Top 13 Substitutes for Farro

Substitutes for Farro
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Farro is a wheat-related ancient cereal that contains all essential amino acids.

This robust grain’s nutty flavor and chewy texture make it an ideal addition to soups, salads, and pilafs.

When searching for substitutes for farro, you want to discover a grain comparable in flavor, texture, and nutritional value.

In contrast to other cereals, farro retains its shape and firmness when cooked, making it an ideal ingredient for dishes that require a bit more texture.

There are a number of ready substitutes for farro which will be listed here in our post. 

Due to its intricate flavor, farro may seem like a difficult grain to substitute. However, there are other cereals on the market that are good substitutes for Farro.

Let’s dive in!

1. Freekeh

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Freekeh is first on our list of substitutes for Farro. It is a North African whole grain that is gaining popularity in the United States as an alternative to traditional cereals and a substitute for rice and oats.

This grain is comparable to bulgur and wheat berries, but it has its own characteristics, beginning with harvesting.

The term ‘freekeh’ refers to the production method, not the plant itself. Before durum wheat is harvested, the chaff is removed through the burning of the stems.

The young grains that have survived are rubbed to liberate the toasted kernels. 

These substitutes for Farro take 50 minutes to boil, but you can significantly reduce this time by purchasing cracked grains.

Freekeh does not have the same flavor as Farro, but it has the same texture and can lend an interesting new flavor to your dish.

2. Spelt Berries

Spelt berries are also one of the substitutes for Farro. Despite their name, spelt berries do not contain fruit. In actuality, these are merely grains’ nuclei. 

When prepared, they are an excellent addition to soups and stews but can also be used in any rice-based dish. Their prepared flavor closely resembles that of farro due to their nutty flavor. 

Spelt berries are a suitable alternative to farro for individuals with certain types of wheat intolerance.

The names and farro are frequently confused or used interchangeably to refer to farro, but despite their similarities, they are very distinct things. 

The texture is the most obvious distinction between farro and spelt berries: farro has a delicate texture that is ideal for soups and risotto, whereas spelt berries tend to remain tougher, which is ideal for grain salads.

3. Wheat Berry

A wheat berry is the palatable portion of the wheat kernel. Despite being such a fundamental and basic component of the kernel, wheat berries are frequently neglected and not as popular as one might assume.

This whole grain shares the same qualities as other whole grains: it is high in fibers and proteins, has a grainy texture, and has a nutty flavor, making it an ideal substitute for farro.

Wheat berries can be utilized in both sweet and savory preparations. Typically, these substitutes for Farro absorb some of the flavors of the ingredients with which they are prepared.

They are notably delicious in chili or for breakfast with cinnamon, milk, and honey.

4. Rye Berries

Rye is a grain variety that is not as popular as other grains but just as excellent. When whole rye kernels are cooked, they become dark brown and are referred to as rye berries.

The color of rye berries is very distinct, as rye, in its natural state, is actually a grayish hue.

Therefore, this grain typically adds caramel and molasses to culinary recipes to make the final product more visually appealing.

Fibers, iron, proteins, and minerals such as magnesium and manganese are abundant in rye berries.

They taste similar to farro but contain less gluten and a lower glycemic index, making them healthier for individuals with type 2 diabetes than farro.

5. Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat groats can be substituted for farro because they can be prepared in the same manner as farro.

They have a shorter cooking time as well. Only eight to ten minutes are required to cook buckwheat groats. 

When substituting this wheat grain, it is essential to remember that the longer buckwheat groats are cooked, the more liquid they absorb and the gentler they become.

You can substitute milk or bouillon for water, depending on the dish you’re preparing. 

If you are not using buckwheat groats as a prepared grain, you can sprinkle them on top of your dishes for a crunchy texture. Simply toast them until they become darker in color. 

6. Bulgur

Cracked, partially cooked, and desiccated wheat berries constitute bulgur. It has a nutty flavor and a brittle consistency.

It has a popcorn-like aroma and a flavor that is very similar to farro, making it one of the suitable substitutes for farro.

Bulgur does not require the same preparation as other grains. Simply soak or rehydrate the cereals, and they will be ready to use.

Due to this distinctive characteristic, bulgur is one of the quickest substitutes for Farro that can be used. 

7. Teff

Teff, a tropical dark brown cereal cultivated primarily in Ethiopia, is yet another alternative to pearled farro. Similar to farro in flavor, it is mildly sweet, nutty, and earthy.

One of the most important factors to consider when substituting teff for farro is that it is gluten-free, making it ideal for those with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. 

Also, teff is the world’s smallest grain. In contrast, it is also relatively expensive because harvesting grain of that size is expensive.

Depending on the quantity of water used, these substitutes for Farro can be cooked for anywhere between 8 and 20 minutes. 

8. Oat Groats

Oat groats, which are dehulled oat grains, are a gluten-free alternative to farro. They have the same consistency as farro and a similar flavor.

Due to its semi-sweet flavor, numerous individuals equate it to browned butter. 

Oat groats necessitate lengthier cooking times, so soaking them overnight is optimal. If you need one of these fast substitutes for farro, you’re better off using another ingredient. 

9. Barley

Barley is a cereal grain known for its high fiber content and numerous health benefits. Farro and pearled barley are nearly identical in flavor and texture, being nutty and glutinous.

Barley is as simple to prepare as rice; it only requires a fast rinse, and no soaking is necessary.

Typically, barley takes up to 40 minutes to prepare, which is nearly identical to the time required for farro. 

10. Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are also an excellent substitute for farro due to their comparable flavor. However, wheat grains are stickier and more chewy than farro.

Using wheat berries as substitutes for Farro requires minimal effort but more time.

They must be covered with ample water and allowed to simmer. After this, simmer them in the stew for one hour or until soft. In a hurry, wheat berries are not the greatest substitutes for Farro. 

11. Rye Fruit

Rye berries, which are rye grains without the husk and have an earthy flavor, are an excellent gluten-free alternative to farro.

These substitutes for farro require a lengthy cooking time; they should simmer over high heat. They should percolate for at least an hour after boiling.

If you intend to prepare them in a slow cooker, you must cook them on high heat for two to three hours.

Alternatively, you can simmer them on a low setting for five to six hours. Additionally, rye berries are difficult to locate, so they are not the most accessible alternative to farro.

12. Grain Quinoa

Today, quinoa is one of the most readily available cereals on the market, which makes it an ideal substitute for farro. Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain that is high in fiber and vegetable protein.

In terms of flavor, quinoa has an earthy quality. However, its flavor is milder than that of farro, so it is best to use more seasonings when substituting quinoa for farro. 

Remember that quinoa can become gelatinous when there is too much water, so be careful not to add too much water when cooking it.

Additionally, it cooks faster than farro, so be cautious not to overcook it; otherwise, it will have an unpleasant gumminess.

13. Rice

Rice is ending our list of substitutes for Farro. Even though white and brown rice contains less fiber than farro, they are still excellent substitutes for farro if you are not seeking a high-fiber alternative. 

Like farro, rice has a nutty flavor but is also faintly floral and bready. 

If you desire something milder, white rice is an option. Most individuals favor brown rice as a substitute for Farro due to its nuttier texture. 

Farro can be prepared and cooked like white or brown rice, so substituting rice for farro requires minimal adjustment.


In conclusion, you can replace farro in your meals with a variety of delectable and nutritious grain substitutes.

You can substitute quinoa, barley, spelt, buckwheat, and bulgur wheat in salads, stews, and others listed above on our blog. 

All of these substitutes for farro are nutrient-dense and will make any meal healthy and satisfying.

Try one of these delicious substitutes for Farro today if you’re seeking to add variety to your diet.

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