Difference Between Porridge and Oats

Porridge vs Oats


The difference between porridge and oats mainly stems from the ingredients used to make them. All infants, when they are weaned from mother’s milk are given food first in a semi-solid or semi-liquid form, and it is referred to as porridge. Porridge is a generic name. It is nothing but boiled grains mixed in water or milk or both. This recipe is easily digestible and is considered very healthy and wholesome for human beings. In general, porridge is made with oats though it is common in different cultures for the porridge to be made with other grains and cereals. However, when the dish is prepared with other types of cereals and grains, it is called by other names too other than saying just porridge. Because oats have traditionally been associated with porridge, people become confused when asked differences between porridge and oats or oatmeal. This article will remove all doubts from the minds of the readers by highlighting differences between porridge and oats.

What is Porridge?

Porridge is a semi-solid food, which is boiled grains mixed in water or milk or both. Porridge can be made with rice, wheat, barley, maize or even corn. It is served hot after adding sugar to make it palatable. Doctors and nutritionists have proved beyond doubt that taking grains in the form of porridge is perhaps the best way to maintain a good health. This is why porridge is the recipe given to sick people and those recovering from various health problems.

Naming a porridge dish comes down to the ingredients used to make it. It is natural for porridge to be referred to as oatmeal when it is prepared using oats. The porridge certainly cannot be called oatmeal if you have used other grains or cereal and not oats. Therefore, when you use rice, or for that matter corn, to water or milk and serve hot, the porridge so prepared should be called either ricemeal or cornmeal, depending on the grain used.

Difference Between Porridge and Oats

What is Oatmeal or Oats?

Oatmeal is a type of porridge. It is a porridge made with oats. There are millions who take oatmeal or porridge as breakfast daily to maintain good health and to stay away from diseases. But, whether you call it porridge or oatmeal, the recipe remains the same and, that is, boiled grains mixed with water or milk. Yes, there is no difference, if the porridge has been made using oats. You can call that porridge oatmeal without a problem.

Though porridge can be made using any cereal or grain, it has been seen that porridge containing oats has a great appeal among the people, as well as nutritionists. It is really surprising that when oat first became known to human beings, they were considered fit for animals, and there is a famous story which goes like this. An English man was talking to a man from Scotland taunting him on eating oatmeal. He said that oat is fed to horses in England, while Scottish men ate it. To this, the Scottish man replied that this is precisely why there are such fine English horses, and there are such fine Scottish men.

 Porridge vs Oats

What is the difference between Porridge and Oats (Oatmeal)?

• Definition of Porridge and Oatmeal:

• Porridge is a semi-solid recipe that is prepared with oats or any other grain that are boiled and mixed with water or milk or both.

• Oatmeal is a meal made by processing oats.

• Cultural Preference:

• In different cultures, porridge is made using other cereals such as rice, wheat, maize, barley, or even corn. In such instances, it is better to refer to these recipes according to the ingredient and not as porridge which is commonly associated with oats.

• Different Names:

• Porridge can be made using different grains.

• So, oatmeal is a good word to refer to porridge made using oats.

• In the same manner, porridge made using rice should be called ricemeal and porridge made using corn should be called cornmeal.

As you can see, the main difference between porridge and oats or oatmeal is the grain that is used to making the dish. If you use only oats to make the dish, that porridge is known as oatmeal. If you use any other grain, the dish can be known as porridge. You can also name it according to the grain used as ricemeal or cornmeal.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Millet porridge by Dezidor (CC BY 3.0)
  2. Oatmeal via Wikicommons (Public Domain)