I Tried The £3 Tool Pros Use For Their Porridge, And I'm Never Going Back

Forget porridge, this is oat cuisine.
Elvira Kashapova via Getty Images

Hi, I’m Amy, and I have a porridge addiction.

That shouldn’t be a cause for concern. After all, porridge is really, really good for you; the fibre and protein provide a slow-release source of energy, and depending on what you put on yours, you can get plenty of vitamins in there too.

But, like with all good things, it can be overdone; and I overdo it. I sometimes neck two bowls a day in winter. I have a special porridge bowl. I will go an extra thirty minutes away from my usual shopping route to buy The Nice Oats. It’s a problem.

So I was shocked to find out that I’d never found out about The Golden Spurtle competition until last week.

The worldwide championship takes place in Carrbridge and involves the use of a spurtle, a traditional Scottish wooden tool that’s designed for sitting the perfect, creamy porridge. I had never heard of the utensil in my life.

It turns out that experts have sworn by the tool for years, praising its ability to provide a perfectly-smooth bowl of oats.

Understandably, neither the host of the event nor this year’s winner responded to my feverish inquiries about their oat-based achievements. So, I thought it was time to (literally) take matters into my own hands and nab a £3 spurtle.

Here’s what I found out:

Not all spurtles are alike

You can buy different kinds of spurtle online. Firstly, there’s the flat, spatula-like kind; this is bigger in America.

Then, there’s the traditional long, thing Scottish sort. This was the kind I wanted for the task.

The one I got is about the length of a wooden spoon and has a ball on its top with a flared end to hold. The ‘stirring’ end is notably small and narrow ― this is the real secret of the spurtle.

That’s because, as I read, spoons are too flat and wide to allow oats to coalesce or gather back together while you’re stirring. This means you’re constantly sort of chopping and breaking up the grains as you cook, leading to a lumpier breakfast.

Hence, the spurtle promised creamy, smooth perfection.


And it delivered!

Following tradition, I stirred my porridge (double the amount of liquid to oats, a touch of salt, and in my case, cinnamon and nutmeg) clockwise with my right hand. This is meant to keep the devil away.

I don’t know about the devil, but it certainly banished lumps ― I was genuinely amazed by how creamy and delicious the end result was.

I hadn’t thought about how much I was disturbing my beloved oats by stirring them with a utensil that took up about a third of my pan before, but I could literally taste the difference here. I reckon for that reason, it’d be great for polenta and risotto as well.

Plus, you know those little claggy lumps you get in the nooks of your pan? Yeah, this narrow-headed tool is really good at tackling those.

Maybe it’s the amount of porridge I eat; maybe it’s that this tool is my current hyperfixation. But I’m convinced that the tool has improved my porridge by a solid 15-20%, and thus, my overall quality of life has gone up by about 4%.

Then, there’s the word. I reckon my friends have all muted “spurtle” from their phones; it’s just fun! Spurtle! Say it!

Not to conclude with some Girl Math, but I’m just saying ― if you’re a regular porridge consumer like me, the £3 purchase of a spurtle ends up costing something like a penny a use (or less). I mean, ’tis the season...