How To Make Bulgur Wheat

Ever wondered how to make bulgur wheat? This nutty, chewy grain can be made in as little as 10 minutes with nothing more than water and salt! Use in your favorite Mediterranean dishes, in salads, or as a healthy alternative to rice. The possibilities are endless.


While bulgur does not have the popularity of other grains, it’s actually one of the easiest to cook. It has a lovely nutty flavor and can be easily seasoned in a multitude of ways. Plus it’s quite low-calorie and nutrient-dense, which is always a welcome addition to any recipe.

Bulgur is typically used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, like tabbouleh and kibbeh, or added to salads. It can make a nice alternative to couscous or even quinoa in many recipes too!

What Is Bulgur?

Bulgur wheat is a grain that is typically used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. It is red winter wheat berries and has a nutty, chewy flavor. You’ll find it used in dishes like tabbouleh, added to soups, or just served as a side instead of rice.

What Does Bulgur Taste Like?

Like other similar grains, bulgur wheat has a nutty taste to it, with a slightly chewy texture. It has a bit of a popcorn scent as it cooks!

What Types of Bulgur Wheat Are There?

There are 4 different types of bulgur wheat – fine, medium, coarse, and extra coarse. The difference refers to the texture and how long it will take to cook.

Cooking time varies just between 5 minutes for fine bulgur, which is typically used in dishes like tabbouleh, while coarse bulgur can take up to 15 minutes. The larger the grain the chewier the texture.

Bulgur vs Quinoa

Bulgur and quinoa have a similar appearances and are sometimes used interchangeably in some dishes but are quite different. While bulgur is cracked wheat, quinoa is actually a seed.

Both are nutritionally dense but bulgur has fewer calories (110 vs 220 in a cooked cup), though quinoa has double the amount of protein and is considered a complete protein. Bulgur wheat also contains gluten, which quinoa does not.

Bulgur Wheat Substitutes

If you don’t have bulgur on hand, what can you use in recipes that call for bulgur? There are actually quite a few options. Here are a few easy bulgur substitutes:

  • Quinoa
  • Cracked wheat
  • Brown rice
  • Couscous

Note that the cooking time on each of these substitutions will vary, so always cook them according to the package instructions.

What You Need to Make Bulgur

One of the reasons that I love making bulgur wheat is just how easy it is to make. 

The only things you’ll need to prepare bulgur wheat are:

  • Bulgur
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt

You’ll want a 1:1 ratio of boiling water to bulgur and salt to taste. That’s it!

How Do You Cook Bulgur Wheat?

Bulgur may be the easiest grain to make. The grain size of the bulgar wheat you choose will determine the best cooking method to use.

Fine or medium-grain bulgur can be cooked using the soaking method. Large or coarse grain bulgur will require the stovetop method.

Soaking method

Add a cup of bulgur to a heat-resistant bowl. For fine grind bulgur top it with 1 cup of boiling water and a pinch of salt and let stand for 7-10 minutes.

For medium grind, add a cup of bulgar to a heat-resistant bowl and top with 1 1/2 cups boiling water and let sit for about 15 minutes.

stovetop method

Course bulgar needs to be cooked on a stovetop. To do so add 1 cup of coarse bulgur to a small pot and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes covered with a lid or until the liquid has been absorbed.

Once the water has been absorbed, fluff up the bulgur with a spoon and serve.

There are many ways to use bulgur wheat. Here are a few ideas:

How to Use Bulgur

  • Tabbouleh (one of the most common uses)
  • To make a pilaf
  • In salads
  • Add to soups and stews for extra bulk and nutrition
  • In risottos
  • Stuffed in peppers
  • In protein bowls
  • Seasoned as a side

In general, bulgur can be used in pretty much the same ways as rice, quinoa, or couscous.

How to Store 

Cooked bulgur wheat will last for up to 4 days in a covered container in the fridge. It also freezes well, for up to 3 months. 

When you reheat bulgur, add a splash of water to the saucepan or microwave-safe bowl to prevent drying it out. 

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Bowl of bulgur wheat.

How To Make Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur Wheat is nutty, chewy grain can be made in as little as 10 minutes with nothing more than water and salt!
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Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Side Dish
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 76kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Fine or Medium Grain Bulgur: Add a cup of bulgur to a heat-resistant bowl. For fine grind bulgur top it with 1 cup of boiling water and a pinch of salt and let stand for 7-10 minutes.
    For medium grind, add a cup of bulgar to a heat-resistant bowl and top with 1 1/2 cups boiling water and let sit for about 15 minutes.
  • Course bulgar needs to be cooked on a stovetop. To do so add 1 cup of coarse bulgur to a small pot and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes covered with a lid or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Once the water has been absorbed, fluff up the bulgur with a spoon and serve.

Notes

Storage:
Cooked bulgur wheat will last for up to 4 days in a covered container in the fridge. It also freezes well, for up to 3 months. 
Reheating:
When you reheat bulgur, add a splash of water to the saucepan or microwave-safe bowl to prevent drying it out. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 0g
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Please Note:The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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