A Brief History of Porridge


In terms of defining porridge, it boils down to gruel made with oats. It’s a mushy bowl of soaked grains used to pre-digest or release nutrients. Polenta, barley, buckwheat, millet or rye have been used as well as oats.

Porridge is just oats, but wine is just grapes. We are proud of our porridge, and we are proud that Britain is proud of its porridge. But porridge has been around for much longer than us. It’s been providing our people with a brilliant bowl of sustaining energy for thousands of years. It’s been trusted for this long and this thriving and sensual bowl should continue to glisten under the spotlight. It blows our pyjamas off, every time.


We go way back in history. Before the introduction of baking ovens and unleavened bread, porridge was one of the most important staples in the British diet – if not it’s greatest culinary achievement.

We like to think of it as our own, but a similar dish has also been enjoyed cross-culturally for thousands of years too. Originating from Northern Europe, it was traditionally mostly enjoyed savoury.


Historically, until the early twentieth century, porridge was made with oatmeal (cut or ground dehulled oat seeds).

Today, to make porridge oats on an industrial scale, oats are grown in vast quantities, collected and are steamed using a high-pressure roller. The they are thinner, part-cooked oats and so can cook in minutes.



Porridge hasn’t always had an easy ride. It’s been slopped into horse troughs and prisoners bowls. Cheap and filling, not a glamorous winner to serve up on a first date. But the tables are turning and porridge is coming out on top. Nutritious, versatile and delicious.

Firstly, Porridge oats are a nutritional powerhouse full of sustaining energy. Think a CV packed with antioxidants and a better balance of the good stuff like fats, carbohydrates, and protein than their other grain buddies. See you 11am munchies.

But nutrition alone doesn’t do it for us. Gone are the days of gruel. Porridge is a delicious, simple food that can be spruced up in all kinds of days. Make your breakfast sweet and tropical with this Coconut & Chia Porridge made with our Coconut Drink. Looking for a festive twist? Try Hazelnut Porridge with Brandy Prunes. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, turn your oats into a savoury meal with this Porridge with Parsnip Three Ways, winner of the 2019 Rude Health Porridge Championships. 

Check out our breakfast recipes showing you how to shake up you wake up. The possibilities are endless.


Take your time. Cook your oats slowly for the ultimate creamy texture. On low heat in milk or water, slowly simmer your oats and milk/water. If you’ve only ever made porridge with milk, try it with water. Pinch of sea salt? Compulsory. Adding a pinch of salt adds some depth to the porridge and will help to bring out the flavour and sweetness of any toppings. Just add a pinch as the porridge is coming to a boil.

If you’re more maximal than minimal, porridge oats are a wonderful base for nuts, fruits, seed and a blob of cream. Ultimately, You make it how you want it. This is what makes it good, its ability to be totally personal. Vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, sweet, savoury, crunchy, creamy – whatever floats your oat.

Pre-soaking your porridge overnight means you’re in for a more gentle and easy digestion ride. That means it does more good, more easily. Win win.

For more recipe ideas, visit here


Traditionally, it was considered respectful to eat porridge standing up, and superstition believed it must always be stirred clockwise to ward off evil spirits? All seem a little sorcerous? Even more so when the instrument (spurtle) used to stir the porridge was shaped suspiciously close to a wand.