Cooking Times for 30 Grains (Stove-Top and Pressure Cooking Times)
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|
|Amaranth||yes||20 to 25||2||5 to 7||2 ¼|
|Barley, hulled (barley groats)||no||70 to 100 (50 to 80 if soaked)||3||25 to 30||3|
|Barley, pearled||no||45 to 60||3||10 to 20||2 ½ to 3|
|Barley, purple prairie, hulled||no||70 to 100 (50 to 80 if soaked)||3||25 to 30||3|
|Beech wheat||yes||15 to 20||2||2 to 4||1 ¾|
|Buckwheat groats||yes||15 to 20||2||2 to 4||1 ¾|
|Bulgur wheat||no||No 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.|
|Couscous||no||8 to 10||1 ½||1 to 2||2|
|Dinkel (spelt)||no||65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)||3||25 to 30||2 ½|
|Einkorn (farro piccolo)||no||15 to 30||3||3 to 4||2|
|Emmer (farro medio), pearled (perlato)||no||20 to 35||2 ½||6 to 8||2|
|Emmer (farro medio), whole grain||no||50 to 70 (40 to 50 if soaked)||3||20 to 25||3|
|Farro grande (spelt)||no||65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)||3||25 to 30||2 ½|
|Farro piccolo (einkorn)||no||15 to 30||3||3 to 4||2|
|Fonio grains||yes||15 to 20||2 to 2 ½||2 to 4||2|
|Hato mugi (Job's tears)||yes2)||50 to 60||2||20 to 25||3|
|Hungry rice (aka Acha)||yes||15 to 20||2 to 2 ½||2 to 4||2|
|Job's tears||yes2)||50 to 60||2||20 to 25||3|
|Kamut berries, whole||no||55 to 80 (30 to 45 if soaked)||3||12 to 20||3|
|Kaniwa seeds||yes||12 to 15||2||2 to 3||1 ¾|
|Kasha, whole||yes||15 to 20||2||2 to 4||1 ¾|
|Millet||yes||20 to 25||2 ½ to 3||8 to 10||3|
|Oat, whole groats||yes2)||30 to 40||3||15 to 25||1 ½ to 2 ½|
|Oats, rolled or steel-cut||See Cooking Times for Breakfast Cereals|
|Pearl barley||no||45 to 60||3||10 to 20||2 ½ to 3|
|Quinoa seeds, red or white||yes||15 to 20||1 ¾||2 to 4||2|
|Rice, brown, medium-grain||yes||45 to 55||2 ½||12 to 20||1 1/2 to 2|
|Rice, parboiled||yes||25 to 30||2||6 to 8||1 1/2|
|Rice, white, medium-grain||yes||20 to 30||1 ½||5 to 7||1 1/2|
|Rice, wild||yes||40 to 60||3 to 4||20 to 25||3 to 4|
|Rice, other||See Chart: Pressure Cooking Times for Rice|
See Chart: Stove-Top Cooking Times for Rice
|Rye berries, whole||no||70 to 90 (45 to 60 if soaked)||3 to 4||20 to 30||3|
|Sorghum, whole grain||yes||50 to 60||3||20 to 25||3|
|Spelt (farro grande)||no||65 to 80 (40 to 60 if soaked)||3||25 to 30||2 ½|
|Teff, whole grain||yes||10 to 20||3 to 3 ½||2 to 4||2|
|Triticale, whole berries||no||60 to 100 (40 to 60 if soaked)||3 to 4||25 to 35||3|
|Wheat berries (whole wheat kernels)||no||60 to 90 (40 to 60 if soaked)||3 to 4||25 to 35||3|
|Wild rice||yes||40 to 60||3 to 4||20 to 25||3 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.