Learn how to cook farro with this step-by-step guide! Plus, find my favorite farro recipes, along with more serving suggestions for this delicious grain.
Do you have a favorite whole grain? I love everything from millet to quinoa, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be farro. It’s hearty and wholesome, with an amazing chewy texture and nutty flavor. I enjoy it all year long, but it really becomes one of my kitchen staples in the fall. Its toasty flavor is delicious with fall produce like squash, apples, and kale, and cozy herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme are its natural companions.
If you’ve never tried it before, now is the perfect time – toss it into salads, add it to bowls, or stir it into your next autumn soup!
How to Cook Farro
My cooking method for farro is a lot like cooking pasta. Some farro recipes swear by using a specific number of cups of water for every cup of the grain, but I find I get the best results when I simply boil water, add the grain, and cook until it’s tender! Here’s my easy, tried-and-true method for how to cook farro:
First, rinse the dried farro. Add it to a fine mesh sieve and rinse it with cold water.
Then, it’s time to cook! Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over your stove top, and add the rinsed grains. Cook until they become tender and chewy but still have an al dente bite. The cook time will vary depending on the age and variety of your farro. (Find more on that below!)
Next, drain the grains and transfer them to a baking sheet or large plate. Spread them into a single layer to cool and dry for 20 minutes or so. Skipping this step means that your grains will continue to steam, which can make them mushy.
When your farro is cool, transfer it to the fridge for future use, or enjoy it right away!
- Know what kind of farro you have. Grocery stores typically sell 3 types of farro: pearled, semi-pearled, and whole. The cooking times for each vary widely, ranging from 15 minutes for pearled to 40 minutes for whole. When you buy your farro, make sure you know what kind you have – you don’t want it to come out too hard or too mushy! If you don’t know what type you have – start tasting it for doneness at 15 the minute mark and go from there.
- Batch cook and freeze. Having a stash of cooked grains on hand is a lifesaver when it comes to meal prepping lunch or whipping up a quick dinner. Cooked farro keeps in the fridge for 5 days, but you can freeze it for even longer. To freeze it, spread the grains in a single layer on a baking sheet, and transfer it to the freezer for at least 2 hours. After the grains are frozen, you can store them in a freezer-safe container. Don’t skip the initial freeze on the baking sheet, or the grains will freeze in one big clump!
- Dress right before serving. I love to toss my farro with anything from a lemon vinaigrette (see the recipe below) to cilantro lime dressing. If you plan to dress yours, do it right before serving, as the flavor of dressed grains fades in the fridge. But if you end up with leftovers, not to worry! Just give them an extra squeeze of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving.
Favorite Farro Recipes
You’ll find my go-to way to serve farro in the recipe below: I like to toss it with a zingy lemon dressing and plenty of fresh herbs (Feel free to add crumbled feta or goat cheese, dried cranberries or tart cherries, or your favorite nuts for a fun twist!). Once it’s dressed, I serve it as a side dish with grilled or roasted veggies or a hearty salad – it’s excellent with this kale salad in the fall and winter and with my Greek or broccoli salad in the spring and summer.
If I’m not serving it as a side dish, I like to add it to bowls and salads. Top plain or herbed farro with your favorite roasted veggies (maybe butternut squash, cauliflower, or tomatoes?), a protein like roasted chickpeas, and a delicious sauce like tahini sauce, tzatziki, or hummus to make an easy, healthy meal. You could also toss it onto any salad or stir it into a brothy vegetable soup.
Want more ideas? Try one of these farro recipes:
- Farro Fried Rice with Brussels Sprouts
- Balsamic Brussels Sprout Salad
- Fall Salad with Halloumi and Pomegranates
- Farmhouse Farro Salad
- Winter Kale Salad
- Roasted Delicata Squash Kale Salad
- Grilled Asparagus Salad
Let me know what farro recipes you try!
Looking for more healthy cooking components?
Serve any of these grains or veggies as a healthy side dish or base for your next bowl:
How to Cook Farro
- 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice, more to taste
- ½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- Fill a medium pot half full of water and bring to a boil. Add the farro, reduce the heat and simmer until the farro is tender, chewy, but still has an al dente bite - 15 to 20 minutes for pearled farro; 20 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled farro; up to 40 minutes for whole farro.
- Drain, then spread onto a large plate or sheet pan to cool and dry for 20 minutes. This keeps it from continuing to steam which makes it mushy.
- Make the lemon herb dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the farro and toss. Stir in the parsley and red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste and serve.
To freeze farro, first freeze it on a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container. This keeps the grains from sticking together too much as they freeze.