I would like to use Bulgur as a substitute for Barley in a Vegetable Soup Recipe. Would this be a good replacement?

  • What do you mean by "good"? Mar 3 at 0:47
  • 1
    As far as I can remember, bulgur cooks more soft than barley.
    – deEr.
    Mar 3 at 19:26

3 Answers 3


Depends on the type of bulgur, and the type of barley.

Good substitution: #4 bulgur for pearled barley

Bad substitution: #1 bulgur for raw barley

This is because large-grain bulgur is fairly similar in texture and cooking time to steamed barley. But fine bulgur is pretty different from, say, raw barley (which needs to be soaked before cooking).

(#4 bulgur is large pieces the size of rice grains. #1 bulgur is a fine grind, the size of bread crumbs)

  • 2
    +1 but bearing in mind what bulgur you (@Carolyn) have and how long it takes to cook, you might need to adjust when you put it in. The sort I have (unspecified size) cooks quicker than pearl barley
    – Chris H
    Mar 3 at 9:08
  • 1
    Yeah, a bit, but it shouldn't matter for soup.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 4 at 6:03
  • 1
    Are #1 and #4 some kind of denominations for bulgur? - EDIT ah yes, they are in the US.
    – WoJ
    Mar 4 at 19:53
  • Ah, didn't realize those aren't used elsewhere. Adding a note to my answer.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 5 at 21:21

In a soup, anything even remotely similar is a decent substitute. Unless you don't like bulgur, it will do just fine.


There is a slight but noticeable difference in taste between barley and bulgur.

However, do with that what suits you. You may like the flavor of bulgur more than the barley, or not.

The other answers do very well with summing up grind and cooking time.

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