Top 15 Farro Substitutes For Cooking

Farro Substitute

Farro is used both in sweet and savory dishes such as salads, soups and stews, meat-based dishes like hash, diet-friendly breakfast bowls, pilafs as well as side dishes, dairy or nondairy milk porridges as healthy meals. 

This whole grain sold in markets includes spelt, einkorn, or emmer. It is not gluten-free and if you are looking for farro substitutes to match with your diet, or to avoid any allergies from gluten, then keep reading.

Best Farro Substitutes To Try

1. Barley

Barley is one of the easiest and most suitable substitutes for farro thanks to its appearance, nutty taste, chewy texture and nutritious content. They are often seen in the same recipes and can be used interchangeably in salads, soups, stews and side dishes served with roast meats. 

The only difference, perhaps, is the cooking time. Barley takes a bit longer to cook and it’s better to cook it separately and then add to the soup or the rest of the ingredients. 

Barley is rich in fiber and magnesium. However, it is not a gluten-free grain. 

2. Wheat Berries 

Wheat berries are a great source of iron, protein and fiber. They are made from wheat kernels and come with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is not a gluten free alternative to farro, but you can choose it to use in salads, soups, side dishes and the like. 

You can also use it to substitute farro in breakfast bowls and mix with milk. First, cook wheat berries and then mix with other ingredients. 

3. Spelt Berries

As for spelt berries, they look like wheat berries but they are actually the whole kernels of spelt. Cooked spelt berries have a nutty flavor and can be used in soups, breakfast porridges, salads and side dishes instead of farro. 

Compared to farro, spelt berries tend to maintain their tough and chewy texture. Although spelt berries are not gluten-free they are high in vitamin B and vitamin E. 

4. Kamut Berries

Kamut berries are another ancient grain similar to farro. They come with a rich nutty flavor and are basically used in main dishes, salads, soups and side dishes. They can be used instead of farro as both share the same texture and taste. 

Since kamut berries are tougher in their texture than farro, you may need to soak them before cooking or adding to the rest of ingredients. 

5. Freekeh

Freekeh is a green grain produced from smoked or roasted young durum wheat. It is mostly popular in the US and if you have the chance to get it, then you can use it to replace farro too. 

You can use freekeh to substitute farro in salads, soups and side dishes. Freekeh contains gluten and is rich in calcium, zinc, fiber and iron. 

6. Bulgur

Bulgur is made of cracked whole grain which is partially cooked. It makes them more convenient to use in dishes as it usually doesn’t require cooking or takes little time for it. 

Bulgur is widely used in pilafs, salads, side dishes, soups and stews and it can be a great substitute for farro. It has a mild nutty flavor. 

While bulgur is not gluten-free, it is still good for your health. It comes with a great content of vitamins, minerals and fiber and is often included in weight loss diets. 

7. Kasha

You may be surprised to know that kasha is the name of a cooked porridge made of buckwheat seeds. Buckwheat, in its turn, is a gluten-free substitute for a variety of grains including farro. 

Kasha or buckwheat seeds come with a gummy texture and nutty flavor similar to farro. You can use these seeds instead of whole farro grains in soups, salads and in breakfast bowls as its name indicates that it’s a perfect ingredient for healthy porridgies. 

8. Rye Berries

Maybe you are familiar with rye flour but there are also rye berries used in many recipes calling for farro. Rye berries can come for help when you don’t have farro for salads, soups and grain bowls. 

They have a chewy yet firm texture and walnut-like flavor when cooked. Compared to farro and many other wheat grains, rye berries contain less gluten. It’s also a good choice for diabetics.

Keep in mind that berries come with a brownish color and if you don’t want to ruin the color of your dish, then choose another substitute. 

9. Quinoa

Use quinoa instead of farro in salads, soups and pilafs. It offers a mild and slightly nutty flavor. You can use it both in sweet and savory dishes substituting with farro. 

Quinoa is gluten-free and since it’s considered to be a superfood, you can safely choose it for your diet. It is often recommended instead of gluten-containing grains. 

10. Teff

Another gluten-free substitute for farro is teff. From red and brown to white these tiny grains come with an earthy, nutty flavor with a mild taste. They are perfect for porridges, stews, soups and pilafs. 

Teff is also rich in protein, calcium, magnesium and iron. 

11. Oat Groats

The hulled kernels of oats are called oat groats. They have a nutty, buttery and slightly sweet taste. So, you can mostly use them in sweet dishes including breakfast bowls and porridges instead of farro. 

Oat groats are rich in proteins, calcium, iron and fiber. There are several types of oat groats, some of which contain gluten. You may check it before choosing to use it in your recipe. In a word, 100% pure, non contaminated oats are gluten-free. 

12. Couscous

Couscous is neither a grain nor a seed. This white-yellowish seed-like food is actually a type of pasta. Instead of grains, you may find it in the pasta section.

It is mostly used in soups and provides it with a mild, slightly sweet taste. This farro replacer requires little time for cooking just like regular pasta. Dry couscous can be used instead of farro in salads. 

13. Brown Rice

Between all types of rice brown rice is the best match for farro recipes. Compared to white rice, brown rice has a nutty and earthy flavor. You can substitute it with farro in salads, soups and vegetables. 

It is a nutritious grain full of iron, magnesium, fiber and zinc. 

14. Triticale Berries

If you have ever heard about triticale berries, then perhaps you know that they are a hybrid of wheat and rye grains.

They have a wheat-nutty flavor, and although triticale is basically used in baking, triticale berries can be used in salads instead of farro. 

15. Sorghum

Small, round, yellow or white; this is how sorghum looks like. It is an ancient grain that comes from Africa and is gaining more popularity in the US. It has a chewy texture and slightly nutty flavor. 

You can replace sorghum with farro in sweet recipes, stews, salads, soups and breakfast porridges. 

FAQs on Farro

What is farro?

Farro is an ancient wheat grain coming from Mesopotamia. There are three types of farro including einkorn, spelt, and emmer. 

Is farro wheat?

Yes, farro is a type of wheat. 

Is farro gluten free?

Since farro is a type of wheat, it is not gluten-free. 

Is farro a whole grain?

It comes in three forms: whole grain, pearled and semi-pearled. 

What is the difference between pearled and semi-pearled farro?

Pearled farro has no bran while bran of semi-pearled farro is partially removed. Pearled farro takes less time to be cooked than semi-pearled farro. 


When it comes to the choice of the best farro substitutes for your recipes, you don’t need to think too long because in the majority of cases most of the above-mentioned wheats, grains and seeds are used interchangeably. They work well in similar recipes and dishes. 

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