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How to cook buckwheat


Buckwheat stands out as a versatile and nutrient-packed ingredient that has been celebrated for centuries. Learn how to cook buckwheat, from selecting the right type to preparing it perfectly.

You can serve it for breakfast, as a side dish, or add it to the salad or soup.

You might also enjoy Pitaya Bowl or Polish Potato Pancakes.

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white bowl with cooked buckwheat groats

What is buckwheat?

Unlike its name suggests, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all but rather belongs to the family of pseudocereals.

Buckwheat has been cultivated for thousands of years and has a rich history in many cultures, particularly in Eastern Europe, Asia, and North America.

Packed with essential nutrients, including fiber, protein, and minerals like manganese and magnesium, this gluten-free grain alternative has gained popularity for its numerous health benefits.

It offers a unique flavor profile, distinct texture, and a variety of culinary applications, making it a valuable addition to any kitchen.

Recipe Features

  • You can serve up your buckwheat kasha cold or warm.
  • When cooking buckwheat groats, groats and water are all you need. Then dress up your buckwheat with your favorite toppings.
  • It will take around 30 minutes, and you are ready to plate and serve.
  • This is the perfect recipe to make as part of the meal prep and use throughout the week. You can eat buckwheat in soups, add it to salads, or even pair it with fruit and nuts for a breakfast bowl.

Key Ingredients

Buckwheat groats, the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant, are the foundation for numerous delicious recipes.

Before diving into culinary exploration, knowing how to cook buckwheat groats is essential to ensure optimal flavor and texture.

buckwheat groats macro shot
Raw buckwheat groats.

Ingredient Notes

  • It is important to buy buckwheat groats from a good source to really appreciate this wonderful superfood.
  • The good quality groats should be evenly sized, clean looking, each groat looking whole, not crushed.
  • When cooking good quality groats, the water should stay clear after rinsing.
  • Whole buckwheat groats are widely available in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online.
  • Check the package instructions, as different varieties may require slightly different cooking times.

Pro Tip

Buckwheat has a stand-out flavor. It offers a nutty and earthy flavor. You will find how you cook and serve your buckwheat will alter the flavor of the dish.

How to Prepare Buckwheat

Step 1. Rinse the Buckwheat Groats.

Start by rinsing the groats under cold running water in a fine-mesh sieve.

This helps remove any dust, dirt, or residual debris from the groats.

colander with buckwheat

Step 2. Soaking (Optional step).

Soaking buckwheat groats is an optional step that some prefer to enhance digestibility and reduce cooking time. Place the rinsed groats in a bowl and cover them with water.

Allow them to soak for 30 minutes to 2 hours, then drain and rinse again before cooking.

If using soaked buckwheat groats, the cooking time will be reduced.

Step 3. Toasting (Optional step).

Toasted buckwheat groats can add a delightful nutty flavor to your dishes.

Heat a dry skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the rinsed and drained groats, and stir them constantly for about 5 minutes or until they turn golden brown and release a pleasant aroma.

Be careful not to burn them. Toasting is optional but highly recommended for flavor enhancement.

How to cook buckwheat

Step 1.

Add the desired amount of water or broth to a large saucepan, using a 2:1 ratio of liquid to buckwheat groats. For example, if you’re cooking 1 cup of groats, use 2 cups of liquid. Add buckwheat groats to the same saucepan.

Step 2.

On medium heat, slowly bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

dutch oven filled row buckwheat and water

Step 3.

Skim off the foam once.

pot with grains and water

Step 4.

Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and leave covered for 30 minutes until all water absorbs. This allows the groats to absorb any remaining liquid and ensures a fluffy texture.

cooked buckwheat groats inside the pot

Step 5.

Once the groats are cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat. Serve buckwheat kasha cold or warm. Add the toppings of your choice.

hite bowl filled with cooked buckwheat kasha

Recipe Tips

If you are new to making buckwheat at home, let me share some tips to help set you up for success.

  • Once boiling for a couple of minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit covered for 20 minutes. The groats will soak the water up as you allow it to sit. For the best texture, don’t stir the groats after the heat is off.
  • You can make your groats sweet or savory. You can use them as a base for salads, soups, pilafs, porridge, or even as a side dish. Feel free to season as you would like.
  • Add a little butter and salt for added flavor to the buckwheat kasha.
  • If served as porridge, the healthier toppings options could be dry or frozen fruit, butter, nuts, hemp seeds, almond milk, and coconut sugar.

How to avoid Mushy Buckwheat?

To avoid mushy buckwheat and achieve a desirable texture, follow these tips:

Proper Water-to-Buckwheat Ratio: Use the correct water-to-buckwheat ratio when cooking. As a general guideline, use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of buckwheat groats. Adjust the ratio slightly based on personal preference or the specific instructions on the packaging.

Rinse Buckwheat Thoroughly: Before cooking, rinse the buckwheat groats under cold water to remove any excess starch. This step helps prevent clumping and sticking, resulting in a less mushy texture.

Toast Buckwheat: Toasting the buckwheat groats before cooking can help maintain their texture. Heat a dry skillet or frying pan over medium heat and toast the rinsed and drained buckwheat groats for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Toasting enhances the nutty flavor and helps prevent mushiness.

Cooking Time: Pay attention to the cooking time. Overcooking can lead to mushy buckwheat. Follow the recommended cooking time on the package instructions or simmer the buckwheat for about 15-20 minutes until tender. Keep an eye on the texture and test for doneness periodically.

Fluff with a Fork: After the buckwheat is cooked, let it sit covered for a few minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork gently. Fluffing the grains helps separate them and prevents clumping, resulting in a lighter and less mushy texture.

Avoid Over-Stirring: While cooking buckwheat, avoid excessive stirring, as it can break down the grains and lead to a mushy consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, but be mindful not to over-stir.

Buckwheat groats

How To Make Buckwheat Taste Good

Here are some tips on how to make buckwheat taste good:

  1. Toast the Buckwheat: Toasting adds a nutty depth to the buckwheat.
  2. Cook with Flavorful Broth or Stock: Instead of using plain water, cook the buckwheat in vegetable broth, chicken broth, or any other flavorful stock. The buckwheat will absorb the savory flavors from the liquid, enhancing its taste.
  3. Add salt: Adding salt when cooking buckwheat kasha is recommended. Salt enhances the dish’s overall flavor and helps bring out the nuttiness of the buckwheat. It balances the flavors and makes the kasha more enjoyable to eat. As a general guideline, start with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of buckwheat groats. However, you can adjust the amount according to your personal preference.
  4. Add butter: Adding butter to buckwheat can enhance its flavor and make it taste good. When serving cooked buckwheat as a side dish or main course, you can melt a pat of butter over the top or stir it into the cooked buckwheat for added richness and flavor. The butter helps to create a smooth and velvety texture, making the buckwheat more appealing to the palate.
  5. Season with Herbs and Spices: Incorporate herbs and spices into your buckwheat dishes to add flavor. Consider using ingredients like garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary, paprika, cumin, or any other herbs and spices that complement your overall recipe. These seasonings can elevate the taste of buckwheat and make it more appetizing.
  6. Mix with Other Ingredients: Combine buckwheat with other flavorful ingredients to create a balanced dish. You can add sautéed vegetables, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, or cooked protein like chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Mixing buckwheat with other ingredients helps to create a more complex and enjoyable flavor profile.
  7. Experiment with Toppings and Sauces: When serving buckwheat, consider adding flavorful toppings or sauces. You can try topping cooked buckwheat with fresh herbs, chopped nuts, grated cheese, or a drizzle of olive oil. You can also serve it with a sauce like tomato sauce, pesto, mushroom sauce, or yogurt-based dressings for an extra burst of flavor.
white bowl with buckwheat with sweet potato

What to serve with buckwheat

Buckwheat is a versatile grain that pairs well with a variety of flavors and ingredients.

Here are some delicious options to serve with buckwheat:

  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, or Brussels sprouts, make a perfect accompaniment to buckwheat. The earthy flavors and caramelized edges of the vegetables complement the nuttiness of the buckwheat.
  • Grilled or Roasted Protein: Buckwheat can be served alongside grilled or roasted protein for a satisfying and balanced meal. Options like grilled chicken, roasted salmon, or marinated tofu provide a protein boost to the dish and add a contrasting texture.
  • Stir-Fried Veggies and Tofu: Create a quick and flavorful stir-fry using a combination of your favorite vegetables, such as broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and bell peppers, along with tofu or tempeh. The stir-fried veggies provide a fresh and vibrant element to the dish, while the buckwheat adds heartiness.
  • Leafy Greens Salad: Toss a refreshing salad with leafy greens like spinach, arugula, or mixed greens, and top it with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, avocado, and a tangy vinaigrette. Serve the salad alongside cooked buckwheat for a light and nutritious meal.
  • Creamy Mushroom Sauce: Whip up a rich and creamy mushroom sauce to serve over buckwheat. Sauté mushrooms with garlic, herbs, and a splash of cream or a non-dairy alternative until they are tender and luscious. Pour the mushroom sauce over the cooked buckwheat for a satisfying and indulgent combination.
  • Ratatouille: Prepare a classic ratatouille with a medley of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. The vibrant flavors of the ratatouille harmonize well with the nutty buckwheat, creating a delightful vegetarian or vegan option.
  • Yogurt or Sour Cream: For a simple and refreshing addition, serve buckwheat with a plain yogurt or sour cream dollop. The creamy and tangy dairy or non-dairy element provides a contrast to the grain and complements its flavors.

How to store leftover buckwheat

To store cooked buckwheat and maintain its freshness and quality, follow these guidelines:

  • Cool the Buckwheat: Allow the cooked buckwheat to cool down to room temperature before storing it. This prevents condensation and moisture buildup, which can lead to spoilage.
  • Portion and Package: Divide the cooked buckwheat into meal-sized portions based on your needs. Place each portion in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. Ensure the containers are clean and dry before adding the buckwheat.
  • Refrigeration: For short-term storage (up to 3-4 days), place the airtight containers in the refrigerator. The cool temperature helps inhibit bacterial growth and keeps the buckwheat fresh. Ensure the refrigerator is set at or below 40°F (4°C).

How to Freeze Leftover Buckwheat

If you want to store the cooked buckwheat for an extended period (up to 3 months), freezing is the best option.

Follow these steps for freezing cooked buckwheat:

  • Allow the buckwheat to cool completely in the airtight containers.
  • Place the containers in the freezer, ensuring they are sealed tightly to prevent freezer burn.
  • For added protection against freezer burn and to save space, you can transfer the buckwheat to freezer-safe bags, removing excess air before sealing them.

Thawing and Reheating Tips

When you’re ready to use the stored cooked buckwheat, follow these steps:

  • Refrigerator Thawing: Transfer the frozen buckwheat from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. Let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
  • Stovetop Reheating: To reheat the thawed or refrigerated buckwheat, place it in a saucepan with a splash of water or broth. Heat it gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through.
  • Microwave Reheating: Transfer the buckwheat to a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel or microwave-safe lid. Heat it in the microwave on medium power, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is buckwheat groat? 

Buckwheat is a nutty and flavorful gluten-free seed. Buckwheat groats are very popular in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia and Ukraine. This low-glycemic seed is packed with nutrients and has impressive health benefits. Buckwheat groats could be used in many sweet or savory recipes instead of grains.

How to know When buckwheat is cooked? 

Cooked buckwheat should be tender but still have a slight bite to it. The grains should be separate and not clumped together. Test a few grains by biting into them to check if they are cooked to your desired texture.

Do you serve buckwheat cold or hot?

You can actually serve your dish cold or hot. For breakfast, I enjoy serving it warm, like porridge. Then if I have extra on hand, I might toss some cold into my salad for lunch.

white bowl with buckwheat porridge

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white bowl with buckwheat porridge

How To Cook Buckwheat

Natalia-Flavorful Home
Learn how to cook buckwheat, and serve up a delicious bowl of buckwheat kasha. Serve your buckwheat up in a salad, soup, or even as porridge.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish, Breakfast
Cuisine Eastern European

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups buckwheat groats
  • 4 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Rinse two cups of buckwheat groats really well.
  • In a large pot, combine two cups of buckwheat with four cups of cold water. On medium heat slowly bring to boil.
  • Skim off the foam once.
  • Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave covered for 30 minutes utill all water absorbs.
  • Serve cold or warm.

Notes

Use the correct water-to-buckwheat ratio when cooking.
Before cooking, rinse the buckwheat groats under cold water to remove any excess starch.
Toasting the buckwheat groats before cooking can help maintain their texture.
For the best texture, don’t stir the groats after the heat is off.
Pay attention to the cooking time. Overcooking can lead to mushy buckwheat.
After the buckwheat is cooked, let it sit covered for a few minutes. Then, fluff it with a fork gently.
Add a little butter and salt for added flavor to the buckwheat kasha.
If served as porridge, the healthier toppings options could be dry or frozen fruit, butter, nuts, hemp seeds, almond milk, and coconut sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 196mgFiber: 4gCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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