Welsh Recipe - Welsh Rabbit (Welsh Rarebit)

Welsh Recipes Welsh Rabbit - Caws Pobi
Welsh Recipes Welsh Rabbit - Caws Pobi

Welsh Rabbit, Welsh Rarebit or Caws pobi

Welsh Rabbit (often erroneously called Welsh Rarebit) is a traditional savoury dish created by serving a sauce of melted cheese (usually cheddar) and other ingredients over hot toast.

The term "Welsh Rarebit" is often used in place of "Welsh Rabbit" by some in an attempt to emphasise the fact that it does not, in fact, contain any Rabbit. They are missing the intentional humour in the name - of course there is no rabbit in Welsh Rarebit, just as there is no Turtle in "Mock Turtle soup", no Ducks in "Bombay Duck" (which is actually a fish), and no Toads in "Toad in the Hole" (sausages).

The name "Welsh Rabbit" is an ironic name from the days when Wales was very poor. Only the well off could afford Butchers Meat. In England of course, when the poor wanted meat, they would catch a rabbit or two. In Wales, oppressive landlords would not allow such forraging by the peasants and so a poor Welshman's substitute for rabbit was cheese.

In his Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (1542), Andrew Boorde wrote "I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese." "cause boby" is an attempt to write in English the Welsh caws pobi, meaning "baked cheese". This is the earliest known reference to cooked cheese being eaten in the British Isles.

The first known example of the term Welsh rarebit was recorded in 1785 by Francis Grose. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'Welsh rarebit' is an "etymologizing alteration. There is no evidence of the independent use of rarebit".

Whatever you chose to call it, there is no doubt that Welsh Rabbit - or even Welsh Rarebit - is one of the tastiest savoury snacks - And so quick and easy to make - Here's how.

Cheddar Cheese makes excellent Welsh Rabbit
Cheddar Cheese makes excellent Welsh Rabbit

Welsh Rabbit/Welsh Rarebit - The Recipe

Ingredients for Welsh Rabbit/Welsh Rarebit:

  • Bread (White or Brown) 2 Large Slices
  • Cheddar Cheese (Mature) 4oz / 110g
  • Onion (finely chopped) 1 Heaped Teaspoon
  • Beer (not Lager type) 4 Tablespoons
  • English Mustard 1/2 teaspoon
  • Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh Sage (chopped) 1 Teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper Sprinkling


Welsh Rabbit/Welsh Rarebit is quick and easy to make. Grate the Cheddar Cheese and mix together with the finely chopped onion using a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients - except the bread and pepper - and continue to mix well with a fork.

Toast the bread under a medium grill - This is a better method than using a toaster as it will allow you to control the browning and prevent any burning.

Take the mixed ingedients and divide into two, spreading each half on a slice of the toasted bread. Be sure to cover the bread right up to it's edges - this will prevent the toast burning when it is placed back under the grill.

Sprinkle with the Cayenne pepper before placing the slices under a medium grill. Cook until the cheese begins to bubble and develop a nice golden brown colour.

Your Welsh Rabbit/Welsh Rarebit is done! - Serve hot immediately with a salad garnish if desired - Enjoy!

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Comments 10 comments

scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 5 years ago from South Wales

Nice one, Gaizy. A little history always goes down well. Cheers.

Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 5 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Cheers Scarytaff :)

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

O man Gaizy, I first saw Welsh rarebit mentioned in the short story,' The Most Dangerous Game' and I kid you not, I've always wondered exactly what it was ever since. Thank you for the enlightenment & recipe!

Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 5 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ Alastar Packer: You're welcome. Try some It's nice!

jacharless profile image

jacharless 5 years ago from Between New York and London

Yup. Delicious and so easy right?!

Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 5 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ jacharless - Absolutely!

Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London

Ah, I never knew the origin of the name Welsh rabbit. Very interesting to know. And I'm going to have to try this recipe. I normally just toast cheese on top of some bread, and add some mustard (or sometimes marmite!). Which is nice and all, but your recipe sounds so much better! I especially like the prospect of using onions, cayenne pepper and beer. Nice one.

Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 5 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

You're welcome (or as we say in Wales "Croeso") Moon Daisy - Hope you enjoy it.

blaiddgoch profile image

blaiddgoch 4 years ago from Wales

I never knew much about Welsh Rabbit till I read this hub! tried your recipe out and I have to say it's delicious!!

Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Yes - I love the stuff :)

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