How to Cook Farro
Farro has a delicious nutty flavor and pleasantly chewy texture, and it’s perfect for adding to salads, soups and more. Learn how to cook farro on the stove – it’s quick and easy!
Farro is one of my favorite grains because not only is it a healthy whole grain, it’s also so delicious! Farro’s chewy texture and earthy, nutty flavor can’t be beat. It makes a lovely Farro Salad, or serve it as a side dish, with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Since cooked farro can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and even longer in the freezer, it’s perfect for meal prep. Make a batch today and use it to make healthy meals all week!
What is Farro?
Farro is a nutritious whole grain that is high in both fiber and protein. It is an ancient grain that originated in the Middle East and has become popular in Mediterranean cooking. Since it is a type of wheat, farro is not gluten free.
There are three main types of farro, categorized by how much of the grain’s outer husk has been removed (i.e., how much the grain has been processed):
- Pearled farro is the type most commonly found in grocery stores in the U.S. It cooks in 15-20 minutes on the stove.
- Semi-pearled farro is slightly less processed than pearled, and cooks in 25-30 minutes.
- Whole farro will take the longest to cook, at least 35-40 minutes, and benefits from soaking overnight before cooking. Whole farro is the least processed of the three types, since it has the entire husk and bran, and thus contains the most nutrients.
If the front of your package of farro doesn’t say what type it is, check the ingredients list as it may say there.
How to Cook Farro
The easiest way to cook farro is to cook it in an excess of boiling water and then drain it. Here are the simple steps:
- Rinse the farro well by placing it in a fine mesh strainer and rinsing under cool running water. This will remove any dirt and impurities.
- In a medium saucepan or pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add salt to season the farro as it cooks.
- Stir in the rinsed farro and reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the grains are tender yet chewy, or cooked to your desired texture. I like to cook it to al dente, so that it retains most of its chewy texture.
- Drain the farro into a colander or strainer.
Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
Farro Recipe Tips
- Salting the cooking water helps to flavor the grains while cooking.
- The best way to tell if farro is done is to taste it. It should be tender yet slightly chewy.
- To quickly cool farro for using in a salad or for storage, spread it out on a baking sheet and let cool for 15-20 minutes. This will also help to dry out the farro a bit so that it won’t be soggy, and will help it to better absorb dressing.
- For added flavor, you can toast the grains before boiling. To toast farro, place it in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.
Farro can be served warm, right after cooking, or cooled before serving. It’s a delicious simple side dish, served with a squeeze of lemon juice and/or a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh herbs, and a bit of salt and pepper. Or serve it with a light dressing, such as Greek Salad Dressing, Honey Mustard Dressing or a Lemon Vinaigrette.
- Salad: Farro is a delightful addition to salads. Try this Farro Salad or add cooked farro to this Kale Salad.
- Soup: Stir cooked farro into Minestrone Soup instead of pasta, add it to Chicken Noodle Soup instead of egg noodles, or use it in place of barley in Beef Barley Soup.
- Grain Bowl: Combine cooked farro with roasted vegetables or grilled vegetables, and add some feta or goat cheese and chopped nuts. Finally, drizzle on a light dressing such as this Balsamic Vinaigrette or Chimichurri Sauce for a satisfying, healthy lunch or dinner.
- Refrigerator: Cooked farro can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To quickly cool it for storage, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- How to Freeze Farro: Cooked farro can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To prevent farro from sticking together in a large clump as it freezes, it is best to first flash freeze it. To do this, first spread out the cooked farro on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2 hours, or until frozen. Then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer.
How to Cook Farro
- 1 cup pearled farro, see notes below for other types of farro
- 5 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Place the farro in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
- Pour 5 cups of water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water is boiling, add the salt. Then stir in the rinsed farro and reduce the heat to a medium simmer.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until farro reaches your desired texture. It should be tender yet chewy.
- Use a colander or strainer to drain the farro.
- Farro can be served warm immediately or cooled before serving. To cool, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Pearled farro is the most common type found in most grocery stores. To cook semi-pearled farro, increase the cook time to 25-30 minutes. To cook whole farro, increase the cook time to 35-40 minutes.
- Cooked farro may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To freeze farro, first flash freeze it by spreading it out on a rimmed baking sheet and putting it in the freezer for 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.