Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge (recipe)


This post was originally published on April 1, 2007. It has been updated once since then

In 2007 I was asked to share Five (Foodie) Things Most People Don’t Know About Me. One of them was that cornmeal porridge is one of my ultimate comfort foods. My Jamaican mother made it regularly for me as a child, particularly if I was unwell or feeling particularly downtrodden. Cornmeal porridge holds a very special place in the Jamaican food psyche. Its prominence was highlighted in the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of (the now defunct?) Jamaican Eats

I ALWAYS KNEW THAT JAMAICANS WERE PORRIDGE-LOVING PEOPLE, what I didn;t realize was the extent of our porridge craze. We found vendors serving up steaming bowls of porridge from the back of their vans and from pushcarts in busy community squares. We even got wind of a bicycle porridge man who balances his trade in the Portmore area of St. Catherine. Plus, porridge no longer means just oats and cornmeal. As a porridge lover, I was amazed (and warmed) by some of the porridges combinations I found.

This love and attachment is one that my Jamaican mother has successfully transferred to me in turn. I make mine the way she showed me. An American friend once asked me if she could add jam and fruit?!? OK. Let me say that when it comes to most things culinary I believe in less is more, and with certain dishes some things are just heresy. So feel free to throw in the kitchen sink, I wouldn’t say no, but please please please don’t let me know about it. To me (an old school girl who learnt from an old school yardie) porridge is a healing, simple, almost purifying elixir. Fruit and jam… tsk tsk tsk.

If you follow the below instructions to a tee you should not have any problems. The main problem that people encounter when attempting to make cornmeal porridge is the existence of lumps. This can be avoided by first making a ‘slurrie’ of cornmeal and cold water (as stated in the first step). You also want to be sure that the water in the saucepan is indeed boiling as this will also prevent the formation of lumps when the slurrie is added 🙂

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge (recipe)


1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge


1. Mix the cornmeal with 1/2 cup of the water
2. Bring the remaining 1 cup of water to the boil
3. Stir in the cornmeal mixture and salt
4. Continue cooking for 10 minutes

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

5. Add condensed milk and vanilla essence

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

6. Top with grated cinnamon and nutmeg

Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Makes 3-4 servings

This recipe is an exclusive TriniGourmet original. Please do not share it or post it to your site without crediting TriniGourmet.com and linking back to this site 🙂