Welsh Rarebit, with Variations: A Beer Lover’s Delight

This dish has been enjoyed for centuries and has countless passionate advocates for their preferred versions. Some call for milk instead of beer, some use an egg yolk instead of a whole egg and many do not include hot sauce. Some variations have regional names, such as the first one listed below the main recipe, which is known as Yorkshire Rarebit. This one is simply my version and my favorite. If you love Guinness, this is a perfect way to use it, as it wants a rich dark beer. Death & Taxes by Moonlight Brewing is a great option, too. If you have pullet eggs, use one here as the eggs from these young chickens have a large percentage of yolk and offer a lovely richness to the dish. Enjoy with your favorite local beer, ale, or cider alongside.

Welsh Rarebit
  • Serves 6 to 8
  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Cook Time: 15 Min


  • 1 teaspoon mustard flour, such as Colman's
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup full-bodied beer
  • 1 pound Cheddar or similar cheese, grated
  • 1 farm egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, Crystal, or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 6 to 8 slices lightly toasted and buttered hearth bread


  1. Put the mustard flour in a small bowl, add a teaspoon of cold water, stir and set aside.

  2. Pour about an inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler and set over high heat. When the water boils, lower the heat so that it simmers very gently. Set the top half of the boiler over the bottom half and add the butter.

  3. When the butter is melted, add the beer and when it is hot stir in the cheese. When the cheese is just melted add the egg and stir well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the mustard paste, the salt and several turns of pepper. Stir and remove from the heat.

  4. Working quickly, set the bread on individual plates, spoon the cheese mixture over each piece and serve right away.


•Before preparing the rarebit, fry 6 to 8 slices of bacon until crisp; drain on absorbent paper. Fill a wide sauté with water, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and set 6 to 8 eggs alongside the stove. When the rarebit is ready to serve, hold it over the gently simmering water while you poach the eggs. Working quickly, divide the bread among the plates and top with a piece of bacon. Spoon cheese on top and use a slotted spoon to lift each egg, shake off the poaching water and set it on top of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away, with more hot sauce of choice alongside.

•For Sonoma Rarebit, replace the Cheddar with Joe Matos's St. George cheese, Bellwether Carmody or another North Bay cheese and use your favorite local beer.

•Top each serving with fresh snipped chives for chopped fresh Italian parsley.

•Before setting the bread on plates, add a generous handful of fresh salad greens seasoned with a little salt.

•Omit the mustard flour. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon hot paprika along with the salt. Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro on top just before serving.

•Use lightly toasted rye bread and scatter each serving with lightly toasted caraway seeds after spooning the cheese over the bread.

•Sauté a pound of wild mushrooms in butter, season with salt and pepper and spoon over the cheese immediately before serving.

•When tomatoes are in season, top each piece of bread with a thick slice before adding the cheese.

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