7 Best Bulgur Substitutes

The wheat variety known as bulgur is exceptionally wholesome and nutritious. This particular ancient grain comes from the Middle East. Although it is not the same as cracked wheat, its name suggests such. It is simple to make and frequently comes pre-cooked, saving you time. Although it has a fine texture and nutty flavor, the surface of cooked bulgur can become chewy.

Use it to enhance the flavor of any dish, including meat, salads, tacos, pasta, and other dishes.

Quinoa, Wheat couscous, Rice, Cracked Wheat, Buckwheat, Millet, and barley are the finest alternatives to bulgur. Consider the best applications, flavor, texture, cooking time, nutritional content, and whether or not it is gluten-free before selecting one of these choices. So, now, let’s explore the best Bulgur substitutes.

What Is Bulgur?

One of the most often used grains in Middle Eastern cooking is bulgur. One meal that distinguishes bulgur from other grains is tabbouleh, a light lemony salad with herbs, tomatoes, and cucumber.

Bulgur is also known as bulgur wheat since it is made from normal whole wheat. More than 4000 years ago, this grain was first produced in the Mediterranean.

Bulgur is made by parboiling wheat until the grains break. They are then sun-dried and crushed to various sizes. You may obtain bulgur in four grades using this method: fine, medium, coarse, and extremely coarse.  It is somewhat nutty and goes well with greens, feta cheese, beans, and fresh vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes. A fantastic side dish to go with chicken, lamb, and the pig is plain boiled bulgur.

If you’ve never used bulgur and are unsure about what to do with it, know that you can prepare a variety of nutritious salads, pilafs, soups, stews, and meals that resemble porridge using it. Additionally, you may use bulgur wheat to make bread and fill veggies like bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.

Best Bulgur Substitutes

 SubstituteBest For
1.QuinoaSoups, Stews, Salads, binding agent, stirfry, Kibbeh
2.RiceGrain meals, Curries, Stews, Veggie bowls, Kibbeh, Tabbouleh
3.BuckwheatSoups, Salads, porridges, Tabbouleh
4.MilletPilafs, Soups, Meat Dishes, Sauces, Veggie bowls, Casseroles
5.BarleyMeat dishes, Stews
6.Cracked WheatGrain meals, Binding agent, Pilaf, Soups, Stews, Salads, Stuffing, Tabbouleh
7.Wheat CouscousTabbouleh, Kibbeh,

Comparatively speaking to other wheat grains like wheat berries, bulgur is an easy grain to cook. Furthermore, it takes only a few minutes to prepare and serve. However, there may be circumstances when you need to swap bulgur for another grain. Fortunately, it is simple to locate a variety of foods that may be used in lieu of bulgur.

1. Quinoa


This well-liked fake cereal from South America is a key component in several dishes. Bulgur and quinoa can be used interchangeably since they have comparable nutritional characteristics.

Quinoa is gluten-free and may be red or creamy white, and many people enjoy quinoa since it’s an excellent source of vitamins, potassium, and calcium. Its nutty flavor will enhance the flavor of your food and go well with salads, soups, and stews.

2. Rice


Particularly in Asia and Africa, rice is a cereal grain and common food. It comes in a few different colors, including white and brown, all of which are widely available and healthful.

In any dish that asks for bulgur, you can use rice as a substitute. The texture and flavor of white and brown rice are different from one another. White rice has a milder taste and a more delicate and soft texture, whereas brown rice has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor.

We advise rice since it is adaptable. It may be used while frying and grilling, converted into flour, or boiled. Take into account the texture and add the right amount of rice when substituting any variety.

3. Buckwheat


Like quinoa, buckwheat is a gluten-free seed and a perfect substitute for bulgur. Although it is a little bit more bitter than bulgur, it can be used in salads and soups in place of bulgur. The seed performs considerably better when used in lieu of bulgur in gluten-free pasta bases, pizza dough, and bread.

The cooking time for buckwheat is about twenty minutes, however, if the grain has been pre-soaked in water, the cooking time will be reduced. Otherwise, just giving the component a quick washing before putting it in a saucepan to boil would do.

Since buckwheat might be pricey, it might not be the best alternative to bulgur. However, if you’re seeking a fiber-rich alternative to bulgur, this nutrient-dense dish may be worth the price.

4. Millet


Millet can be found all around the world and it is prized for its light, bulgur-like texture. Additionally, it gives your food a delicious nutty flavor and a creamy texture. Small and sphere-shaped millet grains make the ideal foundation for various types of meat, sauces, and vegetables.

Although it is uncommon, this grain may be used in place of rice or bulgur and performs just as well. The millet is best prepared by soaking it overnight and then cooking it the next day. By pre-soaking, this component, bitter-tasting acids are eliminated, and a rich taste is ensured.

Although it is frequently used in cereals, millet is ideal for soups and pilafs. Millet is adaptable because of its delicate flavor and neutral texture. Depending on your preferences, you may use it in savory or sweet meals.

5. Barley


Although barley is not a complete grain, it may be a palatable alternative to bulgur, particularly in dishes with meat. It is chewier but yet has the same nutty taste. If you’re creating a soup or stew, its chewiness can disrupt the texture of your food and make it a bad option.

Up to an hour is needed to simmer one cup of barley. But as a reward for your perseverance, you’ll have a delectable basis for any meat meal. Barley may be used as a 1:1 substitute, making it a straightforward substitution.

6. Cracked Wheat

Cracked Wheat

A product called cracked wheat is created by crushing or cracking entire wheat grains. This type of wheat is a great alternative to bulgur. Bulgur and cracked wheat have comparable flavor, taste, and texture. It has the same distinctively light texture and nutty taste. What’s best? It works well as a binding agent and may be used in many different grain meals.

You must replace one cup of cracked wheat with each cup of bulgur. Because of this ratio, cracked wheat will often be your best option if you run out of bulgur or are unable to locate it at the shop.

7. Wheat Couscous

Wheat Couscous

Contrary to the other ingredients on this list, wheat couscous is neither a grain nor seed but rather a pasta-like food prepared from durum wheat semolina. Given that wheat couscous closely resembles bulgur, it is a fantastic alternative if the look is important to you.

Using wheat couscous as a substitute is simple. You may use one cup of wheat couscous in place of one cup of bulgur.

Cooking couscous is also quick, with some recipes just requiring five minutes. Additionally, you have the option of cooking the couscous alongside your other ingredients, which will undoubtedly give it more flavor. For meals from the Mediterranean or Morocco, this ingredient works wonderfully.

Best Bulgur Substitute In Tabbouleh

The ingredients of Tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad, are tomatoes, parsley, cracked wheat bulgur, and a garlic-mint vinaigrette. This salad can be created in several ways by adding additional parsley or other ingredients like chickpeas, fetta cheese, cucumbers, or black olives.

Typically, tabbouleh is served with pita bread, hummus, and falafel. However, it may also be eaten by itself. If you don’t have bulgur, you may use quinoa, couscous, cracked wheat, buckwheat, or rice. Select the components you believe will best suit your preferences because they will alter the flavor and consistency of your tabbouleh.

Best Bulgur Substitute In Kibbeh

A popular Middle Eastern and national cuisine of Lebanon, kibbeh is made with bulgur.  The mixture is formed into golf ball-sized balls that can be deep-fried, roasted, or broiled.

Fish, beef, lamb, goat, camel, and other types of minced meat are used in several regional kibbeh varieties. Although kibbeh is traditionally cooked with beef mince, vegetarian variants can also be made using vegetables including spinach, pumpkin, chickpeas, and lentils.

Kibbeh often has bulgur as one of its components, however, you may easily substitute other ingredients if you like. Couscous, Quinoa, Freekeh, and rice is a few of them. To utilize it for your kibbeh, you only need to select the one you like most.

Bottom Line

Rice, wheat couscous, and quinoa are the finest alternatives to bulgur. But compared to bulgur, these components have a somewhat different texture. Although they all have neutral tastes and may frequently be substituted in the same proportion as bulgur, these components come in a variety of textures. These items may be used at the last minute to rescue any dinner. The alternatives discussed in this article go nicely with Middle Eastern cuisine, which is where bulgur is most frequently used.

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