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How do I Make Porridge?

By Danielle DeLee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Whether it is too hot, too cold or just right, porridge is a filling and healthy meal. This hot mixture of a cereal and a liquid can be eaten plain or with a variety of foods and flavorings mixed in as a breakfast, a side dish, a main course or a dessert. Different ingredients are used in countries around the world to make distinctive porridges, which often have specific names.

The basic ingredient in porridge is cereal. This doesn’t mean that you can use your favorite breakfast cereal; here, the word refers to hearty materials such as barley, wheat, corn, rice and oats. Generally, these are ground or cracked before the porridge is cooked. You can do this yourself, or you can buy cereal that is already prepared. Stores carry instant mixes of some porridges, including oatmeal and grits, that have shorter cooking times and may have flavorings already mixed in.

To make porridge, you must add liquid to your cereal of choice. The simplest way to prepare it is to add water, but some people prefer to use milk or cream because it gives the porridge a richer taste and texture. Pour the liquid over the cereal and boil it until it is absorbed. If you are using the instant variety, you can add water or milk that is already hot. Experiment with the level to find the ideal liquid level; less will give a thicker texture, but too much liquid will turn the cereal to mush.

The types of ingredients you decide to mix into your porridge depend on how you intend to eat it. For breakfast, try adding yogurt, fruit and granola. Side dishes can stand on their own, or you can season them; often, butter is added to these sides. If you want to have it as a main course, as the porridge polenta is often eaten, you can add vegetables, cheeses and meats. Dessert porridges, like rice pudding, often have sugar or honey, fruit and spices, such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

Porridges, in various guises, are common dishes in many places. In the United States, the South’s grits are a corn porridge, and people across the country eat oatmeal for breakfast. Polenta is a traditional Italian dish that is frequently seen in the United States. People in Russia and Eastern Europe eat kasha, which is made from buckwheat, as a breakfast and a side dish.

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Discussion Comments

By KoiwiGal — On Aug 08, 2014

@Iluviaporos - I used to eat oat porridge every morning, but one day I was too busy to cook it and I just tried eating the oats without cooking them, just pouring milk on top and waiting a bit for it to soften them.

It's actually much tastier than store bought cereals. I add a bunch of other things like pumpkin seeds and raisins and coconut as well. Apparently the raw oats are really good for your digestive system as well.

I'll probably go back to making porridge out of the same mixture in the winter, although I suppose I could just heat it up, rather than outright cooking it.

By lluviaporos — On Aug 08, 2014

@Fa5t3r - Actually oats are one of the better grains to eat if you're worried about carbs digesting too fast and raising your blood sugar too quickly, because they tend to digest more slowly than most grains. It's partly because they usually aren't refined to the same extent that other grains might be, but it's also because they have a kind of sticky texture that stops them from being digested quickly like wheat or rice.

If you compare rolled oats to something like cornflakes or a similar cereal, you're better off with the oats because they will make you feel full for longer. Most cereals are made from refined grains that have been made into shapes and then roasted, so it's not really all that different from eating crackers or bread.

By Fa5t3r — On Aug 07, 2014

My favorite breakfast of all is oat porridge with cream and bananas and cinnamon. You have to cook the bananas in the oats (which I usually make with water) and eat it immediately after adding the cream.

I don't have it very often, because cream is so fattening, but aside from that it's not a bad breakfast. If you substitute milk for cream it's pretty healthy, although I don't know if it would digest a bit too fast without the extra fat and protein.

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