How To Cook Grains

If you buy your quinoa and rice out of the bulk bin, there are no cooking instructions. Instead of scratching your head wondering how to cook them, keep reading for some tips to cook your grains to perfection! Grain to water ratio and cooking time varies between the different types.

Brown Rice has the nutritious outer bran layer intact, giving it a brown color. To cook, bring 1 cup brown rice and 2 ½ cups water/broth to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover pot, and cook for 40-50 minutes until most liquid is absorbed. After, turn off the heat and let it steam for another 15 minutes.

White Rice has additional layers removed compared to brown rice, leaving the starchy endosperm and white color. To cook, bring 1 cup white rice and 1 ¾ cups water/broth to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover pot, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. After, turn off the heat and let it steam for another 5 minutes.

Wild Rice is not exactly a grain but is four species of grasses forming the genus Zuzania.

To cook, bring 1 cup wild rice and 4 cups water/broth to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover pot, and cook for another 45-60 minutes or until rice splits opened. Drain excess water in colander.

Barley – Although not a grain, they count towards our whole-grain servings because of the high fiber content. There is hulled barley and pearled barley. Hulled barley retains more whole-grain nutrients but takes longer to cook. Pearled barley also known as quick-cooking barley requires less preparation time. To cook pearl barley, bring 1 cup barley and 2 ½ cups water/broth to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed. To cook hulled barley, boil 1 3/4 cups water/broth, then add 1 cup barley. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 10-12 minutes or until tender.  

Millet is gluten-free. It is hulled, meaning the outer husk is removed so the grain is still intact. This leaves tiny yellow balls. Toasting this grain for 4 minutes before cooking will help retain its shape. To cook, bring 2 ½ cups water/broth to a boil, then add 1 cup millet. Reduce to low heat, cover, and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until tender.

Quinoa is gluten-free and a plant-based complete source of protein. Toasting before cooking enhances the flavor and rinsing removes any natural, bitter protective coating. First, rinse 1 cup quinoa and dry roast in pot until toasted. Add 2 cups of boiling water, lower heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber linking to good heart health. To cook, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add 1 cup oats. Reduce to lower heat, cover, and cook for 10-20 minutes. Stir frequently.


Below is a chart of grain to water ratio for the different types of grains.

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