How to Cook Farro: Three Cooking Methods

Learn how how to cook farro using three different cooking methods: Stove Top, Oven and Slow Cooker. First a bit about what farro is and what it tastes like.

A little while ago, Bob’s Red Mill sent me a big box full of different kinds of grains. There was tri-color quinoa, millet, bulgur, spelt, teff, wheat berries and farro. I couldn’t decide where to start, which grain to cook with first. But then I remembered having a delicious side dish made with farro at an Italian restaurant and I knew that farro was the one.
How to cook farro

What is Farro?

Farro is an ancient grain that’s been around forever. Longer than any other grain, in fact. It’s believed that it is the grain from which all others derive (see thekitchn.com for more info).

Farro is high in protein, fiber and B Complex vitamins and it’s pretty low in gluten.

When cooked, farro looks a bit like barley but it has a chewier texture. That chewy texture remains even after long-cooking so it’s great in soups and stews where it never gets soggy. That chewy texture also makes for tasty salads. You can pretty much take any pasta salad recipe and turn it into a farro salad recipe successfully. For instance, check out this Greek Farro Salad Recipe by The Lemon Bowl.

The first time I made farro at home, I cooked it according to the package directions and then mixed in some shredded cheddar cheese just until it melted in. My husband and I loved it. My 5 year old son was not a fan. But my 2 year old? “Mo fawo pweez,” came out of her mouth *three* times during that dinner. It was pretty amazing to watch her gobble it up and keep asking for more.

Since then I’ve been making a bunch of things with farro. There are these amazing meatballs with farro and rosemary in them and this easy creamy side dish with spinach and cream cheese. Over the coming weeks I’m going to be sharing more farro recipes with you too. There’s a recipe coming up for Special Fried Farro, one for a Farro Bolognese Bake, a Tabouleh made with farro and so much more.

For now, I’m going to give you basic instructions on how to cook farro.

Do You Need To Soak Farro Before Cooking?

You can speed up the cooking time for farro by soaking it in cool water. But honestly, since it only takes about 30 minutes to cook farro without soaking it I don’t usually bother with this step. To soak farro measure it into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add enough cold water to completely submerge the grain. Put the lid on the pot and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

How to Cook Farro:

In terms of portion sizes, farro doesn’t expand as much as rice or barley. So I tend to make a bit more than I would other grains. Where I would have started with 1 cup of uncooked rice or barley, I’ll use 1 and 1/2 cups of uncooked farro.

You can cook farro on the stove top, in the oven or in the slow cooker. I’m giving instructions for all three below.

Note: There are different kinds of farro out there (whole grain, pearled, semi-pearled and different varieties too) and it’s not always easy to tell which kind you have. This means that cooking times aren’t exact. I’m giving the cooking times that were needed for the Bob’s Red Mill Farro. Other farros may take a little less or a little longer to cook. Generally, for stove top you’re looking at between 20-40 minutes simmering time, for oven-cooked farro 30-45 minutes and for slow cooker 2-3.5 hours. Don’t worry too much about this large range though. Farro doesn’t get mushy when overcooked so if you plan for the longer amount of time and yours is ready sooner, it won’t hurt to keep cooking it for awhile.

How to Cook Farro on the Stovetop, in a Slow Cooker, or in the Oven

Here are three methods for how to cook farro. The cook time for the stove top method is listed here. The cook times for the oven and slow cooker methods is listed in the notes section.

Ingredients:

On the Stove Top

  • 1 and 1/2 cups farro
  • 4 cups water, stock or a mixture of both
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil (optional)

In a Slow Cooker

  • 1 and ½ cups farro
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil (optional)
  • 5 cups water, stock or a combination of both

In the Oven

  • 1 and ½ cups farro
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil (optional)
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

On a Stove Top

  1. Measure 1 and 1/2 cups farro into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain.
  2. Transfer to a medium sized pot that has a lid. Add 4 cups water or stock or a combination of both and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until it is softened but still chewy. If there is liquid remaining in the pot, drain it off or save it to add to a soup, stew or sauce.
  4. Use a fork to gently fluff in the butter or olive oil, if using.

 

In a Slow Cooker

  1. Measure all ingredients into a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high until farro is softened about 2-4 hours. Depending on the type of farro you have, the water may or may not have been absorbed.
  3. Drain any liquid that's left or use it in a soup, stew or sauce.

 

In the Oven

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill a kettle with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Measure the farro into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain. Transfer the farro to a medium-sized pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the salt and the butter or live oil (if using).
  3. Measure 4 cups of boiling water from the kettle and pour it into the pot. Stir and then immediately cover and put it into the oven.
  4. Cook for 35-40 minutes, until softened but still chewy.

Cook Time for Slow Cooker Method

Prep time 2 mins
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours 2 mins

Cook Time for Oven Method

Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 35 mins
Total time 40 mins

Now that you know how to cook farro, here are some easy recipes from my site to go check out:

Creamy Farro with Spinach

Creamy Farro with Spinach

 

Farro and Rosemary Meatballs

Meatballs with Farro and Rosemary

And here are some delicious-sounding recipes that I’ve found on other blogs:

Cabbage Rolls with Turkey Sausage and Farro from It’s Yummi

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina from thekitchn.com

Baked Farro Risotto from 101 Cookbooks

Individual Farro Chickpea Egg Bake from The Chic Life

Disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill provided items for a giveaway and provided me with the same set of grains to try as a sample. I have not been compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own. The giveaway is now closed. This post originally appeared in January of 2014 and was completely revised in May of 2016.

69 Responses to “How to Cook Farro: Three Cooking Methods”

  1. Mommer — March 21, 2015 @ 9:16 am (#)

    HI!  Just found this page after buying some farro yesterday.  My farro is imported from Italy, and all the instructions are in Italian!  What’s more, it doesn’t look like your’s in the picture.  I bought it at an Italian market attached  to my favorite restaurant, and I even asked the sales person if this was “normal, regular farro” !  After doing some interweb research – aha!  I have WHOLE farro, and  the stuff you have, and have apparently been using is PEARLED farro.   And it seems that it’s not always clearly stated on the packages, even if it is in English!  The difference is the whole farro still has the bran / husk on it, and takes longer to cook, hence the SOAKING step is needed.  Pearled farro has the bran knocked off and cooks in 20 min.  Think about typical rice versus wild rice – how wild rice takes forever to cook, and may need to be drained when its done.  It appears it’s like that – I will find out today when I make it, and plan on plenty of time before dinner so it’s done!  : )

    • Christine Pittman — May 7, 2015 @ 12:50 pm (#)

      Wow! Thanks for the extra info!

  2. Susan Broughton — January 18, 2015 @ 12:59 pm (#)

    Thanks so much for doing a posting about Farro.  I have never tried it but have been curious about it for some time.  I am a diabetic and am always looking for low gluten or gluten free recipes that I can substitute for something that I am not suppose to have.  Thanks again for the information on Farro!

  3. Anne — January 31, 2014 @ 6:14 pm (#)

    I haven’t tried farro yet, but after reading your post, I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting some soon. I love salads that use grains as a base and incorporate chopped veggies, so that’s probably what I’d make with farro first.

  4. Christine L. — January 31, 2014 @ 12:20 pm (#)

    The first time I tried farro was as part of a dish served at the retirement luncheon for a former colleague. It was served risotto style as an accompaniment to chicken cordon bleu and fresh steamed vegetables. Thank you for the recipes! I’ll try using farro at home now ….

  5. Candice — January 29, 2014 @ 10:12 pm (#)

    I have never cooked farro myself but looking forward to trying it. I would like to attempt a farro risotto like dish.

  6. Mireille — January 29, 2014 @ 7:00 pm (#)

    I love farro and the product line also!

  7. DONNA KIEVER — January 29, 2014 @ 6:35 pm (#)

    Never tried it but i would love to . I would love to try a hot savory dish!

  8. amanda — January 29, 2014 @ 2:22 pm (#)

    I love Bob’s Red Mill! Just made some bread with their Dark Rye Flour yesterday! Would love to try Farrow as I am always looking for rice and starch replacements!

  9. Erin — January 29, 2014 @ 1:52 pm (#)

    I have never tried farro, but I’d love to try it warm, maybe with some roasted veggies…yum!

  10. Rebecca — January 29, 2014 @ 6:27 am (#)

    I have never tried farro, but would love to try cooking it up in chicken broth with some herbs and spices as a side to grilled chicken breasts.

    • Christine Pittman — January 29, 2014 @ 1:08 pm (#)

      Rebecca, I think that would be delicious. I love when grains soak up flavors during the cooking process. It adds so much to the dish.

  11. Kim Porter — January 28, 2014 @ 11:48 pm (#)

    I have only made one dish with farro. It was a roasted green bean, mushroom and farro salad with feta and fried shallots. Memorable!

  12. Barb — January 28, 2014 @ 10:10 pm (#)

    i have never tryed farro but would try in salad

  13. Barbara Bradford — January 28, 2014 @ 9:58 pm (#)

    I have not tried Farro, but I saw in one of the comments that there are Farro boards on Pinterest, so it should be fun trying new recipes with it. I love how you give all the basics on cooking it, especially the slow cooking method. That will probably become my favorite way.

  14. Christopher Sorel — January 28, 2014 @ 9:40 pm (#)

    Lo ve farro and like to make it creamy

  15. Jeffrey — January 27, 2014 @ 12:46 pm (#)

    Mac and cheese sounds pretty good or a breakfast bake!

  16. Mili — January 25, 2014 @ 8:25 am (#)

    I love farro! I have made it before meditteranean style with fat free feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Delish!

  17. Rosie — January 22, 2014 @ 3:45 pm (#)

    I haven’t tried farro – yet! I’ve tried other grains, such as teff, spelt, pearled barley, wheat. I’d like to try farro by coarsely chopping the grains and using it for hot cereal. I’ve coarsely chopped grains in my coffee grinder – it works great! I’ve also sprouted grains, and then chopped them and add them to bread recipes. I love experimenting.

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:37 pm (#)

      Rosie, What a great idea! I want to grind up some farro right now and give it a try.

  18. Wendy | Around My Family Table — January 21, 2014 @ 12:55 am (#)

    I love all different kinds of Bob’s Red Mill grains. They do a lot of gluten free products!

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:38 pm (#)

      Wendy, They’re so great. And I love having some gluten-free side dish ideas on hand at all times.

  19. Cori Westphal — January 20, 2014 @ 9:22 pm (#)

    I’ve never even heard of it! But it sounds like a maybe a healthy addition to stew or chili!

    coriwestphal at msn dot com

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:38 pm (#)

      Cori, It would be great in stew or chili. It’s very hearty and tasty. Perfect to take the place of some of the meat, in fact.

  20. alissa — January 20, 2014 @ 7:49 pm (#)

    i recently bought my first bag of farro and love the taste and texture! looks like a great giveaway! thanks for the chance to win.

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:39 pm (#)

      Alissa, I was surprised by how much my family and I loved it. I was expecting a bland boring grain. So much flavor and such a great texture.

  21. Molly — January 20, 2014 @ 11:44 am (#)

    I’ve never tried it. Soup sounds good.

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:39 pm (#)

      Molly, You’ll have to give it a try soon. It is fabulous in soup. Good luck in the giveaway!

  22. Amber — January 19, 2014 @ 8:13 pm (#)

    I have not tried farro but I’d be interested to give it a try!

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:39 pm (#)

      Amber, You’ll have to let me know what you think when you try it out. Good luck in the giveaway!

  23. Nanci — January 19, 2014 @ 4:02 pm (#)

    My dear friend brought me some farro soup mix from Perugia. It was really tasty, and I’ve looked forward to trying more of it!

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:40 pm (#)

      Nanci, A farro soup mix? That sounds so interesting. I’m going to look into it and see if I can find out.

  24. Illana — January 19, 2014 @ 3:33 pm (#)

    I love quinoa and bulgur in salads, soups and as a side dish. I would be interested in trying farro (and some of the other grains) in similar contexts and see how the taste changes.

  25. Illana — January 19, 2014 @ 3:30 pm (#)

    I have never tried farro. I love quinoa as a side, in soup or on salad and I also love bulgur in tabouleh or in soup as well. I wonder how farrow would be in one or any of these contexts.

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:41 pm (#)

      Illana, I think it would be great in all of those. In fact, I did a farro tabouleh-like salad a little while ago and it was wonderful. Great ideas! (And nice to be in touch with you after so long :) )

  26. CW — January 19, 2014 @ 9:27 am (#)

    I haven’t tried farro before but putting it in soup sounds good.

    • Christine Pittman — January 22, 2014 @ 4:42 pm (#)

      It IS great in soup. That’s probably one of my favorite uses for it. I’ve been keeping cooked farro in my freezer in a freezer bag and then just add it to soups whenever I make them. Perfect!

  27. Shaina — January 18, 2014 @ 7:30 pm (#)

    I discovered farro when I tried a dish from a local healthy eating advocate, and i make variations of it all the time now. it was a farro salad with radicchio, roasted beets and feta. i add all kinds of things to change up the flavors, but it totally turned me on to farro. i made stuffed mushrooms with farro, too. it’s a really great grain! i may even like it better than quinoa =-O!

  28. James Kennedy — January 18, 2014 @ 6:16 pm (#)

    I’ve never tried it before but I’m sure I’d love it. I’d like to make a Farro and garden vegetable salad out of it.

  29. Marlys — January 18, 2014 @ 6:12 pm (#)

    I have never tried Farro before but it sounds interesting.

  30. Sandy Headtke — January 18, 2014 @ 6:11 pm (#)

    Never tried it, would use it in salads

  31. Anna — January 17, 2014 @ 11:31 pm (#)

    Cafe at work makes a delicious mushroom farro grain salad. Maybe I’ll try to recreate it now that I have three ways to cook it!

  32. LydzKyd — January 17, 2014 @ 11:18 pm (#)

    I have seen farro in Costco. Now I have to pick it up and try it.

  33. Karen — January 17, 2014 @ 10:23 pm (#)

    I’ve never had it before, but I’m curious how it would taste in a porridge-type dish.

  34. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine — January 17, 2014 @ 8:54 pm (#)

    I am gluten free so sadly I can’t eat farro but I’m sure I would love it!

  35. Georgiana — January 17, 2014 @ 8:51 pm (#)

    I’ve never tried it before but would cook it up in chicken broth for some flavor as a nice side dish.

  36. Marti Miller Hall (Tofu Mom) — January 17, 2014 @ 8:44 pm (#)

    I cooked the farro in the rice-cooker and then made a farro and lima bean salad. It was hearty and SO delicious!

  37. Barb — January 17, 2014 @ 7:20 pm (#)

    Love farro! Was introduced to it in Italy. Love adding it to soup. Made a risotto style dish with it…lemon and asparagus..delicious!

  38. Erin — January 17, 2014 @ 6:06 pm (#)

    I like making Farro! My favorite combo is “Mediterranean style” with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese and veggies.

  39. Ashley — January 17, 2014 @ 5:04 pm (#)

    I have never tried farro but i would love to have it with veggies!

  40. Jane's Adventures in Dinner — January 17, 2014 @ 2:25 pm (#)

    LOVE farro and you’ve done such an awesome job going through the process.

  41. MaryB — January 17, 2014 @ 2:19 pm (#)

    I’ve had farro in soup before. I would like to incorporate more farro recipes into our meal plan.

  42. Ray S — January 17, 2014 @ 8:18 am (#)

    I have not tried farro before and it would be tasty addition to my chicken salad for lunch. Thanks!

  43. Maria held — January 17, 2014 @ 4:45 am (#)

    This is so timely. Yesterday I took a class at the Extension Service about cooking with whole grains. All the giveaway grains were covered.

  44. Maria held — January 17, 2014 @ 4:42 am (#)

    This giveaway is so timely. Last evening I took a class at the local Extension Office about Cooking with Whole Grains. All the giveaway grains were covered.

  45. Ann Marie Mones — January 17, 2014 @ 12:01 am (#)

    I have never tried it, yet. But I would really like to cook it in the recipe with cream cheese and spinach, sounds yummy!

  46. milaxx — January 16, 2014 @ 10:55 pm (#)

    I’ve never tried farro, but a friend of mind always tweets about cooking farro. I think I’d like a hot savory dish of some kind.

  47. Renata — January 16, 2014 @ 8:44 pm (#)

    I have never tried farro before and I would like to try to make a cheesy chicken casserole with it!

  48. Jen — January 16, 2014 @ 7:54 pm (#)

    I cooked some farro right in my minestrone. First day, great, second day, weird and gooey. Would love some soup ideas.

  49. Marjory @ Dinner-Mom — January 16, 2014 @ 7:26 pm (#)

    Love how comprehensive your post is…I’ve been wanting to try it. Pinning to reference when I do!

  50. Tracy — January 16, 2014 @ 1:27 pm (#)

    I actually have a farro board on Pinterest, I love it so much. I often just toss in whatever I have around, like mushrooms and onion, or tomatoes and olives.

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