Make Perfect Porridge

Learn how to perfect your porridge-making with a lesson from Britain's greatest competitive porridge maker and owner of food company Rude Health, Nick Barnard.

How To Make Perfect Porridge

Before speaking to oat officiando Nick, if you'd asked me how I'd make my perfect bowl of porridge, I might have suggested the tropical flavours of this persimmon, apple and syrup combination or gone for a touch of citrus in this porridge with orange curd.

But for Nick, it's not about toppings, how much milk you use or whether you should make it in a microwave or on the hob. For him, it's about turning your back on quick, convenient oat flakes and instead soaking oatmeal - and that means soaking it overnight.


Take one portion of oatmeal, pop it in a bowl and pour over one and a half or two measures of warm water and stir. Put a plate on top of the bowl and go to bed. The mixture will set overnight.


Never start off with too much water. You can always add water but if you try to boil it down it will start to become too thick. Put the porridge in a heavy-bottomed pan and add no more than two parts water.


You need to cook sea salt in the pan as it heats. Don't use rock salt because it's too slow to break down and you won't be able to tell if the oatmeal is salty enough.

Start off by adding ΒΌ teaspoon of salt. Good oatmeal porridge doesn't taste salty but has an oatyness brought out by the salt that makes it a great foundation for sweet or savoury. You'll have to practise to find out the right amount of salt to suit you.


Don't become obsessed by stirring your porridge. Bring it to the boil then turn it down to simmer and keep tasting it. Cooking soaked oatmeal should only take 3 minutes.

It's ready when it almost begins to stick to the pan slightly, not because of the heat but because it's actually combined and stable. It should thicken to the point where if you pour it, it doesn't run. Now all that's left to do is make up your mind on the topping - savoury or sweet?

For more great ways to get the most out of breakfast take a look at Nick's website Rude Health.