Savory or Sweet: Oatmeal Gruel Recipe for Every Breakfast Mood

Whether you're looking for a sweet delight or a savory bite, have yourself a top-of-the-morning breakfast with some oatmeal gruel.

Updated December 13, 2023
oatmeal with bananas, berries, and honey

Oatmeal gruel makes for a great morning starter. If you're like us and wondering exactly what gruel is, we've got answers. It's a cereal thinned with milk or water. Compared to the thick breakfast we're used to, gruel has a thinner and more watery consistency, but it's just as filling. 

While gruel was originally made using oats, you can use wheat, rye flour, or rice. Cookbooks from the early 19th century even show gruel recipes using a little splash of brandy. Now that's the way to start your day. 

How to Make Oatmeal Gruel 

Go sweet or savory, and throw your favorite toast toppings into a bowl of oatmeal gruel instead. This recipe makes 9 servings.  


  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 4 cups of water 
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 4 cups milk of your choice 
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  1. Cook oatmeal in 4 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. You won't see much change in oatmeal consistency at this time.
  2. Simmer mixture on low heat for 45 minutes. You'll notice the oatmeal has soaked up the water and formed a thick, cooked porridge-like consistency.
  3. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  4. Mix oatmeal with flaxseed meal and oat bran. The consistency will be very thick, almost like paste. 
  5. Add milk in slowly using ¼ cup increments.
  6. Adjust the amount of milk to reach the desired consistency. For a thicker gruel, use ¼ to ½ cup less (3½ to 3¾ cups of milk total); for a runnier gruel, add ¼ to ½ cups of additional milk (4¼ to 4½ cups total).
  7. Gruel can be served hot or cold. Heat gruel on your stovetop over low heat (while stirring) for 3 to 4 minutes to serve it hot. Chill gruel in the refrigerator for at least an hour if you want to serve it cold.
Quick Tip

Blend gruel mixture in a blender for a creamier consistency before heating or chilling.

Fruit and Topping Variations

Upgrade your morning oatmeal gruel by adding different topping variations. Try these tasty add-ins.

Sweet Additions

Sweeten up your gruel by adding one or more of these ingredients. (We love maple syrup and candied pecans with a sprinkle of dried cranberries). 

  • Candied pecans 
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Apple slices 
  • Pear slices 
  • Mixed berries
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate chips 
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Honey 
  • Cinnamon
  • Maple syrup or brown sugar 

Savory Additions

Love a savory breakfast? Try one or a combo of these. 

  • Fried egg 
  • Sliced avocados 
  • Bacon bits 
  • Grated cheese of choice 
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pancetta
  • Caramelized onions
  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped tomatoes

Rise and Shine With Oatmeal Gruel 

There's something relaxing about hovering over a stove with a recipe that doesn't require as many ingredients or steps. Put on some good music and whip up a hot (or cold) bowl of oatmeal gruel to start your lazy Sunday mornings. 

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Savory or Sweet: Oatmeal Gruel Recipe for Every Breakfast Mood