5 Ingredients or Fewer

April Bloomfield's English Porridge

April  9, 2013
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This porridge is just right. Bloomfield calls for equal parts of two styles of oats, which means the steel-cut bits keep their pop, while the rolled oats melt around them—and getting them to the perfect texture only takes 20 minutes. Cooking with half milk, half water is enough to make it feel rich and loving, without slogging you down first thing in the morning. This will seem like a lot of salt. But it won't be too much, because at the end you'll add something sweet and something milky and it will all live in harmony. Adapted slightly from A Girl and Her Pig (Ecco, 2012) —Genius Recipes

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus a few generous splashes
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon, or other flaky sea salt (if using finer salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon and add to taste)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (maple, brown, or white) or maple syrup
In This Recipe
  1. Combine the milk, water, and salt in a medium pot (a 2-quart pot should do it) and set over high heat. As soon as the liquid comes to a gentle simmer, add both kinds of oats and lower the heat to medium.
  2. Cook the oats at a steady simmer, stirring frequently and lowering the heat as necessary to maintain the simmer.
  3. After about 20 minutes at the simmer, the rolled oats will have turned a bit mushy, while the steel-cut oats will be just tender and pop when you bite them.
  4. Taste for seasoning—it should be on the salty side. Add sugar or syrup. Spoon the porridge into warm bowls and let it sit for a minute. Then carefully pour a little cold milk around the edges of each bowl, so it pools all the way round. Sprinkle a five-fingered pinch of sugar or drizzle the syrup in the center of each and let it melt, then serve right away.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • samanthaalison
  • Jennifer St Clair
    Jennifer St Clair
  • Eve B
    Eve B
  • Plexia
  • Martian
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

62 Reviews

Matt February 14, 2021
One of those recipes that became a staple in our house. I can't imagine ever wanting a different porridge recipe. Even our toddler loves it
Mardee August 22, 2020
I was skeptical but tried it, and OMG, I am a convert! This was the perfect meld of flavor and texture! I've been making steel-cut oats for years, but I am switching to this recipe. When I first tasted it, I thought the salt might be a bit much, but gave it a sec and it blended into a delicious flavor on my tongue. Love the creaminess of the milk and the salt/sugar combo is perfect. I used brown sugar as a sweetener, and substituted almond milk for dairy. Love this and will be making this regularly!
samanthaalison February 16, 2019
I loved this! It sounded like a lot of salt but the saltiness makes the end product seem way more complex somehow. Even my oatmeal-hating husband liked it.
Jennifer S. January 6, 2018
I make this a lot in the wintertime. I've even memorized the simple recipe. It's perfect, and leftovers warm up nicely.
Eve B. November 1, 2017
1 1/2 tsps of Maldon sea salt was way too much. I had to cook another 1/2 cup oats to add to this to somewhat balance it out. I think next time I'll start with 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt. You can always add more!
I liked the texture of the two different oats.
Maybelle October 25, 2017
Game changer for breakfast. SO finally ate steel cut oats without a fuss. And for me, this is the breakfast oats I've been dreaming of. Thank you so much for sharing!!
Plexia October 11, 2017
I make my porridge with salt, hot water and add a spash of milk or cream or whatever at the end. IMO salt and water is much nicer than all milk no salt, as it brings out the flavour of your cream, fruit, coacoa etcwhile keeping the oats fluffy. It might take some getting used to but it's the BEST. Also, tesco organic porridge oats are amazing.
Christina @. August 3, 2019
THAT is the traditional Scottish way and the Scots know their porridge! You are absolutely right! :)
Martian June 16, 2016
Delicious and way too salty. I added a little over 1tsp Maldon salt and found I had to add more maple syrup than I prefer to balance out the dish. I do like the salt, but will start out with halt tsp next time
Maya M. January 24, 2016
This has become my go to oatmeal recipe. i just can't have oatmeal any other way. Because my boyfriend is vegan, I usually find some fatty substitute for the whole milk, like full fat coconut milk, or mixing different proportions coconut cream and water, or lately pecan butter as a pecan nut milk. So grateful to have found this recipe!
Dawn November 19, 2015
My go-to oatmeal is old-fashioned rolled oats with some chia seeds, lots of cinnamon, some raisins, a sliced bananna and almond milk or regular milk, then a tsp. of honey. I sometimes add a little raw almond butter as well. Yummy! But I'm going to try this as it would be nice to mix it up. I'm not going to use the salt, however. I never put salt in my oats. It just isn't necessary.
D. Z. November 13, 2015
I read this recipe because I, too, mix 2 kinds of cereal for my porridge: Scottish Oatmeal (Bob's Red Mill brand) and Red River Cereal. The Scottish Oatmeal is finely milled and cooks very quickly, in about 10 minutes, which coincidentally is the recommended cooking time for Red River. It has a different texture than rolled oats, which I prefer.

Red River Cereal is a Canadian product, originally from the province of Manitoba, now produced by a subsidiary of Smucker's. It's made from cracked wheat, cracked rye and flax. It's available in many parts of the US and is worth looking for. It's great with the Scottish Oats.

Mixing rolled and steel-cut Oats, and cooking for the time recommended in this recipe sounds quite unappealing. Steel-cut oats take much longer to cook than 20 minutes. There's way too much salt in this recipe, too.
fj62 April 16, 2015
I wanted to like this, but neither me nor my husband cared for it. Even with tweaking the salt/maple syrup, it was too salty. Also the consistency was still rather heavy. Neither of us is picky and we both like oatmeal.
Alicia W. April 10, 2015
Porridge is my favourite winter breakfast. Granola/Muesli my favourite summer breakfast. I use all milk, no water for the extra taste and nutritive value that milk gives. Next time I shall try the 2 types of oats for the more contrasting creamy and chewy texture. Interesting how many comments fall into the "Yes but no salt" or "Yes but no sugar" camps.
pursnl November 16, 2014
The traditional Scottish version is an acquired taste but once you get there, the idea of adding sweetness in any form is nasty. Growing up on the border of England and Scotland we would start breakfast with porridge similair to this recipe, follow it up with a smoked kipper or eggs and breakfast meats (blood sausage anyone?). I love this recipe and can appreciate the many variations. But if I start the day with the salty Scottish version, (Malden salt please) with thick pouring cream on top, I feel invincible.
Christina @. August 3, 2019
I disagree; I think the traditional Scottish version isn't acquired, it's just unheard of (practically) outside of Scotland. People in the US aren't adding nearly enough salt to their porridge (although this recipe sounds like it's going over the top with salt) or even none at all, which makes porridge inedible in my book (blech...). I also prefer to call it black pudding (sounds better) and it's one of my favorite foods EVER!!! :)
Patricia W. November 15, 2014
There's no reason to add salt, especially the amount recommended in this recipe. My go to breakfast is oatmeal, even in the hot Texas summer. We cook an apple with the oatmeal, add a scoop of protein powder, no added salt and no added sugar. Top with fresh blueberries and blackberries. Perfect.
Christina @. August 3, 2019
That's like saying there's no reason to add salt to pasta. There absolutely is, and it's flavor. Even if topping with a sweet ingredient like fruit, salt will make the porridge much more flavorful (I do think there is too much in this recipe, though). Do a side by side taste test and you'll see/taste the difference. In Scotland, the World Porridge Championship would disqualify your entry (has to have salt) and the Scots are the porridge pros.
yellowbinder November 15, 2014
My son says that when eating Scottish food you don't want it to be too traditional (Haggis anyone??). Very good porridge, though. A bit on the salty side for our taste.
Christina @. August 3, 2019
Even haggis is delicious when prepared properly :) https://www.christinascucina.com/haggis-neeps-tatties-tower-burns-night-haggis-turnips-potatoes/
Alba April 9, 2014
"English" porridge? I hear millions of Scots laughing. Traditionally eaten with very thick cream and nothing else. It's the salty kick that is authentic. However, great with chopped almonds or dates or flavoured, slightly, with cardamon or mastic.
Alba April 9, 2014
I should add it needs to be well cooked and smooth. It absorbs a lot of liquid such as milk or water. There should be no lumps. Best cooked over night in a slow cooker.
Christina @. August 3, 2019
I'm from Scotland and I don't really care if this recipe is called English because it sure as hell isn't a Scottish recipe! ;)
Joyce March 23, 2014
I cook steel cut oatmeal in my crockpot in a 4 qt glass measuring jug surrounded by water for 12-14 hours. The next time I will use 50/50 oats and see what happens.
blindowl February 23, 2014
thanks, Valentina!!! :)
Valentina S. February 22, 2014
I think I know where that bowl comes from...I have one just like that :) It's a common item in japanese houseware shops. If you are in NY, it can be found at the Sunrise Mart (I got mine at the one near St. mark's) or at Mitsuwa marketplace over in NJ. It should be easy to find online, too.