Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe is an open-faced grilled cheese or cheese on toast. Toasted bread slices are topped with a savory cheese sauce made from beer, cheese, butter, mustard, then browned in the oven to golden, bubbly perfection. This may just be the tastiest grilled cheese ever!

A slice of bread topped with a beer cheese sauce

This easy, comfort food is basically a grown-up grilled cheese made with with beer, mustard and cheese. What’s not to love?

As a kid, cheese on toast, as we Brits call it, was one of my favorites things to eat. It was also a meal when my parents were out that I could make myself. Then I met Welsh rarebit.

What is the difference between cheese on toast (grilled cheese) and Welsh rarebit?

Cheese on toast is just that, cheese melted on top of bread. A grilled cheese is cheese melted between 2 slices of bread cooked in a pan. Welsh rarebit is a toasted slice of bread topped with a cheese and beer sauce and broiled/grilled until the top is bubbly. 

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.

A slice of bread topped with a beer cheese sauce

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.

The best bread for Welsh rarebit

A good, hearty, thick sliced 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. Sourdough or grain bread are all good choices.

Welsh rarebit without beer

If you don’t want to serve beer to your kids, you can substitute the beer for milk.

An arugula and cherry tomato salad on a serving board

What do you serve with Welsh Rarebit?

I serve this Welsh Rarebit with a side of Warm Cherry Tomato and Basil Salad. You can also serve with a simple lettuce salad or a vegetable of your choice.

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.

Welsh Rarebit 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.

Red and yellow cherry tomatoes on top of arugula

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. Then you can enjoy Welsh rarebit for days.

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe – Step by Step

Toast bread slices until browned on both sides.

2 slices of grain bread that are toasted

Melt butter in a saucepan until bubbling.

Butter melting in a pan

Whisk flour into the melted butter and cook for 1 minute to cook out the flour taste.

Whisking flour into melted butter

Whisk dark ale, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder into the flour mix.

Whisking dark beer into melted butter and flour

Add white sharp cheddar cheese and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Stirring white grated cheddar cheese into a sauce

Spread the cheese sauce onto the slices of toasted bread. Broil until melted, brown and bubbly.

Spreading cheese sauce into toasted bread slices

If you’ve tried this Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 4

Traditional Welsh Rarebit Recipe

A slice of Welsh rarebit grilled cheese on a board with a cherry tomato salad

A thick slice of 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 thick bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (79 ml) dark beer/ale, room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 cups/8 ounces (226 grams ) aged/mature/sharp white cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Toast the bread on both sides.
  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


Amount Per Serving Calories 409Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 76mgSodium 564mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 17g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.