How to Cook Freekeh?

If you are wondering how to cook freekeh? Whole grain freekeh hails from the Middle East and North Africa, where it has been consumed for centuries, especially in southern Lebanon and Egypt. But its recent rise in the United States can be partly traced to an appearance on an “Oprah Winfrey Show” segment in 2010. Vegetarians and vegans might be credited for starting the “ancient grain” food trend, including quinoa and teff. Still, it’s gaining popularity among mainstream American consumers looking for interesting alternatives to oats and rice.

How To Cook Freekeh

What is Freekeh?

Freekeh is a whole grain called “farik” or “freak.” It is similar to bulgur wheat, farro, spelled, and wheat berries but has qualities. The word “freekeh” comes from the Arabic word “freak,” which means “to rub.” It is not the name of a plant, though. Growers pick durum wheat before it’s completely ripe, then burn the stalks to get rid of the trash. The fire doesn’t hurt the young grains that are still wet, and the green kernels are freed by vigorous “rubbing” or threshing.

Freekeh is usually a type of young wheat that has been given a nutty, smoky flavor through a natural process. It has been used for hundreds of years in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, so it is considered an ancient grain. The word “freekeh” comes from the Arabic word “to rub.” Technically, the word refers to the process, not the grain itself. Freekeh is usually made from green wheat, which is young durum wheat. When the green wheat is still young and soft, it is picked, dried, and roasted. When the grain is roasted, the chaff and straw burn and is rubbed off. This is where the name comes from. Then, it’s left whole or broken up to reduce cooking time.

Cracked vs. Whole

Freekeh can be bought “whole,” “whole grain,” or “cracked.” That might sound strange, but “cracked” freekeh means it has been broken into smaller pieces. This makes cracked freekeh cook faster, which is why we usually choose it at THK, and also changes its texture a little bit.

We were surprised to learn that cracked freekeh comes in many different sizes, depending on who makes it. Some cracked freekeh is almost as big as “whole” freekeh, which is hearty and chewy, and some people say it reminds them of bulgur. Other brands, however, are cracked so small that they have a texture more like quinoa.

How to Cook Freekeh?

Freekeh is an old grain made by roasting the young, green grains of durum wheat. It has been a staple in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines for hundreds of years. It has a lot of good nutrients and cooks up quickly into a grain that is slightly firm and chewy and tastes nutty, smoky, and savory. It’s a great replacement for grains like quinoa, wheatberries, and farro.

The whole freekeh takes about 45 to 50 minutes to cook. However, you can often buy it cracked, which cuts the cooking time in half without taking away any of the health benefits of the whole grain. Cover the whole freekeh with a lot of water or broth and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or until the grains are the consistency you want. Then you can drain off any extra water.

To make cracked freekeh, use a little more than the usual 2:1 ratio of liquid to grains, or about 2 1/2 cups of water or broth for every 1 cup of freekeh. Cover the pot and let the freekeh simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the grains have soaked up all the liquid and become soft. Before you serve it, fluff it up with a fork. Some people like to cook freekeh in salted water with a bit of oil as they do with pasta. You can try it both ways and make your own choice.


  • Kosher Salt


Step 1

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the freekeh. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the freekeh simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until it is soft and the liquid has been absorbed.

Step 2

Take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Use it immediately, or spread it on a baking sheet with a rim and let it cool.

How to Store Freekeh?

Cooked freekeh can be kept in the fridge for three days in a container that keeps air out (or frozen for up to six months). Dried freekeh can be kept for about three months in an unopened package in a cool, dry pantry. Once you’ve opened dry freekeh, the best way to keep it fresh is to put it in the freezer. The young wheat’s oils can go rancid, making the taste go from nutty to bitter and astringent.

Follow any tips for storing whole grains to keep your freekeh fresh. Store it in an airtight container away from heat, moisture, and light. If stored correctly, the whole freekeh can last for several years without going bad. Cracked grains don’t stay fresh as long, so if you want to keep cracked freekeh for more than a few months, put it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. You can keep cooked freekeh in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days or in the freezer for up to three months.

Freekeh Nutrition

Freekeh has more protein and fiber than the so-called “super grain” quinoa. They are quite comparable in terms of nutritional value (which means it might be time to start making some grain trades). In comparison to quinoa and brown rice, which both have 6 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup dry, freekeh has 8 grams. Freekeh provides 12 grams of protein, whereas quinoa has 13. Both contain about 20% of the Daily Value of iron (amazing for a grain).

Is Freekeh Gluten-Free?

Unlike quinoa, which is also gluten-free and a good source of protein, freekeh does not contain gluten because it is made from wheat. On the other hand, you might have heard that freekeh is better tolerated by those with mild gluten sensitivities. Whilst freekeh does include gluten, the harvesting and processing procedures alter the gluten structure and enzymes in the final product.

But it’s important to keep in mind that research on freekeh and gluten, as well as its resistant starches and prebiotic properties, is still in its early stages. Before trying freekeh, you should talk to your doctor or a nutritionist if you are sensitive to gluten, allergic to gluten, or have questions about how freekeh can fit into a special diet.

No, freekeh is not made without gluten. Freekeh is an “ancient grain” made from green durum wheat called farik. Since freekeh comes from wheat grains, it has gluten and shouldn’t be eaten by people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity that isn’t caused by celiac disease.

The History of Freekeh

Food lore says that the fiery story of freekeh goes back thousands of years, maybe even as far as 2,300 BC. Enemies attacked a Middle Eastern village, and their young, green wheat crops caught fire during the siege. The villagers were smart enough to figure out they could save their food by rubbing away the burned trash to find the roasted wheat kernels. We call freekeh today, which means “to rub” or “the one who has been rubbed.”

Freekeh is a type of grain that became popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It has been eaten for a long time in places like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. It has also become very popular in Australia, where the modern way of making Freekeh started.


Freekeh is delicious in casseroles, soups, pilafs, and salads like our Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh. You can eat it for breakfast as a hot cereal or in a parfait with yogurt and fruit, just like you would with granola or oats. You can also use it in place of rice, quinoa, farro, and other hearty grains in recipes that aren’t made just for freekeh. You’ll need to add 2 1/2 cups water for every grain cup. After bringing the grains and water to a boil, let them cook slowly for about 15 to 20 minutes with the lid off until all the water has been absorbed. How many calories does freekeh have? How many carbs? This cooked grain has 90 calories, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber per half-cup serving.