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How to Make Perfect Oatmeal

The Daily Meal logo The Daily Meal 09/02/2019 Daisy Nichols
Oat porridge with caramelized pear and nuts in a vintage bowl on a light slate,stone or concrete background. Oat porridge with caramelized pear and nuts in a vintage bowl on a light slate,stone or concrete background.

Oatmeal is a breakfast staple for people around the world, and for good reason. It’s a healthy way to start the day, it’s easy to prepare, and it can be tailored to suit all sorts of dietary preferences. But all too often, oatmeal is not being made to its fullest potential. So how do you actually make perfect porridge? (Read that last word with a Scottish accent to add authenticity.)

a bowl of soup sitting on top of a wooden table: There's no worse way to start the day than with a bowlful of bland porridge. © istockphoto.com

There's no worse way to start the day than with a bowlful of bland porridge.


It really is very simple, so simple that you may doubt that one teeny tiny ingredient could impact a dish so significantly. Indeed this ingredient will take your porridge from drab to fab in no time at all. So what is it? Salt. That’s right, whether you cook your oats with water of milk, if you want to make an unbeatable bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, the key to making it perfect is a pinch of salt. Just add your oats and water (a 2:1 ratio is a good place to start, but add as much liquid as you need to reach your desired consistency) and a pinch of salt and stir regularly over low heat for about seven minutes. Instant or rolled oats will be done faster than the old-fashioned variety. Steel-cut oats will take longer — though really, they're a whole different ballgame.

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It may seem counterintuitive to add salt to a dish that is so often a sweet affair, but as with desserts, adding salt to your morning bowl of oatmeal will add depth rather than making it a savory dish. Garnish your porridge with your topping of choice, be it brown sugar, maple syrup or a handful of berries, and you’d never know there was a teaspoon of salt added.

So go ahead and try this tip for superior oatmeal — we guarantee you’ll never go back to a bland bowlful again. 

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