Irish rarebit is a twist on the classic Welsh rarebit recipe, both of which primarily use bread and cheese for this comfort food creation.
After reading the title, I know there are probably a few questions running through your mind.
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Are you confused about why it’s called ‘Irish Rarebit’ when you’ve probably only ever heard of Welsh rarebit?
Irish Rarebit vs. Welsh Rarebit
Allow me to explain about Irish rarebit vs. Welsh rarebit. First of all, just to make sure you know that ‘rarebit’ is pronounced just like ‘rabbit’ (the rare-bit pronunciation is becoming more acceptable) although there is no rabbit involved, thank goodness, because we used to have two lovely bunnies as pets: Hazel and Primrose! Weren’t they adorable?
Rarebit is essentially a glorified ‘cheese on toast’ recipe. Most people have probably heard of Welsh Rarebit, but I am one of those who had never heard of Irish Rarebit until I was perusing my Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook and was very intrigued when I saw it.
Another classic recipe from Mrs. Beeton, Victoria sponge cake
My recipe below is adapted from good old Mrs. Beeton’s recipe (she was an authority in cooking and household management in the UK during the 1800s).
Irish rarebit, unlike Welsh rarebit has no beer. This is even more confusing when you realize Welsh rarebit includes Guinness (made in Ireland) whereas Irish rarebit does not! Yikes! Strangely enough, Irish rarebit includes a bit of a surprise ingredient with chopped gherkins. Many Welsh rarebit recipes include an egg yolk or two, but I have never used eggs in my rarebit. This a great idea for an easy St. Patrick’s day meal, too.
Whether you use a nice Irish cheddar, or another melty cheese (like the spiced Havarti I once tried) this Irish rarebit is fabulous. I hope you enjoy this recipe and are inspired to create your own the cheese that is to your liking.
Irish Rarebit Recipe
adapted from a Mrs. Beeton recipe makes 4 servings
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
- Irish cheddar (like Kerrygold Dubliner or you can use another melty cheese)
- white vinegar (use Guinness for a really Irish rarebit, although it’s not authentic for an Irish rarebit)
- prepared English mustard
- freshly grated black pepper
- chopped gherkin or cornichons
- 4 pieces of thick crusty bread, toasted on one side only (I used my own No Knead Bread)
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then add the milk and grated cheese, stirring until the cheese melts and becomes smooth. Add the vinegar/Guinness, mustard, black pepper and gherkins; stir to combine and remove from heat.
Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Preheat the broiler (grill) then place the four pieces of toast on a baking sheet and divide the cheese mixture evenly between them.
Place under the broiler, until bubbly and browned.
Serve with gherkins/cornichons, and a small salad, if desired. It’s perfect for St Paddy’s Day (yes, it’s Paddy, not Patty)!
Try different types of cheese to your liking.
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A twist on a classic Welsh Rarebit.
- 1 oz butter (1/4 stick)
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 8 oz Irish cheddar (like Kerrygold Dubliner or you can use another melty cheese)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp prepared English mustard (or substitute your favorite mustard, or omit)
- freshly grated black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp chopped gherkin or cornichons
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then add the milk and grated cheese, stirring until the cheese melts and becomes smooth. Add the vinegar, mustard, black pepper and gherkins; stir to combine and remove from heat.
- Allow to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Preheat the broiler (grill) then place the four pieces of toast on a baking sheet and divide the cheese mixture evenly between them.
- Place under the broiler, until bubbly and hot; place on plates and serve with gherkins/cornichons and salad, if desired.
I have used an herbed Havarti cheese which was delicious as well!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 296Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 474mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 14g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
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having stopped drinking with dry January the ‘no beer’ is what caught my eye-never had raebit without Guinness -the pickles is an interesting addition-and anything with Kerrigold cheddar and Kerrigold butter HAS to be delicious-im giving this a try-thank you
Oh Richard, your timing is impeccable! Guess what I had for lunch? Welsh rarebit WITH Guinness! haha! Sharing that recipe soon!
Still not getting what is Irish about it. But it sounds good.
It’s an old post I did for a specific cheese, but it should be Irish cheddar. I’ve updated it so it will make more sense now. :)