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Welsh Rarebit or ‘Caws Pobiis’ which means baked cheese in Welsh, is more than just posh cheese on toast. It is the perfect comfort food, consisting of a thick, rich cheese sauce, grilled on top of chunky farmhouse bread, and topped with chives.

With the addition of a good Welsh stout, mustard and Worchester sauce, this Welsh Rarebit recipe is super easy and quick to make and gives cheese on toast a kick into the next generation.

Is Welsh Rarebit Just Cheese on Toast?

Okay, before we delve into the recipe, let’s address the first question I’m always asked about Welsh Rarebit, is it just cheese on toast? Absolutely not!

Cheese on toast is made from lightly buttered toast topped with grated or sliced cheese whereas Welsh Rarebit uses a Bechamel sauce made from flour and butter which is much richer and creamier. The sauce may also include paprika, Worcester sauce, and sometimes even ale for flavour.

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe

Recipe by Chef Natalya AustinCourse: SnacksCuisine: WelshDifficulty: Easy
Servings

1

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Ingredients

  • 20ml Welsh Ale or Stout 

  • 50ml Milk

  • 160g Strong Welsh Cheddar

  • 30g Unsalted Butter

  • 30g Plain Flour

  • 1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

  • Pinch of chopped chives to serve

  • 2 large slices of crusty farmhouse bread 

Directions

  • First, we start by making our basic roux by putting a saucepan on medium heat and melting your butter. 
  • Add your flour gradually to the melted butter to make a paste-like substance. Next, gradually add the stout and milk to your roux on medium heat, continuously whisking. Adding the stout and milk slowly will ensure no lumps will occur, leaving you with a smooth silky sauce
  • Add your cheese, Worchester sauce and mustard. Stir thoroughly until the cheese has melted and your ingredients are evenly distributed. Keep on low heat while stirring until your sauce thickens. Set aside and leave the sauce to cool for 15-20mins
  • Lightly toast your bread and top it with your cheese sauce, then place under the grill for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Carefully take out your hot cheesy toast and sprinkle some chives on the top to finish. Serve alongside a fresh salad or another great accompaniment, take a look at some ideas on our traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe page. 

Notes

  • For this recipe, you’ll need a mixing spoon, a mixing bowl, a pan, and a cheese grater.

What To Serve With Welsh Rarebit:

Welsh Rarebit makes a great snack on its own, but if you want to make it into a light meal, you can serve it with bacon or a side salad.

  • Lava Bread – Commonly known as ‘Welshman’s Caviar’ Lava bread is a great source of Iron and is traditionally served with bacon and cockles as part of a Welsh breakfast. Try Lava bread as a tasty addition to Welsh Rarebit for that extra patriotic snack! 
  • Green Salad & Seasoned Sliced Tomatoes – This sounds so simple but because the Rarebit can be rich for some people, the salad and tomatoes help keep your pallet fresh and make the perfect accompaniment to your cheesy bread. 
  • Bacon – A popular serving suggestion with Rarebit is bacon, often seen on café and restaurant menus as a familiar topping, it gives the dish an exquisite balance of flavour. 

Welsh Rarebit Variations

  • Buck Rarebit – The best-known variation of a Welsh Rarebit is Buck Rarebit which is Welsh Rarebit with a fried egg on top. Simply top your toasted cheese with a fried egg and savour in its runny yolk.
  • Chefs Plate – Our own Chefs Welsh Rarebit Burger. We took Welsh Rare Bit and ‘beefed’ it up! Try a thick Rarebit sauce laced over a burger, with the usual addition to Rarebit, rations of hot bacon. We topped ours with a Pencoed leak stuffed with cheese and of course the Welsh Flag for our St David’s day creation. 
  • Alcohol-Free – A very simple but popular variation is Welsh Rarebit without alcohol. To enjoy a traditional Welsh Rarebit with no alcohol, follow the standard recipe but leave out the ale while adding more milk to compensate if necessary. Alternatively, you can also use a zero per cent stout or Guinness to maintain the flavour without the alcohol.
  • Rarebit Crumpets – Everyone loves a crumpet but add Welsh Rarebit and it reaches another level. Mix up your usual Rarebit mixture and add it to a toasted crumpet before finishing under the grill. Unlike bread, the crumpet soaks in all the rich cheese sauce giving it that extra feeling of indulgence. Don’t forget to grill for 2-3 minutes for a beautiful crispy top!
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  • Glamorgan Sausages & Welsh Rarebit Mash – A very Welsh twist on the hearty ‘sausage and mash’. Try some Welsh Glamorgan Sausages and serve them with fresh mashed potato, infused with your Welsh Rarebit mixture.

    Grill slightly for a crispy top and sprinkle with chives, a great Welsh Rarebit variation, easy to make and loved by all the family, especially on winter days. 
  • Vegan Welsh Rarebit – Everyone should be able to enjoy Welsh Rarebit, no matter what diet. A simple variation to the recipe means we can enjoy a no-hassle plant-based Rarebit.

    Simply replace your milk with soy milk, the cheese with a good Violife vegan cheese and make sure your Worchester sauce is the vegan version. This makes for a delicious plant-based version of the traditional recipe with little effort. 
  • Stilton and Mushroom Rarebit – A great vegetarian variation containing beautiful Chestnut mushroom which gives it an added texture, while the Stilton cheese adds a richer flavour to the traditional dish.

    To make this variation, replace your Welsh Cheddar with the Stilton when making your Rarebit Sauce, then add lightly fried mushrooms to your toasted bread. Add your cheesy sauce on top and grill as normal and enjoy this lush alternative! Perfect with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and sweet chilli sauce.

Related Questions

How long does Welsh Rarebit last?

Welsh Rarebit will last in the fridge for up to ten days. Keep it in a sealed container for freshness.

Is Welsh Rarebit Welsh Rarebit Vegetarian?

No, Rarebit is not vegetarian as it contains Worchester Sauce which is not suitable for vegetarians.

Does Welsh Rarebit Contain Eggs?

Traditionally Welsh Rarebit does not contain eggs, however, there are some variations that do include them. 

Can You Freeze Welsh Rarebit?

No, it is not a good idea to freeze your Rarebit as it largely affects the quality and can split upon defrosting.

Is Welsh Rarebit Healthy?

Welsh Rarebit is not particularly healthy as it is full of eggs, dairy and carbs however it is by far fewer calories than a full breakfast which is around 800 Calories. 

How Many Calories Are in Welsh Rarebit?

There are around 680 Calories in a serving of Welsh Rarebit.

Natalya is a Welsh chef from the small town of Tenby on the south coast of Wales. With 17 years of experience as a professional chef, Natalya is passionate about Welsh cuisine and loves to use local produce in her dishes. As well as running her family-run business, Lemon & Lime Kitchen, she, and her wife sell their small online bakery produce on Etsy!