How to Cook Whole Grains

Use these basic guidelines for cooking whole grains including amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, cornmeal, couscous, Kamut®, millet, oats, pasta, quinoa, brown rice, rye berries, sorghum, spelt berries, wheat berries and wild rice

Cooking Tips

  • Try lightly roasting grains in a dry skillet before cooking. This gives them a lighter texture and a nuttier taste.
  • Most grains become sticky if stirred, so leave them alone while they cook. The result will be fluffier and tastier.
  • Some grain dishes, such as bulgar and couscous, are actually fluffier if you do not cook them. Just pour boiling water over the grains, let them stand for 15 to 20 minutes, then toss them with a fork before adding other ingredients or serving.
To 1 cup of this grainAdd this much water or broth:Bring to a boil then simmer for:Amount after cooking
Amaranth2 cups20-25 minutes3 1/2 cups
Barley, hulled3 cups45-60 minutes3 1/2 cups
Buckwheat2 cups20 minutes4 cups
Bulgar2 cups10-12 minutes3 cups
Cornmeal (polenta)4 cups25-30 minutes2 1/2 cups
Couscous, whole wheat2 cups10 minutes3 cups
Kamut® grain4 cupsSoak overnight, then cook 45-60 minutes3 cups
Millet, hulled2 1/2 cups25-35 minutes4 cups
Oats, steel cut4 cups20 minutes4 cups
Pasta, whole wheat6 cups8-12 minutes (varies by size)Varies
Quinoa2 cups12-15 minutes3+ cups
Brown rice2 1/2 cups25-45 minutes (varies by variety)3-4 cups
Rye berries4 cupsSoak overnight, then cook 45-60 minutes3 cups
Sorghum4 cups25-40 minutes3 cups
Spelt berries4 cupsSoak overnight, then cook 45-60 minutes3 cups
Wheat berries4 cupsSoak overnight, then cook 45-60 minutes3 cups
Wild rice3 cups45-55 minutes3 1/2 cups


Chart provided courtesy of the Whole Grains Council

Whole Grain Recipes >

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