Scottish rabbit (Scottish cheese on toast) recipe


Welsh rabbit and rarebit are the same dish – hot cheese served on toast – but the original 18th century name was supposed to be a joke (there was no rabbit in it at all), so it became known as rarebit. This recipe, a Scottish version, is based on one in Margaret Dods’ The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, published in 1828.

If it’s just the two of you and don’t have time to cook anything fancy, but still want to celebrate Burns Night, this is the way to do it. Otherwise, you can scale this up and serve it as a savory dish, but if it’s part of a meal, I’d give everyone half a slice of toast. Actually, you should cut the crusts off to get a neat look, but I never do that. I like the crusts.

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Preparation time: 5 minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes




  • 15g butter
  • 15g plain flour
  • ¼-½ tsp mustard powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Porter of 35 ml
  • 200 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1-2 large, thick slices of bread (whatever bread you prefer)


1. Heat your barbecue. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in the flour. When they come together and the mixture starts to smell nutty, add the mustard powder and cayenne pepper, stir in, then add the porter and cheese.

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2. Stir over low heat until the cheese has melted and the mixture separates from the sides of the pan. Taste if you want more spice from cayenne pepper.

3. Toast the bread on both sides – but don’t pull it too far, it shouldn’t be stiff – and place the slices in a gratin dish or on a baking tray with a rim.

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4. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the toast and place under the broiler. Grill until bubbly. It takes five minutes with my grill, but they all vary, so keep an eye on it and take the toast out when you can see they’re done.



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