Recipe Index

British Isles | Welsh Rarebit

Posted on November 27, 2012

I thought I would start my British Isles cooking with the first British dish that I ever had. I ate this in an "English pub" in San Luis Obispo circa 1984. I think it is usually smothered with more cheese but I wanted the bread to show in the photo. The dish is highly dependent on which beer and which cheese you choose. For this, I used an English porter and an English aged cheddar cheese, the result was very tasty. I read through several recipes and made another version before deciding to use this one. I liked this recipe because it was the easiest and the result was really good. Somewhere in my reading I saw the addition bacon and tomatoes, so I added them.

Alternatively this dish is called Welsh Rabbit. The dish was created in the 1700s when the Welsh were notoriously poor. The story is either that the Welsh could only afford a small rabbit, or that they were even too poor to afford a rabbit and eat cheese instead. We may never know the true origin of this dish, but I do know that cheese toast with beer tastes good.

Yield: 4 servings

welsh rarebit


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup porter beer

3/4 cup heavy cream

6 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) shredded Cheddar

2 drops hot sauce

4 slices toasted rye bread



In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth. Gradually add cheese, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth; this will take 4 to 5 minutes. (The longer you cook, the thicker it will get.) Add hot sauce. Pour over toast and serve immediately.


(Ref. "Welsh Rarebit" recipe, Alton Brown on