How to Cook Bulgur Wheat

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Bulgur wheat; ID 27694851 © Jirkaejc | Dreamstime.com

Bulgur, or cracked wheat, is a nutrient-dense whole grain that makes an excellent addition to any healthy meal plan. Cooking bulgur wheat properly is the key to making this nutritious food taste delicious.

Bulgur Wheat Cooking Basics

Cooking times will vary, but are generally longer for courser bulgur versus fine-textured bulgur. While fine bulgur may take just 7 to 10 minutes to cook, very course bulgur could take up to 30 minutes.

Ingredient List

The basic ratio of bulgur to water is 1 part bulgur to 2 parts water.

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

Follow the directions for one of the cooking methods below. The method you choose may depend on the recipe you are using the bulgur wheat in; for example, soaking bulgur works well for a tabbouleh salad while stovetop bulgur can be used in a chicken, vegetable, and bulgur recipe.

Stovetop Directions

Cooking bulgur on the stove is generally a quick and easy to prepare it, similar to cooking rice.

  1. Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of bulgur in a pot. You can substitute broth for water, or use 1 cup of water mixed with 1 cup of broth.
  2. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to taste.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Cover pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Drain excess water and serve.

Microwave Directions

Using the microwave method works well when you're short on time.

  1. Mix 2 parts water with 1 part bulgur in microwave-safe bowl. You may substitute broth for water if desired.
  2. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to taste.
  3. Stir contents and cover your bowl.
  4. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Keeping your bowl covered, remove cooked bulgur from microwave and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Soaking Instructions

Soaking bulgur is an option if you don't have access to a stove or microwave and when you're not in a hurry.

  1. Combine 2 cups of boiling water or broth with 1 cup of bulgur in a bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to taste.
  3. Stir contents and cover your bowl.
  4. Let the bulgur mixture stand for 1 hour.
  5. Drain excess water and serve.

Optional Additions

Once you have mastered making basic bulgur, you can start experimenting with various additions. Consider adding:

  • Nuts - Pine nuts, slivered almonds
  • Legumes - Chick peas, lentils
  • Seeds - Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, toasted sesame seeds
  • Fruits or berries - Currants, raisins
  • Spices - Cinnamon, pepper

Bottom Line

Regardless of which cooking method you use for bulgur wheat, you'll reap nutritional benefits of satiating carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Spice up cooked bulgur with optional additions, or add it to your favorite bulgur recipes.

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat