Wheat berries are a very nutritious whole grain that can easily be made on the stove top at home. These tasty grains are perfect in soups, salads and breads. They also make a delightful breakfast. Read on to find out how to make them, as well as links to some of my favorite recipes to use them in.
What are Wheat berries?
Wheat Berries are the short hard kernels that are ground up to make wheat flour. They are PACKED with nutrition, including 6 grams of protein, 38% of your daily iron and tons of fiber. They also happen to be low in fat and calories. Wahoo!
If you'd like to learn more about this grain's nutrition and how to cook with them, check out my 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 use to eating. When I first started eating them, it was the texture that I had to get use to eating not the taste.
How to Cook Wheat Berries on the Stove
First, give the grains a good rinse.
It's a good idea to rinse wheat berries under cool water before cooking. This washes away any dirt, dust or extra starch that has collected on them in storage.
Then, put the wheat berries and water in a sauce pot.
I use a ratio of 1 cup wheat berries to 3 cups water when cooking in the wheat berries. You can adjust depending on how many cooked wheat berries you desire. 1 cup of dried will be a little over 2 cups cooked.
Add a dash or two of salt, if desired. You could also add other spices in if desired, like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Next, turn on the heat.
You'll want to use medium-high heat to bring the wheat berries and water to a boil. Once the boiling begins, cover the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Wait and Watch.
After about 30 minutes, it's a good idea to check on your simmering wheat berries. Most of the water should be absorbed at this point, so they'll need a good stir to prevent any grains getting stuck and burned onto the bottom.
At this point you should also do a taste test to see if they are done to your liking and this really comes down to a personal preference. Some people may like a chewy grain, where others may want to make them as soft as possible. They will never get as soft as oatmeal or rice, but the longer you cook them the softer they will get. If you taste them and they seem done to you, drain any extra water and enjoy.
If however, you'd like them to be softer, add in another ¼ cup of water, recover, and continue to simmer. Once all of the water is absorbed, do another taste test. Continue adding ¼ cup of water at a time and allowing them to simmer until they have reached your desired consistency. Just for reference, last time I made wheat berries on the stove, I added ¾ cup extra water and simmered for 1 hour and 21 minutes.
Keeping an eye on how things are going is really important towards the end of the cooking process. Once all the water is absorbed the grains will start sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning if you don't stir them often.
I am the Queen of getting distracted and burning things towards the end of a long simmering session. If this sounds like you, you might want to consider making wheat berries in the rice cooker instead. It's an easy "set and forget" method that leaves no room for burning.
Finally, serve and enjoy!
Once your berries are soft enough for you they are ready to be added to a tasty recipe and enjoyed!
- 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, check out our comprehensive guide to wheat berries.
- It is sometimes suggested to soak wheat berries overnight before cooking them. This is a great idea to help reduce cook time!
- 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 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.
My Favorite Wheat Berry Recipes
Simple Stove Top Wheat Berries
- 1 cup dry wheat berries
- 3 cups water may need more, depending on desired chewiness
- It’s a good idea to rinse wheat berries under cool water before cooking. This washes away any dirt, dust or extra starch that has collected on them in storage. *Optional for faster cook time-soak wheat berries in clean water for 8 hours, drain and rinse before use.
- Add the wheat berries and water to a sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, check tenderness of the grains. If they are too chewy for you, add in another ¼ cup of water and continue to simmer, covered. Continue checking about every 5-10 minutes, adding in ¼ cup water and continuing to simmer until they have reached your desired consistency.
- Serve and enjoy!