Whole Grain Recipes

recipes

Cooking Whole Grains

You can add whole grains to your meals without cooking, simply by choosing breads, breakfast cereals, and other prepared whole grain foods. If you'd like to enjoy delicious whole grains at home as a side dish, however, here are some guidelines for cooking them from scratch.

Download a PDF handout based on this page
in English (136K PDF)
in English, for gluten-free grains only (144K PDF)
en Español (156K PDF)
Spanish translation thanks to ehealthgroup.org

Plain Grains, general directions

Cooking most grains is very similar to cooking rice. You put the dry grain in a pan with water or broth, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Pasta is generally cooked in a larger amount of water; the excess is drained away after cooking. Don't be intimidated!

Grain Pilaf, general directions

Brown small bits of onion, mushroom and garlic in a little oil in a saucepan. Add grain and cook briefly, coating the grains in oil. Then add broth in the amount specified below, and cook until all liquid is absorbed.

Important: Time Varies

Grains can vary in cooking time depending on the age of the grain, the variety, and the pans you're using to cook. When you decide they're tender and tasty, they're done. If the grain is not as tender as you like when "time is up," simply add more water and continue cooking. Or, if everything seems fine before the liquid is all absorbed, simply drain the excess.

Shortcut

If you want to cook grains more quickly, let them sit in the allotted amount of water for a few hours before cooking. Just before dinner, add extra water if necessary, then cook. You'll find that cooking time is much shorter with a little pre-soaking

Another shortcut is to cook whole grains in big batches. Grains keep 3-4 days in your fridge and take just minutes to warm up with a little added water or broth. You can also use the leftovers for cold grain salads (just toss with chopped veggies, dressing, and anything else that suits your fancy), or toss a few handfuls into some canned soup. Cook once, then take it easy.

There are also many quick-cooking grain side-dishes on the market, even including 90-second brown rice. These grains have been pre-cooked so you only need to cook them briefly or simply warm them through in the microwave.

To 1 cup
of this grain:
Add this much
water or broth:
Bring to a boil,
then simmer for:
Amount
after cooking:
1 c. Amaranth 2 cups liquid 15-20 minutes 2 1/2 cups
1 c. Barley, hulled 3 cups liquid 45-60 minutes 3 1/2 cups
1 c. Buckwheat 2 cups liquid 20 minutes 4 cups
1 c. Bulgur 2 cups liquid 10-12 minutes 3 cups
1 c. Cornmeal (polenta) 4 cups liquid 25-30 minutes 2 1/2 cups
1 c. Farro 2 1/2 cups liquid 25-40 minutes 3 cups
1 c. Kamut® wheat 4 cups liquid soak overnight then
cook 45-60 minutes
3 cups
1 c. Millet, hulled 2 1/2 cups liquid 25-35 minutes 4 cups
1 c. Oats, steel cut 4 cups liquid 30 minutes 3 cups
1 c. Pasta, whole wheat 6 cups or more liquid 8-12 minutes (varies by size) varies
1 c. Quinoa 2 cups liquid 12-15 minutes 3 cups
1 c. Rice, brown 2 1/2 cups liquid 25-45 minutes (varies) 3 cups
1 c. Rye 4 cups liquid soak overnight then
cook 45-60 minutes
3 cups
1 c. Sorghum 4 cups liquid 25-40 minutes 3 cups
1 c. Spelt berries 4 cups liquid soak overnight then
cook 45-60 minutes
3 cups
1 c. Teff 3 cups liquid 20 minutes 2 1/2 cups
1 c. Wheat berries 4 cups liquid soak overnight then
cook 45-60 minutes
2 1/2 cups
1 c. Wild rice 3 cups liquid 45-55 minutes 3 1/2 cups

All information on this website is © 2003-2013, Oldways Preservation Trust/Whole Grains Council, unless otherwise noted.