Millet porridge is a creamy, gluten-free breakfast easily made in the slow cooker overnight and ready when you wake up. With hints of cinnamon and vanilla it’s the perfect base to top with your favorite fresh fruit, nuts and seeds for a hearty start to the day. Especially great when you want to switch things up from oatmeal!
Ever since getting the results of my food sensitivity test back a few months ago and coming to the sad realization that gluten is not my friend, I’ve tried to expand my breakfast horizons beyond the typical bowl of oatmeal.
When quinoa gives you a horrible reaction so quinoa cereal is out of the running, and you’re not in the mood for cassava flour pancakes, there aren’t many other gluten-free grains/seeds out there that lend themselves to a nice warm and hearty breakfast bowl.
I’ve made puffed millet cookies and this savory mushroom, spinach and cherry millet before but I’ve never really used millet in a breakfast recipe like this creamy millet porridge, except for these breakfast grain bowls.
Turns out, it’s great for that!
Left intact, millet is a small round ball like seen above. Almost like a smaller nonpareil just in seed form (yep, it’s technically a seed not a grain).
When I use it in a savory dish, like millet tabbouleh, I cook the grain intact.
For this breakfast porridge though, the trick to getting the millet nice and creamy is actually grinding down most of the millet so that the consistency is somewhere in between its normal state and flour.
When cooked like that, the end result is a nice fluffy, creamy texture just like oatmeal.
It’s the perfect alternate gluten-free breakfast bowl.
HOW TO MAKE MILLET PORRIDGE
Millet porridge can be made on the stove-top or in the slow cooker. I chose the slow cooker for this recipe because I love waking up to breakfast totally ready for me to eat!
After grinding the majority of the millet (you’ll grind 1 cup out of a total 1 1/4 cups for the whole recipe), place all the millet in a slow cooker along with:
- milk of choice (I used homemade almond milk)
- chopped medjool dates
- cinnamon stick
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
The mixture cooks in the slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours (or whatever your overnight/sleep time is).
The one important trick to this recipe is greasing the inside of the slow cooker. Use whatever greasing agent you like (butter, oil, baking spray, etc.) but make sure to coat the bottom and about half way up the sides so that the millet doesn’t burn and stick while cooking.
If you’re not cooking this overnight in the slow cooker and can stir it a few times while cooking, that will help prevent any sticking from happening.
WHAT DOES MILLET PORRIDGE TASTE LIKE?
This is a great basic breakfast bowl of a hearty, warming pseudo grain. Millet has a subtle nutty flavor and when combined with just a touch of vanilla and cinnamon, it becomes a delicious creamy breakfast.
Texturally, after slow cooking, the millet ends up a little thicker than cream of wheat but a little creamier than fully cooked polenta. Of course, you can adjust this to your preference by adding or subtracting cooking liquid in the recipe.
Overall, this millet recipe is on the less sweet side. While there are a couple of medjool dates in the ingredients to give it a subtle natural sweetness, if your palate prefers sweeter bowls of oatmeal and such, you’ll want to add some maple syrup or honey to the recipe.
Add to your taste but I’d stick to one of those liquid sweeteners over other choices.
Keep in mind, toppings can add more flavor and sweetness as well.
If you choose to top with bananas or other sweet fruit, additional sweetener in the recipe may not be necessary.
You can also top with maple syrup or honey instead of adding it to the slow cooker and then each person can adjust to their own taste.
HOW DO I GRIND THE MILLET?
You can grind the millet in a coffee grinder if you have one. I used the dry container of my Vitamix blender. If you don’t have either of those, a food processor will work as well.
This also isn’t totally necessary, your millet porridge just won’t be as fluffy and creamy looking but will still taste just fine!
WHAT DO I PUT ON TOP OF MILLET PORRIDGE?
Some topping options are:
- fresh berries
- sliced bananas
- any nut butter
- coconut butter
- maple syrup/honey
- sunflower seeds
- chopped nuts
- chia seeds
- hemp hearts
Since making this slow cooker millet porridge, I’ve eaten it for breakfast about 4 times now and I think I’ve used every single one of those toppings – all delicious!
CAN I MAKE MILLET PORRIDGE ON THE STOVE TOP?
To make this on the stove-top instead of the slow cooker use the following method:
- Grind the millet as stated in the original recipe
- Place a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Melt 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil. Once hot, add all the millet and “toast” in the pot for a minute or two.
- Add the remaining ingredients except omit 1 cup of water and the cinnamon stick.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer while stirring then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Place a lid on top of the pot and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is mostly all absorbed.
- Remove the lid and stir well before serving. It will thicken further as it cools.
- Top as desired and enjoy!
HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP STORED?
The millet will keep stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. I don’t suggest freezing it.
With a generous 4-6 servings in the recipe, this is excellent for meal prepping breakfast for the week.
You can store it in portioned containers for an easy grab and go breakfast to take to work and reheat.
Other breakfast bowls like this creamy millet porridge recipe to try:
Creamy Millet Porridge
- 1 1/4 cups millet, divided
- 2 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
- 2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk of choice, plus more as needed after cooking
- 3 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Place 1 cup of the millet in a coffee grinder or dry container of your blender and process until broken down. Millet should be somewhere in between grain and flour state.
- Add processed millet and remaining 1/4 cup of intact millet into the pot of a greased (*see note) slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove lid, give it a good stir adding 1/2 – 1 cup more milk or liquid as needed for the desired consistency until incorporated.
- Serve warm with your favorite toppings or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for the week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.