Rice cooker only for rice? No way! You can use this handy appliance to cook other grains, including wheat berries. Wheat berries are a healthy whole grain that can be eaten for breakfast, used in soups and salads, or mixed into bread.
Wheat berries need just two things to become soft enough to eat: water and heat. You can cook them in a variety of ways, as long as you have those two key elements. Cooking them on a stove is the traditional way, but that takes a long time. Slow cookers are another option, but that is even longer! Pressure cookers are a faster option, but you might not have that expensive appliance in your home. Another great option you might not have thought of using before is rice cooker.
Wheat Berries are the short hard kernels that are ground up to make wheat flour, but you can eat them whole as well. They are PACKED with nutrition, have high levels of iron, manganese, thiamin, and phosphorus. They also happen to be low in fat and calories. Wahoo!
According to the USDA, ¼ cup of uncooked wheatberries has 170 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 16% of your total daily fiber.
If you'd like to learn more about wheat berries nutrition and how to cook with them, check out my comprehensive guide to wheat berries. There's lots of fun stuff to learn about this healthy whole grain.
Wheat berries have a pretty mild flavor, similar to oatmeal. They easily blend with and take on other flavors. Wheat berries, however, are chewier than other grains you might be used to eating. When I first started eating them, it was the texture that I had to get used to eating not the taste.
A rice cooker is great for cooking wheat berries because:
- It speeds up cooking time by 15-30 minutes as compared to the stove top method.
- You can "set and forget" on a rice cooker and not worry about your food burning onto the bottom of your pan. Rice Cookers have a sensor in them that turns off the heat when all the water has been absorbed into the grain. This prevents food from burning. Stoves, however, do not have this ability. When cooking on the stove, wheat berries need to be periodically stirred and checked so that nothing gets burned to the bottom of your pan. Trust me, I've done it, and it's the worst!
- Chances are high that you already have this appliance around your house, and it's great to find another use for it. If you don't have a rice cooker, this is the simple rice cooker I've used for the last 13+ years. It's done it's job perfectly every time, and I couldn't recommend it more!
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- Start by rinsing your wheat berries. It's good to get any dust and extra starch off before cooking.
- Spray the bottom of your rice cooker bowl with cooking spray to prevent any sticking.
- Add your wheat berries and water to the rice cooker bowl. The ratio of grain to water depends on how chewy you like your wheat berries. If you like them on the chewy side, add in 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of wheat berries. If you like them softer, you can add 2.5 cups water for every 1 cup of wheat berries.
- Turn on your rice cooker and sit back and wait. Each rice cooker will cook a little differently, but for me, 1 cup of wheat berries takes about 45 minutes to cook.
- When the rice cooker is done, fluff with a fork and eat them as you enjoy!
- There are different varieties of wheat berries and cook times can vary depending on the type you have. For example, red berries tend to take a little longer than white. While soft berries cook faster than hard. For more information about the different varieties of wheat berries, check out our comprehensive guide to wheat berries.
- It is sometimes suggested to soak wheat berries overnight (or at least an hour) before cooking them. This is a great idea if you like your wheat berries to be on the softer side, but is not necessary.
👪 Serving size
- 1 cup of dry wheat berries equals 2 cups of cooked wheat berries.
- Cooked wheat berries should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, for 3-5 days.
- Cooked wheat berries can easily be frozen. It's a great idea to make a large batch and freeze portions so you can always have a healthy whole grain ready to go.
Make sure your cooked wheat berries are completely cool before transfering to a freezer friendly container. (Making sure they are completely cool will help prevent freezer burn). Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Here are some of my favorite wheat berry recipes from around the web
Looking for even more ways to use your cooked wheat berries? Check out my wheatberry Pinterest board for lots of inspiration.
Rice Cooker Wheat Berries
- 1 cup dry wheat berries
- 2-2½ cups water*
- Rinse your wheat berries remove any dust and extra starch off before cooking. Spray the bottom of your rice cooker bowl with cooking spray to prevent any sticking.
- Add your wheat berries and water to the rice cooker bowl. *The ratio of grain to water depends on how chewy you like your wheat berries. If you like them on the chewy side, add in 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of wheat berries. If you like them softer, you can add 2.5 cups water for every 1 cup of wheat berries.
- Turn on your rice cooker and sit back and wait. Each rice cooker will cook a little differently, but for me, 1 cup of wheat berries takes about 45 minutes to cook. When the rice cooker is done, fluff with a fork and eat them as you enjoy!
I hope you love your wheat berries!