Creamy oatmeal or whole oat porridge is the perfect breakfast recipe to start the day – It’s simple, delicious, healthy, vegan yet quick and easy to make with gluten-free oats or other rolled cereal grains! Learn how to make the best oatmeal with helpful tips, topping ideas and recipe variations so it never gets boring!
The Best Oatmeal Recipe To Start The Day
There is one thing I always have at home – old fashioned oats! Almost every day I eat porridge or oatmeal for breakfast, preferably with fresh fruit, healthy nuts and homemade granola as a crunchy topping. A few years ago I posted my oatmeal bowl almost every day on Instagram and Facebook alongside my beloved pancakes, crêpes and Kaiserschmarrn – and even today I still get questions about how to make the perfect porridge.
So in this post, I’ll show you step-by-step how to make this simple basic oatmeal recipe quickly and easily in different variations so you’ll never have to ask yourself what to eat for a healthy breakfast again!
What is Porridge?
Porridge is a food made by cooking ground, crushed or chopped starchy plants, typically grain, in milk or water, until it has a thick and creamy consistency. While oat porridge, also known as oatmeal, is the most common type of porridge, there are also other version that can be served sweet or savory.
In the past, porridge was considered rather as a flavorless and boring breakfast and therefore served only rarely. However, this changed at some point – so porridge is now a very popular, tasty, healthy, versatile and most importantly simple trend breakfast that everyone can make!
What is the Origin of Porridge?
The principle of making a nutritious porridge from a cereal and liquid is literally as old as mankind itself. Already more than 12,000 years ago, cereals were processed into an edible porridge by cooking. In addition to Chinese congee made from rice (more than 4,000 years ago) and the South American cereal porridge made from quinoa, the classic porridge originated in Scotland.
Oats have been cultivated in Scotland since the late Middle Ages. Therefore, the precursor of porridge was usually consumed by crofters, Scottish farmers, as a staple food. In the 17th century, the nutritious porridge was finally given the name porridge and was considered a typical meal of British working-class families. In Scotland, the classic porridge recipe was eaten not only unsweetened as a hot breakfast, but also as lunch or dinner. Only for the children, the porridge was refined with sugar, as it was also preferred in England.
Health Benefits Of Eating Oats and Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a great source of protein and nutrients as it’s made from the whole grain. It contains a lot of fiber, a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins B1, B6 and E, as well as the minerals magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus. The long-chain carbohydrates contained in oats provide long-lasting satiety and cause more energy to be burned during digestion. Oats are also rich in beta-glucan and therefore have a positive effect on human cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
This vegan porridge recipe is super easy and quick to prepare and requires only a few simple plant-based ingredients. While you need only need 3 pantry staple ingredients to make the basic oatmeal, you can get creative with the toppings and add as many as you like!
For the porridge
- Rolled oats: oats are naturally gluten-free, however, they are often contaminated with gluten by harvesting equipment or processing facilities that also handle gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley. So when making gluten-free oatmeal, it’s best to check the package of your oats if it’s labeled as gluten-free. I prefer quick-cooking oats, however, you can use also use regular ones or even other rolled grains such as spelt, millet or quinoa.
- Plant milk: you can use any variety e.g. almond, oat, soy, rice, cashew or coconut milk.
- Agave syrup: feel free to use maple syrup, date syrup or sugar instead.
- Optional: for more flavor, you can also add some vanilla extract or ground bourbon vanilla or cinnamon into your oatmeal.
Toppings of choice
- Fruits: use your favorite fruits, e.g. banana, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds.
- Nut butter: e.g. almond, cashew or peanut butter.
- Chopped nuts: depending on your preference and dietary needs, you can also use seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, chocolate, granola, puffed quinoa or amaranth or crunchy nut clusters to refine your porridge.
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions and the recipe video first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cook oatmeal
First, bring plant milk to a boil in a medium saucepan, then remove from heat. Now stir in the oats, then put the pot back on the stove top and cook for a few minutes over low heat while stirring. Then turn off the heat and stir in agave syrup (or mashed banana or grated apple), as well as some vanilla and cinnamon, if desired.
Tip: You can also cook it in an instant pot, microwave or oven.
Step 2: Allow to thicken
Then put a lid on the pot and let your oatmeal swell for about 5 minutes until it reaches the desired creamy consistency.
Step 3: Garnish and serve
Finally, garnish your bowl of oatmeal with your favorite toppings and enjoy while it’s still warm.
How long does oatmeal need to cook?
If using quick cooking oats, let the porridge cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium low heat, stirring constantly. After that you can serve it immediately, however, if you want your vegan porridge to be extra creamy and flavorful, I recommend leaving it a bit longer in the pot. Simply remove the pot from the heat after cooking. Then cover the pot, and let it swell for a few minutes.
If using regular rolled oat or other grains like rolled spelt, millet or quinoa, you may need to increase the cooking time until it becomes tender, thick and creamy.
Overnight Oats – No Cook Porridge
Want a healthy and delicious breakfast in the morning, but don’t have the time or motivation to turn on the stove? Then Overnight Oats are perfect for you! Simply prepare them the day before and let them swell overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, all you have to do is remove the overnight oats from the refrigerator and enjoy your delicious breakfast!
Very similar to the Overnight Oats is the popular Bircher Muesli. In both recipes, the oatmeal is soaked overnight, however, the difference is that Bircher Muesli always contains freshly grated apples and ground almonds or hazelnuts.
5 Minute Microwave Porridge
If you want to prepare your daily porridge quickly and spontaneously, then you can easily cook it in the microwave. Unlike the classic method on the stove, you may need a little less liquid here. The rule of thumb is 1 cup of oats to 2 cups of plant milk or water. To do this, place the oats and liquid in a microwave-safe container and heat at 600 watts for about 2 minutes. Then stir through the oatmeal and let it sit for another minute. Finally, garnish with the toppings of your choice.
Baked Oats from the oven is the ultimate trend food on social media. It’s like an healthy alternative to cake, so it can be eaten either as a dessert, snack, or for breakfast.
How to make Instant Oatmeal – Quick-Cooking Oats
If you’re short on time, you can make your own instant oats blend ahead and store it in your pantry for quick breakfast needs. To do this, put your rolled oats in a blender or food processor and grind them into coarse flour. That way your oatmeal cooks faster until it thickens.
Depending on your preferences and desired flavor, you can add freeze-dried fruits, nuts or seeds and sweet spices. For even more flavor, you could toast the oats, nuts or seeds briefly in a pan without additional oil until they begin to smell before grinding. Stored in an airtight container or jar and in a cool dry place, the mixture will keep for several weeks.
To prepare your homemade instant oats, pour 1 cup of boiling water or plant milk over 1/2 cup of Instant Oats (ratio 2:1), give it a good stir and set aside to thicken for 1-2 minutes. Then stir the oatmeal again, sweeten to taste, garnish with your fave toppings and enjoy warm or cold!
You can store leftover porridge covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can either enjoy the oatmeal cold or simply warm it up briefly in the microwave before eating.
- Grains: feel free to use other cereal flakes for your porridge recipe, such as spelt or millet or quinoa.
- Plant milk: use your fave dairy-free milk such as almond, oat, soy, rice, cashew or coconut milk. By the way, porridge can also be cooked in water only. For more flavor and richness, you can add some nut butter. If using canned full-fat coconut milk, I recommend to thin it with water as in my semolina porridge recipe.
- Fruit: you can add grated apples and mashed bananas directly to the pot when cooking the oatmeal for natural sweetness. Grated carrots and nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans will transform your porridge into a yummy Carrot Cake Oatmeal (find this recipe in my cookbook “Vegan Soulfood”).
- Sweeteners: use natural sweeteners like agave syrup, maple syrup, date syrup or coconut blossom sugar. However, raw cane sugar or regular white or brown sugar will do too!
- Cacao powder: to make a chocolate oatmeal version, add 1-2 tablespoons of cacao powder plus a little bit more plant milk.
- Protein powder and superfood powder: to make your oatmeal even healthier, you can add protein or superfood powder in your desired flavor.
- Spices and flavorings: I like vanilla and cinnamon best, but other spices and flavors like pumpkin pie spice, chai tea, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, ginger or chili will add a warm and exotic flair to your oatmeal.
- Chia Porridge: Since flaxseeds and chia seeds absorb much liquid and are rich in omega-3 fats, they will make your porridge not only extra creamy but also healthier! If it’s to thick, add more plant milk or stir in some dairy-free yogurt.
Oatmeal Topping ideas
- Nuts and seeds: e.g. almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, pepitas, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, etc.
- Dried fruits: e.g. dates, apricots, plums, raisins, figs, cranberries, cherries, etc.
- Fruits or berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango, cherries, peaches, pears, pomegranate seeds, etc. – anything will do!
- Compote: raspberry sauce, red fruit jelly, cherry compote, applesauce, plum compote, etc.
- Yogurt: add a dollop of coconut yogurt, vegan vanilla yogurt or blueberry yogurt.
- Nut butter: e.g. peanut, cashew, hazelnut, almond butter or chocolate spread like Vegan Nutella.
- Chocolate: vegan chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, chocolate shavings.
- Crunch: such as granola, nut clusters, muesli, cornflakes, rice crispies, puffed quinoa or amaranth.
This Best Vegan Oatmeal Porridge Recipe is:
- Healthy and wholesome
- 100% plant-based
- Customizable and versatile
- Quick and easy to make
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Gluten-free possible
- Super delicious!
- Perfect for breakfast, dessert or a snack between meals!
More sweet vegan breakfast recipes
- Baked Oats
- Apple Carrot Breakfast Muffins
- Chocolate Crêpes
- Vegan Croissants
- Chocolate Brioche Buns
- Apple Pie Roll-Ups
- Pancake Cereal
- Semolina Pudding
- Blueberry Scones
- Chocolate Pancakes
- Granola Bars
- Chocolate Granola
- Banana Bread
- Date Nut Bread
If you try this easy oatmeal recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a picture of your creamy oats and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I would love to see your result! Enjoy! 🙂
The Best Oatmeal Recipe - Easy, Healthy, DeliciousAuthor:
Toppings (optional to taste)
- 2 portions fruit e.g. banana, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds
- 1-2 tbsp nut butter e.g. peanut, cashew, almond butter
- 2 tbsp chopped nuts or seeds, desiccated coconut, dried fruit, chocolate, granola, puffed quinoa or amaranth, etc. as desired
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions above!
- Bring the plant milk to a boil in a saucepan and remove from heat. Then stir in the oats, return the saucepan back to the heat, and bring to a boil again, stirring, until it thickens and becomes creamy.
- Turn off the heat and stir in agave syrup, vanilla and cinnamon (or other ingredients as suggested in the text above). Then cover the pot with a lid and set aside for about 3-5 minutes, or until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Serve your creamy oatmeal in bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings.
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