10 Best Wheat Berry Substitutes

If you want to make a dish with wheat berries, you should know that these berries are not easily replaceable. They are unprocessed wheat that includes the bran, endosperm, and germ.

You can enjoy wheat berries by themselves or you can mix them with different other cereals to obtain an even more nutritious meal. However, what to do if you don’t have wheat berries?

Luckily, we found substitutes you can use such as Farro wheat, barley, quinoa, freekeh, and others. So, keep reading to find the best wheat berries substitute for your recipe!

Best Wheat Berry Substitutes

Use the following wheat berries substitutes in the same way you would use wheat berries. However, keep in mind that the texture and the color might differ and in some cases, your dish will have a different flavor as well, according to the alternative you choose. 

1. Farro


Farro is one of the best substitutes for wheat berries even if it might be a bit difficult to find in certain stores. It is often mistaken with spelt, but they are not the same.

This alternative is over 20, 000 years old and was used in Mesopotamia. This whole grain comes with a nutty flavor which gives your dish a different taste than wheat berries but you might like it even more.

Use it in the same ratio as you would use wheat berry, in recipes like risotto, stews, soups, casseroles, and any other dish you might want to make that calls for wheat berry.

2. Barley


Barley is a type of cereal that replaces wheat berries very well.

This cereal has a lower content of gluten than wheat berry and it can substitute it in any type of dishes from stews and soups to stir-fries.

You can use barley as a side dish for your favorite steak or as a salad filler. The texture and even the taste will not differ much from wheat berries as they both have a similar, neutral flavor.

3. Quinoa


Quinoa is one of the most common cereal types used worldwide. It can also replace wheat berries in all types of recipes.

It makes for a great risotto ingredient, it can be used as a side dish for any type of meat and it goes great in all salads. Make sure to boil quinoa according to the instructions on the package and give it some time to cool down before you add it to your salads.

Quinoa needs to be boiled in the ratio of one part quinoa, two parts water, but depending on the type of quinoa you purchase, the water quantity might vary.

4. Freekeh

Freekeh is also known as farik. It is a great alternative to wheat berries made of durum wheat and it used to be very popular in Africa but nowadays it is used in different cuisines worldwide.

Use freekeh in the same ratio you would use wheat berry and you will get a delicious cold or cooked dish being it a salad or a stew.

5. Couscous

Couscous is similar to pasta in terms of ingredients. But it can be used as a substitute for wheat berry as well. Cook your couscous before you add it to soups or stews and salads and use it in the quantities that you like.

Be aware that couscous tends to be richer in calories than wheat berry. This is why many don’t consider it a first choice. In terms of taste and texture, you will notice that couscous has a stronger pasta taste compared to wheat berries that taste more earthly.

6. Oats

Oat Groats

Oats can also save your recipe if you don’t have wheat berries.

This cereal is one of the most versatile that you will find. It can be suitable for all types of meals from breakfast to lunch and dinner.

You can include oats in savory meals as well as sweet meals and it will taste delicious. Not to mention that this cereal is also very nutritious so you can definitely include it in your diet.

7. Rye

Rye Flour

When you use rye instead of the wheat berry, you can’t fail. This grain comes as flakes, flour, or cereal and it can be used in stews, soups, and many other dishes.

Make sure to respect the same ratio as you would use wheat berry. Also, make your rye in the same manner. You can use rye with gluten or gluten-free rye. The flavor of both is similar to the flavor of wheat and barley.

8. Maize


If you are looking for a gluten-free alternative to wheat berry, maize is definitely a good option. Maize is known as corn and it is commonly used in salads and stews.

However, this substitute could be a great ingredient for stir-fries as well. You can find maize in cans, frozen or fresh and you can boil it and season it just the way you want.

Canned maize is already ready to eat. So, all you have to do is add it to your dish to enrich both the taste and the texture.

9. Sorghum


Sorghum is a common grain that can successfully replace wheat berry.

Since it is so easy to cultivate, you will make this grain, in the same manner, you prepare wheat berry. It is one of the best substitutes for stews or soups thanks to its neutral, mildly nutty flavor.

When you add it to different salads, for instance, unseasoned, this grain can also have an earthly taste to it that blends well with other ingredients such as vegetables.

10. Rice

Brown Rice

Rise of all kinds is maybe the best option as a wheat berry substitute if you want to stay away from gluten. Rice is not only gluten-free but also tasty and easy to use in a wide range of recipes. You can use rice in risotto, stews, soups, and even salads.

Every recipe that requires wheat berry will not taste just as good as with rice.

Related Questions

What is a gluten-free substitute for wheat berries?

Maize and rice as well as quinoa make great gluten-free substitutes for wheat berry.

The best, however, remains rice as it comes in many types like white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and even black rice. Also, you can use rice in many other dishes compared to the rest of gluten-free substitutes.

Is whole wheat the same as wheat berries?

Yes, whole wheat and wheat berries are essentially the same product.

They both contain the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain and they look the same. Note that there are more types of whole wheat or wheat berries depending on the species of wheat that they come from.

So, it is important to know what you are looking for to suit your recipes.

Where to buy wheat berries?

You can find wheat berries in local markets, especially at farmers’ markets in your area.

Most grocery stores have wheat berries at their grain or cereal section, however, you might have more luck in a market since these are raw berries that are not processed. There are also websites that offer wheat berries for sale and you can order the quantity you want.

Final Thoughts 

Wheat berries can enrich your daily intake of fiber. Moreover, they can change the texture of almost any type of dish. Therefore, make sure you add them to your diet.

But if you can’t find this grain, go for one of the substitutes in this guide and you will not regret it. Chances are that you might even enjoy one or more substitutes even more than wheat berries so it is definitely worth it to try them out! 

    1. Yes, bulgur can be substituted for wheat berries in certain recipes, but it’s important to note the differences in texture and preparation. Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels with a chewy texture, while bulgur is parboiled and cracked wheat, making it quicker to cook.

      If you’re substituting bulgur for wheat berries:

      Texture: Bulgur has a softer, finer texture compared to the chewy texture of wheat berries. Adjusting cooking times can help maintain the desired consistency.

      Cooking Time: Bulgur cooks much faster than wheat berries. Be mindful of this difference and adjust cooking times accordingly to prevent overcooking.

      Absorption: Bulgur absorbs liquids readily, so you might need less liquid in your recipe compared to using wheat berries. Adjust the liquid content as needed.

      Flavor: While both have a nutty flavor, the difference in texture may slightly alter the overall mouthfeel of the dish.

      Consider the specific recipe requirements and the desired outcome when making the substitution. It’s a versatile switch, especially in salads, pilafs, or mixed into dishes where the textural difference won’t significantly impact the final result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like