If you’re constantly trying to add more whole grains to your diet, bulgur wheat is the easiest solution we’ve found so far. On nights when you’re scrambling to make a quick and easy dinner, or when you just want to turn a salad into something that can pass for dinner, bulgur is there to see you through. A lot of whole grains are notorious for their lengthy cooking times. Bulgur, on the other hand, can be ready in less time than it takes you to prep the rest of your meal. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Here’s everything you need to know about bulgur.

What is Bulgur?

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat. The reason it’s so quick-cooking is that the cracked wheat is parboiled and dried before packaging, meaning it’s already been lightly cooked. It hails from the Middle East, and can be found in dishes like Lebanese tabbouleh, Syrian kibbeh, and more. Bulgur comes in a variety of textures. They’re rated on a scale from one to four, with one being “fine” and four being “extra coarse.” Number one bulgur cooks up the quickest, but even number four bulgur will be ready to eat in a fraction of the time of other whole grains like spelt or brown rice.

How to use bulgur

Its nutty, neutral texture means that bulgur goes well with a variety of dishes. Fine bulgur doesn’t always even need to be cooked; a simple soaking will do. These are just some of our favorite ways to enjoy bulgur.

  • Soak fine bulgur in water for 30 minutes, then drain and toss with salads.
  • Add bulgur to cooked soup, allowing it to sit in the hot broth until tender, then serve.
  • Soak bulgur until tender, then add to meatballs and meatloaves for extra whole grain nutrition.
  • Simmer bulgur until tender, then add milk and sugar to eat for breakfast.

Ready to pick up a bag at the store? Here are two recipes to get you started.

Bulgur Tabbouleh

Recipe from Justina Huddleston, Brit + Co

(Serves 4)


  • 1/4 cup #1 fine bulgur, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • juice and zest of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs mint, finely chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • salt to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)


1. Add the bulgur to a bowl and cover with 1/2 inch of water. Let soak 30 minutes, then strain.

2. In the meantime, add the lemon juice and garlic to a bowl. Let sit.

3. When bulgur is soaked and mostly tender all the way through, drain it in a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

4. Add the bulgur, lemon juice and garlic mixture, lemon zest, scallions, parsley, mint, and chopped tomatoes to a large bowl. Toss and season to taste. Let tabbouleh marinate in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.

Note: You want the bulgur to be slightly al dente when it’s done soaking. It will continue to absorb the lemon and tomato juices from the salad while it’s in the fridge.

Breakfast Bulgur

Recipe from Justina Huddleston, Brit + Co

(Serves 1)


  • 1/4 cup coarse bulgur
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • dash of salt
  • sweetener to taste
  • ground cinnamon and fresh fruit for topping, optional


1. Add bulgur and water to a pan. Simmer until softened to your preference, about 15 minutes for al dente, and 30 minutes for soft (it will still retain a little bite).

2. Add 1/4 cup of milk, stirring until mixed through.

3. Serve with your choice of sweetener, spices, and fruit on top for a hearty and healthy morning meal.

Get more ideas for adding whole grains to your diet by following us on Pinterest.

(Photos via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)