how to make perfect porridge - 3 bowls of porridge with different toppings

If you’ve got a bit of time in the morning porridge makes a fantastic start to the day. It’s easy, healthy and absolutely loaded with fibre to get your insides moving, so to speak. Oh, and it can be utterly delicious when done right.

As with all simple dishes, the key to great porridge in good ingredients and the little details. Getting the right technique will lead to a much creamier texture without needing to use cream, and picking your toppings carefully will transform a breakfast option into a life necessity. Here are our top 4 tips for perfect porridge, along with some incredible ideas for how to top it.

  1. The first thing you need is some decent oats. Go organic and go chunky – they take longer to cook but it’s worth the effort, and it will cook right down into a gorgeous smooth porridge.
  2. The next key point is the dilution. One big mug of oats will serve four, and you’ll need three mugs of water – that’s right, water – for each mug. Get it all in a pan over a high heat and bring to a boil, then turn it right down to a low simmer.
  3. An important thing so many people forget is salt. It adds depth to the porridge and will bring out the sweetness of any toppings – so add a pinch of the stuff as it’s coming to the boil and mix it all around.
  4. And on that note comes the final vital tip – you need those oats to break down, and the best way to do that is stir until your arm seizes up. In Scotland they have special pointed porridge spoons, but the wrong end of a wooden one will do. It should cook for around 15 minutes, but it will start to go soft and stodgy after around 5 minutes, so you can start taste testing from then.

Once you’ve got the actual porridge nailed, it’s time to get inventive with the toppings. In Jamie’s Food Tube video he shows you how to take it 5 different ways – they’re all stunning and outrageously simple. We’re particular fans of the chocolate and marmalade version.

But Jamie’s head nutritionist has some pretty delicious ideas of her own. She’s a porridge obsessive, a condition she contracted as a long distance runner, and when it comes to toppings she’s tried them all and whittled them down to her favourite three for us. Happy breakfasting!

  • Organic marmalade, cacao nibs and crushed hazelnuts
  • Chia seeds, agave nectar, fresh figs (currently in season) and a tablespoon of fat free natural yoghurt and flaked almonds
  • Grated apple, chopped walnuts and a few sliced red grapes

Here’s some more top tips for making the perfect porridge, along with 5 alternative toppings to try: