Learn how to cook buckwheat, a tasty gluten-free grain. We'll show you how to shop for and prep your buckwheat, ways to cook it, and flavoring ideas too!
But first...have you always thought buckwheat was a "wheat"? If so, join the club! Buckwheat is a seed and is not actually a true grain or related to wheat or the true grains in any way.
I adore buckwheat and the toasted version kasha (sometimes referred to as buckwheat kasha). They're delectable little morsels that are fun to play around with.
In fact, cooked buckwheat is perhaps my most favoritest ingredient when making burritos and wraps of all kinds because the mild flavor seems to work well with all fillings.
Here's what you'll discover below:
Before you create your buckwheat (or kasha) recipe, it will be helpful to know the difference between them.
Untoasted buckwheat (photo on right) is a pale greenish white and has a mild taste. It's a quick-cooking grain that's packed with nutrition. It usually comes "hulled" and has a pretty little heart shape unlike any other grain out there.
Toasted buckwheat is known as "Kasha" (photo on left). It has a dark brown color with an earthy flavor due to the toasting.
So buckwheat is RAW, and kasha is NOT RAW.
Always do your best to choose organic buckwheat or kasha. Organics tend to contain more nutrients and less pesticides (and other poisons like arsenic!), and will help your buckwheat and kasha recipes just taste better.
Most natural foods stores carry buckwheat. Be sure to check their bulk section first. (This is where I buy all of my grains.) Buy a little more than you need, storing the rest in the fridge or freezer. This way it will stay as fresh as possible and you'll have some on hand for your buckwheat emergencies.
Plus, there's no packaging to toss into a landfill so you're helping to save the planet. Hooray! ;)
Kasha is a slightly more common grain than untoasted buckwheat and is usually found pre-packaged. Because it's toasted first it has an amber color and a complex flavor and scent.
Buckwheat comes in different grain sizes. I recommend the coarse grind to add more texture to your dishes.
For years I simply rinsed or toasted my buckwheat before cooking it.
These days, however, I pre-soak before using. That's because it is believed that it helps to make your grains more digestible and lessens the amount of phytic acid which can block some nutrients.
To pre-soak, add buckwheat to a bowl with 3-4 times the amount of water. Let soak overnight, or at least 6 hours. You'll notice when soaking buckwheat that it gets sort of...goopy. Just place in a colander and rinse under running water, stirring occasionally, until most of the "goopiness" is gone.
The cooking times of buckwheat throughout our site are based on pre-soaking your grain first unless otherwise noted. And please note pre-soaking DRASTICALLY cuts down on the amount of time buckwheat cooks.
If you don't want to pre-soak, then simply give it a quick rinse before cooking. Alternatively, you can toast it in a dry pan to bring out more flavor. By the way, when you toast buckwheat it then is known as kasha.
Here are the cooking techniques we use and recommend for buckwheat.
Click the one you'd like to learn more about for complete cooking instructions.
Create your very own recipe with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly with buckwheat and kasha.