Cooking Times for 30 Grains (Stove-Top and Pressure Cooking Times)

Cooking Times for 30 Cereal Grains

Whether you like to cook your grains in a regular pot on the stove-top or in an electric or stove-top pressure cooker, the cooking times chart below can help you estimate the time needed to cook your cereal grains and pseudocereals, as well as the amount of water or stock you should add to the bottom of the stock-pot to prevent scorching. We've included both common grains, such as barley, rye, and wheat berries, as well as a number of less common cereal grains and pseudo-cereals, including buckwheat groats, emmer, millet, kamut, triticale, teff, spelt, fonio and sorghum (in case you missed the memo, pseudo-cereals refer to the seeds of non-grassy plants, while true cereals – such as wheat, rye, kamut, oats and barley – refer to the seeds of grasses). The second column in the table specifies whether the grain is naturally gluten-free to help those with gluten intolerance to make better decisions.

The cooking times and liquid amounts shown in the chart are approximate and should only be used as a rough guide line. Many factors influence the optimal cooking time for grains, including the variety and freshness of the grain, processing methods, personal preferences, and the pot or pressure cooker you're using. If you're using the stove-top method, it is a good idea to check the grains for doneness even before the shortest suggested simmering time in order to minimize the risk of overcooking. If you're using a pressure cooker, start with the shortest suggested time, and if the food is not done at the end of the suggested cooking time, bring the machine back to pressure and steam the grains a few minutes longer.

The approximate cooking times for the different types of grains included in the chart below are for unsoaked grains, unless otherwise indicated. Some people like to pre-soak their grains, especially when using hard or large grains that typically take a long time to cook, as pre-soaking shortens the cooking time. Examples of grains that are often soaked overnight prior to cooking include hulled barley, emmer, whole kamut berries, rye kernels, spelt (farro grande), triticale and whole wheat berries.

Stovetop method Pressure cooking
Grain (1 cup) Gluten free1) Time in minutes Liquid in cups Time in minutes Liquid in cups
Amaranthyes20 to 2525 to 72 ¼
Barley, hulled (barley groats)no70 to 100 (50 to 80 if soaked)325 to 303
Barley, pearledno45 to 60310 to 202 ½ to 3
Barley, purple prairie, hulledno70 to 100 (50 to 80 if soaked)325 to 303
Beech wheatyes15 to 2022 to 41 ¾
Buckwheat groatsyes15 to 2022 to 41 ¾
Bulgur wheatnoNo need to cook. Simply pour 1 ½ cups boiling water over 1 cup bulgur and let it stand for half an hour. Then, drain off excess water and use it in salads.
Couscousno8 to 101 ½1 to 22
Dinkel (spelt)no65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)325 to 302 ½
Einkorn (farro piccolo)no15 to 3033 to 42
Emmer (farro medio), pearled (perlato)no20 to 352 ½6 to 82
Emmer (farro medio), whole grainno50 to 70 (40 to 50 if soaked)320 to 253
Farro grande (spelt)no65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)325 to 302 ½
Farro piccolo (einkorn)no15 to 3033 to 42
Fonio grainsyes15 to 202 to 2 ½2 to 42
Hato mugi (Job's tears)yes2)50 to 60220 to 253
Hungry rice (aka Acha)yes15 to 202 to 2 ½2 to 42
Job's tearsyes2) 50 to 60220 to 253
Kamut berries, wholeno55 to 80 (30 to 45 if soaked)312 to 203
Kaniwa seeds

Buy kaniwa online

yes12 to 1522 to 31 ¾
Kasha, wholeyes15 to 2022 to 41 ¾

Buy millet here

yes20 to 252 ½ to 38 to 103
Oat, whole groatsyes2) 30 to 40315 to 251 ½ to 2 ½
Oats, rolled or steel-cutSee Cooking Times for Breakfast Cereals
Pearl barleyno45 to 60310 to 202 ½ to 3
Quinoa seeds, red or whiteyes15 to 201 ¾2 to 42
Rice, brown, medium-grainyes45 to 552 ½12 to 201 1/2 to 2
Rice, parboiledyes25 to 302 6 to 81 1/2
Rice, white, medium-grainyes20 to 301 ½5 to 71 1/2
Rice, wildyes40 to 603 to 420 to 253 to 4
Rice, otherSee Chart: Pressure Cooking Times for Rice
See Chart: Stove-Top Cooking Times for Rice
Rye berries, wholeno70 to 90 (45 to 60 if soaked)3 to 420 to 303
Sorghum, whole grainyes50 to 60320 to 253
Spelt (farro grande)no65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)325 to 302 ½
Teff, whole grainyes10 to 203 to 3 ½2 to 42
Triticale, whole berriesno60 to 100 (40 to 60 if soaked)3 to 425 to 353
Wheat berries (whole wheat kernels)no60 to 90 (40 to 60 if soaked)3 to 425 to 353
Wild riceyes40 to 603 to 420 to 253 to 4

1) The foods indicated as gluten-free do not themselves contain any gluten. However, any crop can become contaminated with gluten if it is processed with equipment that is also used for processing crops that contain gluten (like wheat, barley, farro, kamut or rye).

2) Oats themselves are inherently gluten-free. However, they are very often processed with equipment that is also used for processing gluten-containing crops, which makes oats unsuitable for people with celiac disease or serious gluten intolerance. Oats can also become contaminated with gluten if they are grown in fields next to wheat. If you are following a gluten-free diet, buy oats that are specifically labeled gluten free (Bob's Red Mill sells gluten-free oats on Amazon here (for US customers) and here (for UK customers).

Quick Guide to Preparing Grains on the Stove-Top

Wash the grains thoroughly under running water to remove residual dirt. Next, fill a heavy-bottomed pot with water, using the liquid : grain ratio indicated in the table above (the liquid amounts are shown per 1 U.S. cup of uncooked grains; if you want to use more grains, be sure to increase the amount of water accordingly). If you like, you can also use stock or broth instead of plain water for a richer flavor.

Bring the liquid to a boil, stir in the grains, and bring the mixture back to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the grains are tender. To get an idea of the expected cooking time, see the basic cooking instructions printed on the package, or if not available, check out the chart above for an overview of the approximate cooking times for different types of cereal grains and pseudo-cereals. When the grains reach the desired texture, remove the pot or sauce pan from the stove. Let the grains cool with the lid slightly ajar for 5 to 10 minutes, then pour off any liquid that remains.

Cooking Grains in a Pressure Cooker

Wash the grains thoroughly and add them to the pressure cooker, along with the amount of water (or stock) indicated in the table above. The liquid amounts shown above are per 1 U.S. cup of uncooked grains; if you have a big pressure cooker and want to use more than 1 cup of grains, be sure to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly. However, make sure you don't fill the cooker beyond the halfway mark, as overfilling may clog up the steam vent and/or cause excess pressure to develop in the pot. To further reduce the risk of clogging, add a little bit of fat or oil to the water – this will help reduce foaming during the cooking process.

Next, close the lid securely, bring the cooker to high pressure, and begin timing. If you are using a manual stove-top pressure cooker, adjust the heat to the level needed to maintain high pressure.

After the recommended cooking time (see the manufacturer's user guide for ideal times for your pressure cooker model, or if not available, our rough estimates above), let the pressure come down naturally. Once the pressure has dropped, open the lid and check if the food is done. If it's not, add water, if necessary, and bring the cooker back up to pressure, and cook the grains a minute or two longer.

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