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What is Welsh Rarebit?

Updated on January 13, 2016
Welsh Rarebit
Welsh Rarebit | Source

Welsh Rarebit is More Than a Grilled Cheese!

While the origins of the name Welsh Rarebit or Rabbit are in dispute there is no denying it is a tasty and satisfying cheesy dish.

Consisting of bread and cheese there are other ingredients that make the recipe much more than a plain grilled cheese! There are many forms of the Welsh Rarebit recipe. Some may contain beer or ale, mustard and flour or not.

Common to all is the use of bread and cheese. In other words it's a 'posh' cheese on toast!

There are varying ways to present this dish. It makes an excellent lunch dish, an easy snack and what better way to eat it than with a beer or wine? A great pub snack! Warming and comforting on a cold evening.

In this lens you will find my own recipe.


Rarebit or Rabbit?

Welsh Rarebit is also known as Welsh Rabbit but there is debate on exactly how that name came about. Some say it is a mispronunciation of the word rarebit.

There is speculation that the name was coined at a time in history when the Welsh were particularly poor and only gentry and the wealthy could afford to buy meat. In England rabbit was the poor man’s meat and in Wales cheese was the poor man’s meat. The first recorded Welsh Rabbit was in 1725. However there appear to have been references to toasted cheese favoured by the Welsh as far back as 1526.

If an egg is added on the top of this dish it becomes known as a Buck Rabbit or Golden Buck, If the the mixture has tomato added to it the name then becomes a Blushing Bunny!

In eighteenth century cookbooks there are also recipes for English Rabbit, Irish Rabbit and Scotch (Scottish?) Rabbit but no RAREBIT!

Have you ever heard of Welsh Rarebit or Rabbit?

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A Gluten Free Recipe Book - ...that has Welsh Rarebit!

The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook: Includes Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla, Peruvian Roast Chicken with Red Potatoes, Lamb ... Pumpkin Spice Lattes...and hundreds more!
The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook: Includes Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Vanilla, Peruvian Roast Chicken with Red Potatoes, Lamb ... Pumpkin Spice Lattes...and hundreds more!

I'm not sure that you need to slow cook a Welsh Rarebit! LOL. However this well thought of recipe book does contain a recipe for a Gluten free version of Welsh Rarebit.

While the recipes are dedicated to slow cooking other methods of cooking can be used. A must cook book for the gluten intolerant.

Welsh rarebit
Welsh rarebit

Cook Time

Total Time: Abot 10 minutes

Serves: 4 or as a smaller savory will serve 8


  • 4 - 6 slices of buttered toast
  • 1 oz (25 g) butter
  • 1 oz (25 g) flour
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
  • 8 oz (225 g) grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ready made mustard
  • 1 tablespoon beer or Worcester Sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook steadily for several minutes. Gradually add the cold milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Add the mustard, salt and pepper, most of the cheese and beer or Worcester sauce. Heat until cheese melts but do not cook too quickly or fast otherwise the cheese will become oily. Spread on the toast and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Place under the grill until brown.
  2. The cheesy mixture can be stored in the fridge in jars for a few days.
Cast your vote for Welsh Rarebit / Rabbit Recipe

Rarebit / Rabbit Variations

  1. Irish Rarebit includes a teaspoon of vinegar rather than beer. It also has chopped gherkins.
  2. Buck Rarebit is topped with a poached egg.
  3. Yorkshire Rarebit is done the same as for Welsh Rarebit but includes cooked ham.

making welsh rarebit
making welsh rarebit | Source

Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 290g
Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 290g

This is the original Worcestershire sauce and the only one I like to use. Any other Worcester sauce just doesn't do it for me. This is a true British classic and is made in the UK.

My husband won't have any other Worcester Sauce!


Photo credit: MaxStraeten from

While I tend to use Cheddar cheese you can use Cheshire, Dutch Gouda or Edam. Cheddar cheese tend to be most commonly use.

Do you think you will make this recipe?

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welsh rarebit
welsh rarebit

Sprinkle with grated cheese and place under the grill to brown.

Photo by Lyn Bell

Please leave your comments and let me know you dropped by

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I do like this very much. It will have to wait as we are trying to shed a few pounds.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I do like this very much. It will have to wait as we are trying to shed a few pounds.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image


      5 years ago

      Yummy, looks & sounds delicious! Welsh Rarebit reminds me of an old episode of Gomer Pyle USMC where he cooks Welsh Rarebit, that is the first time I heard of the dish. So I found a recipe and tried it out many years ago. Not a bad dish, thanks for the reminder :) Will give it a try again.

    • JauntyGiGi profile image


      5 years ago

      I love anything cheesy. This looks yummy and not too difficult.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It looks great this lens is making me hungry , great job .

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I had heard of Welsh Rarebit but thought it contained rabbit. This really sounds good! (No bunnies were harmed in eating this sandwich.)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The pictures made me very hungry!

    • writerkath profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for making this lens! I honestly did not know what Welsh Rarebit was before now, and had always wondered, so I was pleased to spot this on page 1 today! :)

    • LynetteBell profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      @Gypzeerose: Thanks for pinning to your cheese board!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Lovely lens indeed. Are we talking about cheese here? Yum. Pinned to my cheese board. Thanks for featuring the gluten free option even if it is a little strange. Yes, I definitely will try this recipe. Blessed.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas

      @Craftypicks: I just made it for my family and it was a big hit. I added a drop of chopped garlic to it. They all want to know why I have never made this before.

    • Flowerchild1946 profile image

      Carol Brooks 

      5 years ago from Florida

      My mother used to make it when I was a kid. I loved it!

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I always thought of it as Welsh Rabbit, but I haven't had it since I was a kid. We made it in school cooking class. I remember it being really good, but had no idea how we made it. I think I am going to make it today!

    • ridgewood1 profile image


      5 years ago

      When I was a wee squid, Momma sometimes made Welsh rarebit for Sunday supper, after a big Sunday dinner after church. Her recipe came from Irma Rombauer's classic "Joy of Cooking" and used Kraft Olde English cheese slices. She served the rarebit over saltine crackers, not broiled, kinda like fondue meets nachos. Mmmm.

    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      5 years ago

      Silly Rarebit Tricks Are For Kids! Lol My mother use to make a blue-collar version of this for my father, and it was one of his favorites. She'd make toast (points) cut the toast into 4 triangles and she's melt beer, extra sharp cheddar cheese and mustard into a saucepan and ladle it over the toast points (kinda like nachos). Wow, you brought back some memories, my mother was a good cook, and at 6'4' my father was a good eater.

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 

      5 years ago

      I'd heard of it often, but never knew what it actually was - until today!

    • ruthlspurgeon profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm going to try it. I think the kids will like it.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 

      5 years ago

      This is something completely new to me! Great recipe :)

    • emmajowebster profile image


      5 years ago

      I just LOVE Welsh Rarebit! I used to have it when I was a kid! Thanks so much for bringing back happy memories!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      I heard about Welsh Rarebit on the Gomer Pyle show long ago never knew what it was before this.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I have never made Welsh rarebit -- keep meaning to. Maybe this will give me the shove I need to actually make it. It looks delicious.

    • QuiltFinger profile image


      5 years ago from Tennessee

      My grandma made a really great version of Welsh rarebit, and I even remember my family having a rabbit vs rarebit debate. She used to make it with English muffins topped with a slice of tomato, and I think there was a touch of mustard and horseradish in the sauce. Hot brown is another toasted sandwich that I'd like to try. Thanks for sharing this recipe and inspiring me to make a recipe only attempted by grandma!

    • street2linen profile image


      5 years ago

      I have never heard of this either, but it looks fantastically great!

    • Ardyn25 profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never heard or had this before, but it sure looks good. I love cheese so I'm going to give this a try.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I enjoy eating cheese, so this is tempting. Congratulations on Home Page honors.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I've never had Welsh Rarebit but I love cheese melted and even better and have to agree this is much more that a grilled cheese and only just now learned that it is similar. Deliciously done and congratulations on home page honors!

    • RoadMonkey profile image


      5 years ago

      I was brought up in Wales and my father used to love to make Welsh Rarebit (and eat it of course).

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      5 years ago from Vermont

      We learned to make rarebit in 7th grade but our US recipe version didn't put it under the broiler. I like it well enough but I think it must be delectable when browned!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I have made Welsh Rarebit many years ago. Haven't made it recently, though. We spelled it Rarebit and called it Rabbit! How's that for non-committal? LOl


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