Cookit Homepage Cookit is published by e2bn

History Cookbook: Gruel

This recipe is in category Victorians
About this recipe
Healthiness : (759 votes)
Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

This recipe is based on the ingredients used in an 18th century workhouse. Gruel was one of the main foods provided. At this workhouse (Sunday-Thursday) on three days of the week, male inmates were served a pint and a half of gruel, a pint and a half of broth, five ounces of cooked meat, twelve ounces of bread and eight ounces of potatoes. On the three alternate days, the men were fed twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, a pint and a half of soup, and two ounces of cheese. On Fridays, they were served twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, fourteen ounces of suet or rice pudding, and two ounces of cheese. The meagre menu was divided into three meals daily. Women and children were given slightly less.
  • 3 dessert spoonfuls of oatmeal
  • 1 pint of water
  • a little salt
  • Spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Pan
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Mix the oatmeal with a little cold water to make a paste
  2. Put the rest of the water in a pan
  3. Add the mixture and boil for 10 minutes
  4. Add the salt
Gruel - print view  Gruel - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
There are 144 comments for this recipe.
Add a comment

Name: Sheila 15th August 2017
My dad long past gone used to make my siblings and me something he would call gruel when we were sick. He would boil a chicken until it fell apart . To the broth he added cornmeal. I remember being very sick And only thing could hold down was my dad's chicken broth gruel. I am at this website because I feel bad and craving my dads Remedy for whatever ails you! Have a good day !
Name: Colly 25th July 2017
This recipe would be better entitled "Thin gruel" as Scrooge prefers in Xmas Carol. A little more oats plus honey as a sweetener makes it far tastier! (Yes - this was based on a workhouse prison recipe and they were not too concerned about making it tasty!!!! - The Cookit Team) 
Name: William 2nd June 2017
Jill, many medieval, early modern, and historical Gruel recipes contain a hint of onion. That is definitely what is missing in this recipe.
View all comments, or Add a comment

Required fields are bold

Plum Cake
Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180C, 350FGrease the sides of the tin and line the bottom with baking...