Some sources seem to suggest that they are not, some suggest that they are but they are treated/processed differently.

I want to know if they are fundamentally the same grain, because they are very similar when prepared.

For reference:

Whole bulgur:

enter image description here

Whole (pearled) barley:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Where did your picture fit "whole bulgur" come from? Bulge by definition isn't whole
    – Chris H
    Jul 17, 2018 at 9:20
  • 1
    Please, supply sources. And no, they are not the same.
    – roetnig
    Jul 17, 2018 at 9:34
  • 3
    @ChrisH: The picture appears to be from a California grain distributor, sold as "whole-kernel organic bulgur." Jul 17, 2018 at 14:09
  • 3
    @MichaelSeifert I'm not familiar witht he US, but in the bits of Europe, I know "whole kernel bulgur" is a contradiction. The usage at Wikipedia (link in my answer) matches what I'm familiar with, so I wonder if the question has a hint of "what's this strange bulgur?" about it
    – Chris H
    Jul 17, 2018 at 14:15
  • 4
    @ChrisH: I'm from the US, and I had never heard of "whole-kernel bulgur" before reading this question either. Jul 17, 2018 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


No. Bulgur is (almost always) made from wheat while barley is a different species.

Bulgur is cracked and parboiled before sale, while pearl barley has had the outer layers of the barley grain removed but is otherwise intact.

  • 6
    Pedantic nitpick: Bulgar is parboiled and then cracked. If cracked first it would have enough liberated starch to make a porridge when parboiled instead. I only mention this in case someone wants to make it at home. Jul 17, 2018 at 16:31
  • 3
    Bulgur is wheat, genus Triticum. There are several other forms of the same plant, such as Farro, Kamut. Spelt is also a cultivar of wheat. Barley is genus Hordeum. Note that Buckwheat is not wheat either: it is genus Fagopyrum. Jul 17, 2018 at 19:41

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