How to Cook Whole Grains

Whole grains are not that hard to prepare and can even be cooked in a slow cooker. In fact, cooking most grains is very similar to cooking rice.

You can start by putting the dry grains in a pan of water or broth and bring it to a boil. The next step is to simmer until the liquid is absorbed and turn off the heat. But grains can vary in cooking times based on their variety, as well as the pan used for cooking.

Here are instructions to cook five well known grain varieties:


An important step in cooking quinoa is to rinse it well before cooking to remove a bitter tasting resin on the outer hull.

To cook, combine 1 cup of well rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water in a pan. Bring to boil over medium high heat before reducing heat to a simmer. Let cook on low heat setting for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.


Start by rinsing the rice in a strainer before cooking. This helps rinse off any dusty starch on the grain’s surface. The ratio to follow is 1 ¾ cups of water for every cup of rice.

Bring water to a boil in a pan. Add in ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of butter and the rice. Bring the water to a gentle simmer, cover pot and turn down heat to low. Cook for about 18 minutes for white rice and 30 minutes for brown (see label for cooking time). Rice is done when there is no liquid left and the grains are firm but tender.


Use 2 ½ cups of liquid for every cup of amaranth.

Combine amaranth with water in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the grains are fluffy and the liquid is absorbed.

Amaranth can also be prepared in a porridge-like consistency by using a little more water. Change the ratio to 3 cups of water for every cup of amaranth and cook a little longer.


Buckwheat groats can be toasted prior to cooking and are known as kasha. Toasting enhances the flavor making buckwheat have a pleasant, nutty taste.

To prepare toasted or untoasted buckwheat, wash the groats thoroughly before cooking. Use one part of buckwheat to two parts of water or broth.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes for kasha and 20-30 minutes for untoasted buckwheat.


Use one cup of raw millet with 2 cups of water for cooking.

Put one cup raw millet in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium setting and allow the grains to toast slightly until golden brown and fragrant. Add in 2 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rapid boil and then reduce heat to low, cover pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Let stand for 10 minutes and fluff with fork.

Experiment with each whole grain and start adding them in your meal planning!