For Anglophiles

Beginner’s Guide to Welsh Rarebit

Coming up soon, September 3rd has been named National Welsh Rarebit Day in honor of this incredibly tasty toasted cheese snack. It’s one of my favorite indulgences and happily, no rabbits are involved.

Beginner's guide Welsh Rarebit | Pauline Wiles

Photo credit: Worm That Turned,

What is Welsh Rarebit?

The simple explanation is that Welsh Rarebit is melted cheese, on toast. However, the best rarebits include savory ingredients like mustard, beer and Worcestershire sauce, which give a wonderful flavor kick. With absolutely no rabbits harmed (I promise!), this is British comfort food at its best. As the Visit Britain website describes it in comparison to grilled cheese: “Turns out, there’s an even ooier, gooier sandwich floating around you probably haven’t tried.”

The unusual name is purported to come from the dish being served to hunters when the furry-tailed creatures had eluded them, hence rabbit pie was off the menu. If you’re visiting the UK and see Welsh Rarebit available in a pub, or are offered it in someone’s home, I strongly recommend it.

3 Recipes to Try

Since I’m still working on perfecting my own version of Welsh Rarebit, here are a few recipe links for you to enjoy. Assuming you have the ingredients on hand, it’s a fast, easy dish to rustle up.

Welsh Rarebit in famous circles

  • American cartoonist Winsor McCay created a comic strip, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, which was made into a silent movie.
  • Welsh Rarebit showed up in cookbooks as early as the nineteenth century, but was probably being enjoyed a hundred years earlier.
  • Claims that Charles Dickens enjoyed Welsh Rarebit at a pub in London may, sadly, be exaggerated.
  • Welsh Rarebit found true fame once it was featured in the Huffington Post, who concluded in 2014 the name is “the United Kingdom’s genius ploy to keep this dish of bread and melted cheese all to themselves.”
  • My second novel, Secrets in the Sky, has the main characters tucking into Welsh Rarebit as early as chapter 3.

I’m writing this post a little ahead of time, but definitely intend to enjoy Welsh Rarebit on the 3rd. Will you join me?

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    Jean |
    August 31, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Pauline, I haven’t made Welsh Rarebit in decades, but I remember very carefully working out my recipe for it. Wonder if I can dig that up! Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Reply
      August 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Jean, I’d be thrilled to see you feature Welsh Rarebit on your blog!

  2. Reply
    April J Harris
    April 17, 2019 at 8:40 am

    In all these years in England, I have never made Welsh Rarebit. Although I knew it didn’t actually involve bunnies, I was a bit unsure which recipes to try. Now I’ve got 3 to experiment with! Thank you so much for sharing them, Pauline!

    1. Reply
      April 17, 2019 at 8:42 am

      Oh, please do try it, April! When done well, it’s the most incredibly delicious cheesy treat!

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