13 Best Bulgur Substitutes That You Use 

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Hey! Are you aboard the wagon of healthy eating? Are you looking for a diet rich in fiber? If that’s the case, bulgur might be one of your prominent choices. Now don’t mistake bulgur to be the same as wheat. 

Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur is just a variety of wheat species. Bulgur wheat is a staple ingredient in European and Asian cuisines. It is rich in carbs, especially fiber, proteins, and other essential nutrients. It also has a lot of uses. You can use it in salads, porridge, and even soups.

It is, without a doubt, the best option if you wish your diet to be inclusive of healthy grains. But what if you run out of bulgur? You need a couple of ingredients to get the job done, right? Do you know about them? Some of the best bulgur substitutes are quinoa, couscous, rice, buckwheat, and millet.

Before you learn about the best substitutes for bulgur, take a look at the scribbles below to understand its credentials *laugh* in the cooking workplace!

Quick Peek: Bulgur


The following scribbles tell you what bulgur is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Bulgur?

Bulgur goes by many names; bulghur, wheat groats, riffoth, tabooli, etc. If I have to name an ingredient with divinity attached to it, it is none other than bulgur. (Yeah, that’s true. Bulgur is mentioned in the earlier Biblical texts.)

Do you know what makes bulgur easy to cook? Maybe you would if I tell you what it is first *laughs nervously*. Bulgur is the fine, ground mixture of cracked, parboiled, and dried wheat groats. This makes it relatively the easiest wheat variety that can be cooked in a jiffy.

It is easily affordable and available in fine, medium, or coarse varieties. Do you know what makes it highly nutritious? The entire wheat kernel can be wholly eaten, unlike other processed, nutrient deficit wheat products.

Describing Bulgur: Flavor and Texture

So what does bulgur taste like? Bulgur has a mild, earthy, nutty flavor. Like other grains, it is a type of hard grain that softens when cooked.

Once cooked, you can see that bulgur has a soft, chewy, and tender texture. Its chewy texture is what makes it great as a side dish.

Uses of Bulgur

Bulgur has a light, nutty flavor and can be used in side dishes, soups, desserts, pilafs, porridges, and salads. Word out there is that bulgur works as a binding agent in meatballs and meat patties.

 In fact, bulgur is famous for being the primary ingredient in the classic appetizer dish of the Middle East; the tabbouleh. Crave for vegan tacos or chili? Behold the perfect bulgur with its stringy texture.

Additionally, it can replace rice, quinoa, and couscous in many recipes. As always, you will be a step ahead of the game if you are familiar with the substitutes of bulgur. Check them out right now!

Bulgur On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Where does bulgur rank on the health radar? Bulgur is a whole grain, to start with. That is, the wheat kernel wholly comprises germ, endosperm, and the barn is present in the grain. This way, you get all the grain’s nutrients, making bulgur highly nutritious.

Bulgur is rich in fiber. Foods rich in fiber help you boost hut health and digestive system. It is a good source of protein, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Consumption of grains like bulgur can help you reduce blood sugar levels and aid in weight management.

Why Should We Substitute Bulgur?

If bulgur gets all praise for its flavor, health benefits, and versatility, why bother about finding substitutes? There are a few reasons.

Even though bulgur is commonly available in the US., you may be out of it in your pantry and realize the need for a couple of good substitutes for the same.

People who are allergic to gluten or what should completely avoid consuming bulgur. They have to let go of bulgur and find other substitutes that can simulate bulgur’s flavor. 

Also, if you are a fan of trying out new things, you might want to simply replace bulgur and find out how well it works in your recipes. All these reasons demand the necessity of substitutes for bulgur, which we are going to talk about now.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

13 Best Substitutes For Bulgur

Here is a list of the five best substitutes for bulgur. Give it a read and find out what you can add to your dishes if you run out of bulgur wheat. 

1. Quinoa


Quinoa seeds are those nutritious edible seeds of the quinoa plant. They are a rich source of vital proteins. They are pseudo-grains or pseudocereals. They are often mistaken to be a rice variety. They have a mild taste, light nutty flavor, and a strong texture. 

Quinoa seeds share a very similar texture to that of bulgur, making them an ideal substitute for bulgur. They have a salty flavor, unlike bulgur which can be compensated using herbs or spices. Also, they have to be soaked before cooking.

2. Couscous


Couscous is primarily wheat, making it the closest alternative to bulgur. It is called durum wheat semolina. It is bigger, similar to grains, unlike bulgur which is close to the size of pellets. Many often wrongly assume couscous to be a seed or grain.

Wheat couscous has a nutty yet indistinctive flavor. Thus, it does not amend the intended flavor of your recipe. It can be used in salads, cereals, side dishes, and desserts, replacing bulgur.

3. Rice


Rice is a versatile ingredient and an easily available alternative to bulgur. It is a staple ingredient in Asian and African cuisines. Rice is obtained after the processing of broken rice kernels. 

It comes in different types; red rice, brown rice, white rice, etc. It has no particular taste of its own. Thus, it complements salads, dishes, meats, and veggies easily and tastily. 

If what you wish is the chewy texture of bulgur, brown rice should be your call. Otherwise, go with white rice, which gives a softer texture.

4. Buckwheat


Buckwheat is a pseudocereal from eastern Europe that is still a favorite among many conscious food eaters. Even though the name carries wheat in it, buckwheat is not a type of wheat.

Buckwheat is adored for its nutritional value and health benefits. It gives a rich, earthy flavor to recipes with notes of bitterness. 

Buckwheat can give a chewy, smooth texture similar to bulgur when cooked right. So, if you are looking for an alternative to bulgur that is healthy, behold buckwheat!

5. Millet


Millets are a group of highly nutritious grains available in around 6000 varieties!*whoa*  These largely ignored cereals are small and round in size with a strong structure. These have a sweet flavor that is sometimes deemed similar to that of corn.

The earthy, sweet flavor of millets can be used to substitute for bulgur in pilafs and soups, making millets one of the cheapest, easily available, and nutritious alternatives for bulgur. Highly nutritious millets are easily available at affordable rates.

6. Farro

Farro is an oblong-shaped variety of whole-grain belonging to the wheat family. It is loaded with protein, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and a few of the B vitamins.

Farro is said to have more fiber than any other popular grains we know. It also offers a vast range of antioxidants which are essential for preventing cell damage.

Farro has a delicate, nutty flavor and a chewy, tender texture when cooked. This makes farro a good substitute for bulgur in recipes.

7. Cracked Wheat

Cracked wheat is a type of wheat product. You get it by crushing or cutting whole raw wheat kernels into small pieces. These have a mild flavor and delicate texture, unlike regular wheat. 

So you might be wondering if bulgur and cracked wheat are the same. They are not! Cracked wheat is wheat kernels cut into pieces, unlike bulgur which comprises wheat kernels that are crushed, parboiled, and dried.

Essentially, cracked wheat and bulgur come from the same wheat family and differ from each other very slightly.

Cracked wheat can be a good substitute for bulgur due to the similarities in flavor and texture. But, it might take a long time to cook since it is raw, unlike bulgur which is precooked.

8. Amaranth

Amaranth is a pseudocereal that is tan in color and devoid of gluten. It is a nutritious grain rich in fiber, protein, and vital micronutrients. On a quick glance, it resembles quinoa seeds in shape and texture. It can be used wholly or ground as a thickening agent in recipes.

Amaranth has a light, nutty flavor with undertones of herbal flavor as well. It has a crunchy texture. The light nutty flavor of amaranth can be enhanced by toasting them. Amaranth is a gluten-free, nutritious alternative to bulgur in pizzas, soups, or bread.

9. Teff

Another whole grain substitute for bulgur is teff. Teff is a major staple ingredient in Ethiopian cuisine. This grain comes in red, white, and dark brown colors. It is said to be the smallest grain globally (almost about the size of a poppy seed!).

Teff grains have a nutty, earthy flavor with sweet undertones and a gritty texture. They stick together when cooked and have a thick consistency when used in recipes.

The similarities in flavor profiles make teff a considerable substitute for bulgur. The only downside is that it is expensive and not easily available.

10. Orzo

Orzo, fondly known as little pasta, is pasta prepared using wheat flour. It has a structure similar to rice with a chewy texture. It doesn’t have any intense flavor, although it can be said that it has a very vague nutty flavor.

Orzo doesn’t have many health benefits to boast of like bulgur. However, the chewy texture of orzo can be considered and used to substitute for bulgur in soups, stews, and salads.

11. Barley

Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains. It is a cereal grain used in soups, stews, bread, and health products. It is also used as animal fodder and is famous as the source of malt for alcoholic beverages. 

Barley has a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It takes almost a similar time as bulgur to cook barley. The nutty flavor and versatility of barley make it a good substitute for bulgur in soups and salads.

12. Wheat Berries

Wheatberry includes the entire wheat kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. It has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture akin to bulgur.

But unlike bulgur which is parboiled, wheat berries take a long time to cook. You will have to boil and simmer them in water for over an hour until they soften.

If you can pass the patience test of cooking wheat berries, wheatberries are a worthy alternative for bulgur, considering the flavor and texture. 

13. Bamboo Rice

This alternative comes to life when its life source dies. That’s right. Bamboo rice is the seed of a bamboo shoot that has almost finished its life span. Intriguing right? Let me explain more about it.

When the bamboo shoot takes its final breath, it grows into a variety of rice that is beautiful and natural. Bamboo rice is not the same as the rice we see often. That said, it looks like paddy and tastes like wheat.

Bamboo rice can be cooked similar to other grains. It has a mildly sweet flavor with herbal undertones. When cooked, it has a chewy, moist, and sticky texture.

The chewy texture and slightly sweet flavor of bamboo rice make it a substitute for bulgur that is worth trying out. 

Short Recap

That was a long scribble, I guess! Do not worry; let me make it easy for you with the help of the following points:

Flavor: The best substitutes for bulgur in terms of flavor would be quinoa, couscous, buckwheat, farro, and cracked wheat.

Texture: The best substitutes for bulgur in terms of texture would be quinoa, couscous, rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, orzo, and barley.

Availability: Some easily available bulgur substitutes are quinoa, couscous, rice, millet, barley, and wheat berries.

Final Musings

Replacing bulgur isn’t a hefty task. What should be considered while choosing an alternative is the flavor and texture? Choose an alternative that fits your recipe and enjoy a wholesome, healthy meal! Tell me in the comments how informative you found the article. I’ll see you next time. Happy healthy eating, folks!

How To Use Bulgur Substitutes In A Recipe

Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur Substitutes

Bulgur is just a variety of wheat species. Bulgur wheat is a staple ingredient in European and Asian cuisines. It is rich in carbs, especially fiber, proteins, and other essential nutrients. It also has a lot of uses. You can use it in salads, porridge, and even soups. But what if you run out of bulgur? You need a couple of substitutes to use instead of it!
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  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Farro
  • Cracked Wheat
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Orzo
  • Barley
  • Wheat Berries
  • Bamboo Rice


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the gluten-free substitutes for bulgur?

Quinoa, amaranth, millet, teff and buckwheat are the gluten-free substitutes for bulgur.

What is the substitute for bulgur wheat in tabbouleh?

Bulgur wheat can be substituted with quinoa or cracked wheat in tabbouleh.

Is bulgur wheat the same as couscous?

Bulgur wheat is not the same as couscous. Bulgur wheat is a variety of wheat species. Couscous is a type of pasta made from semolina wheat flour.

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