How to make the perfect bowl of porridge

bowl of porridge and mug of coffee
Perfect porridge: a warming start to any morning Credit: Getty

When it comes to getting your oats just right, follow our top tips for perfect porridge – along with some delicious ideas for toppings to add extra flourish and flavour to your dish

Forget fears of burnt pan-bottoms or stodgy, overcooked oats. Once you master the basics, you’ll be able to enjoy the perfect bowl of porridge every time.

Start with a simple recipe to get a ‘just right’ porridge that even Goldilocks would approve of: creamy, comforting and, with so many topping options to choose from, one of the most varied and versatile eats around.

Preparing the perfect porridge

To make perfect porridge on the stove top, put 40g Quaker oats in a saucepan and pour in 300ml milk (dairy, nut or other plant milks all work), water or a combination, depending on how creamy you like it. Use a little extra liquid if you prefer a thinner porridge.

Add a tiny pinch of salt, bring to the boil over a medium heat then simmer for around five minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t stick. Serve when the oats are plumped up and the porridge is at your desired thickness.

Alternatively for a quick bowl of porridge, choose Quaker Oat So Simple sachets, for perfect porridge in just 2 minutes in the microwave.

Purists can spoon it up just as it is, or perhaps drizzled with a little honey. Or you can mix things up and try one of our tasty topping ideas.

Top it off

Add a dollop of deliciousness to your bowl with one of these sweet ideas

Delicious dates

Sticky Medjool dates are basically nature’s caramel, so they’re a great way of adding extra sweetness and interest to porridge.

Use a couple of dates per portion. First, remove the stones if they aren’t pitted, and roughly chop. Scatter over your porridge along with 1-2 tbsps of nuts for extra crunch.

Almond flakes pair beautifully with dates and really balance out the sweetness, especially if you lightly toast them first. To do this, throw them into a dry frying pan over a medium heat and cook for a few minutes until golden, tossing regularly so they don’t burn. Then simply tip over your oats.

Natural sweetness: opt for fruit sugar Credit: Getty

Spiced apple

Apples and oats are a match made in foodie heaven. Use half an eating apple per person and cube or grate the flesh, depending on the texture you’d prefer. Mix with a generous squeeze of lemon and some comforting cooking spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger. A small pinch of each will be enough.

Throw in a small handful of raisins or sultanas and give a stir before spooning over cooked porridge. You can also stir it into the oats towards the end of cooking to soften and warm up the apple and dried fruit. Finish with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness.

Spiced fruit: try apples, raisins or sultanas for a fruity topping Credit: Getty

Berry bowl

Berries are there to sprinkle magic into your porridge, transforming a beige bowl of oats into pink or purple delights, adding bursts of tangy-sweet flavour in the process.

Berries are one of the simplest ways to liven your porridge. Just throw in a handful of blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries – whatever’s in season and whatever you have to hand. You can even use frozen – just add while the porridge is cooking so they defrost and warm through.

A smattering of chia or poppy seeds, coconut flakes and/or almonds adds texture.

Colourful flourish: berries and seeds make a tasty finishing touch Credit: Getty

Real smoothie

Think about what you might throw in a smoothie or spread on toast – the same ingredients and combinations will usually work wonderfully with porridge, too.

Nut butters like peanut or almond are brilliant, for example, whether dolloped on top of cooked porridge or swirled through towards the end of cooking.

Around 1 tbsp is perfect per serving of porridge. Add some chopped bananas and some crunchy nuts such as almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts. The sweet-toothed might want to finish with a drizzle of honey or date syrup.

Go nuts: butters like peanut or almond add flavour and texture Credit: Alamy

Hot chocolate

There’s something deliciously comforting and cockle-warming about cocoa – and it needn’t be reserved for bedtime. Bring that chocolatey loveliness to your bowl any time of day by adding cocoa (made from roasted cacao beans) or raw, unprocessed cacao powder to your oats while cooking. Just 1 tsp per portion will transform your oats, while stirring in a few chocolate chips or cacao nibs adds extra bittersweetness and warmth.

Garnish with grated or melted chocolate – or both, if it’s that kind of day. A few raspberries or blackberries will help to balance the rich, smooth cocoa flavour.

Milk or dark: you decide Credit: Getty
Oats less ordinary

To help you get more inventive in the kitchen, Telegraph Spark has partnered with Quaker Oats and a team of expert foodies to create deliciously different oat-based recipes, from daring and decadent porridge twists to brilliant bakes and gourmet takes so you can impress and indulge.

For more ideas visit