How To Make Perfect Microwave Porridge

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

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

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

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.


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