Basic Bulgur

Photo by: Sarah Shatz

by Whole Foods Market

over 2 years ago

Bulgur is a form of wheat that originated in the Middle East and has a number of spelling variations: bulghur, bulgar, and burgul being the most common. Regardless of how you spell it, bulgur refers to whole wheat berries that have been steamed whole, then cracked and dried. In other words, it's been partially cooked and dried, which makes it one of the quickest cooking and most convenient whole grains. Bulgur is generally classified by the coarseness of the grind, and it comes in fine-, medium- and coarse-grind. The most common and most versatile is the medium-grind. Fine and medium bulgur are best for tabouli and salads. Coarse grind is best simmered and served as you would rice or used in stuffings. (Note: Bulgur is often confused with cracked wheat -- a form of wheat that has been cracked but NOT partially cooked, meaning it takes longer to cook.)

Fine and medium bulgur are most often prepared just by soaking in boiling water (step 1 below). Coarse bulgur is best prepared by simmering (step 2 below). If can also be prepared as you would rice pilaf. If the size of the bulgur is unmarked, it is likely fine or medium.

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • Pinch salt (if desired for simmer method)
  1. Fine and medium bulgur: Rinse. Put in bowl and cover with about 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Cover and let stand until tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes for fine and 25 for medium. Drain off any excess water. Fluff, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Coarse grind: Combine bulgur with 2 1/2 parts water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt (optional). Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes for fine (20 minutes for medium). Drain off any excess liquid. Fluff and let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Nutrition Info:


  • 479 calories
  • 2g total fat
  • 0g saturated fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 173mg sodium
  • 106g carbohydrate (26g dietary fiber, 1g sugar)
  • 17g protein
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