Here’s how to cook farro, an ancient grain with a chewy texture! Plus, browse our top farro recipes: side dishes, salads, soups and more.

Farro

Looking for a fun side dish idea, or a whole grain to make a killer salad? Farro is a whole grain that can be used as an alternative to rice, barley or other grains. We love it for its chewy texture and nutty taste. There’s nothing better than tossing this grain with butter, garlic and fresh herbs as a simple side dish! You can use this grain to whip up all sorts of recipes, and it’s become easy to find at the grocery. Here’s how to cook farro so it’s perfectly tender, and some of our favorite farro recipes for using it.

What is farro?

Farro is a whole grain that’s plump and chewy, with a texture similar to barley. It’s an ancient grain that was eaten in the Roman empire and even found in Egyptian tombs. Farro has been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries, and spread to global popularity with the recent interest in whole grains. Farro can be boiled on the stovetop, cooked in a rice cooker or in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot). There are a few types you can find in American grocery stores:

  • Pearled farro has all of the bran removed from the grain, making it quicker to cook but removing some fiber. The cook time is 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Semi-pearled farro has part of the bran removed, retaining some additional fiber. The cook time is 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Whole farro is the whole grain and takes the longest to cook. It’s the hardest to find in grocery stores. The cook time is 30 to 40 minutes.

The recipe in this article is for pearled and semi-pearled farro. As a note, the labeling of this grain in the grocery store can be confusing. Many packages don’t contain the words pearled or semi-pearled. Check the cook time on the package as a guide, then follow our recipe below.

Farro

How to cook farro

Farro is easy to cook on the stovetop. For every 1 cup of farro, you’ll need 3 cups of water or broth for it to fully cook through. Then drain any excess liquid once it is tender, which is different from grains like rice or quinoa. Here are the basic steps for how to cook farro (or jump to the recipe below):

  1. Rinse: Rinse the grains under cold water in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Add water: In a large saucepan, place 1 cup farro, 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and bring it to a boil.
  3. Simmer: Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes for pearled and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled.
  4. Drain: Drain any excess water. Stir in an additional ¼ teaspoon salt.

More FAQ

Here are a few more facts about farro:

  • How much does 1 cup dry farro make? About 2 to 2 ½ cups cooked.
  • What are other names for farro? Spelt, emmer, and einkorn are other names for the grain in English that denote different sizes, from largest to smallest. Emmer is what you’ll find in most American stores. In Italy farro is labeled to denote its size as farro grande, farro medio, and farro piccolo.
Farro

How to season as a side dish

Want to serve farro as a simple side dish? Transform it into garlic herb farro! It’s fast and easy, and it makes this grain taste irresistible. Here’s what to add to the pot once you’ve drained it:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, like fresh thyme, chives, oregano or basil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

Top farro recipes

Want to cook up a pot of this whole grain to use in recipes? Farro is an especially great base for grain salads. Mix it with some fresh or cooked vegetables, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Or add it to soups and stews as an alterative to barley! Here are a few of our top farro recipes and serving suggestions for this ancient grain:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Farro

How to Cook Farro


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Learning how to cook farro is quite straightforward. In this recipe, we show you how to cook farro and how we like to flavor it with garlic and herbs.

Note: For how to cook farro in a pressure cooker, go to Instant Pot Farro.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup uncooked farro, pearled or semi-pearled (not whole)
  • 3 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

For the garlic herb farro

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, chives, or basil)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse the farro under cold water in a fine mesh strainer. In a large saucepan, place the farro, water and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes for pearled farro and 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled farro. Taste test a grain to see if it is tender (if the package is unmarked, just cook until tender).
  3. Drain any excess water. Add the additional ¼ teaspoon salt. Use in recipes as desired. If you’re planning to save for later, stir in a drizzle of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together. Or, go to Step 4 to season it as a side dish.
  4. Turn the heat to medium and stir in minced garlic, herbs, and butter. Heat, stirring, until the butter is melted, about 30 seconds. Taste and add additional salt if desired. 
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: farro, how to cook farro, farro recipes, farro recipe

 

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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12 Comments

  1. Before going GF, farro was my absolute favorite grain. I especially love grinding it half way to flour and cooking it for breakfast. Texture perfection.

    1. I’m not sure if they are related, but they have a very similar texture. I prefer farro though — not sure why :)

  2. I love farro! The shape always reminds me of sugar Smacks cereal though. Which interestingly I found is called honey Smacks now. Marketing… eye roll.

    This looks simple and delic! Great way to use summer herbs.

  3. Made this farro dish tonight. It was my first time making farro but definitely not my last. I used fresh sage and oregano (no thyme) and added a little chicken bouillon and it was one of the best side dishes I’ver ever had. Love the flavors and texture. Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.

  4. Was looking for a farro dish that wasn’t soup or salad, and this was it. Used parsley, cilantro, and basil as the herbs. A keeper.

  5. I’m not sure you realize this but in the section entitled – How to cook farro – you say “For every two cups of farro, you’ll need around three cups of water or broth for it to fully cook through”. In the instructions a little below that it says “In a pot, place 2 cups farro with 6 cups of water”.
    So – I’m thinking 6 cups, but maybe you should correct this, thanks for the recipe.

    1. Thanks for noting this! It should be “for every 1 cup farro, use 3 cups water.” So 6 cups in the instructions is correct! Thanks so much and we’ve fixed the “How to cook farro” section accordingly.

  6. Farro is one of my favorite go to grains during the long dark days of winter, as well as it is in the summer months in a cold salad. A simple bowl of warm cooked farro for me is roasted garlic, olive oil, fresh shaved parm & roasted walnuts, sea salt. Heaven in a bowl! Wish more people were turned on to it rather then turn away from it, the feel intimidated by it, nonsense I say!