Scottish Rarebit inspired by the Outlander series

Scottish Rarebit - Outlander on STARZ Episode 108

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.

Show/Hide Comments


24 Sep 2014 - 8:34pm

Donna Flagg

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.


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

24 Sep 2014 - 8:36pm

Shannon O'Shea…

"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.

24 Sep 2014 - 8:47pm


Sounds like something I'd love to try!


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 rnIn it, but maybe some port or liquor.

24 Sep 2014 - 8:48pm


You could try using cider to keep it truly gf...

24 Sep 2014 - 8:48pm


The whisky is to make it more Scots.

24 Sep 2014 - 9:22pm


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.

24 Sep 2014 - 9:25pm


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

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.

24 Sep 2014 - 11:11pm

Cheryl Stumbo

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.


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!!!

Elizabeth Coleman

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

25 Sep 2014 - 4:06am

Petra Robb

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


that's great! I've seen a couple of English GF beers in my local liquor store...which is pretty close. :)

25 Sep 2014 - 5:17am

Erika W

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

27 Apr 2015 - 2:45am


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

24 Sep 2014 - 12:18pm

Merry Miller Moon

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

24 Sep 2014 - 12:38pm

Anna Lapping

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.


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. ;-)

24 Sep 2014 - 12:42pm

Paula Benner

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.

24 Sep 2014 - 12:56pm


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.

24 Sep 2014 - 2:20pm

Sean Reilly

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! :D

24 Sep 2014 - 3:48pm

Mary Lou Gallagher

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.

24 Sep 2014 - 4:27pm

Carrie McKenzie

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.

24 Sep 2014 - 4:30pm


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.

24 Sep 2014 - 4:30pm


Here's a genuine Scottish brewed beer:

24 Sep 2014 - 4:36pm


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!!!

24 Sep 2014 - 5:05pm


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.

24 Sep 2014 - 5:58pm


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

24 Sep 2014 - 6:41pm

Shelly Jewell

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.

24 Sep 2014 - 6:55pm


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 =)

24 Sep 2014 - 7:50pm

Jo S.

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?

24 Sep 2014 - 8:05pm

Sharon C

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.

25 Sep 2014 - 12:27am

Pam Green

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.

25 Sep 2014 - 1:16am


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.

25 Sep 2014 - 2:41am


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'.

25 Sep 2014 - 3:33pm

brenda shiley

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

26 Sep 2014 - 1:55am


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.

26 Sep 2014 - 3:52pm


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!

27 Sep 2014 - 4:24pm

Crostino Scoz…

Articolo originale A big thank you to Theresa for letting us translate her fabulous work!

27 Sep 2014 - 6:09pm

Outlanderday …

most excellent suggestion for tonights meal. She suggests Scottish Rarebit and I agree with her choice! As a child, we often ate a version of this, though we referred to it

28 Sep 2014 - 12:40am


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,rncoveyrun

28 Sep 2014 - 2:48am

Carol Mackey

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!

29 Sep 2014 - 3:41am


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.

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