Farro is a grain with a nutty, earthy flavor and hearty, slightly chewy texture. Instant Pot farro is easy to cook and can be used in many types of dishes. This recipe will answer all your questions about how to cook farro (both pearled and whole grain) in the Instant Pot.
I love cooking farro in my Instant Pot! It's a hands-off method that makes it easy to cook farro, both pearled, semi-pearled and whole grain.
Farro has a mild, nutty flavor that is really versatile.
How To Serve Farro
- Add it to almost any green salad.
- Make a grain salad - add raw or roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, beans, crumbled cheese, leftover shredded meat, tofu etc..
- Add it to soup - try Instant Pot Farro Soup with Lemon Ginger broth or use farro instead of barley in Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup.
- Add it to stew - farro can be a substitute for barley in recipes like Crock Pot Beef & Barley stew.
- Use it as a healthy, hearty base or side dish for vegetarian dishes like Instant Pot vegetable stew and vegetarian shawarma sheet-pan dinner.
- Use farro instead of rice and serve it with dishes like Instant Pot Pork Adobo or Instant Pot jerk chicken.
Types of Farro
Whole Grain Farro: Contains the germ and the bran, which means it retains more nutrients and takes longer to cook. This is the most hearty type of farro, and is less likely to become mushy when cooked.
Pearled and Semi-Pearled Farro: The most common type of farro sold in grocery stores. Often the package will just say “farro” on the front and you’ll have to look at the back ingredient list to see “pearled farro.”
Semi-pearled farro has part of the bran removed and pearled farro has all of the bran removed, so neither one is considered a whole grain. Pearled and semi-pearled farro cook faster than whole grain farro. The texture is slightly softer than whole grain farro.
Quick Cook Farro: Quick cooking farro cooks in just ten minutes on the stove, which is really convenient! It has been partially cooked and dried, so it’s considered the most processed. Because it cooks so quickly, I usually boil quick-cooking or "instant" farro on the stove rather than using a pressure cooker. I'm worried that a pressure cooker will overcook it. Trader Joe's quick-cooking farro is the brand I always buy. It has a softer, less chewy, texture than regular farro.
Honestly, there isn't an exact ratio that's correct. It's easiest to cook farro using "pasta method" which means cooking farro like pasta in a lot of water, then simply draining off any remaining water in a colander when the grain is cooked.
If you'd like an exact measurement, then a 3:1 ratio is about right (3 cups water + 1 cup farro), for both the stove top or pressure cooker.
If using this amount in a pressure cooker, there will be water left in the pot that needs to be drained once the farro is cooked.
Don't let cooked farro sit in the extra water when it's done cooking, or it will continue to soften in the hot water and get mushy.
Add More Flavor to Farro
Farro has a mild flavor that's earthy and nutty. You can boost the flavor by adding flavorful ingredients when it's cooking.
- Simmer farro in broth or apple cider
- Add whole spices to the simmering water, like bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander seeds or fennel seeds
- Add fresh herbs to the simmering water, like sprigs of parsley and thyme
- Add garlic and onion to the simmering water
- Before simmering farro, toast the grains in a dry skillet for 3 to 5 minutes until the grain is lightly browned and fragrant
There are three varieties of farro: emmer, spelt and einkorn. Packages of farro don't always indicate which variety of farro is in the package. All three varieties of farro are very similar in taste.
Barley: Overall, the best substitute for farro is barley. Barley has a mild, nutty flavor and looks very similar to farro. The two grains also have similar cooking times. You can swap out the barley and use farro in Crockpot Beef & Barley Stew or Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup.
Wheat Berries: Another possible substitute is wheat berries. The texture is chewier and the flavor is both nutty and earthy. Bob's Red Mill has a good explanation of wheat berries and how to cook this variety of wheat.
Buckwheat: Another substitute is buckwheat . However, it has a stronger, earthier flavor and is a bit heavier and heartier than farro.
Frequently Asked Questions About Farro
Different brands of farro can cook differently. Also, some people like a softer texture and some like a firmer texture. You might also notice different cooking methods - some recipes have a shorter cooking time but longer release time and some recipes (like this one) have a longer cooking time and quick release.
For this recipe, I give a range of cooking times (8 to 10 minutes for pearled; 12 to 15 minutes for whole grain.) It's best to error in the side of undercooking slightly. You can always re-seal the lid and program a few more minutes of cooking time if the farro is too chewy for your liking.
No. Farro is an ancient strain of wheat and is not gluten-free
Yes, Emmer is a variety of farro. There are actually three varieties of farro: emmer, spelt and einkorn.
Farro is considered an ancient grain, which means it hasn't been modified or crossbred extensively. It's high in protein and fiber.
It's a good idea. Before cooking, give it a quick rinse in a fine mesh strainer under water to remove dust and debris.
No, farro doesn't need to be soaked. However, some cooks like to soak farro so that it cooks faster. This is especially true for whole grain farro, which takes the longest amount of time to cook. Some people also feel that soaking farro makes it easier for the body to digest the nutrients.
All three varieties of farro (emmer, spelt and einkorn) can be ground into whole grain flour. Farro flour can be used in baking recipes in the same way that whole wheat flour is used. Farro flour is not gluten-free.
Farro can be cooked in a slow cooker, but the only real reason to do this is if you're making slow cooker soup with farro in it. Otherwise, it's easier and faster to cook in on the stove or in a pressure cooker.
More Instant Pot Rice and Grains
Instant Pot Farro Cheat Sheet
- Most Common Type of Farro Sold in Stores: Pearled or Semi-Pearled
- Farro Water Ratio: 3:1 (water : farro)
- Instant Pot Cooking Time for Pearled/Semi-Pearled: 8 to 10 minutes, quick release
- Instant Pot Cooking Time for Whole Grain Farro: 12 to 15 minutes, quick release
- How Much Should I Cook? 1 cup dry = 3 cups cooked
Instant Pot Farro
Farro is a grain with a nutty, earthy flavor and hearty, chewy texture. My favorite way to cook farro is in a pressure cooker. Instant Pot farro is so easy to make!
This recipe is for pearled or semi-pearled farro (the most common variety sold in stores) AND whole grain farro, which takes longer to cook.
The packaging should indicate whether or not the farro is whole grain or pearled/semi-pearled. Sometimes it won't say on the front and you have to look at the ingredient list on the back.
Different brands of farro can cook differently, so it's best to error in the side of undercooking slightly. You can always re-seal the lid and program a few more minutes of cooking time if the farro is too chewy for your liking.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 17 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- Category: grains
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 cup farro (pearled or semi-pearled or whole grain)
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
Add More Flavor: Read the blog post above for ingredients that can be added to the pot for more flavor, such as using broth or adding onion and garlic.
- Rinse the farro briefly under running water
- Combine farro, water and salt in the Instant Pot.
- Secure the lid. Make sure the pressure release valve is in the “sealed” position.
- Program the Cooking Time:
Pearl or Semi-Pearled - Cook on high pressure for 8 to 10 minutes, quick release
Whole Grain Farro - Cook on high pressure for 12 to 15 minutes, quick release
- Drain the farro immediately in a colander. If it sits in the cooking water, it will continue to soften.
Using the shorter amount of cooking time will yield farro that is chewier and firmer. A longer cooking time makes farro that is less firm but still has a bit of chewiness to it.
Cooked farro can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze cooked farro in a sealed freezer bag for several months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Keywords: farro, grain, instant pot farro, how to cook farro
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