Porridge has existed for centuries and can be traced back to the rainy mountains of Scotland. In the often cold and misty weather, a bowl of cooked oats provided a comforting and warm meal that could soothe the appetite. These days, the soaked flakes are hugely popular in many parts of the world – combined with a variety of flavors and ingredients. What might have started as a very basic meal, simply made with oats and hot water or milk, can now be found together with sweet toppings, fresh or dried fruit, nuts and seeds, melted chocolate, spices, and much more. Depending on your individual preferences, you can mix and match ingredients to create the porridge bowl of your dreams.
Homemade porridge: A simple, basic recipe
Porridge is one of those breakfast classics that almost any trendy cafe has a unique take on. The great thing is, that in only a few simple steps it is possible to create a beautiful bowl of porridge at home. In essence, porridge is a hot cereal made by cooking rolled oats in either water, milk, or a vegan substitute. On average it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare – so there is no excuse to skip a meal in the morning.
If you are willing to add a step, and are looking for a nutty aroma, toast the oatmeal briefly in a pan over high heat. Mix the remaining ingredients in a pot, heat it up, add the roasted oats and keep heating until the oats are cooked soft. Heating the oats beforehand changes the taste to a more nutty one without even adding any other ingredients. Once cooked, the oats can be transferred to a bowl and be combined with whatever toppings you are craving.
Fresh fruit and berries are always a great addition, as they add a juicy and sweet note to the dish. You can either add the fruit as a topping to your porridge or mix them into the cooking oats for more of a blend. This simple breakfast porridge recipe by Andrea Schirmaier-Huber has a subtle, naturally sweet touch thanks to California Raisins.
The porridge can be enjoyed hot or cold, depending on the mood you are in. For cold enjoyment, simply mix together the desired amount of oat mix with almost double the amount of cold liquid. Stir and allow the oats to swell for some minutes. Sprinkle fresh berries and raisins on top and enjoy.
Perfecting porridge consistency and flavor
For many, consistency plays an important role in perfecting porridge. If a creamy porridge is what you crave, it’s better to use soft oats since they have a different composition than, for example, thicker, old-fashioned oats. Crushed or thinner rolled oats cook quicker and take on a creamy consistency. If you are a fan of a more fibrous porridge then you want to make sure the oatmeal stays al dente in the liquid.
While porridge can be enjoyed in its most basic form, there are plenty of ways to add a bit of spice, sweetness, and flavor. Spices like cardamom and cinnamon are especially popular in porridge during the colder days in autumn and winter. Dried fruits, such as cranberries or raisins, can also add another level of flavor to porridge, providing either a desired tart or sweet taste. Aside from adding a textural crunch, nuts and seeds can upgrade a porridge with delicious flavors and an added nutritious value. Toppings, such as California Walnuts or American Pecans, are perfect examples as they offer quite a good amount of nutritious fats.
If you enjoy cooking with seasonal ingredients, then autumn porridge is a real treat for you! Ripe, juicy pears and crunchy, toasted walnuts are a dreamy combination! Oatmeal Brown Butter Glazed is a cozy, perfectly autumnal porridge. Made with firm but ripe pears, such as Bosc or Concorde, a bit of pear hard cider, walnuts, and some lovely spices, this flavourful bowl may just become your fall favorite.
If you want to add even more toppings to your winter porridge, you can decorate your oats with pistachios and dried rose petals.
Mixing and matching toppings
Porridge comes in hundreds of varieties. It is no secret that cooked oats go well with a dash of honey or maple syrup, but there is so much more to it! Enhancing the basic recipe is what makes it fun and guarantees variety for every day.
Looking for a new morning comfort food? Power up and conquer the day ahead with a steaming bowl of Almond Mode Oats. Created by Massy Arias, this porridge is meant to keep you full and fueled for hours with the help of nutritious almonds.
Ripe blueberries pair perfectly with crunchy, nutty almonds. Just give it a try!
Porridge is far from bland when you know what toppings to use. The colorful Hasselback Baked Pear Oatmeal Bowl is meant to impress. Naturally sweetened with banana, this breakfast is topped with a caramelized, soft, hasselback baked pear. The recipe was developed and photography by Alexandra Aldeborgh (@daisybeet).
Prep the pears the night before, and you can throw this bowl together in 5 minutes! Round it up with a sprinkle of dried rose petals and dried cornflower petals as well as a spoonful of creamy almond butter. Absolutely delicious!
There is a good reason for the popularity behind porridge. A bowl of cooked oats requires little to no time, but is able to keep you feeling full for a long time. Oats not only provide carbohydrates, but also protein, fiber, and minerals. But arguably, best of all, porridge is customizable, allowing you to combine your favorite flavors and ingredients to continuously create a great porridge experience. So, next time you make yourself a porridge, what delicious ingredients will you be adding?