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How to Cook Bulgur Wheat Perfectly Every Single Time

This simple recipe shows you how to cook bulgur wheat perfectly every time, you can then turn it into Tabbouleh or serve it as a simple side.

Portrait image of perfectly cooked bulgur wheat with fresh parsley and lemon wedges

Cooking Perfect Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur wheat has been a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine for centuries.

It has relatively mild earthy and nutty flavours but it is a glorious carrier of flavour which makes it an ideal base for a side dish.

Bulgur wheat is made from groats of different types of wheat.

First of all, we must take a minute to appreciate the word “groat”, how wonderful is that? It means the hulled kernel of a grain.

Anyway, those groats are parboiled and then cracked.

It’s gloriously simple to cook, the secret is that you don’t just pour over some water and job done!

Portrait overhead image of a butternut squash tagine with dried apricots and almonds served on a bed of herbed bulgur wheat on a black plate

Frequently Asked Questions

What size bulgur wheat should I use?

Most bulgur wheat sold in the UK, certainly the stuff sold in supermarkets, does not seem to be graded by size.

However, there are 4 size grades of bulgur wheat with 1 being the finest and 4 being the coarsest.

Most bulgur in the UK is around either a 2 or a 3 in terms of size and as a result that is what this recipe has been developed with.

What’s the perfect ratio of water to bulgur wheat?

If you are using the steeping method of cooking bulgur wheat the ratio is simple… it is 1:1, but it is a weight ratio and not volume.

So break out the scales, add your bulgur wheat to the bowl, hit tare, then pour in the same weight of boiling water, cover and take a stroll.

The texture is perfect, soft but almost with a chewy texture. I love this stuff and use it pretty much interchangeably with couscous.

How long will bulgur wheat last when cooked?

Cooke bulgur wheat will last in the fridge for 4-5 days in an air-tight container.

Is bulgur wheat gluten-free?

No, bulgur wheat is made from cracked groats of wheat and as such, is not gluten-free!

This pomegranate chicken breast is mariunaded for up to two days and them served on a vibrant bed of bulgur wheat stuffed full of glorious flavour!

Serving Suggestions

Aside from a mild nutty flavour bulgur wheat offers little on the flavour front, it is however a wonderful texture and great at carrying flavour.

Depending on the recipe I am pairing it with I will treat it in different ways after it has been cooked.

The chicken breast pictured above is based on my pomegranate molasses glazed chicken thigh recipe and I toss the bulgur through the hot pan that the chicken was cooked in.

With the butternut squash tagine (pictured further up the page) and chicken tagine (pictured below) it is simply hit up with loads of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon.

With my Moroccan harissa meatballs I toss cooked bulgur in a pan with cooked chickpeas and harissa paste.

You can turn it into bulgur wheat pilaf or the classic tabbouleh salad, for the latter just add the following:

  • Parsley: As much as you can lay your hands on!
  • Tomatoes: Deseeded without negotiation, deskinned if you can be bothered.
  • Cucumber: Again deseeded.
  • Dressing: Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Mint and Garlic.
Overhead chicken tagine with preserved lemon served with bulgur wheat.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Kettle to boil water.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Cling film or tin foil.
  • Oven, but you only need this if you want to serve the bulgur wheat hot/warm.
  • Fork to fluff up the bulgur when cooked.
Square image of perfectly cooked bulgur wheat with fresh parsley and lemon wedges
Yield: 2 Servings

How to Cook Bulgur Wheat Perfectly Every Time

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Bulgur wheat is not just for tabbouleh, it makes a wonderful side dish but also is fantastic tossed through a host of salads.


  • 175g (1 Cup) Bulgur Wheat
  • 175ml (¾ Cup) Water
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • Flavourings or herbs of your choice.


  1. Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl.
  2. Add the salt and olive oil.
  3. Pour over the boiling water.
  4. If you are making a salad, cover with cling film and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  5. If you are serving warm, cover with foil and transfer to a 100ºC or 212ºF oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Uncover the bulgur wheat and fluff with a fork.
  7. Add any herbs, nuts or flavourings before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 591mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Thursday 22nd of April 2021

You have written same weight water as bulgar wheat, then later on I noticed the recipe states 175 mls water 175 grams of bulgar wheat, which is right?

Brian Jones

Friday 23rd of April 2021

Both are correct, 175mls of water weighs 175g.. Sorry for any confusion.

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