Skip main navigation

Get Cooking with Whole Grains

Cooking with whole grains is an essential piece of eating a diet based in whole foods. Luckily, we’re here to help you navigate cooking times and grain to water ratios so that prep is a snap.

Learn to Cook: Brown RiceYou’ve heard it before — go for whole grains. For example, instead of reaching for regular pasta or white bread, look for varieties made with 100% whole grain flour. And reach for whole grains options in mains and sides like brown rice, quinoa, millet or barley. But why?

Cooking with whole grains is an essential piece of eating a diet based in whole foods. Whole grains generally are packed with nutrients and fiber, which aid in healthy digestion and weight management. These are the "good carbs" that help balance your diet and can fill you up.

Great Grains in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Choose your grain and boil for the noted amount of water.

  2. Add chosen grain, return the pot to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed and grain is tender.

  3. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Cooking Guidelines

Take a look at the grain to liquid ratio and cooking times for a few of our favorite basic grains and add these options to your repertoire.

  • Barley. 1:3½ cups; 50 - 60 minutes

  • Brown rice. 1:2 cups; 40 - 45 minutes

  • Bulgur. 1:2½ cups; 20 - 25 minutes

  • Millet. 1:2½ cups; 20 - 25 minutes

  • Quinoa. 1:2 cups; 15 - 20 minutes

Time-saving tip: cook extra grains and store portioned leftovers in the freezer for up to a month — you’ll be ready when you need a healthy meal in a hurry.

Money-saving tip: shop the bulk bins, and buy as much or as little as you need. You can experiment with new-to-you whole grains without having to buy a lot!

Recipes
Whole grains are side dish champions, but they can do so much more. Bulk up vegetable soups with a handful of filling whole grains or stuff eggplants or bell peppers.

Be sure to think about whole grains beyond dinnertime too. Start the day with cooked cereals and porridges or slip uncooked millet or plain cooked brown rice into pancake and muffin batters. Rolled oat-based granola like this Whole Grain and Pumpkin Seed Granola is delicious. And try adding oats (raw or cooked) to your usual fruit mixture for satisfying smoothies. Grain salads are lunchtime all-stars — lean on last night’s leftovers for mid-day mains that will fill you up until dinner.

Here are a few of our favorite whole grain recipes for every meal of the day, plus a dessert:


Apple-Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and Buckwheat


Mighty Bowls of Goodness

Ancient Grain Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Ancient Grain Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Baked Brown Rice Pudding with Dried Fruit

Baked Brown Rice Pudding with Dried FruitStill hungry? Check out our complete guide to cooking with whole grains for additional information including storage and whole grain flours. Plus, find more whole grain recipes in our online recipe database.

What’s your favorite grain and how do you like to prepare it? Share your tips in the comments below.

Explore More