Miso Oat Porridge

Miso Oat Porridge Recipe

I made this for breakfast, prior to a drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles last week, and kept thinking, if I owned a restaurant, it would serve brunch, and this would be the first thing on the menu. It's a simple bowl of toasted rolled oats finished with a bit of miso, then topped with a load of minced chives, walnuts, baby radishes, and a thread of cream. LA was a lot of fun - not too hot, plenty of sunshine, a beautiful sunset wedding. Our hotel was near the central library in downtown, which had an incredible cookbook section to browse. I'm already looking forward to going back. A few snapshots & finds...

Miso Oat Porridge Recipe
Miso Oat Porridge Recipe
Miso Oat Porridge Recipe
Miso Oat Porridge Recipe
Miso Oat Porridge Recipe

Miso Oat Porridge

Play around with the miso you use here. I used a light white miso. That said, some misos are stronger and saltier than others, simply add miso until the oats are to your liking. The miso acts as the seasoning, no additional salt is needed.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups / 5 oz / 140 g rolled oats
3 cups / 700 ml water
1 tablespoon miso, or to taste

toppings: lots of toasted walnuts, minced chives, shaved radishes, cream or creme fraiche

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the oats, and patiently cook until the oats get well-toasted and fragrant. Stir in the water, and simmer until absorbed. Remove from heat. Place the miso in a separate bowl, and scoop a few big spoonfuls of the oats. Stir well, and then gently, but thoroughly fold this miso back into main pot of oats. Taste, and adjust with more miso, until it is to your liking.

Serve topped with lots(!) of minced chives, radishes, walnuts, and a good drizzle of cream. Make sure it's properly seasoned/salted and all the flavors will come together.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 2 min - Cook time: 7 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Such a unique idea!


Simply beautiful...in concept and execution...would that Life was the
very same.

Barclay Ross

Glad you had a nice time in SoCal. It was gorgeous here last weekend and not too hot, at all. Great porridge. Even better shoes. Love those green ballet flats!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

Savoury oats?! Consider my mind blown. I love all the toppings and flavours. And I would fully support a brunch-only single menu restaurant (they're my favourite). Beautiful!


Simple and wholesome! I don't cook oats very often but this looks like an intriguing savoury breakfast.

leaf (the indolent cook)

What a wonderfully simple yet beautiful brunch recipe. I've been toying with the idea of savoury oats for a while now and this certainly piques my attention.

Do you think this dish would work with overnight oats? Thank you so much for continually sharing such understated yet elegant dishes. R xx

HS: Rebecca, it will absolutely work with overnight oats!

Rebecca Jane

You should absolutely have your own restaurant! And I would order this miso oat porridge straight off. Sounds like a delicious and unusual way to start off the day.


Looooooove these photos, Heidi. Ugh.

Bev @ Bev Cooks

You know, it is rare that I see a dish that blows my mind, that I have no connection whatsoever to, that I could never in a million years think of, that I can barely image the flavour of. This is it! Sounds amazing and I will try it!


I've made something similar, but leaving it out on the counter overnight - it ferments slightly and gets an amasake-type flavor. So simple and lovely.


I've been doing porridge with miso for a while now and just love it. I often add tahini, and sometimes honey to round it all out.

Love this idea too - thanks JB.


Very healthy breakfast. I should give it a try. Beautiful pictures!


I love this savoury version of oats! My savoury version is usually Indian style: popped brown mustard seeds, cilantro, chili and then top the oats with yogurt. Definitely going to throw this in to the mix. Thanks for the inspiration! Oh yeah and I love the idea of you having your own restaurant. I'd fly to SF from Toronto just to visit your restaurant!

HS: oh! love the idea of cilantro and mustard seeds. Sounds amazing Shilpa.


I love those shoes! Never tried savory oats...slowly working up the courage. Yum.

Salvegging @ salvegging.blogspot.com

Beautiful pictures! I will be trying this out very soon! I bet it would be good with a sunny side egg on top!

Amy @ http://funfoodiefamily.com/

Love this idea - it's very like skirlie, a Scottish favourite, which I make often. I'm imagining that the miso and textured toppings would give that bit of oomph that it needs


I just love the shoes in your photographs - they look amazingly comfortable!!


I love this variation on oatmeal. Too often we end up loading our breakfasts up with sweet toppings. Adding the mineral rich miso is brilliant and is awesome for helping stabilize that morning blood sugar.

Meghan Telpner

I'm SO intrigued! I've never even thought about a savory oatmeal. And I love your LA photos and cute turquoise shoes. Happy summer-time!


I've made a few savory oats before, but never with miso....Can't wait to try this!


The Standard? I nearly killed myself there tripping on the platform bed--but the tub was amazing and I loved the location.

Hah - indeed, and the scene on the rooftop was fascinating. :)


Mmm. I just made my first batch of miso soup (not sure what took me so long). A dear friend invited me into her kitchen for some lessons on authentic Japanese sushi, and she whipped up a batch of the soup at the same time. Delicious and so fast.

I love the library in Santa Monica. They have a great used book store attached, too, which you will have to check out one of the days.

Happy cooking!


Just wondering--does adding miso add iron to the oats?


Oh yum! 2 of my fav foods..ur SO creative Heidi..great pics, as usual, thanks for the inspirations :)

carol spencer

I've had these steel-cut oats (http://food52.com/recipes/3123-steel-cut-oats-with-ricotta-pistachios-raisins)for the past two mornings, and am loving the savory combo of pistachios, ricotta and oats. I can't wait to try the miso version!


An inspired recipe and beautiful photography. Very classy Heidi.

Monica McGuiness

This is wonderful -- in the tradition of Middle-Eastern halim, Balinese bubur, congee... which opens a lot of ideas for different toppings.


The recipe is inspiring - but I gotta say what I really want to know about are the SHOES! That color! And what is Bottega Louie??? That packaging is fantastic! The marble floor and the gold lettering - love, love, love that picture.

HS: Thanks Heather, BL must been seen to be believed - there's a profile on Remodelista I think. And the flats are Porselli - super comfortable.


This entire post is pure magic. The photos are absolutely gorgeous and the recipe is very curious. I can't wait to get my hands on some miso and give it a try! xoxo Sophie


Two of my most favorite ingredients -- miso and oatmeal! So simple, so beautiful. Can't wait to give this one a try.
-Emily K.

Emily K. @ Leaf Parade

Wow, such an interesting twist on porridge. I haven't had much oatmeal/porridge in my life, but now I feel like I might be missing out on something.


Loooooove Bottega Louie's !! We had our rehearsal dinner there!


Such a simple combination of ingredients (not to mention healthy) but I would have never thought to put them together. Might see if I can trick my son into eating this :)

Megan T

I thought I had misread this at first, because I couldn't wrap my head around the combo, and then I thought, well why not! Now I can't stop thinking about it. What a cool idea. Love your shoes BTW:)

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Sounds so good! Will have to try. Love these photos too-cute shoes!

xo Jen, hope all is well. And hope to see you soon!


Drizzle with a bit of your favorite extra virgin olive oil instead of creme.


Savoury oats! When I was a little girl of 4 or 5, my grandfather from England came for a visit. He ate old fashioned rolled oats every morning, cooked simply in water and topped with sea salt (he called it "Scottish-style porridge.") I remember eating mine with milk and brown sugar, and wondering how he could possibly eat salty oats?! That same visit, he taught me how to make capital "A's" on our green chalk board (I haven't thought about that in years and years!)


Lovely savories, there! And those shoes are just perfect.


Fascinating, absolutely fascinating. I think this is part of your gift--to make me want to try things I never would have matched together. I have a bit of miso remaining, and didn't know what to do with it. AND I just made hot oats and bulgar this morning. SO, tomorrow it's miso and oats etc. I am salivating actually. Thanx.


I have been making miso flavored oatmeal for more than 40 years! Dr. Ozawa, one of the founders of the macrobiotic movement, suggested such an addition to oatmeal in an essay I read. He was quoted by his wife in a cookbook that she wrote.

The way it was described in the essay was first you toast the oatmeal in a little sesame oil until it gets slightly golden. You also toast the miso on a fork over a flame so it gets slightly charred. You make a Japanese styles soup stock out of katsuo boshi flakes, bonito flakes. Combine all three and cook gently for about 15 minutes.

I generally make it quite soupy and not at all like the traditional American thick pasty oatmeal. I change up the miso, using either red miso or the very dark misos in different proportions. It is incredibly delicious! Just don't overdo the amount of miso. One or 2 teaspoons should do it for a single serving.


I can't imagine what this would taste like. I was brought up having porridge for breakfast as we are Scottish, and for me it is oats, water, a wee bit of milk, salt and NOTHING ELSE. Any creative license with porridge just seems all wrong to me!

Jill Brown

Yes. The flats. The designer and the colour of the flats must be known. I am in flat-love. And - I know you are a Blue Bottle fan Heidi, how would you say this Bottega Louie compares? Their packaging is stunning, needless to say. Glad you had fun in LA! Mmmm, hotels near big libraries.

HS: HI Sheryl, they're Porselli's in pistachio, and I haven't yet tasted the coffee. I think it's on the menu for tomorrow a.m. :)


After posting this comment I'm going into my kitchen and adding miso to the oats soaking for tomorrow's breakfast. I've always eaten my oatmeal with butter and salt, but never thought of miso.
Thanks for the never-ending ideas.


I just made this and I'm in love. Reminds me of living in Japan and having miso for breakfast or congee in Asia. I added some sautéed crimmini mushrooms and some sesame seeds to the top. Yummy! New staple for me.


Wow, I've got to try this. I love miso and I eat oats almost every morning. Thanks for sharing this great idea.


I make my okayu (Japanese rice porridge) with miso, curious now to try it with oats. :)


Gorgeous post! I too have been tinkering with savory oats and my most craveable rendition so far is a Cacio et pepe (sp?) version: Steel cut oats cooked to pearly resilience, then served up with lots of fresh cracked black pepper, shreds of sharp cheese, and fresh snipped chives. A soft yolked egg on top is optional but obviously delicious.

Say no more - that sounds right up my alley.


Here in India many Big Food companies are jostling for market share and getting Indians to eat American-style breakfasts has been difficult for them because Indians almost never eat sweet things at breakfast ; so now nearly everyone offers ready-to-cook variations of savoury oats - some mustardy , some with chillies , some with lots of veggies . Having never eaten oats as a child , I find them difficult to like - too stodgy for my taste .


Another savory oats option, though less healthy: My mum, who is Scottish, would often make "Cheesy Oat Patties" for breakfast. Rolled oats mixed with shredded extra sharp cheddar, salt and pepper, and boiling water just to hold things together. Then, fry them in a skillet and eat. Delicious! :-)


Hi again, just finished your book. Loved it! I have a question a out some of today's recipe suggestions. I always thought raw nuts were healthier then toasted nuts. Is this a fallacy?


Such an elegant recipe. I often do miso soup for breakfast, but never thought of miso and oats. I love it!!

Rosemary Hanson

I made this for brunch, and veganized it using coconut oil instead of butter, used pecans since i was out of walnuts, and served it with a bunch of spicy kimchee-- it blew my mind! Bookmarked! It's going to go into heavy rotation, I suspect...

HS: You all are nailing it with the variations! Thanks for sharing Missy.


Oh Heidi! You always surprise me!
Beautiful post and pictures, love the atmosphere...


What a wonderful idea for a savory breakfast! I've some locally-produced oats that'll be just lovely done up like this when the weather cools...

diary of a tomato

Hi Heidi, I was trying to find one of your archived recipes and stumbled across another website that had posted the recipe along with your photo that you used in your the original post. Not sure if that is something that is concerning to you. If you'd like to see the site let me know and I will pass along the link.

HS: Thanks for the heads up Angela, if you can let me know the site, and I'll pop them a note. Sometimes people just don't know it's not cool to do that :/...


Heidi, what do you use to shave the radishes? This looks stunning, so much so that I may make it this morning.

HS: Hi Christine - just a sharp knife, and a steady hand!


Your recipe added great taste and exotic flavours to the daily porridge. Thanks for sharing it is simply delicious.

David Hogman

This is an incredible idea. My husband dislikes sweet things for breakfast and enjoys anything Japanese, I think he would love this porridge, as would I... we'll be trying it soon. Thank you!


Have only been to LA once, and certainly didn't expect to spend time at The LIBRARY. but that's exactly what I did.


That is awesome. I love porridge but have not found a way to make savoury one that appeals, let alone one that is Japanese-inspired!


I just made this! So easy and filling and tasted incredible! Thank you :)


your post for miso oat porridge made me think of the restaurant Medicine that was located in the SF Galleria downtown. It was kind of an anomaly, being housed in that mecca of lunchtime fast biz food. I last ate there in 2009 and was crushed to see it closed. I completely loved the space and moreso the food. The best tofu I've ever had and I love tofu. Did you ever eat there? Any chance you could give me tips on how they made their tofu "porridge"? Thanks so much. I'm looking forward to making your porridge next weekend. Luv luv your work and site.

HS: I loved it too Kristine! I'm not sure about the porridge, but I do make a version of miso-topped tofu in the style they made. It might make an appearance at some point :)...


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