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16 Best Substitutes For Bulgur With Nutritional Values To Enhance Taste

Bulgur wheat is a staple food in Middle Eastern cuisine.

It has a chewy texture and nutty flavor, which have helped to raise its popularity worldwide, forming the basis of a number of delicious recipes.

Best Bulgur Substitutes

Unfortunately, it also contains gluten, which makes it unsuitable for those who suffer from celiac disease or other gluten allergies, and the distinctive taste can also be off-putting for some individuals.

Nutritional Value (Per 1 Cup Serving)

Amount Present
Total Fat0.4g

Fortunately for those who cannot tolerate bulgur wheat, or who simply dislike the grain, there are a number of tasty alternatives to bulgur wheat available to choose from – and we have all that you need to know below!

Quick Table: Bulgur Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 Grams)
Wheat Berries354
Cracked Wheat152
Shelled Hemp Seeds155

1. Quinoa


Quinoa is actually a highly nutritious seed, though it is often referred to as a grain because of its similar appearance and taste.

The difference between quinoa and regular grains is that quinoa is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and rich in fiber.

This makes it an excellent choice if you want to lose weight, improve your health, or just feel great.

How To Substitute

Quinoa is a type of grain that has a delicate, nutty flavor. It is high in protein and fiber, making it a great alternative to bulgur. It has a nutty flavor and a fluffy texture.

2. Buckwheat


Buckwheat is another wonderful alternative to bulgur wheat.

Like quinoa, buckwheat is packed with nutrients and vitamins, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, and pantothenic acid.

It’s also very easy to digest and highly versatile, making it perfect for use in a variety of dishes.

How To Substitute

The easiest way to use buckwheat in place of bulgur is to make a salad with vegetables, beans, and nuts. Buckwheat is a grain with a nutty flavor and a deep, dark-brown color that is often ground into flour.

3. Amaranth


Amaranth is another fantastic option for anyone looking to avoid gluten. It’s a type of pseudocereal, meaning it looks like a grain but tastes more like a vegetable.

Amaranth is incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense, containing over 20 essential minerals such as potassium, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

It’s extremely versatile, too, so you can enjoy amaranth in a wide range of dishes.

As an added bonus, amaranth is gluten-free, making it a great option for those looking to cut gluten from their diet.

How To Substitute

Amaranth is a type of cereal grain that is grown in temperate regions of the world. It has a chewy, earthy flavor and can be used in place of bulgur in dishes like pilafs, salads, or breakfast porridge.

4. Millet


Millet is yet another gluten-free substitute for bulgur wheat. It’s not only gluten-free, but millet is also a complete protein source, providing all nine essential amino acids required by the body.

It’s loaded with antioxidants, dietary fiber, and iron, making it a powerhouse superfood, and a super healthy alternative to bulgur wheat.

How To Substitute

Bulgur is a type of wheat, so it is not a gluten-free food. Millet, however, is gluten-free. Millet can be cooked like rice and quinoa, but it has a more nutty flavor. It is very easy to find at grocery stores and can be used in many dishes.

5. Rice


Rice is one of the most popular foods on Earth, and for good reason: it’s cheap, convenient, and filling, and so offers a budget-friendly alternative to bulgur wheat.

Despite something of a bad reputation in some circles, rice also offers health benefits; it is a complete protein source and is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

It’s even relatively low in calories.

How To Substitute

Bulgur is a type of wheat, so it is not a gluten-free food. Millet, however, is gluten-free. Millet can be cooked like rice and quinoa, but it has a more nutty flavor. It is very easy to find at grocery stores and can be used in many dishes.

RELATED: 12 Best Farro Substitutes For Your Recipes

6. Sorghum


Sorghum is another gluten-free substitute that is high in fiber and protein and is therefore a great addition to any diet.

It’s especially useful for people suffering from digestive problems since sorghum tends to be easier to digest than many other types of cereal.

How To Substitute

Sorghum is a type of cereal grain, native to southern Africa, that is eaten boiled, roasted, or ground into flour. It is a great substitute for Bulgur. The nutritional value of sorghum is comparable to wheat and barley, but it is a gluten-free grain.

7. Farro


Farro is another pseudocereal, which means it has the texture of a grain but the flavor of a vegetable. It contains plenty of fiber, protein, and iron, and is also relatively inexpensive.

Farro is usually used in soups and stews, but it works well in salads and side dishes too and is a popular alternative to bulgur wheat thanks to its versatility.

How To Substitute

Farro is a grain that is slightly larger than barley. It has a slightly nutty flavor and it can be ground into flour. Farro can be used in place of bulgur. It is typically found in pasta dishes or as a side dish.

8. Teff


Teff is another gluten-free grain that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s known as a “super grain” due to its high levels of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and zinc.

It also boasts impressive levels of antioxidants, making it a powerful anti-inflammatory food, and can be used in place of bulgur wheat in recipes.

How To Substitute

Teff is a grain that is typically ground into a flour. It can be used in place of bulgur wheat to make a pilaf or to make a creamy salad dressing.

9. Couscous

Couscous is a small pasta cooked in boiling water, salt, and sometimes butter. It is usually topped with butter, lemon, and parsley but can also be served plain with a drizzle of olive oil. 

It can be found in many forms, from large and round, to small and pearl-like. Couscous is versatile and can be used in salads, soups, stews, and more.

Couscous is a staple of many different cuisines around the world. It is made of semolina and is often served with vegetables and other accompaniments.

How To Substitute

To substitute bulgur with couscous, mix 1/2 cup of couscous and 1/2 cup of boiling water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then drain. For the couscous to cook, add a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

10. Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are the raw wheat kernels separated from the grain’s chaff, bran, and the starchy endosperm. Wheat berries are also called wheat kernels.

Wheat berries are one of the most popular grains to eat. They are the main ingredient in many slices of bread, muffins, and even pancakes. They are also the main ingredient in granola and many other breakfast portions of cereal.

Wheat berries are whole kernels of wheat. They are a nutrient-rich food that provides protein, fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

Wheat berries are whole grain kernels ground into flour to make bread, pastries, and other baked goods. They are typically available in grocery stores in either bags or cans.

How To Substitute

It is one of the perfect options to substitute wheat berries with bulgur. To substitute bulgur for wheat berries, use 1 cup of bulgur instead of 1 cup of wheat berries.

11. Kamut

Kamut is a wheat type with a higher protein and more nutritional value than other grains. It is known for its nutty, slightly sweet taste and chewy texture.

Grain is often used to make bread and pasta and is a good source of protein and nutrients.

The grain is prized for its rich, nutty flavor and because it is so high in protein. Therefore, it can be eaten in various ways, is rich in nutrients, and is considered a healthy food option.

How To Substitute

Bulgur can be substituted for Kamut, a wheat with a nutty flavor. To substitute bulgur for Kamut, it is recommended to replace 2/3 cup of bulgur with 2/3 cup of Kamut, which will make for a slightly denser texture.

12. Cracked Wheat

Cracked wheat cereal is a great fiber, protein, and iron source. It is a perfect addition to any breakfast or snack and can be used in recipes to add texture, flavor, and color.

It’s often mixed with other ingredients, like honey or molasses. Cracked wheat is also a good source of fiber and a healthy cereal to eat for breakfast.

This cereal is made with cracked wheat and water, then steamed and dried to create a crunchy texture. It is then toasted to bring out the natural flavors. This cereal has a light, nutty taste.

It is made with honey, barley malt, oats, milk, salt, and pepper.

How To Substitute

Cracked wheat can be substituted for bulgur in recipes. To replace, use 1/2 cup cracked wheat and 1/2 cup bulgur.

13. Orzo

Orzo is a type of pasta shaped like grains of rice. It is majorly used in soups and salads and is often paired with meatballs. It is usually topped with garnished cheese or parsley. 

Orzo is a type of pasta made from wheat flour. It is shaped like a long, thin rectangle and is a bright white color. It can be cooked in various ways, including boiling, steaming, and sautéing.

It is most commonly served in a creamy tomato sauce but can also be used in salads or as a stuffing for vegetables. It is often mixed with other ingredients, such as lemon, parsley, and butter, to create different dishes.

How To Substitute

Bulgur can be substituted for orzo in a pinch. Orzo is a smaller, round, rice-shaped pasta. For this substitution, use 3/4 cup bulgur and 3/4 cup orzo.

14. Barley

Barley is a cereal grain of the highest quality. It has been cultivated since ancient times to make malt and alcohol.

Barley is a cereal grain used in brewing beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages. It is a type of wheat, and it is used in a wide variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, and casseroles.

The cereal grain is malted and used in beer, whiskey, and malt whiskey. With perfect outcomes, wheat flour is commonly used in brewing beer.

It is the main ingredient in beer, bread, oatmeal, and porridge. It is also used as animal feed and to make malt.

How To Substitute

This makes it a perfect substitute for bulgur in many dishes. To substitute barley for bulgur, cook it in the same boiling water and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes.

15. Freekeh

Freekeh is a type of wheat that is cracked, and roasted to make a whole grain with a unique taste and chewy texture. 

It has a nutty flavor reminiscent of brown rice but is gluten-free. It is a healthy grain made from green wheat that is roasted and ground. It is often served as a pilaf or as a breakfast cereal.

It’s not as crunchy as brown rice or as soft as quinoa, but it’s the perfect mix. It has a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture that is slightly like brown rice.

It is a perfect addition to soups, salads, and pilafs. 

How To Substitute

To make freekeh, the ancient grain, soak 2 cups of freekeh in 3 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

16. Shelled Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are nutty, protein-rich, high in fiber, and low in carbohydrates. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals and provide a healthy balance of fatty acids. 

The shelled hemp seeds come in a resealable bag for easy storage. The seeds are made by separating the seed’s outer layer, which is then ground down into a powder. 

They are used in various recipes and foods such as bread, cereals, and granola bars. Shelled hemp seeds are easy to eat, digest, and digest quickly, making them an excellent snack for people who need a boost of energy. 

They also have a nice, mild flavor and a slightly crunchy texture, making them an ideal addition to many different recipes.

How To Substitute

To substitute bulgur with shelled hemp seeds, mix 1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds with 1 cup boiling water and let them sit for 20 minutes before using.

How Do I Cook Bulgur Wheat?

Cooking bulgur wheat is simple. Simply add boiling water to the bowl containing the soaked bulgur wheat, cover, and let stand until tender.

Then drain off any excess liquid, fluff up the grains with a fork, and serve.

If you want to cook bulgur wheat on the stovetop, follow these instructions

Add 1 cup of water to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bulgur wheat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff up the bulgur wheat with a fork, and enjoy.

What Are The Benefits Of Bulgur Wheat?

There are a number of benefits to bulgur wheat, and these include

It Is Easy To Prepare

One of the benefits of bulgur wheat is that it’s very easy to prepare. You simply need to soak it overnight before using it in your favorite dish.

This allows the bran layer to soften and release nutrients into the water, making them easily accessible.

It Contains Nutrients And Vitamins

Bulgur wheat is packed full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber and is an excellent source of protein.

It Has A Low Glycemic Index (GI)

Another benefit of bulgur wheat is its low GI index.

This makes it suitable for diabetics and those who suffer from insulin resistance, and it helps reduce blood sugar levels after meals.

It Is High In Iron

Bulgur wheat is also a great source of iron, which is important for pregnant women and children.

It’s particularly beneficial during pregnancy when the mother needs extra iron to support healthy fetal development.

It Is An Excellent Source Of Folate

Folic acid is essential for good health, and bulgur wheat is one of the best sources of folic acid.

It is also found in leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and kale, so make sure you eat plenty of these foods every day.

It Can Be Used As A Side Dish Or Main Course

Bulgur wheat is often used as a main course, but it’s also delicious when served alongside meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, and pasta.

It’s even great with salad!

Why Might You Need A Substitute For Bulgur Wheat?

Despite the numerous benefits, there may be times when you need to switch out the bulgur wheat in a recipe for an alternative.

There are a number of possible reasons for this, including

You Cannot Have Gluten

Bulgur wheat does contain gluten, taking it off the table as an option for those with gluten allergies and intolerances.

The good news is that you can enjoy one of our tasty alternatives for a delicious dish.

It Can Be More Expensive

Though bulgur wheat is generally an affordable option, it can be a little more expensive than alternatives such as rice – and if you are on a tight budget, this can make a major difference.

You Are Out Of Supplies!

Perhaps the most common reason for needing an alternative to bulgur wheat is simply that you haven’t been to the grocery store, and so are managing with what you have.

In these situations, a handy alternative could already be in your cupboard.

Final Thoughts

Bulgur wheat is a popular choice not only for its great taste, but because it’s versatile and nutritious.

However, if you are allergic or intolerant to this particular grain, there are several alternatives available.

These include farro, teff, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth. All these grains offer similar nutritional profiles, and they are all excellent substitutes for bulgur wheat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bulgur Better For You Than Rice?

In terms of nutrition, bulgur holds its own when compared to fiber-rich brown rice – with more than twice the fiber and four times as much folate!

Bulgur can be used in recipes calling for converted rice, and has been found to be more nutritious than rice.

Is Bulgur Healthier Than Quinoa?

Bulgur, a type of whole grain, is made from wheat berries that are steamed and dried. Quinoa, a type of whole grain, is made from the Andean landrace called quinoa.

Quinoa is a gluten-free seed that is also a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids.

Is Bulgur And Couscous The Same?

Bulgur is wheat, which is boiled in water, and then dried, which turns the grain into a crunchy, chewy grain. Couscous is a type of pasta made from semolina flour. It’s a semolina flour, water, and salt mixture that is shaped into small balls.

16 Best Bulgur Substitutes

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Fresh out of bulgur wheat? There is no need to despair; we have some of the best alternatives and substitutes to allow you to enjoy a tasty meal in no time.


  • Quinoa

  • Buckwheat

  • Amaranth

  • Millet

  • Rice

  • Sorghum

  • Farro

  • Teff

  • Couscous

  • Wheat Berries

  • Kamut

  • Cracked Wheat

  • Orzo

  • Barley

  • Freekeh

  • Shelled Hemp Seeds


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith