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Favorite Overnight Breakfast Porridge (Soaked Oatmeal)

Yield: 4 servings

Favorite Overnight Breakfast Porridge (Soaked Oatmeal)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Satisfying and healthy, this creamy breakfast porridge is as versatile or as simple as you like.


  • 1 cup whole oat groats (unrolled and uncut)
  • 2 cups water (divided)
  • 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt (or lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Use a flour mill or high-powered blender to coarsely grind the oat groats*
  2. Place in a glass or stainless steel bowl that is easy to cover
  3. Add 1 cup of water and 2 Tablespoons of yogurt
  4. Stir until well combined
  5. Cover tightly and soak at room temperature for 8-24 hours
  6. When you're ready to cook the porridge, put the remaining 1 cup of water in a saucepan with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring it to a boil.
  7. When the water is boiling, add the soaked oat mixture to the hot water and stir constantly, reducing the heat if necessary to keep it from scorching on the bottom.
  8. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is thickened up and looks like oatmeal.
  9. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings.


* There are a number of alternatives to coarsely milled oat groats. You can use the oat groats whole, rolled oats (old fashioned), or another type of grain seed such as wheat berries, spelt, or rye.

* I use the coarse grind setting on my grain mill to crack the oat groats. A few pulses would be enough to achieve a coarse grind if you're using a high-powered blender or food mill.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

0.75 cups porridge

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 145mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

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Satisfying and healthy, this creamy breakfast porridge is as versatile or as simple as you like.

Soaked Grains and Oatmeal

Many nutritionists will tell you that soaking your whole grains before cooking them makes the nutrients more accessible and the proteins easier to digest.

This goes for rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread (slow-fermented sourdough), or pretty much any other grain out there.

While I don’t always have time to soak my grains before cooking them, for at least one meal in my usual repertoire, it makes my life easier and turns out super yummy and satisfying. That’s this overnight-soaked porridge.

I’d call it oatmeal, except that I really want to differentiate it from the oatmeal that otherwise comes to mind – the stodgy, flavorless gloop that you get from quick-boiling old-fashioned rolled oats, or the packets of instant oatmeal that are tasty but guilt-laden.

Also, it technically doesn’t even need to be made with oats. I’ve tried spelt and other whole wheat varieties with great success, and you could even make it with a wide variety of other grains.

So porridge, with its Goldilocks and the Three Bears association, is just the right name for this delicious breakfast.

The key to this delicious porridge is a coarse grind and an overnight soak with a lactobacillus starter to aid fermentation. Yogurt is perfect, but try lemon juice or another mild acid if you have dairy sensitivity.

When you cook the grains after a long soak, they turn creamy and soft within 3 to 5 minutes—just about how long it takes to toast a bagel! Who said a delicious and healthy breakfast had to be time-consuming or labor-intensive?

And it’s so easy to add to the health factor in this simple breakfast by piling on the nutritious toppings. Nuts, seeds, fruit – the options are endless! Check out my list of our favorite toppings a little farther down. You’ll never think of oatmeal the same again, I promise.

The Basic (And Infinitely Variable) Ingredients

Porridge can be made with a wide variety of grains. My favorite is oatmeal, with spelt being a close second.

The best texture, in my opinion, is achieved by starting with whole, uncut, and unrolled grains. If you’re talking about whole oats, for some inexplicable reason, they’re called groats.

You can find these in the bulk section of Whole Foods or order them from various mills or grain distributors.

I also usually have spelt berries on hand, so I’ve made porridge several times with spelt. While it’s still quite satisfying, oats yield a slightly milder flavor and silkier texture than the spelt, so in general I stick with the oats.

If you want to try out this soaked grains thing, but have yet to put your hands on some whole oats, or you don’t have a grain mill or food processor, you can make this porridge with steel cut oats (preferable) or rolled oats.

The downside of these is that they lack a bit of freshness and don’t give you quite as creamy of a texture.

Here are some other grains you can try:

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Kamut
  • Buckwheat (best as a mixture with another grain)
  • Any mixture of several grains, just keep the ratios of grains to liquid constant

To soak the grains, add an equal amount of water (or just enough to completely moisten the coarsely ground oats).

Adding a fermentation aid, such as yogurt, greatly enhances the nutritional benefit of the soaking process.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, try adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead, although those add a slightly sour taste to your oatmeal.

If you’re using yogurt, be sure it’s plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, but not one with sweeteners or flavorings. The additives in flavored yogurt could lead to spoilage if left at room temperature.

The Basic Process


  1. Grind the oats (or other grain). I use a grain mill turned to the coarse grind setting. You can also use a high-powered blender or food mill to coarsely grind the oat groats. You want large-ish pieces, although some will be smaller, flour-sized bits. It all comes out right after soaking and cooking!
  2. Combine with water and yogurt. Place the ground oats (or steel cut or old-fashioned rolled oats) in a glass jar or bowl, or stainless steel container that is easy to cover. Add the water and 2 Tablespoons of yogurt and stir just until combined.
  3. Cover and soak. Tightly cover the mixture and leave it at room temperature to soak for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.


  1. Boil water. Put 1 cup of water in a saucepan with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the soaked oat (or grain) mixture. Pour all of the soaked grain mixture into the boiling water and stir constantly, reducing the heat if necessary to keep it from scorching on the bottom.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes. The mixture will thicken up and begin to look creamy, like oatmeal.
  4. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings.


Here are some of the favorite toppings for breakfast porridge in our house:

  • blueberries
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • dried or fresh cherries
  • raisins
  • dried chopped dates
  • shredded coconut
  • chopped walnuts
  • slivered almonds
  • chia seeds
  • banana slices
  • pumpkin seeds

We also like to sweeten our porridge with local honey or maple syrup. Some of the kids like to pour some milk on top, and some do not.

The fun thing is that we can each build a delicious bowl of porridge to our own taste!

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