How to Cook Farro

Learn how to cook farro on the stovetop. It’s such a delicious, versatile, and hearty grain. I know you’re going to love it!

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.
Learn how to cook farro on the stovetop. It's such a delicious, versatile, and hearty grain. I know you're going to love it!

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.

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 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.

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, in the oven, in the slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. I’m giving instructions for the stove today. Head here for farro in the oven, and here for farro in the slow cooker. Farro in the Instant Pot is great too!

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. And if it’s ready earlier than you thought and you don’t need it yet, it reheats exceptionally well in the microwave.

How to Reheat Farro:

Just add a bit of water (1 tablespoon per 2 cups of cooked farro) and loosely cover it. Microwave it for 45 seconds at a time, stirring in between heats, until heated through.

And now, here are the instructions for cooking farro on the stove.


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How to Cook Farro on the Stove


  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Learn how to cook farro on the stovetop. It’s such a delicious, versatile, and hearty grain. I know you’re going to love it!

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  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.

 

 

Disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill provided items for a giveaway, which has closed, 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. This post originally appeared in January of 2014 and was completely revised in May of 2016 and then again in January, 2020.
How to Cook Farro

94 responses to “How to Cook Farro”

  1. Calvin says:

    Looks quite nutritious, haven’t had experience cooking this before.

  2. Debbie Yoder says:

    I have to admit Ive never heard of this grain!

  3. Susan P. says:

    I cooked farro for the first time about 2 years ago and love it! I make it as a side dish like rice or use like noodles underneath a protein with sauce. I’ll have to try these recipes since they look delicious.

  4. Deborah Waddell says:

    Will have to try farro.

  5. Sarah L says:

    Thanks for the info on farro. I’ve never even noticed it in the store. I’d use it first in soups.

  6. Pat says:

    Is Bob’s Red Mill pearl or non-pearl Farro?  Will be cooking some for Charlie Bird’s Farro salad this Thanksgiving…cannot tell from packaging what type it is.  Thanks much.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Bob’s Red Mill is pearled farro, Pat. I think they should make that clearer on the packaging too! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Madeleine Yeh says:

    Thank you.   I was reading a pumpkin farro risotto  and planning to make it.  I needed a more in depth explanation of how to cook farro in general .   I wanted reassurance that farro could be cooked without presoaking, and alternate ideas in case I wanted to use the slow cooker.     This was just what I needed and it helped me cook my farro succesfully.   I am trying to get out of my cooking rut and you have helped me do so. 
      This article was very clear and informative. 

  8. Sarah Blackburn says:

    Farro stuffed peppers are the best!

  9. Rut says:

    Haven’t attempted cooking farro yet, but just about ready too. The type I have is pearled farro. Do I need to soak it overnight or just soak it ? I can’t figure that out from reading all the comments.
    Thanks for your help,
    Ruth

  10. Kat says:

    I’ve had farro as a breakfast cereal at a restaurant in NYC…so delicious, so nutty, so toothy. It’s delicious with all the things you’d have with porridge, so cream, honey or maple syrup, fruits, whatever. So it’s not just suited to savoury things!

    I cooked it for the first time tonight in my panasonic fuzzy logic (expensive and programmable) rice cooker. It has programmes for each type of rice, like jasmine, brown, sticky, etc., along with settings for mixed grains, steam, porridge, etc. It makes bang-on perfect rice every single time. So this time, I used the “mixed grains setting”. I used the amount of water they recommended. Not quite cooked enough. So I put it back in and probably cooked it for another 20 minutes, in five and ten minute increments, having added a bit more water each time. So no way it would cook on a white rice setting…FYI… Anyway, it’s finally done and delicious. Next time I’ll experiment some more. I think the way to go it just put it on a timer, likely 45 minutes on the “quick cook” setting. It will be worth the trouble to figure this out. It was Bob’s Red Mill farro. DELICIOUS!

  11. Nanci says:

    Ididn’the read all the comments, but I Cook my Farro, if us in as a grain alone in my rice cooker. I also cook other grains such as barley, quinoa, wheat berries etc. Works like a dream!

  12. Henry says:

    Can you replace rice and use Fargo in places on a gumbo

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Yes, you can use cooked farro anywhere that you have cooked rice. However, rice and farro cook at different rates and with different amounts of liquid so you cannot just add raw farro where you would have added raw rice without making adjustments.

  13. Cathe says:

    Thanks for the great tips on how to cook farro. I just found a recipe for roasted asparagus and scallion salad that is tossed with cooked farro that is tossed with a dressing – all of it is served on top of arugula. It looks beautiful and now I know it will be perfect! Thanks!!

  14. Michelle Boor says:

    Hi Christine, I have a quick question that I hope you can answer. I’m going to cook farro for the first time and I was wondering if I can put it in my rice cooker. I am terrible at making rice and have only been able to successfully cook it if I use my rice cooker, so I was wondering if I can take the same shortcut and play it safe with my farro.

    Thank you for your time

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Michelle, I have never tried it but I’m betting it would work perfectly. The only issue is the amount of time and the amount of water. I’d say put it in for as long as you would normally put white rice using the same amount of water. Then check it regularly and see if it is softened and if the water is absorbed. You can always add more water and more time. Make note of the amount of time and water needed and then you’ll know for next time. And I’d love it if you’d come back here and let us all know as well!

  15. […] the farro.  Here are some great instructions.  Set […]

  16. […] Cook up a batch of farro, directions here. If you’re looking to shorten the process, make sure to buy the pearled […]

  17. […] fiber, B Complex vitamins, and pretty low in gluten. Read more about Farro and how to cook it here. […]

  18. […] Let me know if you have tried Farro and if you like it.  If not, I am sure one of these recipes will entice you to cook with this ancient grain.  It’s easy and simple to prepare.  Here are three methods on how you can cook Farro. […]

  19. Mommer says:

    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!  : )

  20. Susan Broughton says:

    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!

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    How to Cook Farro: Three Cooking Methods

  22. […] How to Cook Farro: Three Cooking Methods (cookthestory.com) […]

  23. Anne says:

    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.

  24. Christine L. says:

    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 ….

  25. Candice says:

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

  26. Mireille says:

    I love farro and the product line also!

  27. DONNA KIEVER says:

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

  28. amanda says:

    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!

  29. Erin says:

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

  30. […] with cream cheese and spinach is as simple as it is delicious. If you’ve never tried farro, click here to enter to win a grainy prize pack from Bob’s Red Mill full of tasty grains to try, farro […]

  31. Rebecca says:

    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 says:

      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.

  32. Kim Porter says:

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

  33. Barb says:

    i have never tryed farro but would try in salad

  34. Barbara Bradford says:

    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.

  35. Christopher Sorel says:

    Lo ve farro and like to make it creamy

  36. Jeffrey says:

    Mac and cheese sounds pretty good or a breakfast bake!

  37. […] wait. If you haven’t already, head over here and enter to win my New-Grains-To-Try Giveaway sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. You get a big box full of all kinds of interesting grains, including […]

  38. Mili says:

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

  39. Rosie says:

    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.

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

  41. 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 says:

      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.

  42. alissa says:

    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 says:

      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.

  43. Molly says:

    I’ve never tried it. Soup sounds good.

  44. Amber says:

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

  45. Nanci says:

    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!

  46. Illana says:

    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.

  47. Illana says:

    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 says:

      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 :) )

  48. CW says:

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

    • Christine Pittman says:

      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!

  49. Shaina says:

    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!

  50. James Kennedy says:

    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.

  51. Marlys says:

    I have never tried Farro before but it sounds interesting.

  52. Sandy Headtke says:

    Never tried it, would use it in salads

  53. Anna says:

    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!

  54. LydzKyd says:

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

  55. Karen says:

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

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

  57. Georgiana says:

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

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

  59. Barb says:

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

  60. Erin says:

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

  61. Ashley says:

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

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

  63. MaryB says:

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

  64. Ray S says:

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

  65. Maria held says:

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

  66. Maria held says:

    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.

  67. Ann Marie Mones says:

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

  68. milaxx says:

    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.

  69. Renata says:

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

  70. Jen says:

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

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

  72. Tracy says:

    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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