Onion Rarebit

A friend recently recommended this Nigel Slater recipe to me. It’s a comfort one, for times of stress or indulgence. Nigel himself describes it as an “unctuous mix of onions, thick toast and melted cheese that pleases most.” I am an indulgent kinda gal and recent events have been particularly stressful, so, as a form of escape, I dedicated some time to this.

It’s perfect for this time of year! So creamy, and beery, and cheesy. Although, I am not a huge fan of beer, so, I am thinking about ways I can smuggle white wine or even champagne into this dish instead. But, everyone else loves it so, it’s beery, and, I’m sure that you’ll like it that way.

I changed a couple of things: I caramelised the onions for an hour or so for an extra level of decadence, I used dijon mustard, and, I substituted manchego for the cheddar. Use good bread, I used one with seeds in and the contrast was lovely.

Nigel’s original recipe is published on the Guardian website.



Makes 2 rounds

2 medium onions

35g butter

1 heaped tbsp flour

125ml dark beer (I used an ale)

75ml milk

2 tsp Dijon mustard

150g manchego

to serve: 2 thick slices of hot brown toast


Peel the onions and cut them into fine rings. Let them cook slowly in the butter , stirring occasionally, over a low heat until caramelised. This will take at least a half an hour. Some people add sugar to speed this up, but onions are full of natural sugars so I prefer not to. I like to push them as far as I can, depending on how much time I have, of course.

Grate the manchego. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook gently for a few moments, then slowly stir in the beer, followed by the milk. You should have a thick sauce. Stir in the mustard followed by the cheese.

Toast the bread lightly on both sides. Spoon over the mixture and leave under the grill at a high heat until the rarebit is bubbling and brown.


Welcome Word of Mouth readers :)

There’s a little bit of chatter about this on the Guardian’s Word of Mouth Blog. What do you think? I would and will do it again. There are days when only decadence will do, even if that means pimping a rarebit.

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Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.


  1. Oh how totally gorgeous. My mouth is watering at the thought of that gorgeously cheesey oniony mixture. If only I hadn’t already had supper – maybe I’ll indulge in a midnight snack?!


  2. Hi Antonia, yes, they would be a worthy midnight snack! Enjoy.

    Cheers Shelley, they are super indulgent! So bad for me, but good for my spirit :-)

    Jeanne, enjoy. Nigel rocks!


  3. Sounds absolutely gorgeous. Can’t wait to try it! i wonder would it be a nice sauce over pasta also?

    Clonea looks great by the way!


  4. Hi Clare! It’s lovely, good old Nigel :-) Might be lovely on pasta without the beer? It’s a little beery…

    It was lovely to catch up at the wedding. Hopefully, it won’t be so long again until the next time.


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