I like to think of myself as a porridge (oatmeal) connoisseur. It is my favourite breakfast option – it keeps me full, tastes like dessert and its flavours can easily be switched up to keep it interesting. I have eaten some variant of porridge almost every morning of the week for the last 5 years or so, therefore I declare myself qualified to tell you all how to do it the right way.
I believe if someone says they don’t like porridge, they just haven’t made it properly. Follow my step by step guide below to make the ultimate porridge which I promise will get you out of bed in the morning.
STEP 1: Choose your oats.
Oats range from finely milled to chunky rolled oats, to even the most ‘whole’ form as oat groats. If you like your porridge thin and soupy with no texture, I would choose the fine oat variety – those that are normally named ‘porridge oats’ or the oats in supermarket own brand packets which are usually super cheap!
If you like some texture, go for chunky rolled oats – these are normally slightly more expensive but worth it in my opinion. They hold their shape for slightly longer when cooking so you don’t end up with a thin soup, or a thick slimy sludge! These are my go-to.
If you want serious texture, try steel cut oats or oat groats. These need to be cooked for a long period of time so are usually cooked in bulk then portioned out for the mornings. I haven’t tried steel cut oats, but I absolutely love oat groats. I prepare these by placing the groats in a thermal hydro flask filled with boiling water overnight, then drain, rinse and heat for 2 minutes in plant milk on the stove until creamy. Groats will totally up your porridge game, despite being less time consuming to prepare, and they also fill you up for so much longer than regular rolled oats in my opinion – a win-win!
This may sound obvious but most people look starstruck when I start explaining the importance of the different types of oats, and no one really thinks about it.
Step 2: Choose your liquid:
When cooking in the pan, I use half plant milk and half water – I just find that the milk keeps it creamy and more satisfying, but the water makes it loose and almost…fluffy? But when I cook them in the microwave, I use all plant milk. Any plant milks work, but be wary of watery almond and rice milks for example, they take a long time to thicken and do not yield a creamy porridge. My favourite is good ol’ soya milk – it is cheap, creamier than most milks, and has a higher protein (and calorific) content meaning a more balanced and satiating breakfast.
My ratio of oats : liquid is 1 : 2
So depending how how hungry you are for breakfast or your energy needs decide how much oats you want, and double the volume for liquid. (I recommend using cup measurement over weight, as it just makes things easier volume-wise (if you don’t own cup measurements, use a mug – fill for 1 cup oats, then fill twice for liquid). As I do half water, half milk for my liquid part, the ratio is basically oats : water : milk 1:1:1 – have I confused you?!
Step 3: Choose your cooking method:
The standard, foolproof cooking method is stove-top, allowing you to stir until your desire consistency is reached. But if you’re in a rush, microwave cooking is great! I just put in slightly less liquid and cook for around 1-2 minutes.
Step 4: Choose your toppings:
If you have a sweet tooth, drizzle over maple, agave, or date syrup. Alternatively (or alongside) mash half a banana in with the porridge to achieve sweetness with every mouthful! I then top with more sliced banana, berries, milled flax seeds (for those omegas) and then soya yoghurt – the cool freshness of which complements the warm sweetness of the oats!
Step 5: Keep it interesting:
To prevent you from becoming bored, explore different flavours through switching up your toppings, or by adding powders (such as cocoa/cacao, matcha, maca, or protein powders) or nut butters (peanut, almond, hazelnut) to change the flavour. Get creative!
For basic everyday porridge:
- 1/2 cup chunky rolled oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soya milk (my favourite is Alpro)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 banana
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Mash half of the banana in the saucepan or bowl if microwaving.
- Add the oats, liquids, cinnamon and stir over medium heat until desired consistency is reached. Or microwave for 1-2 minutes.
- Top with toppings!
Apple Pie Porridge
- Chop up 1 apple into small cubes. Place in small frying pan with a splash of water and steam until soft.
- Take out half and mash with a form. Add this apple puree to the porridge instead of mashed banana.
- , With the remaining cubes in the pan, add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and a heaped tsp of date/maple/agave syrup, or sugar. Stir until coated and caramelised.
- Top your cooked porridge with these cubes, then drizzle over almond butter – and granola/nuts for a crumble finish!
Pear and Ginger Porridge
- Repeat steps for apple pie porridge but with a pear instead.
- Add 1/2 tsp of ground ginger to the porridge.
Chunky-Monkey porridge (peanut butter, banana + chocolate)
- Add 1 heaped tsp of cocoa/cacao powder to your oats while cooking.
- Drizzle over peanut butter.
- Mash the banana in as usual.
I promise you porridge will become your new favourite breakfast once you’ve tried these tips and tricks!
Let me know in the comments below if you have any porridge tips, or any favourite flavour combos!
The Conscious Medic