Authentic Scottish Porridge Recipe (2024)

Use this delicious porridge recipe to bring a taste of authentic Scottish porridge to your breakfast table!

The Scots have been enjoying their porridge for centuries, and rightly so.

Made from oats (which are one of the few grains that grow well in Scotlands' climate), Scottish porridge is tasty AND nutritious, and is packed full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

As part of a healthy diet, it's a great way to help reduce cholesterol, and the slow-release carbs mean it keeps you full (and full of energy) until lunchtime.

Historically there are a few traditions and superstitions connected with the making, and eating, of this dish in Scotland.

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Scottish Porridge Trivia....

  • Traditionally,porridge is stirred with a wooden rod called a 'Spirtle' or 'Spurtle',which looks a bit like a drumstick (not the chicken variety!)

  • Superstitionhas it that Scottish porridge should always be stirred clockwise - andpreferably with your right hand - otherwise the Devil will come for theperson doing the stirring!

  • Porridge is traditionally servedin wooden bowls, and eaten standing up. Each spoonful should be dippedin a bowl of cream that's shared by everyone at the table

  • Porridgecould well have been the worlds' first 'take-out'. Centuries ago, anauthentic porridge recipe such as this one would be used to cook up abig pot and what wasn't eaten for breakfast would be poured into'drawers' or another container and allowed to cool. Once it was cooled,the porridge could be cut up into slices or blocks, wrapped, and takenalong on the days' work to be eaten for lunch, dinner or a snack!

The humble porridge has even been immortalized in print!

The famous Scottish Bard, Robert Burns described it this way...

The most important ingredient in this porridge recipe is the oatsthemselves. Pin Head, steel-cut oats are the best choice, followed bypremium quality rolled oats.

The more processed or 'quick cook' oatsdon't make for a porridge of the same quality, but are quick and simpleto use if you're in a big hurry.

See the two types of traditional oats that are of superior quality here.


The ingredients of an authentic Scottish porridge recipe are ridiculously simple :)

I've included the original British Imperial measurements that my nana (she was the recipe Queen in our home) used, and then converted those to the current British metric system.

If you're in the USA you'll also find the US measurement equivalents listed below.

British Measurements - Imperial/Metric

  • 4.5 oz (100g) Pinhead Oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 Pints Water (milk or a milk/water mix can be used if you prefer)
  • Generous pinch of salt

US Measurements - Cups

  • 1 1/2 Cups Pinhead Oatmeal
  • 3 Cups Water (or alternatives as above)
  • Generous pinch of salt

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Put water in heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil on high heat.

Reduce to medium heat and sprinkle oats on top and stir into water - (doing it this way helps reduce the risk of your porridge getting lumpy).

The annual 'World Porridge Making Championships' are heldin Carrbridge, Inverness-shire, Scotland in October each year, andcontestants come from all over the world to enter.

The World Porridge Making Champion title is awarded for the best porridge made only using oatmeal, water and salt. There's also a Specialty award for the best porridge which has other ingredients added.

Interestingly it wasan American, Matthew Cox from Oregon, USA, whose porridge recipe won the2009 Competition!

The most recent Championship Title (2018) was a joint win between Per Carlsson and Calle Myrsell.

Find out more about this annual contest at

As mostpeople don't have a Spirtle, using a wooden spoon works just fine!Bring back to the boil over medium heat, stirring continuously.

Thenreduce to low heat, cover with lid and let simmer for around 20 - 30minutes. Add salt and stir into porridge about half-way through.

Anddon't forget to stir the porridge every few minutes to stop it stickingand prevent lumps.

Although tradition says only stir clockwise, stirringin both directions does have advantages in the 'de-lumping' process.

In this porridge recipe, the cooking time can be varied a bit, depending on how thick and creamy you want your porridge to be.

Shortercooking time will make for a thinner porridge with a more chewytexture. Longer cooking will make a thicker, creamier dish.

Don't overdoit though, or you'll end up with a very 'stodgy' meal.

I like myporridge thin enough that it pours slowly from the pan, definitely notwatery or 'gruel' like.

You can sprinkle a little more salt on top ifyou like (and you don't have high blood pressure or a controlled diet).

Then either pour cold milk, or cream, on top to taste.

If you wantthe whole Scottish experience, try pouring cream into a separate bowland dip your spoonfuls of porridge into it one at a time. It'll takelonger that way, but is really good!

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Porridge-making Tips

Here are a couple more tips that will help you get your porridge just right...

  • Porridge has a tendency to become 'lumpy' very easily, make sure that you stir often enough, and thoroughly enough to prevent that
  • Adding the salt too early (some recipes suggest putting all the ingredients in the pot at the same time) can make the oats hard/tough
  • A heavy stainless-steel pot would be my first choice, but a good quality non-stick is okay if that's all you have

Here are two brands of oats that I think are among the best.

Hamlyn's Pinhead Oatmeal - produced by the sponsors of the World Porridge Making Championships.

Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats - produced by the company owned by the 2009 winner of this contest, Matthew Cox.

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Authentic Scottish Porridge Recipe (2024)


Why do Scots put salt in porridge? ›

Many people argue that it must be salt to give balance to the porridge and correct the flavour, while others favour sugar to sweeten it up. The argument for using salt is that it is a test of Scottishness and it is only the Sassenachs who would put sugar on their porridge!

How is Scottish porridge different from oatmeal? ›

So what makes Scottish oats different from regular rolled oats? It's not a different variety: rather, instead of being steamed and rolled like regular American oats, Scottish oats are slowly ground between two millstones, producing a smooth texture, more like a traditional porridge.

How to make Scott's porridge oats? ›

Preparation and Usage

Mix 40g of oats with 275ml of milk (or cold water) in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with sugar or salt to taste.

Is Scottish porridge different? ›

Scottish oats are made by milling groats, rather than slicing them. They produce a creamier cereal than steel-cut. Due to their finer grain than steel-cut oats, they perform well in baking projects and make for an exceptionally rich, velvety morning porridge.

Do Scots put whiskey in porridge? ›

Atholl Brose is a traditional Scottish drink dating back to the 15th century – it's like a traditional Scottish version of Baileys. Watch the Hebridean Baker video for some of the history behind this delicious drink. Put the porridge oats and whisky into a bowl.

Is Scottish porridge healthy? ›

Porridge is a super-healthy breakfast staple for the whole family with plenty of scope to put your own twist on it — it's high in fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals and can be made with many toppings or different 'milks' to ring the changes day after day.

What is Scottish slang for porridge? ›

Also par(r)i(t)ch, parra(t)ch, parech; porritch, purritch; parrage, -idge. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. porridge, the dish of oatmeal boiled in salted water (Sc.

What is the healthiest porridge to eat? ›

"It's a common misconception that one type of oat is healthier than another," said Rizzo. "They are all actually identical in terms of their nutrition. The difference is how they are rolled and cut." However, Price added that since instant oats are the most processed option, they generally have salt and added sugars.

Which is healthier oatmeal or porridge? ›

Now that you better understand the difference between porridge and oatmeal, you can decide which dish best suits your lifestyle. Though porridge may offer a wider variety of flavor options, oatmeal is loaded with nutritious and filling ingredients that make it an excellent morning meal.

Why is Scottish porridge so good? ›

Scottish porridge was traditionally made with 'Scottish oats' that had been ground, not rolled or cut. This makes for a much quicker cooking time and a creamy consistency. These days most porridge oats in the supermarket, including the famous Porage Oats, are rolled, keeping the oats fresher for longer.

Are Scottish oats healthier than rolled oats? ›

Nutritional facts

The nutritional data for both steel-cut and rolled oats are almost identical, as whole groats go through minimal processing in both versions of the cereal.

Are Quaker and Scotts oats the same? ›

Scott's Porage Oats is a Scottish breakfast cereal (a brand of porridge) sold in the United Kingdom. The former Scott's Company was established in Glasgow by A&R Scott, two brothers who made a partnership to manufacture oat products. Scott's was purchased by Quaker Oats in 1982.

Who makes the best porridge oats? ›

Discover customer reviews and where to purchase them.
  • Ready Brek. ...
  • Quaker. ...
  • Jordans. Organic Chunky Whole Porridge Oats. ...
  • Bio & Me. Bio&Me Super Seedy Nutty Gut-Loving Prebiotic Porridge. ...
  • Scott's. Original Scottish Porridge Oats - Pack. ...
  • Scott's. Old Fashioned Porridge Oats. ...
  • Mornflake. Fibreful Oatbran Porridge.

Is Scotts porridge oats the same as oatmeal? ›

Scottish porridge is made with ground oats rather than the flattened or rolled oats common to the US. It is a smoother texture but the flavor an health benefits are the same as standard oatmeal.

Are Scottish porridge oats healthy? ›

Porridge is a super-healthy breakfast staple for the whole family with plenty of scope to put your own twist on it — it's high in fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals and can be made with many toppings or different 'milks' to ring the changes day after day.

What's the difference between Scottish and Irish oats? ›

Irish oats are often used in traditional Irish dishes like oatcakes or in a savory breakfast dish kns "porridge." Scottish oats, also known as stone-ground oats, are made by grinding the whole oat groat, including the inner kernel or "pinhead," into a fine powder.

What is the ingredient in a Scottish breakfast? ›

So, what is a full Scottish breakfast? Usually made up of bacon, link sausages, Lorne sausage (also known as square sausage or slice), black pudding, haggis, baked beans, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, toast, tattie scones and fried eggs, the full Scottish breakfast is a sight to behold.

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