Once you try this Creamy Oat Bran Porridge, you may never go back to traditional oatmeal again. This make-ahead breakfast is the nourishment you need to get your mornings going!
Vegetarian | Vegan | Gluten Free
Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast is important for so many reasons. Well, the obvious…you’re eating something that’s good for you, of course, but it also kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day. Once you take that first step, you get into the mindset of making better choices for all of your meals and snacks.
When mornings are chilly, I crave a warm bowl of this creamy oat bran porridge. Oatmeal was my first love, but oat bran has definitely won me over. The differences between the two are so much greater than texture alone.
The Difference Between Oatmeal and Oat Bran
Oatmeal and oat bran both come from the same grain, the oat groat. Oatmeal comes from the inner part of the groat, while oat bran comes from the outer part. When oatmeal is processed, the outer layer, the bran, is removed. This helps the oatmeal cook faster. But, when that outer husk is milled, it becomes a concentrated oat bran that cooks up faster than any oatmeal.
Both are nutritious foods, but oat bran kind of shines a lot brighter when you look a bit closer. Oat bran is a better source of protein, B vitamins, iron and soluble fiber compared to oatmeal. The fiber in oat bran fills you up and can keep you feeling fuller longer. It is also more efficient at lowering cholesterol and slowing down fat and sugar absorption.
Oat bran also has a much higher concentration of beta glucan, a substance found in oats and several other foods. Beta glucan has many health benefits, but the beta glucan specifically found in oats has been found to keep cholesterol levels in check and can dramatically reduce LDL levels.
As far as cooking, taste and texture, you’ll love how quickly oat bran cooks up! Once you’ve brought it up to a boil, it’ll be ready in just two to three more minutes! I personally love the taste and texture so much more than traditional rolled oats. Oat bran is creamy with an almost sweet oaty richness. Its flavor is so lovely that I find that you don’t have to douse it with sweeteners to make it delicious.
How to Cook Oat Bran
Oat bran could not be easier to make. Although not necessary, I like to heat my saucepan up for a tiny bit and add the dry oat bran to get it a slightly bit toasty before adding the water and milk. I just think it enhances the flavor, but truly, some days I don’t bother and it’s still delicious. Just be careful not to go overboard if you do toast your oat bran. It will burn in a flash if you do. I just keep the pan moving for barely a minute over medium high heat just until the toasted scent hits my nose.
Once you add the water and milk, grab a whisk and whisk frequently, if not incessantly. OK, so incessantly is probably too much, but if you’re obsessed with a creamy texture, as I admit I am, keep that whisk moving, my friend. The good news is, you’ve only got to do it for maybe three or four minutes…oat bran cooks quickly!
I use a higher liquid to oat bran ratio than most. I love how silky and creamy it becomes when first cooked and once it has cooled the oat bran thickens quite a bit. I find that these proportions yield a much nicer texture. If you’d rather a thicker porridge from the start, go ahead and reduce the amount of milk and/or water by as much as half.
Make-Ahead Healthy Breakfast to the Rescue!
What I love best is that I can whip up a pot of oat bran either in the evening or on a quiet morning and keep it in the fridge for a whole week of easy breakfasts. Just scoop out a portion, add a splash of milk and reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop.
Oat Bran Toppings
Now, toppings are the best part, aren’t they? So, you can keep things super simple and easy, as I did in these images. An understated banana, some toasted walnuts and a slight drizzle of sweet pure maple syrup can make this such a warming, cozy and satisfying breakfast. If I’m being honest, I must tell you, I took these images after just whipping breakfast together the other morning. It didn’t look half bad, so I decided to take some shots. Otherwise, I’d probably have busted out all the nuts and seeds for these images.
I do love to change up my toppings to keep things interesting and so that I don’t feel like I’m eating the same thing every single day. I kind of divide my toppings into categories. I try to include some combination of nuts and seeds or even a plop (<-oh, that’s probably a terrible choice of words) of nut butter.
I also like to include something sweet in the form of a fresh or frozen fruit or even a lightly cooked down fruit, like a compote. This works wonderfully if you have some fruit that is just about thinking of retiring to your compost bin…snatch that up before it gets too bad…simmer the fruit in a pot over medium heat, adding only a smidge of honey or maple. Once cooled, store in a jar in the fridge to top your bowl of creaminess off in the morning.
To add a bit of sweetness, try using pure maple syrup, honey, date syrup or date sugar or whatever sweetener you typically use. Just start with a bit. You may find that you don’t need very much.
If you’re looking to step up your breakfast game as simply as possible…this creamy oat bran porridge is for you! xo
Creamy Oat Bran Porridge
- 1 cup (94g) oat bran
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups plant-based milk of your choice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 small banana sliced
- 1/4 cup walnuts toasted
- 1 to 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- additional milk for serving
- In a medium saucepan, over medium high heat, add the oat bran and whisk continuously for just under a minute, or until you begin to smell it toasting.
- Add the water and the milk while whisking constantly to keep the oat bran from clumping. The pot will sizzle a bit with the addition of cold liquids.
- Continue whisking as the mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat just a bit to keep things simmering and continue to cook for 3 minutes, whisking frequently, or better yet…constantly.
- Serve in bowls with a splash of additional milk and your choice of toppings. Any remaining oat bran can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
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Information is based on my own experiences, beliefs and extensive research. The information contained in this post is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. All diet decisions should be made with approval of your health care provider.
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Alice Claussen Destri
I was looking for different ways to incorporate oatbran in my diet and this is just perfect! Super creamy and delicious. I totally forgot to add salt but it turned out amazing anyways. The make ahead option is ideal for my rushed mornings. Thank you so much for sharing.
Glad to hear this can be an easy addition to your mornings, Alice! I rely on this oat bran, too…especially now with chillier mornings! Thanks for your kind words!
Salt transforms the recipe so surprisingly, I’m so grateful for salt!
I know what you mean, Melanie. It’s just that little smidgen that makes a big difference.
Sometimes i eat the cooked oat bran “plain” with a dot of ghee and some salt. If i have blueberries and walnuts on hand, i throw some in to make them “fancy”. Yum!
Ooooh…Rebecca! That sounds lovely! I just made some oat bran yesterday morning…I will most definitely try that. Thank you for sharing!
i had never tried oat bran until my naturopath suggested it, at which time I found your fabulous recipe . It is such a creamy and comforting start to the day and now a favourite in my home. It brings back memories of a
childhood breakfast from the ’50’s in England. I also love your blueberry compote recipe on desserts. Thank you Caroline.
Oh, Eve…I’m so happy to hear this brought some sweet memories back for you! This put a big smile on my face! I find this oat bran so comforting too…it’s one of my favorite breakfasts. Thank you for your kind words. :)
I make a big batch of oat bran once a week, to eat for breakfast Mon thru Fri. I use plain nonfat almond milk, add ground chia seeds and ground flax seeds, the oat bran, a mushed up very ripe banana and/or small peeled mashed sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a Tbs of natural peanut butter. Three mins of actual cooking (bubbling) time; I let it cool down, then store it in the fridge. Every morning I scoop some in a mug, nuke, then add more almond milk. Very filling and so yummy!
I love those additions, Lee! Thanks for sharing. I make it ahead and reheat similarly…makes for easy, tasty and healthy mornings! :)
I just made this recipe and I’m so glad I stumbled upon this. It came out nice and creamy. I have made farina, oatmeal, and grits before as well but this is going to be my go to for hot cereal. I have read oat bran is healthier than oatmeal. I’m not a health nut, however I like to incorporate healthy options in my food diet. I made ratio adjustments according to the food package since I was making this just for myself. Still was easy and quick breakfast. I added some butter, cinnamon and vanilla as well. I didn’t need any sugar since I added blueberries to my bowl. If you’re making this for a group of people, I’d suggest to make it plain so you can easily accommodate everyone’s taste level. Thank you, Caroline, for sharing this recipe.
Thanks so much, KC! Love your additions! And I agree…it’s nice to make the base and let everyone be creative with those toppings! I’ve gotten some great tips from all of you in the comments that I’ve been trying! :)
Made this today for my breakfast… and loved it!
Really nice texture…
It’s such a healthy and cozy way to start the day, isn’t it? So happy to hear you loved it, Andreia! Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)
I’ve made porridge my whole life but haven’t made oat bran for a few years (cost, mainly). I would have assumed similar proportions to oatmeal but making it with this much liquid turns out wonderfully! Really creamy and delicious!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Natalia! I know exactly what you mean…the proportions are definitely more liquid than most recipes, but I do love the creamy texture and this thickens up a lot as it sits. Thanks for your kind comments!
As a lover of porridge oats I can’t believe I have never tried this before. So delicious! I added some roasted rhubarb & crystallised ginger from a separate recipe – I think I’ve discovered my new favourite breakfast. Found it useful to boil the kettle to keep topping up the oat bran with hot water as they thicken…it’s amazing how much water they absorb. A little goes a long way! Thanks for the excellent recipe, this worked out great.
Wow, Matt…the roasted rhubarb and crystallized ginger sounds absolutely amazing! And you are so right about how thick this can actually get! I usually add more water or milk as well. Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind words!
Tried this today for the first time, I found that 2 cups of milk per cup of oat bran wasn’t enough. The porridge turned out dry and firm, I will try again with the usual amount of milk I have used for quick oats being 2.5 cups per cup of oats. I can’t see how this wouldn’t be dry at 1.5 cups as described.
Thanks for sharing that, Aidan. It is very much a matter of preference. I like to use more milk as well. I like the creaminess of it and, honestly, the oat bran thickens up so much as it sits.
I feel sure from how Aidan words their comment that they somehow missed the water amounts in the recipe. This recipe has more total liquid than most (far more than the 2.5 cups they mention they’re used to adding), and is far from dry.
This is amazingly good.. it’s really dummy proof.. I added pecans and honey for the topping and loving it
Nina…pecans and honey sound incredible! So glad you enjoyed this…it’s my favorite healthy breakfast!
Thanks so much for the five-star rating, Rebeca! Glad you enjoyed it! :)
I had a bag of oat bran in my freezer and was looking for something to make with it other than muffins. I came across your recipe and tried it. It turned out perfectly and I absolutely love the texture and flavour. This is going to be my new breakfast meal from now on. Thanks!
This makes me so happy, Gillian! It’s such a healthy way to start your day. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! :)
I will follow your recipe for oat bran porridge. I have never been sure about proportions or cooking time, and sometimes mine turns out too runny or too thick when I want the Goldilocks balance. I usually add a spoonful of ground linseeds to my oat bran porridge after cooking (I read that you aren’t supposed to heat linseeds, as that damages its oils), and that thickens it. I also add a spoonful of sultanas.
I made some for my grandson this morning and he loved it so I decided to taste it myself. It tasted creamy and wonderful and nothing like oatmeal I used to eat. It reminded me of what my grandfather called “Mush”. He was born in Scotland and ate Mush for breakfast every morning!
Jeanne, this makes me so happy! Thrilled to hear your grandson loved it…it’s such a healthy start to the day! And I love that it brought back that memory for you. Mush is a very fitting name for this…in a good way! ;)
This did not work for me at all! The liquid to grain ratio seemed way too large and indeed the bran and water/milk never really combined but stayed quite separate – watery and very gritty. Wondering what I did wrong or whether I used the right kind of oat bran (I bought it in bulk for baking muffins and am trying to use it up). Will put it in the fridge overnight and see if it sorts itself out..
I’m so sorry to hear that, Jenny! I’d love to know if it thickened up after sitting. It usually will. Your results sound out of the ordinary. Even if the liquid were a bit much, oat bran doesn’t really separate that way. I’m wondering if what you purchased in the bin might have been the issue.
Is it possible she purchased wheat bran?
That may be!
Looking for meals to reduce my cholesterol and I enjoyed this recipe….delicious!
This porridge is perfect for anyone looking to reduce their cholesterol, Crystal! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Did you stir it and bring it back to the boil?
If you did try adding just a little plant milk at the time until desired consistency is achieved.
Oat bran is very different to bran flakes
Bran usually implies WHEAT bran and that never thickens and is blah in texture. Please make sure you have oatbran
Thank you for the recipe! I love it! The first time I made it it was rather thick so I added more Easter the second time. At first I thought I made oat bran soup but by the time I sliced the strawberries it has thickened to a lovely porridge consistency! I added some ground flaxseed, the strawberries and a teaspoon of honey. Loved it❤️❤️
Betsy! Yes! That was my first experience too. It seems like, oh gosh, this will never come together. But, it really does thicken up as it sits. And you’ve contributed some more great topping ideas! :)
I’m so excited to try this. How many servings is this meant to be? I want to assume four, but not sure Thx!
I hope you love it, Kristin! Yes…this does serve four. Let me know how you like it! :)
I had a type of porridge at boarding school in the 1960,s and have never been able to find a similar porridge.
Research has finally led me to conclude that the food was from a local flour mill and was called porridge meal, bought in large bags in those days.
Trials have established that it’s oat bran and an oatmeal mix, about 50/50 of each.
Using your method above I have replicated the best and only good thing that I liked about boarding school
It makes a fabulous tasting porridge.
Smooth and creamy and delicious.
You might like to try it.
I’m so glad you found your way here, Gavin and that this recipe brought back some sweet memories. I love how food can do that! I love that idea of combining oatmeal and oat bran. I am most definitely going to try that tomorrow! Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring us all. :)
I love this oat bran porridge & my body does too! My cholesterol dropped 22 points in two months after having this for breakfast daily.
Tammy!!! That is awesome! Congratulations! As someone who struggles with cholesterol (even though I’ve been vegetarian and 90% vegan for years! Darn genetics!) I understand how challenging it can be to bring those numbers down. So glad you enjoy this as much as I do. It really does make for a healthy start to the day! Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Best of health to you! xo
Delicious! My new favourite breakfast!
I’m so happy to hear that, Jackie! Thanks for taking the time to let me know! xo
Hi – thanks for the information about oat bran. I had no idea it was so nutritious and rather thought of it a “by-procuct”. While I love oats I have never been a fan of oatmeal due to the texture. The porridge have the same mushy texture? Do you have other recipes that use oat bran?
I think you might love this, Jacquie! The texture is nothing like oatmeal. It’s very similar to cream of wheat, I’d say. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I don’t currently have any other oat bran recipes on the blog, but I do make muffins with it often. I’ll be sure to share one of those recipes soon! xo