Bold Welch Rarebit.  It’s got a kicked up flavor that makes this humble “Sunday Night Fridge” dish a gourmet repast!


bold Welch rarebit with British flags on square plate


No, Bold Welch Rarebit isn’t your everyday version of the classic British treat.  My question to you is, have you ever made it at home?  Until a few years ago, I hadn’t.  Having enjoyed numerous lovely versions over the years, I hadn’t felt inclined to try.

Until the day I found a chunk of some incredible English Cheddar hidden in the depths of my refrigerator. And it was a Sunday too, can you believe it?  

But, lets not jump the gun, first I want to tell you about the traditional Welch Rarebit version and it’s simple Bold Welch rarebit ingredients on wicker trayvariations. 

Welsh rarebit is a traditional British dish dating back to the 18th-century, and often associated with Welsh cuisine. A Welsh rarebit recipe usually consists of a savory sauce of melted cheese and seasonings.

It’s served hot, poured over slices of toasted bread or served in a chafing dish like a fondue.  Despite it’s darling name, the actual recipe contains no rabbit meat.  Trust me, it’s a long story, but you can read it in full at Wikipedia when you get the chance. 

Most traditional recipes generally include the addition of ale or stout, mustard, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and a fabulous cheddar.

But, the one caveat is, the cheese can’t be wimpy in flavor.  You need a really strong, sharp cheddar to pull off this recipe.

Everyone in Great Britain has their own family recipe.  Some versions just spooning the sauce over toasted bread, while others broiling their Welch rarebit until brown and bubbly.



I really do enjoy a Welch Rarebit that’s utterly traditional, using Coleman’s English Mustard (dry) and cayenne pepper.  But I always think that it could be just a little bit “more”.

Do you know what I mean?   Just a little more zip and a tad more depth of flavor, not to mention a bit of texture too.

So I’ve substituted a lovely French grainy mustard to lend texture and tons of flavor.  Then I replaced the cayenne with hot sauce for a more straight-forward heat source. (both the dry mustard and cayenne lend heat to the original recipe)

Adding more Worchestershire and salt and pepper finish off the zippy flavor profile of my Bold Welch Rarebit recipe.

The other variation is the addition of a bit of cream to the mixture which gives it a silky body and sheen.  While it is a departure from the norm, I’m positive my Bold Welch Rarebit recipe can stand up to the most stringent of scrutiny.


WELCH RAREBIT RECIPE – Variations On A Theme

When I started looking into the history of the Welch Rarebit recipe, I came across a lovely article written over 125 years ago.  It described at length the variations on what was known then as “Welch Rabbit”. 

antique hand held fireplace toast makerI found the language they used charming, but the “instructions” were at times a bit baffling.  For example, how do you “toast” a piece of cheese on both sides before laying in on a piece of bread?  

As I thought more about it, I realized they were probably using a fireplace.  Perhaps they had some kind of “gizmo” that allowed them to do as the “recipe” described.

I keep seeing one of those old-fashioned hand-held bread toasting rods in my head.  Check this one out I found for sale on Etsy.  Pretty cool, huh?

But I must confess, I’m still baffled!  Read these two 19-Century recipes, and judge for yourself.

If you figure it out, please let me know, won’t you?

  • SCOTCH RABBIT – Toast a piece of bread very nicely on both sides, butter it, cut a slice of cheese about as big as the bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the bread.
  • ENGLISH RABBIT – Toast the bread brown on both sides, lay it in a plate before the fire, pour a glass of red wine over it, and let it soak the wine up. Then cut some cheese very thin and lay it very thick over the bread, put it in a tin oven before the fire, until toasted and browned. Serve it always hot.

You have to appreciate the flowery language at the very least, right? 


bold Welch rarebit recipe cardI’ve created a little gift from me to you!   As we were enjoying our Bold Welch Rarebit, two different ways, hubby and I started talking about the Beatles.  And that gave me an idea for a fun present to give my readers.

A “Beatle-themed” specialty recipe card that you can download and print for your recipe files.

Do you recognize the font used for the name of the dish?  Yes, you guessed right, it’s the Beatles logo font, called Bootles.  Isn’t it cool?  No wonder the Fab Four used it for over 20 years!

Just click on the image to download your copy of the Bold Welch Rarebit specialty recipe card.

NOTE: The printable recipe card that’s included in each of my recipe posts appears at the bottom of this article.



If you’re a frequent visitor to Ingredients For A Fabulous Life, you know I’m fond of “gilding the lily”.  Taking a recipe to the next level, or packaging my homemade gourmet dessert popsicles with custom-printed “pop stickers”.  It’s just the way I roll.

So it should come as no surprise that I came up with another great variation on the theme.  I love the combination of cheddar cheese and apples, and I love adding apples to salads.  So with those ideas in mind, this recipe was born.


Bold Welch Rarebit with Apples and Watercress on sunflower plate


I simply used the same Bold Welch Rarebit sauce, but put a layer of thinly sliced red apple on the toast.

Then spooned over the sauce, and garnished it with a lightly dressed combination of watercress and tender, baby arugula. 

As a final flourish, I topped the greens with some sweet, red grapes.  

Click this link to get the recipe for Bold Welch Rarebit with Apples and Watercress.

I hope I’ve given you two fabulous reasons to try making your own Welch Rarebit for a quick and easy “Sunday Night Fridge” dinner this very weekend! 

Now go buy yourself a hunk of some incredible cheddar cheese, and you’ll be ready to go when Sunday arrives!  Let me know in the comments below how you liked the recipes, I love to hear from my readers!

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bold welch rarebit with the British flag decoration on square plate

Bold Welch Rarebit

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This is not your traditional British Welch Rarebit recipe! It's a kicked up version that makes this humble "Sunday Night Fridge" dish an absolute gourmet repast!


  • 4 thick slices of rustic/wholegrain/rye bread
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. AP flour
  • 2/3 cup pale ale or stout (a dark stout can discolor your final sauce)
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 3 cups strong, sharp cheddar (preferably a strong English or Irish Cheddar)
  • 3 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 egg yolks in a small bowl
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Toast bread slices on both sides under the broiler.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and cook for another minute until slightly golden brown.
  3. Increase heat to medium-low and add beer and cream, whisking constantly. Start adding the cheese, stirring to melt between batches.
  4. Reduce heat back to low and add mustard, Worchestershire sauce and hot sauce, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and let cool 2 minutes.
  5. To the bowl of yolks, add 2 Tbsp. of cheese mixture, stirring quickly to temper the egg yolks.
  6. Add the tempered egg yolks to the cheese mixture and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Place saucepan back over low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (do not let mixture boil) Let cool for 3 minutes.
  8. Spoon Welch rarebit over slices of toast and serve immediately.
  9. BROILED WELCH RAREBIT - Preheat broiler to high. Place toast slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Take mixture off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Stir well to combine and carefully spoon cheese onto the toasts, making sure you spread it lightly over the entire piece of bread. Add a generous amount just down the center so it won't bubble off the toast while broiling. Place under the hot broiler and watch carefully. Remove when browned and bubbly.
  11. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 servings Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 896Total Fat 68gSaturated Fat 39gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 283mgSodium 1381mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 45g

Calorie and fat content will vary with the specific ingredients used.

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