Cooking Wheat Berries: Step by Step Guide
Healthy Living, Learning Center on on April 3 2019 by Bob's Red Mill

Cooking Wheat Berries: Step by Step Guide

Cooking with wheat berries might seem intimidating at first. What are they and what do you do with them, you may find yourself asking. Luckily, although wheat berries might be a tad bit unfamiliar at first, cooking wheat berries is actually quite simple. Read on for a step-by-step guide that will inspire you to cook (and eat) wheat berries!

What Are Wheat Berries?

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog To be precise, wheat berries are the whole grain form of wheat (before it’s gone through processing). They are high in fiber and crunchy, and can be used much like other whole grains. Think hot cereal, salads and grain bowl!

How to Cook Wheat Berries

From soaking to toasting, here is a simple four-step plan for cooking wheat berries (plus an added step number five just for fun).

Step 1: Soak and Drain the Berries

Place 1 cup of wheat berries in a bowl to soak them overnight. Use enough water to ensure that the wheat berries are covered. This step isn’t necessary, but it will cut back on the cooking time down the line and make things easier. After the berries have been soaked for at least 12 hours, drain them into a bowl.

Step 2: Toast the Berries

Another optional step to ensure perfect wheat berries is to toast them before cooking the berries on the stovetop. Preheat your oven to 375°F, spread the berries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes until fragrant.

Step 3: Cook the Berries

In a saucepan with roughly 3 cups of water, add the toasted wheat berries and a bit of salt. Bring them to a boil (as you would with rice) then reduce to a simmer. Make sure to check the pan occasionally to make sure there’s enough water, as you don’t want the berries to burn. The question of how long to cook wheat berries depends on the type and brand you are cooking. We suggest cooking for about 35 minutes then doing a taste-test. The berries should be chewy; if they’re not (or if they still are tough in texture) continue to cook and taste test accordingly.

Step 4: Drain the Liquid and Enjoy!

Drain the liquid and transfer the berries to a bowl to mix with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step 5: The Alternate Method

Alternatively, you can also place ingredients in a slow cooker, set the cooker on low and let cook, covered,  for 8-12 hours. Drain the berries, set aside, cool and serve.

Wheat Berry Recipe Inspiration

Here are some wheat berry recipes to try today!

I Love You Wheat Berry Salad

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog This I Love You Wheat Berry Salad is the perfect base for experimentation. Once you get comfortable making this basic recipe, you can play around with all sorts of variations. Use chopped nuts, edamame, fresh veggies and dried cranberries. As the author Aaron states, one of his all-time favorite tricks is to toss in some chopped greens like chard or spinach while the berries are drained of water but still warm (as this will wilt the greens). For a full entree, pair this salad with grilled chicken or barbecued salmon.

Wheat Berry and White Bean Salad

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog This Wheat Berry and White Bean Salad is the ultimate in taste and texture. It’s made with Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries, cooked white or navy beans, green onion, celery and diced tomato. The vinaigrette is created with olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, white wine vinegar, chopped parsley, honey mustard, minced shallot, sea salt and ground black pepper. Serve this salad chilled on a bed of lettuce for a light yet wonderful way to enjoy wheat berries.

Italian Easter Pie

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog If you thought wheat berries were just for salads, think again! This Italian Easter Pie is made with Hard Red Wheat Berries, salt, water, a prepared pie shell, granulated sugar, eggs, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, salt, ricotta cheese, orange zest, candied orange peel, vanilla extract and orange flower water. Bake until the filling is puffed, golden and set. Cool completely before serving and enjoy alongside a cup of hot coffee or tea.

Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog The nutty flavor of wheat berries combines beautifully with bacon, like in this recipe for Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon. It’s made with wheat berries, Kosher salt, black pepper, pecan halves, bacon, dried cherries, flat-leaf parsley, shallots, extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Serve this dish as an entree or keep it on hand for the perfect potluck side dish.

Wheat Berry Whole Wheat Bread

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog This Wheat Berry Whole Wheat Bread is made with sugar, nonfat milk, Whole Wheat Flour or Organic Whole Wheat Flour, sea salt, egg, Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, Hard Red Wheat Berries or Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries, active dry yeast and canola oil. The recipe makes two loaves: one for now, one for later. Use this bread for everything from a simple side to the base for a wonderfully unique grilled cheese sandwich.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog Fancy a Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread loaf made with molasses, wheat germ, oats, 100% stone ground whole wheat flour and Hard Red Wheat Berries? Perfect! This is the recipe for you. This bread was a Malheur County Fair winner and is simple to create but so delicious. For an optional addition, add 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to the recipe for a bit of extra texture. You can also divide the dough and shape into 32 rolls (place 8 rolls in a round cake pan and allow to rise for a second time). Serve these with a hearty meal like mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey during the autumn season, or something like an arugula salad in the spring season.

Organic Energy Bars with Fruit

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog When it comes to wheat berries, these Organic Energy Bars with Fruit are the ultimate breakfast indulgence. They’re made with a mix of Organic Hard Red Wheat Berries, Organic Kamut Berries, Organic Regular Rolled Oats, Pumpkin Seeds, Premium Shelled Sunflower Seeds, chopped walnuts, unsalted butter, honey or pure maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, Organic Coconut Flour, shredded coconut, dried tart cherries, dried blueberries, raisins, wheat germ, Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, sea salt and unsweetened applesauce. They’re excellent for meals on the go or a late afternoon snack (and loved by both parents and kids alike). After removing them from the oven, use a pizza cutter to cut into bars, let cool, package separately and refrigerate.

Spring Rhubarb, Herb and Wheat Berry Salad

Cooking Wheat Berries | Bob's Red Mill Blog For a deliciously fresh salad, this Spring Rhubarb, Herb and Wheat Berry Salad is a simple and vibrant dish that showcases the offerings of the season. It can be served as a meal on its own or as a side dish to accompany your favorite main course. It’s made with ingredients like Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries, chicken stock, slivered almonds, rhubarb, strawberries and herbs like basil and tarragon. Top it all with honey and crumbled queso fresco, and you’re bound to find your new favorite wheat berry variation!

Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries

Our Organic Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries are high protein hard red spring wheat, the finest wheat from one of the tastiest varieties available in the world. The kernels have a robust and full flavor and a chewy texture, making them a great addition to everything from salads to breads. They’re a good source of iron, calcium and potassium. The cooking time for these hard red spring wheat berries is about an hour, but you’ll receive the benefit of some excellent nutrition for your time! One 1/4 cup serving provides 6 grams of dietary fiber and 7 grams of protein. This food is also a good source of iron and contains calcium and potassium. You can cook these berries over medium-high heat as a cereal, or use them in pilafs or salads. If you have a home grinder, you can mill this grain and use it at home for baked goods like artisan breads. Alternatively, you can use cooked wheat berries in place of rice or other grain for pilafs, soups, salads and casseroles. These hard red spring wheat berries have a shelf life of two years, but for optimal long-term storage, make sure to keep them refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container. Whether you’re making bread or salad, we hope these tidbits of wheat berry knowledge have given you some inspiration! Although this grain might be somewhat unfamiliar, it certainly brings with it an array of nutritious and creative recipes. Are you a fan of cooking or baking with wheat berries? Feel free to share your recipes with us in the comments below. We’d love to know what you create.

14 Comments

  1. Savannagal
    Why wouldn't you toast them first, then soak them?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      You could do that method as well.
      Reply
  2. Kimberley Pereda
    Why choose junk foods if I can prepare a snack like this. Wheat + berries is a great combination. It can cook for breakfast or snack. This is also fit to you if you are on a diet.
    Reply
  3. Jules
    I ate at a restaurant recently where they used toasted wheat berries as a garnish on an egg salad. It was AMAZING. Now I want toasted wheat berries on everything!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Yum! Yes, they make such a great topping! Toasted Buckwheat is one of our favorites.
      Reply
  4. David Akers
    I am becoming a big fan of Insta-Pots. Since the Insta-Pot is quicker, should the wheat berries be soaked overnight? Can they just be toasted and then cooked? What is the cooking time in an Insta-Pot? I like to use chicken or vegetable broth for making rice. Have you ever tried that with wheat berries?
    Thank you for the assistance.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi David, you can find instructions here. Look for the "Multi-Cooker" option.

      Basic Preparation Instructions for Wheat Berries
      Reply
  5. MargoAnn
    Years ago, Yoplait used to make a "Breakfast Yogurt" that had wheat berries in it. It was fabulous, gave the yogurt some chewiness; I ate it every day. Then all of a sudden it just disappeared. I tried to find wheat berries in my local store and they never heard of them. I don't know why I never looked here! Now I will have wheat berries in my yogurt again. Thanx!!!
    Reply
  6. Nancy Caccavale
    Nancy Caccavale
    Hi! I’m looking for a softer texture when I make my Easter grain pie. How long can I soak them & keep them in the fridge? Do they become softer the longer you soak them or am do I just get used to the chewy texture? By the way...I use your product!
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Nancy - We recommend boiling the grains before hand, rather than just soaking. This will ensure a softer texture. Here's our recipe for Italian Easter Pie.
      Reply
  7. Xochitl
    I am so confused about these berries. I want to make a wheat pie and want to know if I should use the hard red, hard white or soft white. Or does it not make a difference.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi! In that type of recipe it won't make too much of a difference. You'd see more of a difference when milling these different types of berries info flour. The different protein percentages will affect textures in baked goods.
      Reply
  8. Joan Mac Donald
    Joan Mac Donald
    I'm looking for cracked wheat and cracked rye.
    The wheat berries are probably the cracked wheat but I can't find on your website.. What woukd be cracked rye? plus I live in Canada. Please help!
    Reply
    1. Elisabeth Allie
      Elisabeth Allie
      Hi there! Unfortunately, we do not offer either of those products. Good luck on your search!
      Reply

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