Welsh Rarebit

Cheese sauce with silky butter-fried leeks on crusty slices of sourdough bread and baked until golden and bubbling makes Welsh Rarebit the ultimate comfort food.

Welsh Rarebit probably has some very interesting story about where and why it originated but quite frankly, I don’t care about that. I’m just extremely thankful that someone thought it was a good idea to put oozy, gooey cheese sauce on hot, toasted bread, because they were right.

This has extra special meaning to me, because Welsh Rarebit was my mom’s version of comfort food. When I was sick, my mom would make me sweet, milky tea and toast smothered in butter and Bovril. When I was sad, about boys or school or whatever the reason, she would make me Welsh Rarebit. There is just something about biting through salty, creamy sauce into a crispy piece of toast. I’m salivating just thinking about it. It’s almost like eating potato bake, you know it’s not good for your body, but man-oh-man, is it good for your soul!

Served with a simple salad, this turns into a beautiful lunch or light dinner. Easy, delicious, comforting. What more could you ask for?

Sourdough toast topped with cheesy leek sauce.

Can you freeze Welsh Rarebit?

I am not a fan of freezing cheese sauce as it tends to split once thawed. If you want to make this recipe ahead, make the sauce and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 5 days before spooning over toast and allow to heat through in the oven.

What to serve with Welsh Rarebit?

I love serving it with a simple side salad or just rocket/arugula or watercress dressed with olive oil and lemon.

Toast recipes

  1. Creamy mushroom toast
  2. Easy pizza toast
  3. Bacon, egg and creamed spinach breakfast toast

Welsh Rarebit

Cheese sauce with silky buttery leeks on crusty slices of sourdough bread, baked until golden and bubbling makes Welsh Rarebit the best comfort food.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Brunch, Lunch
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Welsh Rarebit, Welsh Rarebit recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 4


For the sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 leeks finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2-3 cups milk
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup mature cheddar grated
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 slices sourdough bread


  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and fry the leeks and garlic until soft.
  • Stir in the flour until a roux is formed and slowly whisk in the milk. I only add 2 cups milk at the beginning to ensure that the sauce isn’t too thin. You want the sauce to be thick enough to not ooze off the toast completely.
  • Lower the heat and allow the sauce to cook gently until the ‘floury’ taste has disappeared. Add the seasonings and the cheddar and take off the heat. Stir until the cheese has melted and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Heat the broiler/grill of the oven and toast the bread until golden brown on both sides.
  • Top with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and place back into the oven. Cook until golden and bubbling then remove from the oven and serve. 


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1750IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 5mg

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  1. I made this last night. I made it for supper since I was seriously liss for something chessy. I made individual bacon cups and put in salad smothered in a Feta and Garlic Salad dressing (home made ^^).

    My family LURVED it. I only made 5 pieces because I wanted one… I made two for my dad and two for my brother. My other brother and mom have cut out bread. *g* My brother who cut out bread had a piece and a half (my other brother gratefully shared his piece *g*).

    Anyway. The end result was: ‘Jo, is that it?! Why didn’t you make more!’… I added a bit of feta to the cheese sauce because the cheddar I had used was very … flavourless. We used to buy all of our cheese in bulk from a farm but they’ve since closed their doors and I am left trying to find the right flavour cheddar… was delicious though!

    Definitely going to keep this in my repertoire 😀 Thanks so much. Gonna try out one of your other recipes soon!

    1. Jovana : The feta cheese sounds so yum! And I’m so happy your family enjoyed it so much.

      WRT cheddar, I find that both Spar and Woolworths’ Mature Cheddar is really great. It’s very strong so it’s perfect in cheese sauce. But next time you should try to add some pecorino or Parmesan, they’ll also add a lot of depth and cheesy flavour! 🙂

  2. Ally, this is one of my all time favorites. But then again, what is not to like about melted cheesy goodness!! Love the ooze factor of your photos!