How To Make Perfect Microwave Porridge

How To Make Perfect Microwave Porridge
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I am passionate about porridge. I eat it every day and it is the king of breakfasts.

It is also a malleable breakfast. It’s convenient. If your office or home has a microwave you are only five minutes away from a delicious hot meal that will sustain you until lunch and beyond.

I am a porridge samurai. I’ve been cooking porridge in a microwave practically every working day for the past three years. During this time I have sharpened my sword. Today I would like to share with you my techniques.

Step One: Choose Your Oats

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Okay, I’ll try hard not to judge you here.

In terms of oat quality it goes something like this:

Steel Cut Oats > Rolled Oats > Quick Oats > Those stupid sachets that add crap sugary flavouring and dice up oats to a useless refined dust

If you have a stove you want to be eating rolled oats. Steel cut oats take a long time to cook (45 minutes) but are totally worth it.

But if you’re stuck with Microwave, I suggest Quick Oats. They’re a little more refined and chopped compared to traditional rolled oats, but aren’t quite at the insane level of those sachets you can pick up in supermarkets. The more refined the oats, the less benefit you get from a ‘low GI’ perspective. One of the best things about porridge is how long it keeps you full. That effect is diminished with super refined oats.

Also: you lose the ability to make the breakfast ‘yours’ by choosing how sweet you want it. Also: instead of buying a crappy flavour like ‘banana’ or ‘blueberry’ — you could just add actual bananas or blueberries. Much better!

Step Two: Measure Your Oats

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Liquid to oat ratio is your second step, and it might be the most important one. It doesn’t really matter whether you cook your porridge in milk or water (I prefer water with a slight pinch of salt) the ratios are similar. For Quick Oats in the microwave I recommend between two and two and a half cups of water per cup of oats. Most recipes will use the 2.5 ratio, but that’s slightly on the watery side. I prefer to go a bit less. Experiment, but don’t go less than two. Don’t go more than two and a half, not for Quick Oats.

Step Three: Microwave

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Again, this depends on the microwave and the size of the portion, but here’s my general advice.

— Start by cooking the porridge for two minutes
— Remove and stir
— Cook porridge again for 1:30
— Remove, check, stir. Is the consistency to your liking? Good. If not…
— Cook porridge again for 30 seconds.
— Remove, repeat until the consistency is to your liking.

For me? It usually goes 2:00, 1:30, 30, 30… EAT.

But this is important. Very important. Err on the side of caution. You porridge is still cooking after it’s removed from the microwave. Often you’ll think the consistency is perfect, but it becomes stodgy by the time you take it back to your desk/table to eat. So…


Step Four: Add Stuff

This is the fun part. What do you want to add to your porridge? That’s really up to you. Sliced bananas, strawberries… any kind of berry in general. Honey, chia seeds?

My wife adds (brace yourself) walnuts, milk, powdered milk, chia seeds, banana and strawberries. That’s going too far.

I add chia seeds, a bit of maple syrup and blueberries. That’s it.

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • Copied from a previous post with similar article

    I’ve been eating Oats for breakfast for years now and I always use the microwave. The trick I’ve found for fast, convenient creamy and tasty Oats is full cream milk. I use chopped Oats and you can get them cheap pretty much anywhere. The one thing most people might have an issue with is that I use about a cupful, where most people like less, Oats are quite filling. Add a pinch of salt measure out enough full cream milk to just cover the Oats and microwave on high for 90 seconds. Next mix them thoroughly until it’s all blended in and then back in the Microwave for anther 90 seconds. Then add a bit of milk and sugar to taste, I find a teaspoon is fine, mix and add milk until it’s at a texture you prefer. Thick creamy oats in less than five minutes, you can’t beat it.

    Something that isn’t mentioned in this article is the fact that Oats will boil over and make a hell of a sticky mess if you haven’t got the timings just right.

  • 50g whole grain quick oats. 175ml cold water. Microwave 2.30 mins. Add sprinkle of ground cinnamon & turmeric. Add 15g of frozen blueberries and a medium siced banana. Now a little skim milk.
    Keeps me full till noon.
    No sugar no salt no mess in microwave So easy so nice.

      • It is not a hard concept. If the microwave is on full for 2 minutes the porridge boils over. If you put the microwave on 70% for 2 minutes it does boil over.

        Not rocket science.

        • Well you see microwaves come in different power ratings.
          So if you have a 1000watt microwave 70% is about 700watts, but if I have a 1400watt microwave, 70% is 980watts. That’s almost your 100%

          So no, your statement of i just use 70% is meaningless.

          • Funny, your comment “Which means nothing.” means nothing.
            Your subsequent comment is what you wanted to start with.

  • Three words.

    Egg. White. Oats.

    SERIOUSLY. Egg whites add VOLUME and PROTEIN and OTHER HEALTHY WORDS to your oats, and it’s also just some fun gastronomnomnomical experimentation.


    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1 cup liquid [milk, water, Single Malt]
    1/2 cup egg whites
    Spices, flavours, toppings, fruit, nuts, etc.

    1. Apply oats to desired microwave-safe vessel
    2. Apply liquid [I actually use water for this because it means I can go more HOG-WILD with my flavourings and toppings, but, you know, you do you]
    3. Microwave oats on MEDIUM HEAT of your microwave for 1:30-2 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed
    4. Remove from microwave and, whisking with a little passion (get yer elbow grease goin’), slowly pour your egg whites into the oats – you basically want to generate some air and fluff before you microwave
    5. Return to microwave, zap on MEDIUM for 30 seconds to a minute at a time, until the oats fluff up like a boiffant of velvety, sexy, carb-laden protein cloudtacular sexiness
    6. Apply ALL THE TOPPINGS and ALL THE FLAVOURINGS until your tastebuds are exploding with voluminous, sultry, Nigella-Lawson-Adjective-Delicious Glee.

    YOU’RE WELCOME. *drops mic*

  • Forget the microwave, it’s actually more work. Rolled oats, salt, add cold and hot water at recommended ratios in a pot, bring it to the boil, turn it off, put on a 5 minute timer and walk away. Do other things, come back when the timer goes off and bring it back to the boil and pour into bowl. Turns out perfect every time. More time but less mucking around.

    You need a good stove though I imagine. I also think that a pinch of salt is essential even in sweet porridge, otherwise it tends to taste too bland. I suspect people who can’t stand it were raised on porridge with no salt.

    • Why bother with the bowl? When I use a pot and stove to do my porridge, I just leave eat it straight from the pot. Use a trivet to keep my hands from burning. It keeps the porridge hotter and less washing up.
      Anyone else that’s sharing the porridge with me gets a pre heated bowl.

  • You people are crazy, night before put desired amounts of oats, liquid and any flavourings or additives, I mash a banana to get one serving of fruit plus sweetness without adding honey or sugar, a tablespoon of LSA and cinnamon. Leave it over night and take it to Uni with me the next day in a thermo. Breakfast for the lazy people done.

    • I do this, too. Throw yer oats + liquid + flavourings in a jar, stir, put in fridge overnight. Next morning, take to microwave, zap, enjoy.

      It’s actually also pretty fun to experiment with different fruit + flavour combinations. Right now, digging:

      – Apple, cardamom and pear
      – Cherry, rockmelon and almond extract
      – Raspberry, mango and coconut extract
      – Kiwi, passionfruit and lime juice

      I just like the addition of egg whites because my body maintains a constant level of hunger for which ALL THE VOLUMINOUS FOODS are required.

      • Yum, those all sound delicious, I experimented with making a smoothie base as the liquid, with banana and frozen mixed berries, and a bit of yogurt. So good!

  • I’ve been on Aldi’s version of “all-bran” for a while now. (I need the fibre boost)
    Once in a while I “do” oats.
    45g steel cut oats
    45mL skim milk
    225 mL water
    55g-60g frozen blackberries/raspberries/cherries/blueberries

    Place in a jar in the fridge before bedtime.

    Tip contents into a bowl at breakfast-time.
    Microwave for 99 sec on medium-high.
    Microwave a further 25 sec.
    Microwave for 20 sec.

  • Microwaving is dealt with easily using Cool Touch ceramic microwave bowls which have clip-on lids that handle porridge explosions when you forget to reduce the power settings.

  • Definitely rolled oats. We used to only use Lowans but are now buying package free from a whole foods store. Ratios spot on, but more than a pinch of salt; my mother was a Scot. Half a cup of oats is plenty for us two. Put it in a tall bowl and microwave on 600 for 8 minutes. If you watch the cooking, you’ll see the oats gets into a significant rolling boil which rises to the top of the bowl; self mixing. We often rest the mix as we drink coffee in bed and then reheat for one minute on 1000. Deliciously gelatinous but with chew and flavour.

  • I like the egg white idea, but why not use the whole egg? Whisk it with full cream milk first for a more custard like finish. I prefer organic eggs (or free range pastured), but using the whole egg is very beneficial.

    Haven’t noticed anyone mention ginger as an addition. Thoroughly suggest you try it. I personally prefer dried ginger (but not sweetened), finely chopped, it produces pops of incredible flavour.
    Ginger powder is also good though it distributes the flavour throughout.

    Rolled oats can easily be cooked in the microwave! Nothing special needed.

  • 1/2 Coles or Woolworths quick oats. 1/2 Woolworths traditional muesli. (Coles version seems to have fewer bits of fruit.) For additional fruit, core, peel, cut up and precook and apple or pear for 1 minute (1000w) in a bowl. Alternatively or additionally, cut up a banana. If it’s a bit hard, cook it for a minute. Add the oats/muesli. Add milk until you can just see it in the bowl near the top of the oats and sprinkle on some cut up strawberries. Put a plate on the bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Then add a big dollop of plain or flavoured yoghurt and a large tablespoon of roasted peanut butter (the ones without any added sugar or salt). Mix it around. Eat it. Keeps me going until dinner time. Will probably not keep me going beyond 65, though…

  • Another way to use whole egg.
    I always cook rolled oats in a saucepan, bringing to boil from cold, once it thickens and steams, stir for another minute. Then after taking off stove, I stir through a raw egg, the residual heat cooks the egg, thickens the porridge more, with no burning.
    Makes a nice creamy porridge that sticks to your ribs all day 🙂
    Not sure the microwave would be simpler, I’ll give it a try, but sounds like more work.

    As above, I also eat from the pan, less cleaning 🙂 Flavour options, dried fruit while cooking (goji berries, sultanas),
    I used to use a bit of butter and brown sugar into the molten butter, milk optional to cook and doesn’t mix with butter/sugar. Delicous but probably not so healthy, could be adapted for a dose cholosterol reducing margarine though if you don’t eat bread.

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