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Scottish Rarebit – Outlander on STARZ Episode 108

Scottish Rarebit – Outlander on STARZ Episode 108

Outlander on Starz

Soon, we’ll be as lost as Claire. Just one more episode before we enter that black hole of Outlander nothingness until early 2015, when the last half of the season will appear to pull us out of our post-holiday doldrums.

Well, it’s something to look forward too, right? Even if you are dreading this final hour before the break…


If I were lost, I wouldn’t mind if Frank Randall wanted to find me.

While not a fan favourite in the books, Tobias Menzies has done an incredible job to make Frank sympathetic and lovable, and I think we’ll see more of that this Saturday.

Episode 108 “Both Sides Now” promises to veer the farthest off the book path of the episodes so far, as we watch Frank grow more and more desperate to find Claire.

I picture a man alone, tireless in his search, stopping only to eat and sleep when exhaustion overtakes him. I know that’s what My Englishman would do if I went missing, and he has more than a little bit of Frank in him…

Scottish Rarebit

One of the dishes Frank may have chosen to fuel his search is the cafe classic, rarebit.

Known most commonly as Welsh rarebit (a corruption of the original name rabbit – for which I could find no reliable information about its origin) – the dish is basically glorified cheese on toast. It’s quick, easy and delicious, which makes it the perfect bachelor meal.

As you can see from this page from the Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, published in Edinburgh in 1774, Wales was not the only home of rarebit. It seems the Scots had their own version, as did the English.

scottish beer

You may have noticed that the Scottish rarebit was a wee bit plain, so in true Outlander Kitchen style, I’ve decided to dress it up a bit and bring it forward from the 18th Century and into the 21st.

The best way to do that is to start with Scottish ingredients. I couldn’t find a Scottish-brewed beer, but I did find 2 local craft beers inspired by our favourite land. You probably won’t find either of these where you live, but step into a specialty liquor store in your neighbourhood, and ask the clerk. You’re looking for a strong, flavourful beer…a stout or porter, for example.

I also added a shot of whisky into my rarebit, which added a nice flavour.

Scottish Rarebit baguette COPY

If you’re having guests over, buy a baguette and make a plate full of mini rarebits for everyone to enjoy. If it’s just you, pile that cheese mixture on a piece of toasted bread (I used Jenny’s Everyday Bread), and leave it under the broiler for an extra minute to give it an extra brown. My favourite part of rarebit is the crusty, crunchy cheese around the edges.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Scottish Rarebit

:A variation of the popular Welsh Rarebit – dressed up cheese on toast – fuel for single men everywhere, including those looking for their wives, vanished without a trace in the Scottish countryside.

Serves 4

  • Butter – ¼ Cup
  • All-Purpose Flour – ⅓ Cup
  • Strong Scottish Beer (Stout or Porter) – 1 Cup
  • Whisky – 1 Tble (optional)
  • Mustard Powder – 1 tsp (see notes)
  • Aged Cheddar Cheese, grated – 8 oz (approx 2 Cups)
  • Worcestershire Sauce – 1 Tble
  • Salt & White Pepper
  • Bread – 4 slices or 1 baguette, sliced
  • Butter, for bread

Preheat your oven’s broiler or grill.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour to form a paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in beer and optional whisky gradually, to form a thick, smooth sauce. Add mustard powder and grated cheese. Stir until melted. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Toast and butter bread, then pile up cheesy mixture on each slice. Cook under broiler/grill for a few minutes, until browned and bubbling.

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)


  • No mustard powder? Subsitute 2 teaspoons prepared English mustard, or Dijon in a pinch, and add it at the same time as the beer.
  • Scottish beer is best, but any strong, dark, flavourful beer will do.
  • Scottish cheese is also best, but I couldn’t find any on my little island, so I used a 1 YO English Cheddar from Dorset.
  • Don’t drink? I haven’t tried it, but I imagine beef stock to be a flavourful substitute for the beer. Omit the whisky.
  • I prefer white pepper here, as it seasons without leaving black specks in an otherwise spotless cheese sauce.  That said, use what you have on hand.



  1. Merry Miller Moon
    September 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

    This sounds amazing! Going to have to try it out this Saturday! Thank you Theresa! 🙂

  2. Anna Lapping
    September 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I had a delicious beer last Saturday night which is brewed in Asheville, NC, called Highland Gaelic Ale. It was dark and hoppy flavored. I think it would go well with this.

    • Julie
      September 24, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Watch out for hoppy beers when cooking. The hops tend to become more bitter as they cook down in food. And it leaves you with a very bitter mess instead of something rich and savory. Her recipe is right to use something like a porter or stout. They have less hop profile and won’t leave a strong bitter flavor. save your Scottish ale for drinking along side your rarebit.

  3. Paula Benner
    September 24, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Thank you for the recipes. I have enjoyed adding this knowledge to the knowledge that Herself is giving us about this beautiful country and this particular period of time. Thanks again.

  4. Christy
    September 24, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Oh this gives me fond memories of my childhood my grandmother made Welsh rarebit for us for breakfast a lot. It was actually a favorite of mine, hers was similar to yours actually she made a cheese sauce out of cheese, butter, mustard and maybe some milk I’m not sure honestly what went in it. Drizzle it on some buttered toast and yum! Wish I knew the exact recipe I can still taste it.

  5. Sean Reilly
    September 24, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Your recipes have been fantastic!! I love to make these meals for me lass, as we watch Outlander. What an absolute treat it has been! Thank you!!
    I, for one – though not alone, am dreading the mid-season finale. Thank God there’s more to come!
    Thank you again for putting these recipes out for the fans! This show, complimented with your recipes, is a gem! 😀

  6. Mary Lou Gallagher
    September 24, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Thank you for the recipes. I’ve made several to go with my Outlander obsession. I’ve loved the ones I tried and will definitely try more.

  7. Carrie McKenzie
    September 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

    My Welsh Rarebit recipe is a bit different. I start with a white sauce (melt butter, add flour, cook until very stiff, then add milk, stir and cook until thick and creamy) to which I add the very sharpest cheddar I can find (living in Wisconsin, I have many to choose from) and beer, along with a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a good pinch of black pepper. Serve over hot toast. Yummmmm.

  8. Josie
    September 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Just this weekend I was looking up rarebit recipes in my grandma’s cookbook. A very cheesy rarebit is the key ingredient in a horseshoe sandwich, a dish you can find (only) in my hometown, Srpingfield, IL (but it is in nearly EVERY pub-style restaurant there, and each place has its special recipe “cheese sauce.”) Yes, it sounds disgusting and yes it is highly caloric, but it’s famous and it’s an indulgent treat.

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Sounds like something I’d love to try!

    • Collette
      September 24, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      I have had this when I was a teenager in California. My mom made it, with the cheese sauce. It really was very good. I don’t recall any wine
      In it, but maybe some port or liquor.

  9. Kate
    September 24, 2014 at 9:30 am
  10. terrylea
    September 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I liked the “old” cookbook pages <3 was fun trying to read it and interesting how each region had their version. And thank you for sharing these amazing recipes!!!

  11. Doreen
    September 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I grew up having Welsh Rarebit as my Mother called it but she sure made her own version which was really a white cheese sauce made similar but no beef broth or beer..and poured over either toast or salteens. It was a dish for Sunday evenings and I always looked forward to it.

  12. Daena
    September 24, 2014 at 10:58 am

    OMG, I can make this vegan and gluten free–well, just a bit of beer–but I can do this!! Thank you!!

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      You could try using cider to keep it truly gf…

  13. Shelly Jewell
    September 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I am always looking for new receipes from scottland/ireland. I loving adding that into my traditions. This receipes looks so very good. Going to try it out for my next family get together.

  14. Deborah
    September 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I absolutely adore welsh Rarebit use a stout ale like guinness and you’ll have no need for added whiskey . Also good as a fondue =)

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      The whisky is to make it more Scots.

  15. Jo S.
    September 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Looks yummy! I need some advice–I used to love the original Strongbow hard cider. They discontinued it, the new Strongbow Gold is way too sweet for my taste, plus it has more carbs. Can you suggest a better option?

  16. Sharon C
    September 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I grew up on a version of this that my parent’s called “Red Bunny”. Basically the same but the mustard powder ( Coleman’s ) , Worcestershire sauce and beer were added to tomato soup and then a sharp cheddar grated into the soup/sauce and poured over the toast which was cut into ‘points’ and layed out on the plate. I still make it to this day and love it.

    • Susan
      September 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Red Bunny is one of my most favorite meals on a cold winter night. So glad to see your “red bunny” term Sharon! That’s the same thing my family calls it and most have NO idea what we’re talking about. As far as I know both the term and the recipe came from my English, Scots-Irish grandmother’s side of the family.:) I wonder about the derivation. Our version is the same as yours minus the mustard, Worcester sauce and beer. We add butter and flour instead. I would like to try your version. Could you please tell me the amounts you use? Thanks!

    • Sharon C
      September 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Susan…. I think we got this from my Dad’s side of the family…they were English/Scottish. We never really had a “recipe”… it was just one of those “add to taste” kind of things. It’s so funny that I have never met anyone who’s ever heard of Red Bunny outside of my family… they all look at me like I’m nuts and then I have to say Welsh Rarebit and then they have a clue. Sometimes I make it and I pour it over Ritz-style crackers. Come to think of it… I think we did add a little bit of flour to it to thicken it up a bit. You really need to try it w/the mustard powder and worcestershire sauce… it makes a world of difference. Are you from New England by chance ? I’m originally from RI.

  17. Donna Flagg
    September 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    These recipes sound like regular ol’ cheese toast to me! But none-the-less yummy. Growing up we had Welsh rarebit all the time; however Mom made a lovely cheese sauce and ladled it over the toasted & buttered bread. I prefer this to cheese toast as my version of a proper rarebit. My grown-up version combines a nice bit of ale into the sauce (one that would be appropriate for a beer/cheese soup) as well as several varieties of special cheeses.

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      This recipe makes a cheese sauce…if you read it all the way through, you’ll see that.

  18. Shannon O'Shea Schmieg
    September 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    “Does it ever stop? The wanting” . . . to try every recipe from your Outlander Kitchen? 🙂 I have been attempting most of the recipes for my viewing and tasting parties each week! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Heather
    September 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    My Mom used to make Welsh Rarebit the way some others in this thread do with cream sauce and sharp cheddar over toast. She told us it was named Rarebit because women would make it when the men folk were not able to snare a rabbit for dinner. If they did catch one they would have Welsh Rabbit.

  20. Cheryl Stumbo
    September 24, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    My family makes what we call “Devonshires” the day after a big turkey feast. Devonshires are basically rarebit with shredded turkey and a slice or two of crisp bacon piled on the toast before pouring the cheese sauce over top and broiling. I’ve never encountered the dish outside of my family’s home.

    • Theresa
      September 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Sounds awesome!

    • Elizabeth Coleman
      April 10, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Add a slice of ripe tomato to that before serving and what you have is Kentucky Hot Brown, aka Yumminess on a Plate.

    • Theresa
      April 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      I often add a tomato to mine…who knew it had a name? Thanks!

    • Wendy
      January 22, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Devonshires are served in my area Pittsburgh – YUMMY!! I’m LOVING all this talk about my Outlander obsession AND my obsession with recipes especially those from countries of my ancestors – YAY!!!

  21. Pam Green
    September 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Any Welsh rabbit sauce is great poured over toasted bread and GOOD (not the tasteless things you find in US supermarkets) sliced tomatoes and topped with bacon.

  22. Palmier
    September 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Forty years ago I often made a “Welsh Rarebit” which was a cheese sauce made with beer poured over rusks and put under the broiler and served with crisp bacon for lunch. Very tasty. I used apple juice in place of the beer for children.
    Since I am now weight-watching and gluten-free, I don’t eat these delicious goodies anymore. but if I did I would use a GF bread and GF beer, both available pretty well everywhere these days. I actually make my own GF beer now.

  23. Shari
    September 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I think I’m gonna have to go with an Americanized Rarebit which for me will be a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich with a nice cold beer on the side. I sure would like to know why it was ever called ‘rabbit’.

  24. Petra Robb
    September 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    I am so making a gluten free version of this but, with GF beer instead of Scottish sadly.

    • Theresa
      September 25, 2014 at 6:32 am

      that’s great! I’ve seen a couple of English GF beers in my local liquor store…which is pretty close. 🙂

  25. Erika W
    September 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Welsh Rarebit was always a special treat when I was a kid (we used toasted saltines). Excited to see this 🙂

  26. brenda shiley
    September 25, 2014 at 8:33 am

    would like a cookbook with all these recipes; is there one? am sure I am not the only one who would buy one

    • Theresa
      September 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      The plan is for a cookbook…stay tuned for news. 🙂

    • Pam Green
      September 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm


  27. Terry
    September 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    My Mom used to make Welsh rarebit for my Dad, 50 years ago. I never had her recipe or got to taste it because it used (gasp) beer. My Dad loved it. I completely forgot about that until I read this post. I am looking forward to trying this out. Nostalgia for both the season finale and parents long gone. Thank you for your recipes. I look forward to both your book and the continuation of the series; I will raise a glass to both on Saturday.

  28. Natasha
    September 26, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I’ve had rarebit at a restaurant called Elephant and Castle, years ago.
    This sounds very tasty and simple, thank you. I will give it a go!

  29. coveyrun
    September 27, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Delicious! Made this tonight as a prelude dinner to the mid-season finale. I first had Welsh Rarebit at the old restored Williamsburg towne in a place called something like Chowning’s Tavern as a child and fell in love with it. This is the first time I’ve attempted it at home. . . brought back definite memories.

    Thanks for the memories and the fun in recreating the Outlander kitchen dishes. . .

    Best Regards,

  30. Carol Mackey
    September 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    There is a brew-pub in Dillon, Colorado that produces a lovely Scottish Stout–Can’t remember the name of the pub, but do remember the beer! They injected it with nitrogen gas; not bitter at all. My mom used to make what she called “Welsh Rarebit” and was much the same as your recipe, but perhaps started with a thinner white sauce, because it flowed over the bread. Being pretty much a tea-totaller, There were no spirits in it, but it was one of the few dishes in which she used cayenne pepper–hadn’t thought of that in decades!

  31. Dale
    September 28, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    The rarebit rocked, Theresa! Thanks for feeding my Outlander viewing parties. This one was a big hit with a little caprese salad to use up some of my garden tomatoes.

  32. Mary
    September 29, 2014 at 9:18 am

    This look delicious. It occurs to me that this is very much like Kentucky Hot Brown made famous by the Brown Hotel in Louisville Kentucky which is quite a bit more embellished with tomato, bacon and sliced turkey. I suspect the chef at the Brown was well aware of Welsh Rarebit and took his inspiration from it.

  33. Janet
    October 1, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Ha! Perfect!! I live in Nelson so am very familiar with Black Heart. Any of the Nelson beers would be good to cook with (well maybe not Paddywack!) Heh. But, eating cheese toast and drinking a Nelson Ale is regular fare for me.

  34. Elena Guarino
    October 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Theresa! I made the Rarebit! Sooooo good! I made some substitutions only because I didn’t have/couldn’t find the items. I used Challah bread because it was fresh and sitting on my counter when dinner inspiration hit me. I could not find an aged English Cheddar so I purchased Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar. Also, knowing that the Scottish Porter/Stout would be hard to find, I went over the bridge to New Jersey where there is a very large and well-stocked liquor/beer retailer. So, I ended up with Fuller’s London Porter. I also added Scotch to the recipe. I really like Scottish Rarebit. Thank you so much for your marvelous recipes.

    • Theresa
      October 7, 2014 at 5:21 am

      You went the extra mile, Elena! Glad you enjoyed it!

  35. Gail MacArthur
    October 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I typing with one hand because I’m nibbling on this delicious Raarebit with the other hand! Great recipe, thanks so much for all of them.

  36. Denise
    April 26, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Theresa, just letting you know your Fig & Barley pudding link from Sweets in the Recipe Index brings me here. Cheers, Denise.

    • Theresa
      April 27, 2015 at 7:17 am

      How strage…thank you! I’ll fix it today.

  37. Su
    May 1, 2015 at 9:47 am

    i think i just died and went to heaven drooling my pair of chocolate labrador retrievers; your blog is just a recipe book of my childhood hahaha

  38. Tracy
    May 13, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    To think, all these years I’ve been held together by Americanized Rearebit…cheese toast…must try it the old way…a friend just gifted us some porter craft beers that may find it’s way into cheese sauce or beer bread…

  39. Rebecca Wayne
    August 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    My friend Liz and I have hosted a mini-marathon for the first half of the first season, and are hosting another tomorrow for the 2nd half. We serve your Scottish Rarebit, the Fig and Barley pudding, Scotch Broth, Millionaire’s Shortbread, and a variety of whiskeys, sherrys, etc. You have inspired us! Can’t wait to see the Paris storyline dishes!

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