View Full Version : Traditional Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal - Cream?

08-11-2011, 07:00 PM
Question for friends across the pond. Is it 'traditional' to cook steel cut oatmeal with cream? I thought cream was optional - but someone (Who I hope will lose the bet) is insisting it's the 'traditional' method.

08-11-2011, 08:08 PM
Cook with water, add cream/brown sugar to taste when it is served - at least it is so in my MIL's household.

08-11-2011, 08:27 PM
What waylander said.

08-11-2011, 09:28 PM
Right, my Scottish connection says salt is a 'must' while cooking in water, cream optional.

08-11-2011, 09:35 PM
I've never heard of "steel cut oatmeal" before. Porridge, yes? When we make porridge it's usually soaked in a pot of water overnight, then brought to the boil and simmered for 10 minutes, and served. Nothing else added, not even salt, which is the traditional Scottish seasoning.

Actually now that I think of it, the last time we had porridge, it was one of those packets where you pour the contents into a bowl, add milk, and microwave for 2 minutes. Someone suggested trying it. Wasn't too bad. But it felt wrong somehow. :)


08-11-2011, 09:42 PM
What is steel cut oatmeal?

08-11-2011, 10:46 PM
There is no answer. Everybody has their own porridge recipe which includes the type of oats, water/cream/milk or combination, how to serve, and cooking technique.
All I can tell you about Irish porridge is that the standard oat you buy makes a very soft porridge without much texture. I import my oats from the UK.

08-11-2011, 10:55 PM
What is steel cut oatmeal?

08-12-2011, 12:13 AM
We had it with water and brown sugar. I don't ever recall having cream.

08-12-2011, 12:54 AM
Hmmm. One thing to note, I don't know anyone this side of the pond who calls their porridge "traditional Irish steel cut". There's porridge, which would be what your asking about, or there is readybrek, otherwise known as instant crap. :D

Porridge in my family was always served with the oats cooked in either full fat milk or single cream. A pinch of salt added in cooking, but I always added sugar to mine afterwards. I think you'll find everyone was raised on a different way of cooking it.

*edit* just had a look at the wiki and I don't recognise that stuff at all. Any time I've eaten porridge its been this stuff.


08-12-2011, 02:07 AM
Over here, they're called pinhead oats. And we usually feed them to the birds.

08-12-2011, 08:28 AM
Thanks all. It was a hotel that served them 'traditional style' - with cream. Had me confused as I'd never heard that was 'traditional'. Optional, yeah, but cooked in cream? No.


08-12-2011, 06:17 PM
We don't generally call it oatmeal, we call it porridge, and we call oatmeal flakes 'porridge oats'

Traditionally it's cooked in water witha little salt and then sugar and or cream /milk can be added later.

A lot of people leave it overnight and eat it cold the next day. Especially in the country

At home we cook it in half milk, half water, keeping it pretty thick, and then put a little sugar on it - usually brown sugar - and a little ice cold milk to cool it slightly.

edit : most people I know use Flahavans as it's the most easily obtainable, it's usually pretty coarse.


There's also Scots Porridge, but not everywhere stocks it.

Most supermarkets and chain stores have their own versions, but they are pretty crap quality to be honest.

Mark G
08-17-2011, 03:33 AM
Which side of the pond is "across" the pond? :)

My wife and I just started eating the stuff and we love it. Put it in the rice cooker and set the timer for a great healthy breakfast. I like mine with brown sugar and lowfat milk, but I'm a damned yank.

08-17-2011, 04:08 AM
We always used to eat rolled oats or quick oats. I recently bought a tin of McCann's (http://www.mccanns.ie/) because I liked the package design, and tried cooking it.

It takes longer to cook and has a definite texture to it, but I like it. It's heartier than regular oatmeal. I later incorporated precooked portions into my own cereal bar recipe because I like to control the amount of salt and sugar.

08-17-2011, 04:20 AM
I suspect it depends where you're from. My heritage is (English) West-Country farm folk and we always had cream on our porridge. Folks with less access to cream may think of traditional style as without cream.

08-17-2011, 12:57 PM
I have never made porridge with cream (am English of recent Scots descent and lived in Scotland for years).

I have used both porridge oats & cream to make cranachan though :) Yum!

Traditionally, porridge was made by everyone and would have been made with milk (if you could access some) or water (if you didn't own a cow), cream would have been a luxury version! A spoon of honey can be added to sweeten if required/available.

For cranachan, toast the porridge oats (I do it under the grill, but you can use a frying pan with no oil), lightly whip the cream & fold in a wee dram of good whisky and some fresh raspberries, mix into a tall glass & serve chilled... I usually make it early on in the day in time for after tea. Vary the quantity of whisky dependant on whether you are meeting clients at work the next day or not though!

I know cranachan is a traditional desert but I have no knowledge of it's history. I do highly recommend it though!

09-03-2011, 02:43 AM
Yup, 'steelcut oats' is definitely an American term, which would not be recognised by very many people on this side of the water. When you do find them - which isn't easy - they are called 'pinhead oatmeal'. 'Porridge oats', which are basically broken up rolled oats, are what is usually used over here to make porridge.

As to cream - yum! I have always made porridge with milk, not water, and then added sugar, and would happily add cream. I'm not Scottish, though, I'm English.

Alessandra Kelley
09-03-2011, 03:21 AM
I got beaten to it by so many people ... "steel-cut oats" are the same as "pinhead oats." They are a whole grain, non-rolled oat shaped kind of like little pebbles. They cook into a good, thick oatmeal which can be chewy like a pilaf or delightfully creamy depending on how much water you use.

Always cook oatmeal with salt. Always. Unsalted oatmeal is an abomination.

I tried cooking oatmeal with milk once, but I personally found the texture kind of strange. I add whole milk or cream after cooking with water. Normally I drink skim milk, but oatmeal is better with something richer.

Rolled oats make a much softer oatmeal, and instant oats are only to be used in desperation.