How to make the perfect Welsh rarebit

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A rare bit of Welsh rabbit did you say? This British glory dish actually has no connection with any kind of rabbit. It’s a warm and saucy duet set of glorified cheese and bread, which depending on how its made can be more or less grand or glorious.

That said, no-one can argue with the tastiness of melted cheese on toasted bread. Although the complexity of the name denotes possible complex cooking; really, it’s quite easy to put together.

"Welsh rabbit is basically cheese on toast (the word is not 'rarebit' by the way, that's the result of false etymology; 'rabbit' is here being used in the same way as 'turtle' in 'mock-turtle soup,' which has never been near a turtle, or 'duck' in 'Bombay duck,' which was actually a dried fish called bummalo)."

Michael Quinion, British etymologist and writer.

The Welsh bit and the rarebit

The history of this wonderful cheesy concoction dates back to the days in which Welsh people were too poor to buy meat, so they supplemented it with large amounts of cheese in order to not go hungry. There is no rabbit involved anywhere and these days it’s better known as posh cheese on toast. See Resources for the full history.

Prepare it

This is a job for the grill. While you prepare the ingredients, preheat the grill to high.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the crème fraîche, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in the cheese and sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper.

Place your bread on a foiled grill tray and toast bread slices on both sides being sure to not burn it.

Adding the cheesy goodness to the picture, spreading it thickly across all of the bread.

Grill until cheese melts and the top goes golden brown.


150 g (5 oz) mature Cheddar cheese – grated 150 g crème fraîche 2 large egg yolks 5 ml (1 tsp) English mustard 20 ml (4 tsp) Worcestershire sauce Pinch cayenne pepper 4 thick slices of granary bread Black pepper