Learn how to cook farro and find out why it’s the perfect healthy grain to cook with! I’ll also show you 4 cooking methods; stove top, oven, slow cooker, and Instant Pot farro.
But, before we get into the different ways to cook farro, let’s discuss what it is.
What is farro?
Farro (Italian for “wheat”) is a hearty, extremely healthy form of hulled wheat. It classifies a category of three ancient grains; Spelt, Emmer, and Einkorn. When it’s cooked, it has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture that make it delicious in soups, salads, casseroles, or simply as a side dish.
There is also more than one type of farro. Those types are: whole, pearled, and semi-pearled farro.
Although it isn’t a whole grain, farro is still very nutritious, and a healthier option than refined grains like rice. It is a good source of protein, magnesium, and fiber.
Because it is a type of wheat, unfortunately, farro is not gluten-free. However, good gluten-free substitutes include brown rice, sorghum, and oat groats.
How to Cook Farro
Generally speaking, farro is one of the most versatile and adaptable grains to cook with. As the grains cook, they split open, almost like popcorn, and release their starch. As a result, you can cook farro risotto style. Rather than calling it risotto, some people choose to call the dish farrotto.
As was mentioned earlier, I’m going to show you how to cook farro four different ways. All four cooking methods are explained in detail in the recipe card, below. Here are my thoughts on each of the methods.
Method 1: Stove Top
This is the most common way to make farro. Although the method is straightforward and easy, it requires a pretty long cooking time. It takes almost 40 minutes to cook farro in boiling water on a stove top. And the water necessary depends on the size of the pot and how well the lid seals the pot.
Method 2: Instant Pot Farro
My absolute favorite! Making farro in an Instant Pot yields the best and most consistent results, the cooking time and water necessary are always the same.
Method 3: Slow Cooker
Making farro in a slow cooker is perfect if you have a busy schedule. All of the cooking is hands-off, so you can start the slow cooker, then run off to deal with other things. I use a 7 quart Crock Pot and it gives me consistent results.
Method 4: In the Oven
This method of preparing farro is also very simple. Like the stove top method, cooking time will vary with this method. It depends on the size of the baking dish and how tightly the baking sheet/aluminum foil sits on top.
If you want to try farro as an ingredient in a main dish, these recipes are perfect choices:
- Toss a cup of cooked farro into this Warm Goat Cheese Salad
- Swap out quinoa for farro in this easy quinoa salad recipe
- Add some cooked farro to roasted garlic butternut squash soup
How to Cook Farro
- 1 cup farro
- water - or broth/stock
- sea salt
- Stove Top: Small Pot with tight-fitting lid: Add 1 cup farro, 1.5 cups water, and a little sea salt, place lid on top and bring to the boil. Once boiling immediately lower heat to low and let simmer for approximately 35-40 minutes or until all water is absorbed.Large Pot or not tight-fitting lid: Add 1 cup farro, 1.75-2 cups water, and a little sea salt, place lid on top and bring to the boil. Once boiling immediately lower heat to low and let simmer for approximately 35-40 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup farro, 1 cup water, a little sea salt, put on the lid and turn the valve to the sealing position. Set pressure cooker to 22 minutes on high pressure and then let the pressure release naturally (for approx. 15 minutes).
- Slow-Cooker: Add 1 cup farro, 2 cups water, and a little sea salt and set to high for 2 hours.
- Oven: Preheat oven to 400F. Add 1 cup farro, a little sea salt to a baking dish and 2 cups of boiling water (from the kettle) to a baking dish and cover with a baking sheet or aluminum foil. Add to the hot oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Blanca Tecchi says
Hola soy de Argentina y no se con que nombre se conoce Farro acá, si me ayudas por que me interesa mucho. Mil gracias desde ya. saludos
Lorena Grater says
Es trigo. No se cómo le llamen allá pero considerando que hay muchísimos italianos en Argentina yo pensaría que si se encuentra con el nombre Italiano “farro” quizás en una tienda de productos italianos?
Bernadette Morrissey says
What amount of cooked farro will 1 cup uncooked farro give you?
I’m guessing about 3 cups
Lorena Grater says
It’s more like 2 to 2.5 cups. Farro doesn’t swell as much as rice.
Gabriel Baron says
I’ve found that instant pot cooking times vary wildly if its pearled or not. Can you specify which version you used for this recipe and if you happen to know the times for the other kinds?
Lorena Grater says
Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. It seems the only farro sold in regular grocery stores in Montreal is pearled. I just had to google that. My store sells a brand that simply says “farro” and then bob’s red mill organic farro which says “pearled farro” and both of them cook in the same time, which is why I assume that the other brand is pearled, too.
What is a an instant pot?
It’s an electric pressure cooker.
Any ideas for cooking in a rice cooker? Set it for brown rice, or not enough time?
In my Instant Pot Brown Rice and Farro take the same amount of time so I would think it should work in a rice cooker just like brown rice does.
We love farro as something a little different from the other grains we also love: wild, black and brown basmatic rice or quinoa, or even non-grains like couscous. I find the Instant Pot version to be consistently tastier and with a better “bite” to it, and almost always add a low-sodium flavor cube of some kind (beef, chicken, vegetable) to give it some flavor. We prefer it cold, as in your warm goat cheese salad, but I’ll throw it together with diced fresh tomato, cukes, feta or any other veggie that happens to show up in the fridge. Makes a fantastic brown bag lunch addition, too.
Yes to ALL of this!!!
Can I make extra and freeze it?
Yes! It freezes perfectly well.