Farro is a delicious and versatile ancient grain that is great addition to salads, soups, and grain bowls. Follow the simple steps below to make perfect farro on the stovetop every time.
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Farro (pronounced “FAR-oh”) has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Mediterranean and Middle East.
Farro is a member of the wheat family, but it is a whole grain, which means it has not been hybridized or genetically modified like modern wheat varieties.
This makes farro a healthier alternative to refined grains, which have been stripped of their nutrient-rich bran and germ.
Farro is versatile and easy to prepare, making it a popular ingredient for home cooks and professional chefs alike.
It has an earthy and nutty flavor and a pleasantly chewy texture.
It makes a fun change of pace from Brown Rice and can be used in many of the same ways.
Health Benefits of Farro
In addition to its delicious taste and versatility in cooking, farro also offers a range of health benefits. Here are a few reasons why you might want to add farro to your diet.
- High in Nutrients. Farro is a good source of several important nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins B and E, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium.
- Good for Digestion. Farro is high in fiber, which is important for keeping the digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Fiber can also help to reduce cholesterol levels and promote feelings of fullness.
- Heart-Healthy. Farro is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The magnesium in farro has been shown to help lower blood pressure.*
- Gluten-Friendly. While farro is a type of wheat, it is an ancient grain that is lower in gluten than modern wheat varieties. This makes it a good option for people with mild gluten sensitivities who can tolerate small amounts of gluten in their diet.
Types of Farro
There are three main types of farro: whole, pearled, and semi-pearled. Each type is processed differently, which affects its nutritional value, cooking time, and texture.
- Whole Farro. The least processed form of farro. Whole farro is made of the entire grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole farro takes longer to cook than other types of farro, but it is the most nutrient-dense and has the highest fiber content. Whole farro takes about 30-40 minutes to cook.
- Semi-Pearled Farro. Semi-pearled farro has been polished to remove some of the bran and germ. Pearled farro has a lower fiber content, a slightly lighter texture and nuttier flavor, and shorter cooking time than whole farro.
- Pearled Farro. Pearled farro has been processed to remove most of the bran and some of the germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Pearled farro has a slightly lighter texture and shorter cooking time than whole farro, but it also has a lower fiber content. Pearled farro takes 15-20 minutes to cook.
Should I Soak My Farro?
Soaking farro is not required, but it can help to reduce the cooking time and some say it improves the texture of the cooked grain.
Others also say that soaking the farro can also help to make it more digestible by breaking down some of the complex carbohydrates and proteins that can be difficult to digest.
- If you are using whole farro, you can soak for a few hours or overnight. Place farro in a bowl or pot and enough water to cover the grain, then cover with a lid. Refrigerate and soak for a few hours or overnight before cooking.
- Note that if you soak farro, it will only require 10-15 minutes of simmering.
- Pearled and semi-pearled farro have already had some of their outer layers removed, which can make them cook faster and absorb liquid more easily, so they don’t necessarily need to be soaked.
How to Make Farro on the Stove
- Farro. Whole, pearled, or semi-pearled farro. Pick your favorite or the most accessible type of farro, but cooking times may vary. I most often purchase Bob’s Red Mill farro.
- Water. The rice-to-farro ratio is critical.
- Rinse the Farro. Use a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.
- Boil the Water Then Add the Farro. Make sure your saucepan can hold the farro and water without boiling over.
- Cover and Simmer. Cook farro until it’s pleasantly chewy (15-20 minutes for pearled farro, 20-30 for semi-pearled, or 40 for whole farro). The farro will be al dente.
- Drain and Fluff with a Fork. Top with fresh herbs as desired. ENJOY!
- To Store. Let the farro cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked farro for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Add the farro and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
- To Freeze. Freeze cooked, cooled farro in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3-6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Ways to Use Farro
- Salads. Add a scoop of farro to any salad for a boost of filling fiber and nutrition. Or swap it for other whole grains like wheatberries or the quinoa in this Quinoa Salad.
- Risotto. Instead of rice, make whole grain Farro Risotto,
- Main Dishes. Add cooked farro to Italian Stuffed Peppers; the Italian Turkey Sausage Skillet with Farro, Greens, and Beans in The Well Plated Cookbook is another favorite.
- Stir Fries. Farro can make a great rice-swap in stir-fries. Serve farro with Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, Tofu Stir Fry, Bourbon Chicken, or any of these other stir fry recipes.
Meal Prep Tip
Farro is good grain to have on hand for meal prep! Double the recipe at the beginning of the week to have a big batch to quickly add a nutritious grain to your meals.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mesh Strainer. Perfect for rinsing grains like farro and rice.
- Wooden Spoons. The best wooden spoons.
- Measuring Cups. Perfect for getting the farro-to-water ratio.
Farro Tips and Tricks
- Rinse. This removes any debris and helps the farro cook up with a better final texture.
- Mind Your Farro Type. Depending on the kind of farro you choose (whole, pearled, or semi-pearled), and whether or not you soak it, your cook time will vary, but the general method applies to all varieties.
- Consider Toasting. Toasting farro is an optional step but it does build extra flavor if you’re looking to maximize your farro experience.
- Season. Adding a few pinches of kosher salt to the farro as it cook will enhance its flavor.
How to Cook Farro
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup uncooked farro whole, pearled, or semi-pearled
- Chopped fresh cilantro parsley or herbs of choice (optional)
- In a medium-large sauce pan, bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Rinse the farro. Place farro in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
- Once the water is boiling, add farro and stir to combine. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until farro is tender and chewy (15-20 minutes for pearled farro, 20-30 for semi-pearled, or 40 for whole farro). The farro will be al dente.
- Drain farro. Drain away the excess water and then return the farro to saucepan. Fluff with a fork. Top with herbs as desired.
- If you are using whole farro, you can soak for a few hours/overnight. Place farro in a bowl/pot and enough water to cover the grain, then cover with a lid. Refrigerate and soak for a few hours or overnight before cooking.
- Cook as directed above, however, this method will only require 10-15 minutes of simmering.
- TO STORE: Let the farro cool before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate cooked farro for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Add the farro and a small amount of water or broth (or an ice cube!) to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes until reheated.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze cooked, cooled farro in a freezer-safe storage container for up to 3-6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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Frequently Asked Questions
One cup of uncooked farro yields roughly 3 cups cooked.
Farro should not be completely soft. You want it to be pleasantly chewy, with an al dente type texture.
Farro needs to be rinsed. Rinsing farro helps remove any debris, dirt, or impurities. Farro is often sold in bulk, and can be stored for long periods of time, which increases the likelihood of it coming into contact with dust or other contaminants. Rinsing the farro also helps to remove excess starch and debris from the surface of the grains, which can help to improve the texture and flavor of the cooked farro.
Rinsing the farro can also help reduce the cooking time and ensure the grains cook evenly. By rinsing the farro before cooking, you are hydrating the grains and preparing them for the cooking process, which can help to improve the final result.
Soaking farro is optional. You can still achieve a delicious result without soaking. The main reason to soak farro is to reduce the cooking time (this is especially true of whole farro).
Farro is pronounced as FAH-roh, with the emphasis on the first syllable.
Farro is a term that refers to three types of ancient hulled wheat: Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt.
Hulled wheat means the grains have a tough outer layer that protects them from pests and diseases, but this layer also makes the grains harder to process. This layer has to be removed before the grains can be milled into flour or cooked as whole grains.
*Health benefits of farro found on healthline.com.