two preteen children stirring batter in mixing bowls

Being a great cook often means working smarter, not harder. Today we’re reflecting on some of the best whole grain cooking strategies we’ve picked up over the years. With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, even the most reluctant of cooks can perfectly cook whole grains every single time.

Use Your Rice Cooker for More than Just Rice

At our Whole Grains Away From Home conference a few years ago, one of the most memorable cooking tips embraced by culinary school directors and restaurant owners alike was the use of rice cookers. In general, when cooking different grains in a rice cooker, use the grain to liquid ratio you would normally use in a pot. WGC Culinary Advisor Robin Asbell suggests using the white rice setting for grains that take 25 minutes or less, like buckwheat or millet, and the brown rice setting for larger grains that require longer cooking. Likewise, an InstantPot or pressure cooker can also be used to cook whole grains.

Save Time with the Two-Step Overnight Method

In WGC Culinary Advisor Maria Speck’s 2015 cookbook, Simply Ancient Grains, Speck introduces readers to the “two-step philosophy” of cooking grains, where grains are brought to a boil the night before, and then kept overnight in their soaking liquid, thereby reducing cooking time the next day. This works especially well for grains like steel cut oats, amaranth, black rice, and polenta. Speck also recommends this method for preparing other recipes like waffle batters to save time in the mornings, allow the batter to slowly leaven, and let the flavors develop.

Avoid Sticky Pans with This Easy Trick

How many times have you stepped away from the stove, only to realize that the water has evaporated and your grains are starting to stick to the pan? If whole grains are sticking to the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat, add a very small amount of liquid, put a lid on the pan, and let it sit a few minutes. The grain will loosen, easing serving and cleanup.

Get Fluffier Whole Wheat Baked Goods

Moist, fluffy whole grain baked goods are 100% possible, but you can’t always substitute whole wheat flour for all purpose flour one-for-one in a recipe. To learn how to adapt recipes to whole wheat flour, we spoke with P.J. Hamel of King Arthur Baking Company. According to Hamel, to make yeast breads 100% whole wheat, add an extra 2 teaspoons liquid per cup of whole wheat flour, and let the dough rest for 25 minutes before kneading. For a sweeter flavor, you can also replace 2-3 tablespoons of the liquid with orange juice.

Do you have a favorite whole grain cooking hack? Let us know in the comments! (Kelly)

Ready to start cooking? Post on social media and show us how YOU #SampleWholeGrains during our Whole Grain Sampling Day online celebration


Margie Mazeffa
I would love the opportunity to learn more about whole grain cooking.

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