Congee (A Frugal Breakfast)

Congee with toppings

I prefer savoury breakfasts to sweet ones, and like to make sure I get enough protein first thing in the morning. My typical weekday breakfast consists of eggs or bacon with green veggies or savoury pancakes. Now that I am doing the $21 Challenge, I have to ration my egg consumption a bit, since the cheapest free-range eggs cost $4.50 a dozen.

After searching the internet for gluten free savoury breakfasts, I came across a recipe for congee, a rice porridge eaten for breakfast in many parts of Asia. Congee ticked all of the boxes – it was gluten free, could be made in a slow cooker and I had all of the necessary ingredients in the house already. In fact, congee only calls for two ingredients – white rice and some kind of meat stock. I added some dried garlic in for flavour as well.

One cup of rice makes 4-5 servings, making it very frugal. And if you make your own stock from leftover bones and veggie scraps (which I recommend for many health reasons), this is a very cheap breakfast.

Eaten plain, the congee is quite bland, but you can add any number of toppings to make it more tasty. My favourites are a fried egg, bacon, chives, sesame oil, chilli flakes, pickled veggies and toasted nuts. And of course, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings)

1 cup white rice

1 1/2 litres/quarts chicken or beef stock (homemade is best)

3 cloves garlic, sliced.

Toppings (your choice): fried or hard boiled egg, bacon, toasted nuts, chilli flakes, sesame oil, fish sauce, chives, spring onions, coriander (cilantro), pickled veggies, fried onions, anything you want!


Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Place all ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on Low for 8 hours. I usually put this on just before I go to bed, so it’s ready when I wake up.

Congee rice porridge

Spoon into bowls and add toppings. Enjoy 🙂

This post was featured in 125+ Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Recipes

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  1. What are the white, veined things around the edge of the bowl?

    • They’re pieces of pickled daikon radish. The pickling jar was sitting on the table doing it’s thing, so I decided to add a couple of pieces to my breakfast, even though they weren’t quite done yet. They gave it a fresh, tangy taste.

  2. Interesting. I’d never thought of eating a savory rice dish for breakfast. We eat brown rice in winter, for breakfast, as a change in texture from oatmeal (great alternative for those who think oatmeal is too slimy, as brown rice is definitely not slimy). But we always top it with butter, brown sugar or jam.

    I am totally with you on the protein for breakfast thing. I get so much more done on days when I’ve had either a handful of almonds for breakfast, or an egg.

    • That’s a cool idea – rice for breakfast, certainly something pi never considered, and I do get over oatmeal!

    • I like brown rice for breakfast too, I make it in the slow cooker with coconut milk and cinnamon, and it’s delicious 🙂

      I had plain congee for breakfast this morning (no eggs in the house), and by lunch time I was starving! That might be because it’s cold here as well, but I’ll try and include some nuts and seeds in my breakfast for the rest of the week.

  3. Oooooo… I may have to try this! I was just wondering if I could use rice for breakfast since I have, ahem, a lot of it!

  4. I just tried congee for the first time yesterday at a restaurant, only it was served sweetened like rice pudding, with cinnamon!

  5. Got to say, whilst i know of congee (thanks Sydney, you’ve taught me SO much), i’ve never been willing to try it. I think I’m generally ‘anti’ savoury breakfasts – I’m such a sweet tooth. I should put mind over matter and give it a whirl!

  6. I’ve got a great looking recipe for breakfast congee for my slow cooker, but I’ve never quite found the time for it; I love the idea of adding eggs and veggies, that looks like my kind of breakfast. I’ll be adding it to the recipe docket!

  7. This is definitely something I can eat. My partner and I are looking at all new recipes as we are trying to eat much healthier these days. Added bonus that it’s super cheap. We usually just have simple breakfasts on weekdays and save the big spectacular brekkies on weekends. Guess what we’re having this weekend.. mmmm

  8. Wow – I thought congee was supposed to be watery like a soup. Yours looks like soft supple rice – still yummy though!

  9. For Congee: I’ve found it’s traditionally served much thinner in consistency. I mix 2 kinds of short-grain white rice (sweet & a starchy) and take 1 cup of that, rinse several times (rinse water goes on plants; they do well w/ the starch/nutrients), and that goes in the slow cooker or stovetop pan with one gallon of water.
    Also added: a 6 or 8″ x 8″ piece of Kombu (thick seaweed) and no more than 1/2 tsp of salt. (sometimes; 3-4 dried mushrooms)
    Slow cooker: low for about 6 hours; Stovetop: bring to boil then low simmer, until either method results in ‘bloomed’ / dissolved rice.
    Here I pull out the kombu & mushrooms, set aside to chop up finely & add back in at the end.
    then I take 1/2 cup brown rice, and break that down to a rough sand texture in a coffee/spice grinder, and mix/ stir in to the congee, letting it absorb extra liquid and add the brown rice’s flavor to the mix. I’ll usually let this set overnight for it to cool down and get to it’s final consistency (it absorbs more while cooling).
    If boiling uncovered: you may need to add a bit more water in w/ the brown rice.
    `Hope that’s useful to some, if you’re vegetarian leaning as well.

  10. I love congee for breakfast! It’s often a great way to use up last night’s leftovers. Just add pickles!

    Kichiri is another great savoury breakfast using rice.

  11. Love congee, but only ever made fish one, have 6 litres of bone broth on the stove, might be the right time to try your recipe!

    • I’ve never made a fish one, I might have to give that a go 🙂 I’ve heard that fish stock only takes a few hours to make, is that true?


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