Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe is an open-faced grilled cheese. A thick slice of grain bread is topped with a savory cheese sauce made from beer, cheese, butter, mustard and broiled to bubbly perfection. This may just be the best grilled cheese ever, but a grown-up version with beer, mustard and cheese. What’s not to love?
1 slice of toasted bread with melted cheese sauce garnished with chives on a board with a tomato salad
 Cheese on toast, as we Brits call it, was one of my favorites things to eat growing up. It was also a meal when my parents were out that I could make myself.

A closeup showing the browned, bubbly melted cheese

Why do they call it  Welsh Rarebit?

In Welsh it is called Mochyn Du. The recipe is over 2 centuries old and common in Southern and Western England and the rarebit/rabbit part is the cheese sauce that is poured over toasted bread.

Welsh Rarebit origin is a little sketchy, but it is said the dish was a way to highlight the Welsh wheat bread and cheese. Some say that toasted cheese is so popular in Wales that it spread like rabbits, others say only the wealthiest of people could afford to eat rabbit, so they alternative ‘Welsh rarebit’ was born. A much more appetizing name I think and since there is no rabbit in the dish, a more befitting name.

Serving suggestion

I serve this Welsh Rarebit with a side of Warm Cherry Tomato & Basil Salad.

A closeup of warm cherry tomato and basil salad with red and yellow tomatoes over arugula on a white plate

National Welsh Rarebit Day

Yes, it has a National Day and falls on 3rd September every year. I don’t know why, but there seems to be a National holiday for just about any food and dish, so why not.

The bread

A good, hearty grain bread is optimal for this recipe. A bread that can hold up to the weight of the cheese sauce and not turn soggy on you.

The cheese

A good sharp white cheddar is best for this recipe. If you can find a Welsh cheddar, even better.  A grocery store with a large cheese department will most likely have white Welsh cheddar.  I found it at my Kroger store. I have also seen it Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Leftover cheese sauce

Sometimes when I make this, I have sauce leftover. It keeps well in a sealed container refrigerated for up to 4 days. Just spread the sauce onto toasted bread and broil until browned, melted and bubbly.

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe – Step by Step

Toast grain bread until browned on both sides.

Grain bread toasted on a baking sheet

Melt butter in a saucepan until bubbling.
A pan with melted butter
Whisk flour into the melted butter and cook for 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.
Flour being whisked into melted butter
Whisk dark ale, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder into the flour mix.
Dark ale being whisked into the flour and butter
Add white sharp cheddar cheese and stir until completely melted and smooth.
White cheddar being stirred into the sauce
Spread the cheese sauce onto the slices of toasted bread. Broil until melted, brown and bubbly.

Cheese sauce being spread onto grain bread

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Yield: 4

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe

A slice of traditional Welsh rarebit on a wooden board with a tomato salad

A thick slice of grain bread is topped with a savory cheese sauce made from beer, cheese, butter, mustard and broiled to bubbly perfection.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 4 slices whole grain bread, sliced thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) dark ale, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 8 ounces (226 g) white cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Toast the bread on both sides under broiler or toaster.
  2. To a saucepan, add the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Continue whisking until the flour is well mixed and not lumpy.
  3. Slowly pour in the ale while whisking, then the Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Use a spatula and stir in the cheese until it is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to slightly cool and thicken. 
  5. Preheat broiler (oven grill).
  6. Spread the cheese sauce on all of the slices of bread. Broil until bubbly and browned. Serve immediately

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 slice

Amount Per Serving Calories 638Saturated Fat 30gCholesterol 329mgSodium 889mgCarbohydrates 16gProtein 27g