*That's* how you make porridge! Good additives to porridge.
May 9, 2011 4:11 PM   Subscribe

What do you use put in your porridge to kick it up a notch?

It's getting towards winter here in the southern hemisphere, and my bircher muesli grows less appealing. The season of porridge is upon me, but compared to the rich variety of my muesli, it's lacking somewhat.

Beloved mefites, what do you add to your porridge to make it exciting and fabulous? Things already tried include: dried apricot, almond, and delicious cream. I'm open to anything, savoury or sweet. Thanks!
posted by smoke to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Bananas, walnuts, and honey.
posted by John Cohen at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got pretty excited when I found out you could cook porridge with apple juice, milk, or some combination of those, rather than water. Tasted so much more excellent. I also like the combination of raisins and chopped fresh apples.
posted by smilingtiger at 4:14 PM on May 9, 2011

I've been eating a lot of chai oatmeal lately, and it's delicious!

Or sometimes I grate an apple into my porridge when it's just got a minute or two left to simmer. Oatmeal with an apple and cinnamon is pretty awesome.
posted by bewilderbeast at 4:15 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

brown sugar + bananas + pecans
strawberries + honey + buttermilk
blueberries + sour cream + raspberries
honey + cinnamon + brown sugar
peaches + cream + white sugar
posted by patronuscharms at 4:16 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fresh berries, stewed apple with cinnamon, golden syrup, toasted almond flakes, mango, or lychee are all very tasty with porridge. Congee is also delicious.
posted by hot soup girl at 4:17 PM on May 9, 2011

I have gotten a lot of mileage out of this previous question.
posted by vytae at 4:17 PM on May 9, 2011

Salt! (With golden raisins and milk/cream.)
posted by kmennie at 4:19 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:21 PM on May 9, 2011

Dark chocolate peanut butter and a chopped banana. Regular peanut butter in a pinch.
posted by something something at 4:23 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love tea masala in my oatmeal, especially when I use coffee instead of water.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:23 PM on May 9, 2011

Mmmm, melty cheese! Black pepper, sharp-tasting melty cheese, scallions/green onions. Top with a fried egg.

Scallions, miso, shiitake mushrooms. Top with another fried egg.
posted by Knicke at 4:24 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Brown sugar and butter.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:25 PM on May 9, 2011

Butter (salted or non, but preferably salted), or Spectrum Naturals Spread, with generous chunks of fresh, good-quality white cheddar cheese, with time to melt. This gives you a nice contrast of textures: the texture of the porridge and the nice, soft occasional taste of warm, sharp cheddar. (À la grits.) To make the cheese flavor more robust, grate cheese into the porridge so it cooks into the grains, and also stir in squares of cheese near the end of cooking on the stove. Savory and delicious!
posted by simulacra at 4:26 PM on May 9, 2011

My steel-cut oats recipe is delish:
  1. Toast oats in pan on high heat until they smell toasty
  2. Add 3 parts water and 1 part milk to every 1 part of oats and simmer for 30-40 minutes
  3. Serve with toasted walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is an awesome filler -- pumps up the protein and makes it creamy to boot. I don't like cottage cheese by itself but love it in oatmeal.

Also yummy: peel & dice an apple, then microwave it for 1-2 minutes.

(ps does porridge == oats?)
posted by rouftop at 4:27 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oooh, and if you eat pork, bits of crispy bacon, parmesan cheese, black pepper, cream...and a fried egg. Not particularly healthy, but....porridge carbonara!
posted by Knicke at 4:27 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Delicious (not so nutritious) Nutella.
posted by raztaj at 4:28 PM on May 9, 2011

Peanut butter and really good preserves/jam/marmalade.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:32 PM on May 9, 2011

For even more savory options, just look at any risotto recipe. Risotto is basically a fancied up rice porridge - most things that work in risotto will work with oats or other grains. You can even cook your porridge in chicken stock instead of water for extra savor.
posted by Knicke at 4:32 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cook with flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond slices, walnuts, dried apples, dried figs, and dried cherries. Top with milk and honey.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:37 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Never tried it myself, but have heard people go on about how yummy it is when the peanut butter gets low, then they use the mostly-empty jar to make their oatmeal in.

Me, I like chopped dates and walnuts. The dates get all melty--yum!
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 4:41 PM on May 9, 2011

Raisins and craisins.


Canned peaches, with or without the canning syrup.

Maple syrup.
posted by galadriel at 4:46 PM on May 9, 2011

I use half-and-half or whipping cream, a touch of butter, some brown sugar, a teaspoon of homemade Tahitian vanilla extract, and a handful of chopped pecans.

Even people who don't like oatmeal like my oatmeal.
posted by fiercecupcake at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jacques Pepin's Oatmeal-Leek Breakfast Soup is excellent. Also, you might check out this earlier thread asking for savory oatmeal recipes.
posted by Lexica at 5:05 PM on May 9, 2011

I like adding some almond butter along with the various fruits and nuts mentioned by others above. And maple syrup!
posted by mareli at 5:10 PM on May 9, 2011

A beaten egg. Sometimes with cheese, sometimes not.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:14 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I like dried cranberries, almonds and shredded coconut.
Also banana, walnuts and honey, but that was mentioned above.
Dates are nice. Especially with a little brown sugar or honey.
posted by lollusc at 5:15 PM on May 9, 2011

If rice porridge is an option, another magic search term is congee (粥).
I recommend chicken, salted egg, green onions and you tiao. Shrimp and scallops are also great.
posted by emeiji at 5:37 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Raisins, apple slices, maple syrup and a pinch of salt.
posted by carter at 5:39 PM on May 9, 2011

Response by poster: Great, great, answers so far, thanks guys! One, tiny, caveat: healthier = better.

No wonder why I couldn't find any threads before: oatmeal/porridge, yet another linguistic barrier I wasn't aware of!
posted by smoke at 5:41 PM on May 9, 2011

Lots of fruit.... bananas and apples are good, but also berries, fresh or frozen, or even mango. Nuts are good too, or sunflower seeds. You can also make oatmeal without any cooking overnight in a thermos with hot water and whatever ingredients you like. Everything gets nicely muddled together.
posted by one little who at 5:57 PM on May 9, 2011

Chopped apple, a few pitted prunes and raisins into the cold water so they have lots of time to cook. Top with yoghurt, maple syrup and banana.

We live like KINGS!
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:36 PM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

The only porridge I will eat is at Hell's Kitchen and has wild rice, crasins and blueberries in it. People wrinkle their nose at it when they hear "porridge" here in Minnesota, but they get curious when they see and smell it.
posted by soelo at 6:43 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a link to a savory oatmeal from the Healthy Librarian blog. If anyone tries it, let me know what you think. Supposedly people love it, but I haven't had the guts to try it myself.
posted by TorontoSandy at 7:27 PM on May 9, 2011

subbing coconut milk for regular milk
posted by wayward vagabond at 7:36 PM on May 9, 2011

A dribble of almond extract and frozen blueberries (added at the beginning of cooking.

Chunks of frozen rhubarb (again, cook along with the oatmeal), some sweetener, and cinnamon.
posted by lakeroon at 7:43 PM on May 9, 2011


No, I'm not being flip. My Great-Grandmother let me in on this trick when she was 86 and I was 16. It's delicious.
posted by MissySedai at 8:02 PM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Given "healthier = better", this doesn't count, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway.

When we were in Scotland we were staying in a self-catering cottage, and wanted porridge, so just used what we had to hand. What we had to hand just happened to be clotted cream and clover honey.

Best. Porridge. Ever.

Probably took two to three years off my life, but so worth it.
posted by damonism at 9:05 PM on May 9, 2011

Homemade nut butter! I love plain roasted almond nut butter, but you can try just about any nuts or combo of nuts. It's delicious and so easy to make that I feel bad even calling it homemade- handful of nuts in the food processor, let it run until the nuts are creamy, done. You should also try whipped oatmeal- basically, you cut up a banana and let it boil with the oatmeal, then after a few minutes when the banana has softened, you whip it all together for a few minutes (I use a wire whisk). It makes super creamy, fluffy oatmeal, and is very easy to remember- equal parts oats, water, and milk. That second link also has a ton of different oatmeal variations.
posted by kro at 9:31 PM on May 9, 2011

Agreeing with others that bananas and beaten eggs are good for fluffing up porridge. If you have pourable egg whites in your fridge it's super easy to give your porridge a health/protein boost by adding 2-3 egg whites in (normally after a couple minutes of cooking in water/milk as usual). Also a big fan of stirring in mashed-up ripe banana, or doing the apple+raisins+cinnamon thing.

Other less obvious favourites of mine:

* Put a fried egg on top! The white adds some interest but the real joy is the yolk, ideally soft, which then creates gooey goodness with the oats.

* Almond butter and jam, a dollop of each on opposite sides of the bowl, lets you enjoy mixing and matching as you eat.

* Caraway seeds. Seeds in general, but caraway in particular add a great light aroma.

* Cereal! No need to add much, but a handful of a crunchy cluster cereal, or a half-cup of All Bran really makes for a more varied bowl of oats... Can add early on to soften up, or just before serving to keep the crunch.

Also, you asked for additives, but don't neglect varying the oats themselves! Between:
* Rolled oats, jumbo oats, steel-cut oats, or groats
* Other grains such as spelt which can be made into porridge
* Cooking method (microwave, hob, overnight)
there's a fair bit of variety you can introduce to your porridge love.

Hungry now.
posted by ChristopherS at 12:28 AM on May 10, 2011

Oh! Also chock-full-of-wintry-oat-goodness: Skirlie!
posted by ChristopherS at 12:31 AM on May 10, 2011

I live in Canberra. For the antipodes, the mornings are just about as cold as it gets.

Make you porridge (microwave is fine) with your favourite muesli mix. Add the yoghurt and any other fixings like those above, or what you usually use.

posted by Flashduck at 2:18 AM on May 10, 2011

My boyfriend's mum uses dates as a substitute for sugar in porridge. She chops them up finely and then simmers them with milk in a saucepan, stirring lots, before adding the oats. The dates basically disintegrate to sweeten the milk. Absolutely delicious.
posted by greenfelttip at 6:16 AM on May 10, 2011

I really like adding cooked and mashed winter squash (pumpkin, butternut, etc.) seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 7:33 AM on May 10, 2011

My favourite (but not really that healthy because of topping choice) is this:

Seedless raisins and cranberries put in at the start so they soften and become plump and juicy (make with half water, half milk), a smidge of cinnamon and a teaspoon of golden syrup. Scatter 80g of dark chocolate chips over the top and slice a banana over that. Spicy fruity melty chocolate goodness. Mmmm. You can also use maple syrup if you want it to taste out of this world.

Another thing I do in winter is stew plums and figs with vanilla and a cinnamon stick and just top it off with that.

You can sub normal milk for coconut milk too if you like, though if you're trying to keep the calories down you may only want to add a little.

I've been told the bourbon thing too, and the next time I can wake up and not want to eat my favourite porridge (a sign of my creeping age?), I'm going to give it a try.

Finally, have you heard of carrot cake oatmeal? Really healthy and yum.
posted by everydayanewday at 10:32 AM on May 10, 2011

I have a perverse and sinful thing I do with porridge. It's been with me since I was a child and I just can't seem to shake it.

I stir sugar into it. That isn't the perverse thing. The perverse thing is that I also put little knobs of butter in it and let them melt into scattered pools of yellow delight. Ah, to hell with the cholesterol!

Lurpak is best of all.
posted by Decani at 10:57 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Raisins and walnuts and maple syrup (or golden syrup or honey or cinnamon in the winter). I agree with everydayanewday - put the dried fruit to cook with the oatmeal to make it plumper.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 2:25 PM on May 10, 2011

mr. lfr is a native of New Mexico, and thus his somewhat south-of-the-border inspired oatmeal recipe consists of the following:

Added with the dry oatmeal during the cooking process:
- dark dutch cocoa (unsweetened, I use the good quality King Arthur brand)
- a dash of cinnamon
- a dash of sea salt

Sprinkled over the top of the cooked end product:
- a small handful of raisins
- toasted pecans or (if you can get them) pine nuts / pignolas

Then you add cream/milk, brown sugar or honey to suit your sweet vs. savory preferences. The very, shall we say, Sonoran Desert combo of cinnamon & unsweetened cocoa is what makes it really incredibly and uniquely scrumptious.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:51 PM on May 10, 2011

I plop a big dollop of some canned pumpkin or, better yet, sugar-and-spiced canned pumpkin pie filling in my oatmeal.
posted by klarck at 5:39 PM on May 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all, lots of great ideas to try out. :)
posted by smoke at 4:49 PM on May 11, 2011

Porridge has to be made with milk and a pinch of salt. Butter and sugar/honey are all that I usually add after cooking.

Basic sweet topping: black currant preserves.

Savory: small pieces of salami or smoked sausage.
posted by parudox at 12:57 PM on May 15, 2011

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