How To Cook Buckwheat

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.

How To Select Buckwheat

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.

How To Clean and Prep Buckwheat

For years I simply rinsed or toasted my buckwheat before cooking it.

These days, however, I pre-soak before using. That's because it's believed to help make your grains more digestible. In my experience, this is true.

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.

How To Cook Buckwheat

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.

A silver pot with a lid
An electric steamer

Plus This Non-Cooking Technique...

Little green sprouts

Buckwheat Vegan Flavor Matches

Create your very own recipe with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly with buckwheat and kasha.

(What are Flavor Matches?)

  • Asparagus
  • Blueberries
  • Butter, non-dairy (I like organic Earth Balance)
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cinnamon
  • Fruit, especially bananas and blueberries
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts, especially walnuts
  • Onion
  • Pepper, black
  • Pine Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Rice, brown and wild
  • Rosemary
  • Sour Cream, non-dairy
  • Soy,organic
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Vegetables, any and all!
  • Veggie Broth

"I wanted to share my first big recipe-free accomplishment. I steamed some buckwheat groats (after soaking them overnight), and then mixed in three things from the flavor match list - blueberries, cinnamon & vegan butter. It was great!

"Then I used the leftover groats for lunch and topped them with some stir fried vegetables & spices (all from the flavor match list - except dried cranberries, which I added on my own and were really good!) I can't even tell you how nice it feels to pull together a healthy whole-foods meal that 1.) uses ingredients I already have at home and 2.) tastes really good. I'm so excited to try more!"
-- Ashley G., Erie, PA

Buckwheat Helpful Hints

  • Mushy buckwheat/kasha got you down?

  • For maximum freshness, store buckwheat and kasha in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.

  • As with all grains, test the freshness by giving it the "sniff test". If they have a slightly musty odor, toss.

  • Shape your cooked buckwheat or kasha into burgers and pan fry, grill or bake.

Happy cooking!

If You Like Buckwheat Try...

Photo of barley
Photo of quinoa
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