until the flour is well mixed and not lumpy.
  3. Slowly pour in the ale while whisking, then the Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Use a spatula and stir in the cheese until it is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to slightly cool and thicken.
  5. Preheat broiler (oven grill).
  6. Spread the cheese sauce on all of the slices of bread. Broil until bubbly and browned. Serve immediately

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per ServingCalories 409Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 76mgSodium 564mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 17g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe - Culinary Ginger (2024)


How do you make James Martin Welsh rarebit? ›

Put the cheese, mustard, Worcester sauce and Tabasco sauce in and stir until melted. Beat in the egg yolks and flour and gently cook for a further 2 minutes. Evenly spoon over the bread and bacon then spoon the cheese mix all over and bake for 5 minutes until golden and bubbly.

What is Welsh rarebit made of? ›

Cheese on toast is made by grilling slices of pure cheese on toasted bread whereas welsh rarebit is a grilled cheese based sauce made from cheese, flour, beer and often added egg.

What is a substitute for beer in Welsh rarebit? ›

This classic Welsh rarebit makes a great lunch or brunch dish. You can use your favorite local beer, mustard, and any strong Cheddar cheese in this recipe. If you don't like beer, you can replace it with milk; it will still taste great!

Is Welsh rarebit discontinued? ›

We've discontinued our Welsh Rarebit, Robert. We're glad you enjoyed it though and will take note that you'd like to see it back!

What is a rarebit in culinary terms? ›

Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit (/ˈrɛərbɪt/ or /ˈræbɪt/) is a dish of hot cheese sauce served on toasted bread. The original 18th-century name of the dish was the jocular "Welsh rabbit", which was later reinterpreted as "rarebit", as the dish contains no rabbit.

What is Welsh Buck or elegant rarebit? ›

Classic Welsh, Buck Rarebit or Elegance. Elegance being Classic Welsh with addition of poached egg and rashers of bacon. Buck being just the egg added. Which ever you have you will not be dissappointed.

What is the best ale for Welsh rarebit? ›

My favourite is a golden ale, which brings a fantastic hoppy, boozy flavour, without being domineering. Stout or Guinness can be a delicious addition to a Welsh rarebit, but they can be potent: cut them with milk (75g of each) to prevent the sauce becoming overwhelming.

What is the difference between Welsh rarebit and hot brown? ›

The Hot Brown is a variation of the classic Welsh Rarebit, but it's bumped up with added turkey and bacon.

How do you make a buck rabbit? ›

  1. Put the cheese in a pan with the butter, ale, a few drops of Worcester Sauce, mustard and salt/pepper.
  2. Stir over a low heat until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream. ...
  3. Meanwhile, poach the eggs and toast the bread.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture over the toast slices and brown them under the grill.

Is Welsh rarebit a rabbit dish cooked in England? ›

Welsh rarebit is a savory dish comprised of a hot cheese sauce served over toast that is then grilled or broiled. It originated in 18th century Great Britain as "Welsh rabbit," but the name was eventually changed to avoid confusion. (There is no rabbit in this dish.)

What is a fact about Welsh rarebit? ›

A popular legend suggests that the meat-based name for this meatless dish stems from Welsh peasants for whom cheese was a substitute for the meat they could not afford. Whatever its origins, the dish is today a staple of British fare and a common pub food, often paired with a pint of beer or ale.

Can I freeze Welsh rarebit? ›

We would not recommend freezing any of our rarebits as this will affect the quality.

How to make your own butter James Martin? ›

To make butter put the cream into a kitchen aid with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the cream separates into butter and buttermilk, spoon into a sieve lined with muslin and strain off. Mix the butter with any of the above and season.

How do you make James Martin turkey gravy? ›

To make the gravy: Drain all juices from the turkey roasting tray into a clean saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of Bovril or Marmite yeast extract. Bring to the boil and reduce. To thicken add 25g softened butter to another pan with 25g plain flour and mix together to form a paste.

How to make Melba toast James Martin? ›

To make the melba toast, put the bread onto a baking tray, toast under a hot grill on both sides. Remove the crusts and the slice through the bread horizontally. Rub the underside on the board to remove any excess crumbs, cut each piece into two triangles put back on the tray untoasted side up and toast until golden.

What is a Welsh toastie? ›

Toastie Welsh Rarebit! Rich cheesy sauce served with slices of toasted bread with a salad of nettles, alexanders, sea radish and sorrels dressed with vinaigrette.


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