What Is Welsh Rarebit Anyways?

Don't worry, Welsh rarebit has nothing to do with bunnies! You'll definitely want to have this cheesy treat in your recipe repertoire.

After watching our fair share of British cooking shows (Great British Baking Show, anyone?) we’ve started to become aware of a few delicacies from across the pond, including Welsh rarebit. But we’ll be honest, we’ve heard the name, but we didn’t know quite what this dish was, so we had to do some digging.

What is a rarebit?

The original name for this dish was, in fact, “Welsh rabbit,” though it has nothing to do with bunnies. In an attempt to reduce confusion, the name was altered to “rarebit,” but it can still trip up us American folks that are unfamiliar with the dish.

The dish itself is made with a blend of melted cheese mixed with savory spices. This mix is then poured over slices of toasted bread, often with tomatoes or bacon on top. It makes a great breakfast, easy cheesy appetizer (here are 50 more!) or just a nice snack for a cold, rainy day.

Where is it from?

Originating in 18th century Great Britain, it is believed to first appear in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1747), written by Hannah Glasse. In the book, she offers readers four recipes:

  • Scotch rabbit: toasted bread with slices of melted cheese
  • Welch rabbit: toasted bread with slices of melted cheese and mustard
  • English rabbit: toasted bread soaked in red wine with slices of melted cheese
  • English rabbit: toasted bread soaked in red and white wine with slices of melted cheese and mustard

Over time, the recipe has evolved into what we know today.

How to make it yourself

Toasty, cheesy and easily customizable, you’ll definitely want to start whipping up a rarebit or two for yourself.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (we recommend an aged yellow cheddar for optimal color and flavor)
  • 4 slices white bread, toasted (here’s a basic homemade bread recipe we go back to time and time again)
  • 12 bacon strips, cooked and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  1. To make your Welsh rarebit, melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the flour until it’s nice and smooth. Then stir in your milk. Bring this to a boil and stir for about two minutes or until thick.
  2. Reduce the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper and cheese. Cook this until the cheese is melted.
  3. Plate up by placing your toast on a plate with a few strips of bacon, a slice of tomato and then top with the cheese.

This recipe only takes minutes and is darn near irresistible.

Want more quick appetizers? Try these!
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Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.