I saw this ingredient (farro) listed in a recipe that I was interested in making; however, I've never seen nor heard of it before. Could you explain what it is, please. What can I substitute for Farro?


4 Answers 4


Farro is a grain, a bit nutty, usually cooked to soft, but with toothsome body.


Here's a good article about it from NPR

Pearled barley would be a good substitute, but if your recipe includes cooking times and instructions, those will vary if you substitute out the grain. Follow the package instructions for whatever grain you do use.

I do prefer barley "pearled", but that means that most of the bran is polished away along with the inedible hull, so it's no longer a whole grain. You can also get it with just the outer hull removed, so that it is still a whole grain. I prefer the texture of the pearled, but either choice would be a perfectly acceptable substitution for farro.

EDIT: I concur with Matt Ball's comment though. If you're in a part of the world where it's easy to get (that includes all of the US), you should try it!


Most farro enthusiasts would say that there is NO substitute for farro. More realistically, you certainly have options. It would help if you clarified what type of recipe you were interested in making - in the absence of that information, I would suggest you consider barley if you're making a soup and quinoa if you're making a salad. The cooking times for both of these would differ from the cooking time for farro.

  • 1
    Barley works perfectly fine in salads too, and the texture is really fairly similar to farro - way more similar than quinoa.
    – Cascabel
    Oct 12, 2014 at 20:24
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    Let me clarify - the recommendations I offered were based on taste and texture - both of which contribute to "heartiness." I think of barley as being more "hearty" and suitable for soups and I think of quinoa as being less "hearty" and suitable for salads. I agree that barley works perfectly fine in salads, but I think of barley as somehow more hearty than farro and quinoa being less hearty than farro and made my recommendation based on my own soup/salad prejudices and where I think farro sits on the hearty-ness scale. Oct 12, 2014 at 22:15

The original farro is emmer and is what is usually used in Europe. Bob's Red Mill Farro is not emmer it is another grain, Triticum spelt. Sometimes, kamut is called farro.

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    That is good information, it would be better information with references! I hope you beat me to it :). Welcome to Seasoned Advice.
    – Jolenealaska
    Oct 14, 2014 at 5:35

Rice can be a 'workable' substitute for Farro if your options are limited.

  • White or brown rice? Could you suggest a specific variety of rice, or at least long vs short grain rice?
    – Joe
    Oct 28, 2021 at 15:19

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