My favorite method for how to cook farro! Plus tips for how to toast and season farro, how to freeze farro, and a collection of my favorite easy farro recipes.
Our series on pantry staples continues today with my all-time favorite whole grain — farro!
Guys, are you already doing lots of cooking with farro? If not, I sincerely can’t recommend it enough. Farro has long been a staple in my pantry and one of my favorite whole grains to toss into soups, salads, grain bowls, stuffed peppers, fried “farro” rice, risottos, porriges, and so much more.
I’m especially partial to farro because of its oh-so-satisfyingly chewy texture and toasty, nutty flavor. But I also really love that this whole grain is packed with nutrients, including lots of fiber and protein, plus a generous serving of vitamins and minerals. It’s easy to substitute farro in any of your favorite recipes that call for rice, quinoa or other grains. It’s quick and easy to cook, and also keeps well in the refrigerator or the freezer. And if you happen to have an Instant Pot at home, you can also pressure cook it too!
Seriously, there are so many good reasons to incorporate this whole grain into your diet. So here are all of my best tips on how to cook farro — including various options for how to season it, if you would like — as well as some of my favorite farro recipes to give you some inspiration.
Let’s cook some farro! ♡
What Is Farro?
Farro is an ancient whole grain that originated in the Middle East. It has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Italian cooking for many generations now, but it has recently become much more popular worldwide once people have discovered how tasty, nutritious, and versatile farro can be!
I love farro because of its nutty flavor and satisfyingly chewy texture. But I also love cooking with it because farro is high in fiber and protein, and it’s also a great source of nutrients including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
When shopping for farro, are three different types of farro that you can purchase:
Whole farro: Farro that contains the entire husk and bran, which means that it has the most nutrients and the strongest flavor. Whole farro requires about 30-40 minutes to cook.
Semi-pearled farro: Farro with no husk and part of the bran polished away, giving it slightly less nutrients and a milder flavor. Semi-pearled farro requires about 25-30 minutes to cook.
Pearled farro: This is the type of farro available in most grocery stores, which has no husk and all of the bran polished away, and has less nutrients and a milder flavor. Pearled farro is a favorite with many cooks because it only requires 15-20 minutes to cook.
You can typically find farro in the grains or health food section of your grocery store. Or you can order it easily on Amazon too.
Basic Farro Ingredients:
Alright, so let’s talk about the basic ingredients that you will need to make a batch of farro. Those include:
Farro:Uncooked farro (either pearled, semi-pearled or whole), rinsed and drained.
Water: Or you can use vegetable or chicken broth, for extra flavor.
Sea salt: To bring out the flavor of the farro.
(Optional) Aromatics: Such as bay leaf, garlic, fresh herbs or other seasonings.
How To Cook Farro:
Here is my favorite basic method for how to cook farro! Simply…
Simmer the farro. Add the farro, salt (plus any optional aromatics) to a large pot of boiling water and stir to combine. Simmer until the farro is tender and chewy — approximately 15-20 minutes for pearled farro, 25-30 minutes for semi-pearled farro, or 35-40 minutes for whole farro.
Fluff and season the farro. Fluff the farro with a fork. Taste, and season with extra salt if needed.
Serve warm. Serve and enjoy!
See the full recipe below for detailed ingredient amounts and recipe instructions.
Pearled farro before (uncooked) and after (cooked)
Farro Flavor Boosters:
If you would like to kick up the flavor of your farro, feel free to use one or more of these flavor boosters too:
Toast the farro: This easy step only takes 3 minutes, but it makes a major difference in bringing out the nutty, toasty, natural flavors of farro. Simply heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the dry uncooked farro and let it toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the farro is fragrant. Remove from heat and cook as directed.
Add aromatics to the water: I almost always add a bay leaf to my farro for extra flavor, plus maybe a clove or two of fresh garlic. But you can also add in any other fresh herbs that go with your farro recipe, chicken or veggie bouillon, or any of your favorite spices or seasonings.
Season the farro after it has cooked: I also like to add a few twists of freshly-cracked black pepper to my farro after it has cooked. But feel free to also add in any fresh or dried herbs that you love.
How to pronounce farro? It is pronounced “fah-roh.” (Rhymes with “sorrow.”)
Is farro gluten-free? No, unfortunately farro is not gluten-free.
Is farro keto? No, farro is not keto. It has too high of a carb count for the keto diet.
Is farro a whole grain? Yes, farro is a whole grain.
Why do you have to rinse farro? Farro is typically coated in a dry, powdery coating that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.
How do you know when farro is cooked? Honestly, the best way to tell if farro is done is to taste it. The texture should be chewy yet tender. That said, if you would like your farro to be softer (less chewy), just simmer it a few minutes longer until it reaches your desired consistency.
How do you freeze farro? It’s best to spread the farro out in a shallow layer on a baking sheet, then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 2 hours until the farro is frozen. Then you can remove and transfer the farro to a food storage container or ziplock, so that the farro does not freeze together as one large brick.
Can you make farro in the Instant Pot? Definitely! Cooking time will vary depending on which type of farro (pearled, semi-pearled or whole) that you use. But for pearled farro, just combine 1 cup (rinsed) pearled farro, 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt in the bowl of your Instant Pot. Cover and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, followed a quick release. Drain off any extra liquid, then fluff and serve!
Farro nutrition facts? Here are a few quick stats! One cup of cooked farro includes: 337 calories, 15g protein, 71g carbs, 2.1g fat, and 11g fiber.
Favorite Farro Recipes:
Here are a few of my favorite farro recipes! Also, feel free to use farro as a substitute in other recipes that call for quinoa, rice or other grains too!
Bring water to boil. Heat the water over high heat in a saucepan until it is boiling.
Simmer the farro. Add the farro, salt (plus any optional aromatics, see below) and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook the farro until it is chewy and tender — approximately 15 to 20 minutes for pearled farro, 25 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled farro, or 35 to 40 minutes for whole farro.