Traditional Welsh rarebit recipe

A famous Welsh dish originating from the 18th century. A kind of ‘posh cheese on toast’, ingredients vary but mostly include Welsh cheese, ale and mustard mixed up and served on toast.

The following recipe is a basic rarebit mix, but the application is definitely a contemporary version of the toasted sandwich. You can add various flavourings to the rarebit base such as herbs, fresh chilli, garlic, cooked leeks, chopped ham, and crispy bacon or chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

Welsh rarebit ingredients

For the rarebit

  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 375g/12oz mature Welsh farmhouse cheese
  • 100ml/4floz ale or milk
  • 1/2 tsp mild mustard
  • Salt and pepper

For the sandwich

  • 18 medium size circles of bread
  • 6 large, ripe tomatoes sliced thin
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley or basil
  • Salt and pepper

How to make Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit

To make the rarebit:

Melt the butter in a pan, add the grated cheese and stir over a low heat until melted. Pour in the ale or milk, add the mustard and any other flavouring you wish. Season to taste. Bring the mixture up to near boiling point, and then remove from the heat.

To prepare the sandwich: 

Either toast of fry the bread (use a little light olive oil, and drain off any excess after cooking on some kitchen paper). Assemble a three tier sandwich with the sliced tomatoes, herbs and seasoning between the layers. Place on a baking sheet, pour over a good helping of rarebit mixture and brown either under a hot grill, or in a hot oven (preheated at the highest setting).

Serve immediately.

Find out more about traditional Welsh recipes