Grains are a cornerstone of the whole-food, plant-based diet. Incredibly versatile, healthy, and filling, they can be incorporated into pretty much any meal. They’re also super simple to prepare—but it’s important to use the correct ratio of water or broth, lest you end up with mushy millet or crunchy quinoa. That’s why we’ve put together this grains cooking guide. Bookmark it for easy reference.  

Grain (1 cup dried) Water or Broth Cooking Time Cooked Yield
Amaranth 2 cups 25 min. 3½ cups
Barley, hulled 3 cups 45-55 min. 3½ cups
Brown rice 2½ cups 45-50 min. 3½ cups
Buckwheat 2 cups 20 min. 4 cups
Bulgur wheat 2 cups 15 min. 3 cups
Cornmeal (polenta) 4 cups 25-30 min. 2½ cups
Farro 3 cups 25-40 min. 2½ cups
Millet 3 cups 20 min. 3½ cups
Oats, rolled 2 cups 5-15 min. 2 cups
Oats, steel-cut 4 cups 20-30 min. 4 cups
Quinoa 2 cups 15 min. 2½ cups
Rye berries 4 cups 45-60 min.* 3 cups
Spelt berries 3 cups 40-50 min.* 3 cups
Wheat berries 3 cups 1¾-2 hr.* 3 cups
Wild rice 3 cups 45 min. 3½ cups
*Soak overnight


If you haven’t experimented with many of the grains on this list, now’s the time to start. The most convenient way to familiarize yourself with a new grain is to batch cook a large amount and make a few different recipes that use it. Forks Over Knives Meal Planner, which uses batch cooking and other Weekend Prep steps to make weekday cooking easier, is a great source of guidance for this. Try Forks Meal Planner for free today.

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Ingredient IQ: Vinegar