This guide on how to cook farro will help you get a perfectly tender grain each time. It’s a great grain to add to your rotation if it’s not there already!
Whether you’re a long-time farro fan or a first-timer, this helpful guide on how to cook farro will teach you everything you need to know to get a perfectly tender, well-cooked grain every time. While there are many ways to whip it up, this is an easy stovetop method that’s our favorite and never fails.
What is Farro?
Farro is a high-protein, high-fiber whole grain wheat and is one of the most ancient grains in existence – we’ve been eating it for centuries! Similar to barley, it’s got a nice chewy texture that’s a balance of firm and tender and a nutty flavor. The two grains are often used interchangeably in everything from salad (like this one) to soup recipes. If you’re wondering, farro is not gluten-free, as it is wheat. It is, however, packed with nutrients and vitamins, including magnesium and zinc.
Looking for a great quality farro? Here’s our favorite from Bob’s Red Mill.
All the Different Kinds of Farro
Although farro is often referred to as one grain, it’s comprised of three different kinds from three different wheat plants – farro piccolo (einkorn), farro medio (emmer), and farro grande (spelt). To make matters more confusing (haha), these three are then broken down into 3 different styles that affect the overall cooking time:
- Whole Farro – Whole farro features a completely intact wheat berry, causing it to have both the longest cooking time and the most vitamins and minerals. It also requires overnight soaking for it to cook properly and can’t be cooked straight from the package – unless you want to chip a tooth!
- Semi-Pearled Farro – Next in line, we have semi-pearled farro. It has partial bran, making it easier and quicker to cook while retaining most of the vitamins and minerals. You don’t have to soak semi-pearled farro, but it does take about 15-20 minutes longer than pearled farro.
- Pearled Farro (Our Favorite) – Pearled farro is the most common type of farro in the United States. It touts the shortest cook time, as all the bran has been completely removed. This is the type we keep in our pantry at all times!
How to Prepare the Perfect Farro Every Time
Preparing perfect farro is as simple as 1-2-3. All you need is a sturdy pot and a little patience.
- Rinse the Farro: Rinse the farro in a bowl or fine-mesh strainer under cold water to remove the excess starch (use the same technique you would for rice or a strainer – either works great).
- Simmer the Farro: Combine the water, salt, butter, and farro in a pot. Bring the mixture to a bowl and then bring it down to a medium-low simmer for 25 minutes.
- Drain the Farro: Drain excess water from the farro, fluff it with a fork, and stir in some butter. Enjoy!
3 Tips for How to Cook Farro
Now that you know everything there is to know about this ancient grain, find some foolproof pointers on how to perfect the cooking process.
- Rinse all the excess starch. To avoid getting mushy farro, rinse as much of the excess starch off the grain as possible. You’ll know you got it all off when the water runs clear and no longer looks milky.
- Turn down the heat if need be. If the water starts over boiling out of the sides of the pot, reduce the heat a bit. Every stovetop is different so don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe a bit to accommodate your own.
- Use broth instead of water. If you want to add more depth of flavor to your farro, cook it with broth and a bay leaf instead of water. We love using chicken broth the most, but feel free to use vegetable broth, beef broth, or even bone broth if you prefer.
Farro is such a versatile grain and can be used pretty much anywhere you’d use rice or barley. We love to serve it as a side dish alongside grilled ribeye steaks or pan-fried lamb chops. If you want to add more protein to salads, you can toss it straight into a beet and goat cheese arugula salad or kale salad. We have also used it as a stuffing for stuffed duck or Thanksgiving turkey.
Tips for Storing Farro
Farro is great for meal prep and can be stored in two different ways to keep the taste fresh and the texture intact.
- Refrigerator: To keep cooked farro fresh for 5 days, keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge. This will keep the grain from drying out in the colder temperature.
- Freezer: To keep farro on hand for up to 3 months, spread the grains in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer the pan to a freezer uncovered for at least 2 hours. Transfer the frozen grains to a freezer-safe container.
Reheating Tip: To reheat refrigerated or frozen farro, place it in a skillet with butter over medium heat or in the microwave for a minute or so.
BONUS! How to Cook Farro in an Instant Pot
If you want to use the magical powers of your pressure cooker, here’s all you need to know about making farro in the Instant Pot.
- Dump in the Ingredients: Place farro, water, and salt in the Instant Pot.
- Pressure Cook the Farro: Pressure cook the farro on High for 7-10 minutes.
- Natural Release the Pressure: Allow the pressure to natural release for 7 minutes.
- Safely Remove Remaining Pressure: Carefully open the pressure valve to quick release any lingering pressure in the chamber. Open the lid.
- Drain the Farro: Drain the farro of any excess liquid, fluff it with a fork, and stir in some butter.
What is the ratio of water to farro?
The ratio of water to farro is 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of farro. This grain has a tendency to soak up a lot of liquid, so you need a good amount of water to prepare it.
Does farro need to be soaked?
Farro doesn’t always have to be soaked. You’ll need to soak it if you’re using whole farro, but semi-pearled and pearled farro can be cooked straight from the package.
Do you cook farro with the lid on or off?
It’s best to cook farro with the lid on. This creates a steaming effect that helps to loosen the grains texture and cook it all the way through.
Do you boil or simmer farro?
First, you bring the farro to a boil and them you take the heat down and simmer it for 25 to 30 minutes until it’s cooked through. It’s not a good idea to boil it the entire time, as it will turn to mush.
How much dry farro do you use per serving?
There’s 1/4 cup of dry farro per serving. Typically, it’s a good idea to cook 2-3 cups of dry farro at a time to have some on hand for later.
More Helpful Cooking How-Tos
- How to Cook Quinoa – Guide to perfect quinoa
- Homemade Pasta How-To – Easy DIY pasta noodles
- How to Cook Buckwheat (aka Kasha) – Tender homemade buckwheat
- How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken – You’ll be an expert in no time
- The Ultimate Guide on Cooking Oils – How and when to use various oils
- Easy Potato Gnocchi – 4-ingredient gnocchi recipe
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- In a large bowl or colander, rinse the farro under cold water until the water runs clear and there's no more starch left.
- Place the water, salt, butter, and farro into a pot. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the farro to simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Check the doneness of the farro but giving it a taste test. If it's undercooked, let it simmer for a couple of more minutes and test it again. Once it's fully-cooked, drain the water, add the butter, and stir to combine.
This was so helpful! Thank you for all these tips!
You're welcome, Allyson!
This was really helpful! I loved learning so much about Farro and how to cook it!
Thanks, Eden! Glad you found it helpful.
Great recipe - we had never made a this before and we found it to be really yummy!
I feel like it's a bit underrated, but it's such a great side dish, and great alternative to the usual rice, potatoes, etc.