Welsh rarebit is, effectively, a fancy grilled cheese open sandwich. The ingredients are fairly widely accepted as being a cheese sauce with mustard that’s used to top a piece of toasted bread. The origin of the name is not so much agreed upon – although just about every source agrees that the dish was first called Welsh Rabbit and the word rarebit was an accidental corruption over the years. In the 18th century the English referred to anything foreign or inferior as “Welsh” perhaps betraying a certain disdain for our country cousins. As to why it’s got anything to do with rabbits? Who knows..?
What we are left with is a strong flavored cheese on toast recipe that is mightily filling and truly delicious – it’s the perfect foil to a rich soup like this Roasted Tomato Soup recipe 🙂
Click here to jump straight to the Welsh Rarebit Recipe or read on to get a little more insight into the process.
I made this as a side dish to go with my Roasted Tomato soup recipe and they really do work well as a pair.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with lightly roasted onions and balsamic vinegar and cream. This is a luxurious and creamy soup with a real depth of flavor that’s prepared with a minimum of fuss.
How to Make the Best Welsh Rarebit
This is an authentic homemade Welsh rarebit that came together after a lot of experimenting. It’s a straightforward recipe that’s easy to carry out – it’s really hard to mess this up so give it a try! This is a strong cheese sauce with mustard and Worcestershire sauce and really is just a fancy grilled cheese sandwich but the beer adds a great dimension to it. Best of all, this recipe is ready in 15 minutes and is an easy to follow recipe for everyone. Below are some of our best tips for making it right first time.
Choose your beer wisely
I used a Yuengling because I love the super sweetness it brings to this meal but the traditional beer is stout or porter beer. Milk also works just as well to make a delicious cheese sauce but it lacks the authenticity of a Welsh Rarebit. This is such a quick and easy recipe – so that’s really a great excuse for trying several varieties until you find your favorite beer.
Use a strong quality cheddar, preferably aged and white
The beer (or milk) and the Worcestershire sauce pack a powerful punch in the sauce so a generic bland supermarket cheddar won’t cut it here. With a strong, mature, aged cheese you get a beautiful balance that allows the cheddar to shine through and give the impression required – a fancy grilled cheese flavor…
Don’t use a skimpy bread – you need strong and robust here
The sauce is thick and very rich; a thin piece of sliced bread would be overwhelmed here as well as getting very soggy, very quickly. You need to use a tough bread – something like a hard sourdough or an artisan bread (they’re normally denser and more robust). I used a crusty wheat bread and it worked well.
I used an aged white creamy English cheddar; a Welsh or Irish white cheddar would work well here too but any aged cheddar will do the job. Just don’t use the supermarket grated yellow cheddar – it really doesn’t have enough power in this setting. If you can find it, a Lancashire or Cheshire cheese would be fabulous but I still don’t know where to buy that in Tennessee…
There are only 7 ingredients to this recipe – bread, butter, beer, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and flour
Start off by making a big mess of the kitchen; throw grated cheese everywhere and hope some of it lands in the pan… Or melt the butter, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes then add the beer (or milk if you really don’t want beer) and stir until it all combines. Remove from the heat and add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and most of the cheese and whisk it all together – it doesn’t have to be smooth at all. That’s it for the sauce. I told you it was easy!
Slice the bread fairly thickly – about an inch should do it but thicker is great if your appetite can handle it. For instructions on how to slice bread click here.
After you lightly toast the bread on both sides, pour over the sauce, covering all the bread; yes, this does mean it’s starting to get even messier – but that’s what parchment paper is for, right? If you leave any bare pieces of bread it will very likely burn…
Add the rest of the cheese over the top as thick as you like – this is NOT a healthy recipe; this is a DELICIOUS recipe… Season with a little salt and pepper and then broil for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbling and browned.
And there you have it. I added a few drops of Worcestershire sauce on top (hot sauce works too), or a little HP sauce is fabulous with this. It can be served on it’s own as a snack or for brunch. It works really well with my roasted tomato soup or, if at all possible, it’s best served in the 1950s at a cocktail party. Also goes well with a beer…
If you enjoyed this recipe then have a quick look at these, I think you might like them too:
- Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe — This is the perfect accompaniment for Welsh Rarebit. A luxurious, rich and creamy soup that stands up to the strong flavors of this bread…
- Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe — Authentic British Indian Restaurant style Chicken Tikka Masala – a guaranteed winner…
- Sharlene’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce — An old family recipe but new and improved. The perfect quick and easy comfort food!