Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s welsh rarebit

Cheese on toast is a classic for a reason. The taste to effort ratio is high, everyone can make it without messing it up and it is generally one of the nicest brunches around. My favourite way to eat it is with some sliced cherry tomatoes on top. Lovely.

So, when I looked though this recipe for welsh rarebit, at first I was skeptical. It requires more effort than melting some cheese onto bread, so wasn’t sure that the resulting outcome would be worth it when I just have a piece of cheese on toast for half the effort.

Actually, rarebit is quite different and is more than worth going the extra effort to make. It’s half about the texture, which is so smooth and then half about the flavour which is deeply savoury. It’s still got that comfort factor of a piece of cheese on toast, but lifted. the addition of beer makes it taste like a good cheese fondue. It’s ace.

So while my pictures don’t really do this justice, I’d definitely encourage you to give this a go if you’re looking for a new twist on an old favourite.

Serves 4

Welsh rarebit

10Prep Time

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  • 50g/2oz flour
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 250ml/9oz strong beer, warmed
  • 250g/9oz strong cheddar, grated
  • 2tsp English mustard
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper
  • 4 large slices granary bread


  1. In a small saucepan melt the butter and make a roux with the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent the roux from burning. Stir in the warm beer by degrees, until you have a thick but smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. You should now have a thick paste. Mix in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce and season well with black pepper.
  2. Lightly toast and butter the bread, then pile up the cheesy mixture on each slice. Cook under a hot grill for a few minutes, until browned and bubbling.