Farro and Barley are both delicious whole grains. In fact, it's very easy to substitute one for the other when cooking. While there are many things similar about them, they each have their own unique characteristics. Let's compare farro vs barley!
Farro and barley are both oval-shaped grains. Farro grains tend to be a little bit larger and thinner than barley grains and are a darker color. Barley grains are a lighter tan/yellowish color and are a bit fatter.
When cooked, both grains stay similar to their original color but grow in size. Cooked barley appears more sticky than cooked farro.
Both grains have a slightly chewy texture, although farro is a bit chewier. Barley is more sticky and starchy. They both have a mild grain flavor. Barley has a bit of tartness to it, while farro has a warmer, nutty taste.
You might be wondering whether barley or farro is healthier. That is a hard question to answer because they are both healthy in different ways. Here are a few of the nutritional benefits of each:
- Farro: One serving of cooked pearled farro equals ⅔ cup. It provides 25% of the daily recommended fiber intake! It's also high in protein, containing 6 grams of protein. Farro is high in iron and magnesium. High in carbs, but low in sugar.
- Barley: Barley has slightly fewer calories per serving than farro and less protein. It also has lots of fiber. It's high in thiamine, manganese, and selenium. Barley contains many antioxidants. It is also high in carbs, but low in sugar.
Both barley and farro contain gluten, so people avoiding gluten should not consume either grain.
Barley has a low glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar. Barley's score of 28 is the lowest of all grains.
Farro has a low glycemic index of 45.
⏲️ Cook Time
My favorite way to cook these grains is either on the stove or pressure cooker, aka an Instant Pot. Farro cooks faster than barley with both of these methods. Neither need to be soaked before cooking. However, you can speed up the cooking time of the hulled version by soaking them for a few hours beforehand.
Barley cook times:
- Instant Pot: Pearled Barley-35 mins, unsoaked Hulled Barley-40 mins
- Stove Top: Pearled Barley-25 mins, unsoaked Hulled Barley-40 mins
Farro cook times:
Barley is cheaper to buy than Farro. Here are some prices at different locations in Washington State, as of May 2022.
- Winco- 87 cents lb,
- Target- $1.59lb,
- Winco- $3.58lb
- Target -$4.99lb
- Walmart-$8.75 for 24 oz
Both of these tasty grains are often used in soups, salads, and breakfast recipes. They can easily work as a substitution for each other. Check out my Pinterest boards for lots of great inspiration.
Here are some products you might need as you cook with Farro and Barley.
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If you'd like to read further about either of these healthy whole grains you can check out:
I hope this comparison guide has been helpful. Of the two, I like farro slightly better, because it has a stronger flavor. Which grain do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!