What Is the Different Between Porridge and Oatmeal?

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Is there anything more comfortable than a warm, velvety, stick-to-your-ribs bowl of porridge? We don’t think so! Whether you want your porridge sweet or savory, for breakfast or dessert, this is a comfort food staple.

Many people believe that the words oatmeal and porridge may be used interchangeably, and they are not entirely incorrect! As we’ll see, there are numerous similarities between porridge and oatmeal, as well as many differences that distinguish these two breakfasts apart. So grab your favorite comfortable blanket and join us as we learn all there is to know about porridge vs. oatmeal.

What is Porridge?

Porridge is a meal in which whole grains or legumes, or processed versions of either, are cooked in liquid (usually simple water or milk) until thick and creamy. Porridge is often thought to be a heated cereal, but the fact is that it may be served hot or cold, sweet or savory, and customized to match the demands of every meal or side dish!

Several hot porridges include meats or other proteins and vegetables to produce a filling meal, whilst other porridges may be cooled and served with sweet accompaniments for dessert.

While creating porridge, the consistency of the cooked grains is heavily influenced by how they are handled in their raw condition. Porridge produced from less processed grains is chewier and tastes more like the grains themselves, but porridge made from more processed grains is smoother and more consistent in texture. Less processed porridge grains also take longer to cook than those that have been extensively treated.

Types of Porridge

Alternatively, legume. While there are far too many variants to discuss here, here is a list of some of the more common forms of porridge, as well as a couple you may not have heard of before. As you are surely aware, there is a vast universe of grains out there! Since porridge may be produced from any kind of grain, the list of porridges is just as extensive.

Rice Porridge (Congee)

Congee is a white rice porridge that is popular in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and many other Asian cuisines. This rice porridge is often eaten for breakfast, but it may also be combined with chicken, fish, veggies, or other more substantial items to create a filling and adaptable supper.


Grits are a sort of maize porridge that developed in the American South. It is formed from dried and crushed maize into minute particles, commonly known as cornmeal. After cooking with water, grits are sometimes seasoned with butter and ooey-gooey-melty cheese before serving as a side or complement to a meal. Shrimp and grits is a popular dish in Cajun and Creole cooking.


Polenta is another sort of maize porridge that is manufactured from cornmeal and has its own place in the porridge lineup. Polenta differs from grits in that it is a mainstay of Italian cuisine and is considerably finer and more consistently ground than grits. Polenta is often seasoned with olive oil and herbs before being topped with a nutty Italian cheese like parmesan or asiago.


Farina is wheat that has been milled into a fine consistency, but not nearly as fine as flour. It is most often known by the brand names Cream of Wheat or Malt-O-Meal. Farina produces a creamy texture and a blank flavor canvas when baked into a hot cereal, making it ideal for seasoning and adjusting to taste!

Porridge Made From Other Grains

  • Harissa is an Armenian porridge prepared from roasted, cracked wheat, not the fiery Tunisian chili paste condiment. Harissa is often used with fatty meats like as chicken or lamb, although it is sometimes served vegetarian.
  • Genfo is an Ethiopian porridge prepared from a variety of grains and legumes, including wheat, maize, barley or barley flour, soybeans, chickpeas, and corn, to mention a few. Traditionally, genfo is served with a spicy, savory butter sauce that is poured over and stirred in at the table.
  • Kasha, a sort of buckwheat porridge popular in countries such as Russia and Poland, is produced by boiling buckwheat grains in milk.
  • Pease pudding, which is popular in England and Scotland, is made with seasoned and boiled peas (typically split yellow peas). The texture is more akin to other foods like hummus or white bean spread, and it may be eaten on its own or as a condiment.

What is Oatmeal?

There is one significant form of porridge that we did not include on the list: oatmeal porridge! It’s no surprise that oatmeal and porridge have so many flavor and texture features, given that oatmeal is a form of porridge.

Oatmeal is often used for breakfast, improved by milk or butter, and occasionally sweetened with brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. It is also wonderful with toppings such as fresh fruit, chopped nuts, and a sprinkling of cinnamon, like in our Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal.

A less frequent, but still wonderful, way to prepare oatmeal is to simmer it in chicken stock or animal broth, then add spices and cheese if desired. This will produce oatmeal with a texture similar to cheesy polenta or grits.

Types of Oats/Oatmeal

The consistency and taste of oatmeal porridge are strongly influenced by the sort of oats used to create it. Spoiler alert: there are many different kinds!

Porridge oats range in processing from barely processed to severely processed, and as with other kinds of porridge grains, the more processed the oats, the quicker the oatmeal will cook. However, this ease comes at the price of some nutritional value, since nutrients are eventually lost during processing.

The following is a comprehensive list, ranging from the least processed oats (the longest boiling time) to the most processed oats (quickest cooking). Certain types are perfect for cooking oatmeal, while others are better for baking.

Whole Oat Groats

Oat groats are oat kernels that have been processed such that all of their components (cereal germ, oat bran, and endosperm) are retained while the tough and inedible outer husk of the grain is removed.

Oat groats are particularly healthy since they are high in fiber and include all of the vitamins and minerals found in whole grain oats. The disadvantage is that oat groats take approximately an hour to cook and will never be as quickly digested as highly processed oats.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats, often known as Irish oats, are oat groats that have been sliced into tiny pieces. Each oat is cut into 3-4 pieces, shortening total cooking time without compromising the quality of the whole grain oat. This implies that, although steel cut oats are no longer whole oats, they are still whole grain oats since they preserve all of the grain’s components.

Scottish Oats

Scottish oats go a step further, since they are ground oats rather than whole or chopped oats. They are ground fairly finely, resulting in creamier, less chewy oatmeal than oat groats or steel cut variants. While oats are ground, some fiber and protein are lost, but they remain an excellent nutritious whole grain alternative. When it comes to oatmeal, Scotch oats provide the ideal balance between nutrients and digestion.

Rolled Oats

Rolling oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are groats that are heated before being put through rollers to make the groats two-dimensional! Since these flattened oats are so thin and practically par boiled, their cooking time is substantially decreased, making oatmeal a lot more accessible breakfast alternative for hectic mornings than entire groats or Irish oats. Rolled oats may also be used in baking for oatmeal cookies, Energy Bars, fruit-crisp topping, and more!

Quick Oats

Quick oats are fundamentally the same as rolled oats, except that they are cooked for a longer period of time and are flattened to a larger degree. These oats are almost done, requiring just a few more minutes of cooking time to complete. At this stage, the nutritious value has been significantly diminished, and the oats themselves give substantially less fiber than they did before.

Instant Oats

If you’ve ever eaten one of those tasty flavored oatmeal packets, you’re already familiar with instant oats! Instant oats are fast oats that have been diced up, which means that they are not only pre-cooked and thin, but also in minute bits! Most quick oatmeal is provided in microwaveable packets that just need to be combined with water and cooked shortly before eating.

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Health Benefits

Since there are so many distinct forms of porridge (including oatmeal) and subtypes of oats, it is impossible to make a blanket generalization that one is typically healthier than the other. The nutritional benefits of porridge and oatmeal are totally dependent on the grains used, how they are processed, and what additional ingredients are added during the cooking process.

Nutritional Value

Various grains and legumes have varying nutritional profiles, and some are simply superior than others. Some of the most nutrient-dense grains for porridge include barley, buckwheat, oats, and chickpeas. Some grains, such as maize and rice, have less critical vitamins and minerals, even when entire grains are used.


We’ve all heard that highly processed foods are bad for your health, and porridge and oats are no exception. As previously stated, when porridge and oatmeal grains get more processed, they become less nutritious.

Some procedures may deplete grains or legumes of their natural nutrients while increasing the availability and speed with which starch (called sugar!) is absorbed. Diets rich in dietary fiber are beneficial to general health and may even help you lose weight and decrease your blood pressure!

Then there’s the fact that more highly processed porridge and oats often have additional ingredients added to them. The convenience and taste of these practically ready-to-eat alternatives, from added sugar and salt to artificial flavorings, are not necessarily as healthful as one would expect.

Toppings and Additional Ingredients

Toppings are essential for getting the most out of your bowl of porridge. There’s no way you’re going to get through that bowl of plain, uninteresting oatmeal without adding anything to it.

If you include nutritious toppings like fresh or dried fruits, seeds or nuts, or even nut butter, you will increase the nutritional content of your porridge significantly. And not all sugar is harmful for you! If you need a sugar fix, go for honey or pure maple syrup, both of which are naturally abundant in antioxidants and minerals. It is a claim that cane sugar cannot make!

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?

The debate to end all discussions. Since oats do not contain gluten in their natural, field-growing, breeze-blowing condition, this problem remains ambiguous. Yet, several oat-containing goods have been shown to contain gluten. Please allow us to explain.

Oats, as a cereal grain, just have a plethora of chances to get contaminated by other gluten-containing grains during growing and processing. If an oat field is next to a wheat field, it is likely that some of the wheat may blow over into the oats, resulting in gluten contamination when the oats are collected and processed.

Add to that the fact that most oats are processed in the same facilities as other grains, including wheat and other sticky offenders. But don’t give up! You can still get your oat fix if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity. Just look for a certified-gluten-free label on your oats and oat-containing goods, since this confirms that the products and facilities that manufacture them are taking the required efforts to fight cross-contamination at all stages.

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Summary of Similarities and Differences

Before you start making that nice bowl of cinnamon oatmeal or a savory porridge to go with your supper, let’s go through the similarities and differences between porridge and oatmeal!

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Similar Texture

It’s no wonder that oatmeal and porridge share a similar feel, given oatmeal is a subset of the wider category of porridge. Porridge and oatmeal have a similar texture and tend to strike the same comfort-food button for most people, being creamy, thick, and naturally flavored by the grains themselves.

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Similar Nutritional Value

Although the nutrients are unique to each grain or legume, as well as the toppings or flavorings used, the least processed types of porridge and oatmeal tend to be the healthiest.

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Different Ingredients

Porridge may be created from a variety of grains and legumes (for example, wheat, maize, rice, barley, buckwheat, and peas), but oatmeal is limited to one kind of grain: oats and oats alone. It doesn’t imply there is just one sort of oatmeal; owing to the many ways oats may be processed, there are almost as many varieties of oatmeal as there are types of porridge in the first place!

Porridge vs. Oatmeal: Different Uses

Porridge and oatmeal are also utilized differently as a dish. Oatmeal is often used for breakfast and is sweetened or served with fruit or yogurt, but porridge may be consumed as any meal or side dish depending on the grains used and the cuisine!

For breakfast, grits may be served under a fillet of blackened catfish or topped with sunny-side up eggs. Korean congee may include herbs and shellfish, while some variants are created with chocolate as a dessert. Porridge is more adaptable in general, although oatmeal is often consumed as a hot cereal for breakfast.


Is porridge the same thing as oatmeal?

Oatmeal and porridge are really the same thing – it’s what you get when you boil oats with milk or water. We consider oatmeal to be chunkier and coarser than our Quick Oats and Sachets, which provide a creamier dish of oats.

Is porridge called oatmeal in America?

It is usually referred to as “porridge” or “oatmeal” in the United States and Canada. In the United States, both oat and wheat porridge are referred to as “hot cereal.” In England, rolled oats are widespread, oatmeal in Scotland, and steel-cut oats in Ireland.

Is porridge always oats?

Porridge is simply any grain—oats, maize, or even rice—cooked and simmered in water or milk until it has that creamy, thick consistency we all know as, well, porridge.

What is considered porridge?

What exactly is porridge? Porridge is a typical breakfast meal created by simply boiling oats with water or milk. Other spices, fruits, and sweeteners, such as honey, may then be added to taste. Porridge may be cooked using a variety of grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, spelt, or amaranth.

Why is oatmeal called porridge?

The term “porridge” derives from the phrase “pottage,” which is a variant of the French word “potage,” which is a name for soup, and the word “pot,” which is a saucepan.

Is Quaker Oats porridge?

Porridge. The oats are the foundation of every wonderful porridge, and we at Quaker know our oats. Quaker Oat porridge, in addition to being a balanced, healthy, and pleasant meal, comes in a variety of forms and sizes, with options ranging from traditional wholegrain oats to gluten free and those with additional protein.

What do Southerners call oatmeal?

Grits are a traditional porridge from the southern United States of America.

What is McDonald’s oatmeal called?

The Fruit and Maple Oatmeal dish from McDonald’s has two full servings of whole-grain oats with a splash of cream and brown sugar. Our oatmeal is packed with red and green apples, cranberries, and two types of raisins, making it a substantial, healthful breakfast of whole grains and fruit.

What is the difference between British porridge and oatmeal?

The fundamental distinction between oatmeal and porridge is the grain used in their preparation. To produce oatmeal, the bran is removed from pulverized oats. Porridge is called from the components that are used in its creation. Cornmeal, for example, is a kind of porridge produced from maize.

What is another name for porridge?

substitutes for porridge
More to come…

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