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.