Frumenty (wheat porridge)

recipes cracked wheat.jpg

Frumenty (wheat porridge)

Frumenty (also known as Furmenty) is an easy-to-make wheat porridge. It was used in medieval times as an accompaniment to meat dishes and also as a breakfast cereal.


  • 275 grams (10 ounces) of Kibbled Wheat or Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 1.1 litres (2 pints of water)
  • 150 ml (1 cup) of meat or chicken stock
  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten
  • Pinch of dried saffron strands
  • Salt to taste

Note: The original recipe calls for ordinary wheat but it is much easier to use bulgur.


Fresh milk instead of meat or chicken stock. Much nicer for breakfast!

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Above picture illustrates plain wheat ready for use in frumenty

Original fourteenth or fifteenth century English recipe for Frumenty:

Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a mortar tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it vp & lt it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkys of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it;lat it naught boyle after the eyren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth with venesoun or with fat motoun fresch

From "Curye on Englysch", Hieatt & Butler, Oxford University Press, 1985


  • Bring the water to the boil and add the wheat.
  • Cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes or until the wheat has softened
  • Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Add the stock or milk (according to your preference) and bring the mixture to the boil.
  • Add a little salt if required and then stir over a low heat for 3 minutes.

Frumenty made this way (sometimes made with barley instead of wheat) was standard fare for the Saxon peasantry.

For a richer dish, more suited to Norman overlords, add two egg yolks and a pinch of dried saffron to the finished frumenty. Stir well over a low heat (without boiling) until the egg begins to set and the saffron colours the porridge yellow. Take off the heat and leave for a few minutes before serving to allow the egg to set properly.


Plain frumenty makes excellent and extremely filling breakfast porridge.

The saffron and egg version should be served as an accompaniment to strongly flavoured meat such as venison, wild boar or well-hung game.

Breakfast: Serve with brown (unrefined) sugar, honey or molasses.

With meat: Garnish with a sprig and sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Medieval recipes should not be seen as fixed lists of ingredients with precise instructions on how to cook them. Use your imagination, knowledge, skill and ingenuity to make them work for you. Most important of all is to enjoy cooking the food that has shaped the history of the UK.

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