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Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

August 20, 2022
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
Make a creamy, comforting Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge perfect for the entire family, filled with warm spices.

Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

This Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge recipe is a rendition on the delicious traditional Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge which includes boldly sweet flavors and a beautiful smooth, creamy, and velvety texture. This version of porridge boasts it’s guaranteed lump-free, thickness from the thickly cut cornmeal used, and a generous play on spices and freshly topped berries, which all create quite the experience in just one-bowl. Vegan option available.

Overhead shot of two bowls of Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

I'm super excited to share this creamy, velvety recipe with you because this Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge recipe is one that I grew up eating and it was heavily considered the breakfast of champions. When it comes to paying homage to my Jamaican roots, I truly get excited to create healthier versions of the foods I grew up eating during my childhood and this is one of them. While some recipes are just better in their traditional form, many can be greatly transformed into Vegan and/or healthier versions that would leave you feeling like, “is this really healthy”? Haha.

When it came to porridge, I can honestly say that I wasn't head over heels for this stuff as a child. In fact, I remember liking only oatmeal porridge more than it's Cornmeal counterpart. However, now that my preferences and taste buds have changed as an adult (tremendously I might add), I'm a huge fan of this lump-free porridge! Trust me---one good bowl of this stuff and you're full for the morning until snack time. Plus, you'll want to try this Banana Chai Oatmeal Porridge and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Porridge which are a guaranteed hit for the entire family!

Jump to:

What is Cornmeal?

Basically, cornmeal is a meal ground from dried corn. You can find a variety of grain sizes, which will result in a slightly different texture depending which you've used. However, for this recipe, I chose to use thick-cut cornmeal although traditionally, finely -cut is preferred.

Why Do Jamaicans Eat Cornmeal Porridge?

Overall, cornmeal porridge is considered a typical hearty breakfast in Jamaica which most indulge in because it keeps them full throughout the day until their next meal---usually lunch or dinner. In addition, most Jamaicans enjoy their cornmeal porridge with a side of crackers or hard dough bread, which acts as a great filler for a full meal as well.

Ingredients for Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge including vanilla extract, cornmeal, and seasonings

How to Make Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

There are a few key ingredients in this warm, sweet, and smooth Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge recipe that you may not usually use in your morning oatmeal or porridge, but these make this bowl even tastier and comforting. 

Traditionally, finely cut cornmeal is used for porridge, however, I took things a bit further and used thickly cut cornmeal in mine. Granted, if you aren't a fan of the 'grainy' texture from the thick cuts, then sticking to the traditional "finely cut" version is absolutely fine! It's a mere matter of preference. Of course, I always use Bob's Red Mill products when it comes to my flours, oats, and grains, so this recipe was no different.

While there is a way to make this porridge vegan (which I discuss further down), this one for me was just better keeping things as traditional as possible, while reducing the dairy a bit for my own personal consumption. Therefore, I stuck to my fave plant-based milk, organic brown sugar (by In the Raw), and Condensed Sweetened Milk (but a Fat-Free version by Borden Eagle's brand).

Ingredients for Cornmeal Porridge

Here’s the list of ingredients to make Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge for breakfast today:

  • Yellow cornmeal. If thickly cut cornmeal isn't preferred, using finely cut ones are just fine---which results in a creamier texture.
  • Almond Milk. You can use any kind of plant-based milk you like or use whole milk, if dairy isn't a bother! You can also use a can of full-fat coconut milk as well!
  • Spices. We’re talking cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. 
  • Condensed milk. This adds a great sweetness to this porridge and adds a nice creaminess to it. For a vegan option, you can substitute this with full-fat coconut cream/milk or Let's Do Organic's Dairy-Free Condensed milk.
  • Vanilla. Adds a nice vanilla flavor.
  • Water. For boiling.
  • Brown Sugar. I like to use organic sugar to make sure it’s fully vegan. You can also use maple syrup or Agave instead.
Ladle scooping Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Why Sweetened Condensed Milk is so important!

First, I must let you know that Sweetened Condensed Milk is a canned milk that has 60 percent of it's water content removed, making it thicker in consistency.Also, it has 40-45% sugar, making it a great sugar substitute in recipes that use sugar. More importantly, condensed milk creates a caramelized flavor along with it's sweetness, which give the dishes that require it, a beautiful kick of flavor.

That being said---I chose to stick with the traditional way of making this recipe (using Sweetened Condense Milk), because I wanted that caramelized flavor to work with the cornmeal. Personally, I find that eating this porridge without it make everything incomplete. Again, for a vegan option, I love using Let's Do Organic's dairy-free coconut version.

LOOKING FOR A HEALTHIER SWEETENER OPTION?

The Best Healthy Sugar Alternatives + Substitutes list is all about finding better ways to enjoy your favorite sweets without compromising your healthy lifestyle. For those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate healthy sweeteners into your diet.

Three bowls of Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Tips for a Creamy, Lump-free Cornmeal Porridge

Follow these tips + tricks to make your Jamaican cornmeal porridge ultra creamy and lump-free:

Mix (preferably with a whisk) your mixture the moment you add the cornmeal to the boiling liquid and continue to do so for the first 2-3 minutes as it thickens. You can use a superfine cornmeal for a really creamy base, however, constant mixing will still produce a nice creaminess.

Always SIMMER your cornmeal porridge for the majority of the cook time. This allows for a nice slow cook that allows everything to cook through and thicken nicely. The porridge naturally thickens as it cools, therefore, you can always add an additional ½ cup of water or milk while cooking to make it less thick.

Keep whisking in intervals (roughly every 2 minutes) as the cornmeal porridge simmers to further avoid lumps and to keep things creamy.

How to Make Cornmeal Porridge without Coconut milk?

As mentioned, if you want to keep things traditional, you can always use canned coconut milk. However, in the case that you need things to be without coconut milk or if you’d like to switch things up—–that’s totally fine! The world of plant-based milk is constantly expanding. From the classics like cashew milk, soy milk and almond milk, we now have delicious options like oat milk, and even potato and quinoa milk. You can also use canned evaporated milk or whole milk as a great substitute as well.

Common Q + A's for Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

How to best store leftovers?

Jamaican Cornmeal porridge is best when consumed within the same day. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated over the stovetop when ready to serve.

Can I make cornmeal porridge vegan?

Of course! To make this porridge vegan, simply omit the condensed milk and substitute with canned full-fat coconut milk/cream or a dairy-free condensed milk (I love Let's Do....Organic's version) instead and ensure that you use a plant-based milk. If you'd like to substitute the brown sugar, you can definitely use coconut sugar, maple syrup, or Agave instead.

How healthy is cornmeal porridge?

Overall, Cornmeal is a good plant source of protein, fiber, and is gluten-free. Also, it's a rich source of complex carbohydrates, which means that you feel fuller for longer. Lastly, it's a good source of vitamin A, which helps the function of the kidneys, lungs, and heart and It's low in fat and calories.

How long does cornmeal porridge take to cook?

All in all, cornmeal porridge will be ready in about 20 minutes or so. It's super important to whisk frequently to avoid lumps and maintain a smooth consistency.

Is cornmeal the same as grits?

Nope! Corn grits, similar to cornmeal, are ground from dried corn kernels; typically coarser then cornmeal.

Are cornmeal and cornflour the same?

Not at all! While both cornmeal and cornflour come from the same type of grain, they are not the same. Corn flour is ground until it takes on a powder form. Therefore, you'll want to make sure that you’re using fine or thick “yellow cornmeal” for this porrdige.

What do you serve cornmeal porridge with?

Generally, you can enjoy a bowl of cornmeal porridge by itself with a bit of garnish like fresh berries, sliced mango, pinches of cinnamon or nutmeg, or cinnamon sticks. However, you can also keep things traditional like within the Jamaican culture and enjoy this porridge with a side of crackers or bread for a heartier meal.

Why is my cornmeal porridge grainy?

Basically, after about 15 minutes, when taste tested with a spoon, the porridge should have a smooth texture. This means that the cornmeal is cooked through. If it is uncooked, the porridge will taste grainy, which means that you'll need to simmer it a bit longer.

Other Jamaican Recipes that You'll Love Next!

Loving this Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge and want more Jamaican cuisine? Here are some of delicious recipes to try that your entire family will love:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Two bowls of Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
Porridge in two white bowls with a spoon and garnish of berries.

Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

August 20, 2022
5 from 20 votes
Make a creamy, comforting Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge recipe perfect for the entire family, filled with warm spices. Vegan option available.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

PORRIDGE:

  • 1 cup Yellow Cornmeal (See Notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 ½ cups Almond milk (You can also use whole milk, if desired)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (See Notes for vegan option)
  • ¼ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt

GARNISH:

  • Fresh berries
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Sliced mango

Instructions

TO MAKE THE PORRIDGE:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add in the water and milk, stirring them together and then bringing them to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add in the cornmeal, whisking frequently as everything simmers, for the first 2-3 minutes. NOTE: To prevent lumps from forming, be sure to whisk frequently from the moment that the cornmeal is added.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and allow cornmeal to continue to simmer and thicken, about 10-12 minutes. NOTE: Be sure to whisk every few minutes (2 minutes or so) to further prevent lumps.
  • Once thick (meaning that cornmeal has swelled and cooked through), remove pot lid and whisk in brown sugar, vanilla extract, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and sea salt----until all ingredients are combined and the porridge becomes creamy and smooth.
  • To serve, portion cornmeal porridge into serving bowl(s) and top with fresh berries or banana slices, if desired.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Best when consumed within the same day. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated over the stovetop when ready to serve.
  • YELLOW CORNMEAL: If thickly cut cornmeal isn't preferred, using finely cut ones are just fine!
  • SWEETENER: Instead of brown sugar, you can simply use maple syrup or Agave to sweeten porridge.
  • VEGAN OPTION: Omit condensed milk and substitute with canned full-fat coconut milk/cream or a dairy-free condensed milk (I love Let's Do....Organic's version) instead and ensure that you use a plant-based milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 267IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 567mg | Iron: 2mg

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Script text: Xx, Shanika

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    • Hi Michelle! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed this porridge! It's definitely a fave in our house! 🙂

  1. We were introduced to Jamaican porridge when our son was married in Jamaica and we ate this every morning for the entire week we were there. I’ve tried several recipes but this is my favorite. The brown sugar and coconut milk make it the absolute best. My daughter has a rare stomach disorder and when nothing else stays down I make porridge for her and it always soothes her stomach easing her pain.

    • Hi Sue! This truly makes me so happy! I'm thrilled to hear that this recipe is enjoyed by everyone, including your daughter! I truly appreciate you giving it a try! Xx

  2. This.is.delicious!!!! I’ve never had cornmeal in anything except for cornbread. It’s so creamy, and I love all the spices in it. I could even eat it for dessert!

  3. INSANELY DELICIOUS!!
    Kept it vegan by adding condensed coconut milk (195 ml can - it was enough!) Thanks so much for sharing this recipe ❤

    • Hi Suzanne! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this! Definitely one of my faves! 🙂

    • Hi Chloe! Awesome, I do hope that you enjoy it! You should be able to calculate the calories by googling a Calorie Calculator! 🙂

  4. What a wonderful and unique recipe. I think it has all my favorite flavors- vanilla, nutmeg-cinnamon. I might just add a pinch of cardamom too.

  5. Such a wonderful porridge recipe! It has been quite a while since I last made myself a good bowl of porridge, so the timing cuold not be better. I am very excited to try this recipe now - thank you!

  6. I have never heard that you could buy fat-free sweetened condensed milk before. Good to know that there is a healthier version available. Thanks for the tip.

    • Yes! I usually get it from Target, however, I'm sure that you can find this version in other retailers! Definitely a great option that is my Go-To!

  7. I wish I could wake up to this gorgeous bowl of porridge every morning! Thank you for the inspiration, will definitely give a go this weekend 🙂