Last Updated on November 13, 2020 by Chef Mireille
Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge Recipe – This rich and sweet cornmeal porridge is how the day gets started on many Caribbean islands. Creamy, warm, and filling, it’s the perfect breakfast for winter anywhere that you live. Get ready to enjoy Breakfast Comfort Food – Caribbean Style!
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Gluten Free Cornmeal Porridge is one of the most common breakfasts throughout the Caribbean islands. There might be slight variations from island to island in the spices used, but it is a filling hearty breakfast that is beloved by all!
Cornmeal is a grain often overlooked in the gluten free conversation, but it is both versatile and cost efficient. Not to mention, it’s so very tasty !
If you would like to know more about the many varieties of gluten free cornmeal that there are and how to utilize them all in your kitchen, check out this post here to learn all about Cornmeal, Polenta, Grits & more.
Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge
Cornmeal is one of the staple grains used in the Caribbean for everything from pancakes to polenta. Yes, we have our version of savory polenta also. Check out the Vegetarian version with okra here called Cou Cou or this version from Aruba called Tutu with bacon and beans. Both are equally hearty and satisfying!
Here in the US while everyone else was eating oatmeal or cream of wheat, I grew up eating Cornmeal Porridge. This is one of the most common breakfast foods throughout the non Spanish speaking Caribbean.
In fact, I have a funny story with this Cornmeal Porridge from when I was a baby. I had a busy working Mom, so she usually gave me the instant baby Gerber cereals. However, one weekend when she had some extra time, she made this Cornmeal Porridge. Well, even at that young age I had a discerning palate. She told me once I had Cornmeal Porridge, I would never eat the Gerber cereal again.
Mom tried all sorts of tricks to get me to eat the Gerber cereal. She tried disguising it by adding vanilla and cinnamon to it, but I could tell the difference and just would not eat it. From that day on, she had to wake up extra early just to make Cornmeal Porridge before she went to work.
If you have a picky child who won’t eat oatmeal, try this Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge and I can pretty much guarantee you will have a hot cereal convert on your hands. Like oatmeal, cornmeal is also gluten free, so if that is a concern for you, this works just as well.
The Ingredients You Need
This Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge recipe includes some of my favorite sweet pantry staples.
Here is everything you’ll need to make this gluten free breakfast dish:
- Evaporated milk
- Cinnamon sticks and star anise
- Yellow cornmeal
- Low fat milk
- Vanilla extra
- Brown sugar
I use raisins to make traditional Caribbean Porridge. Try my recipe this classic way, or make it with dried currants or golden raisins, or even chopped nuts for something a bit different.
You should also top your porridge with some gratings of fresh nutmeg for a big pop of earthy flavor. This helps to balance the sweetness of the dish, and makes it really perfect for fall and winter.
How to Make it Vegan
You can easily make it a vegan breakfast dish by using your favorite non-dairy milk. Almond milk, coconut milk or cashew milk would be the best substitutes to still get the same creamy, rich consistency.
How to Make Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge
This easy recipe only takes a few simple steps and is ready to enjoy hot in about 15 minutes. It’s great for making on a cold morning to get a jump start on the day!
- First, heat evaporated milk, water, and spices in a saucepan until simmering but not boiling.
- Meanwhile, combine cornmeal and water in a separate bowl. Then add this to the simmering milk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Continue stirring as it thickens, and then mix in the low fat milk, vanilla, and sugar.
Now it’s time to add some more spices!
Freshly grated nutmeg on top makes all the difference!
With some fresh fruit, it’s the perfect Caribbean comfort food.
As it chills a bit, a crust will form on the top.
For me, this is the best part of the porridge. I often have it in a shallow bowl, just so I get more crust.
What Goes Well with this Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge Recipe
Have a warm bowl of porridge with a side of fresh banana or mango for a real taste of breakfast in the Caribbean.
This dish is also great with pineapple, cherries, and grated coconut.
Serve it as your main morning dish, or even as a sweet side for savory breakfasts.
However you choose to enjoy, delicious Caribbean Cornmeal Porridge is sure to be one of your favorite ways to start the day!
- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1/3 cup raisins optional
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup of lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or more, to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
- In a saucepan, pour out the can of evaporated milk. Fill the can with water and add to the milk in the pan.
- Add cinnamon, star anise and raisins (if using).
- Heat the milk, but do not boil
- Meanwhile combine the cornmeal and 1 1/4 cups water and whisk together in a bowl.
- Slowly add this to the simmering liquid on the stove, stirring constantly.
- Simmer for 5 minutes on medium low heat. After about 3 minutes and the porridge thickens, add the lowfat milk.
- Add vanilla and sugar. Stir to combine.
- To serve, garnish with grated nutmeg.
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Try these other sweet cornmeal breakfast dishes!
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The Pumpkin Farm
yummy porridge, i was introduced to porridges through story books first and then in the kitchen….it has a strange connect and always has something comforting about it
so yummy and creamy!!! drooling here!!
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Creamy and delicious it looks similar to semolina halwa.
I cannot imagine this porridge. But I am sure it would have been lovely.
Why was I always thinking of Enid Blyton. You have opened my eyes to look not just at my childs currents books but the older ones too. Thanks you are the best. Love the porridge. Do you know in Goa most Catholics have porridge for breakfast and its called"tizan"! Thanks for linking.
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I love that story and remember spinning my own version of Goldilocks for my kids..and yes porridge did feature in my story as well..:)..nice one..looking fwd to read what other books you are going to cook from!
Mireille, I am sure Goldilocks would have licked the bowl clean even if this had been too hot or too cold. Looks creamy and delicious.
Love porridge with anything, Goldilocks and three bears is one of my daughter's favourite story. Warm or cold, even i would love to have a bowl.
Yummy and creamy porridge…I've not tasted this porridge before. This must be an aromatic and flavorful.
Interesting story and I never tried porridge with yellow cornmeal and love those flavor..
Nice porridge Mir!Am sure Lil Goldilocks would have enjoyed it.
We are porridge lovers. I will surely make this recipe with corn meal.
Wow – what an innovative way to make porridge. I would never have thought of using corn flour. It looks thick and creamy
Just want to make sure you realize this is cornmeal and not cornstarch because Indians often use the term corn flour for cornstarch.
Mireille I’m sure this cornmeal porridge must have come with the African slaves as its very common in Kenya to have white cornmeal porridge in the mornings. In fact my maid would make it for me after I had kids as it would provide energy, is good for nursing mums and filling too. It is either made in milk and water for those who can’t afford to buy milk. All these traditional dishes are slowly dying in Kenya too.
So sad this traditions are dying. Well in the Caribbean it is still a very popular breakfast. I eat it often. I agree – it most likely came from African slaves.
This porridge is delicious! The evaporated milk and nutmeg made it feel like a dessert, but still as satisfying as breakfast should be!
It makes such a filling and nutritious breakfast. I hope you enjoy making it on a regular basis from now on.