Porridge (Pinhead/Steel-cut Porridge) | Gestational Diabetes UK
Porridge (Pinhead/Steel-cut Porridge)

Breakfast cereals
 are notoriously hard to tolerate with gestational diabetes, but porridge oats are often one of the only breakfast cereals which are tolerated by many. Pinhead Steel-cut Porridge is the best type of porridge to try.

This recipe is for traditional Scottish or Irish Porridge made with pinhead or steel-cut oats.

Instead of the better-known porridge oats which are flat and have been rolled, pinhead steel-cut oats are the inner kernel (groat) of the whole grain which has been cut into small chunks. They are less processed than rolled oats and have a slightly lower GI (glycemic index score).

This form of oat is much harder, almost like grains of rice, takes much longer to cook and has a much nuttier, firmer bite than rolled porridge oats. These types of oats take longer to digest, meaning a reduced spike in blood sugar levels.

If you live in Scotland or Ireland you may find pinhead oats for sale in shops and supermarkets (such as the traditional tin of Hamlyns Pinhead Oatmeal, but in other parts of the UK, you may have to purchase them from a wholefoods store or online. Pinhead or steel-cut oats are often called Pinhead Oatmeal.

I can’t get on with the traditional water and salt Scottish recipes for porridge, instead, I like to make mine sweet rather than savoury made with milk which creates the creamiest porridge and serve it with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

To help pair the carbs in the oats, we can pair them more heavily with plenty of extra protein and natural fats.

I recommend making porridge with milk & cream or water, adding nuts & seeds. Avoid adding fruit to porridge as this increases the amount of sugar needing to be processed and makes porridge harder to tolerate.

Porridge (Pinhead/Steel-cut Porridge)

Porridge (Pinhead/Steel-cut Porridge)

Porridge (Pinhead/Steel-cut Porridge) | Gestational Diabetes UK
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Breakfasts
Cuisine: British, Irish, Scottish
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: breakfast, oats, porridge
Free or Subscription Recipe: Free Recipe
Free from: coconut, dairy, eggs, gluten, nuts
Cook Time: 20 minutes
OPTIONAL prep time: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Jo Paterson


  • 45 grams pinhead porridge oats
  • 300 ml milk full-fat whole, almond, or soya


  • OPTIONAL STEP: Soak the pinhead oats in water overnight to help soften them. This will make the cooking process shorter, then drain before cooking
  • Add the pinhead oats and milk to a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • Once the milk boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and continually stir until the oats soften, thicken and cook to your liking. This can take 15-30 minutes
  • Serve with cream, cinnamon, nuts, seeds or nut or seed butter


This recipe makes 2 small servings. If you tolerate 1 serving well, then you could increase the serving size the next time you make it.
Leftover cooked porridge can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge once cooled, then add additional milk, stir and warm through to serve.
Avoid adding any fruits until you know your tolerance to eating porridge. Fruit is a simple carb and will make porridge harder to tolerate.  If you tolerate the porridge well, you can then experiment with adding a small serving of lower-carb fruit such as berries, cherries, or kiwi.