How to Cook Buckwheat

by autumn on April 23, 2012

There’s a strange poetry to flat rate boxes, a mathematics of love via the US Postal Service. For years, my mom has sent me flat rate boxes of food. Rather, I’ve always had a horrible habit of leaving my belongings like a trail of breadcrumbs wherever I go and my mom is great about making sure I get them back.

It starts with a favorite pair of boots forgotten at home, but the beautiful thing about a flat rate box is the potential. Not since a childhood refrigerator box has cardboard seemed so boundless. Somehow, everything fits: the three cans of Rosarita refried beans, the Reese’s, the inexplicable pair of Valentine’s Day napkins, and (hey, it’s flat rate after all) the five pound Costco bag of quinoa.

Maybe you’re not also working your way through 10 pounds of quinoa, but are looking for a new whole grain in your life. Allow me to introduce you to buckwheat. The first time I cooked buckwheat, it went straight in the trash. It was a brown mushy mess. I had no plans to ever make or eat it again, but now we have it at least once a week. I learned that the way you cook buckwheat makes all the difference, so I’m here to tell you how to end up with a nutty, toothsome, and super-versatile thing instead of the alternative.

Buckwheat basics:

  • Go whole: Buckwheat is sold in different “granulations,” which just means it’s ground up in varying degrees of fineness. Look for “whole granulation,” which is not ground up at all.
  • Make it a staple: My regular old neighborhood grocery store carries it.
  • Weeknight potential: It cooks very quickly, without much heat, but it’s also great cold. Cook a bunch and have it on hand.
  • Toast it: This improves the texture and deepens the flavor. Toasting is totally necessary.
  • Rhubarb: It’s related to rhubarb (!), not wheat, so it’s a great gluten-free stand-in for things like barley, farro, and wheat berries.


Now eat it! Get inspired:


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tamika April 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Halloo! I love buckwheat flour! I buy locally grown/ ground ‘sarrasin’ every time I go to Montreal to visit my family. Buckwheat crepes are the norm there and yummy gf with everything. I make some, layer with parchment and freeze.
I agree, I should have kasha in my pantry too.
Thanks for the great post.


2 rcakewalk April 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Have you ever sprouted buckwheat? I tried it a few months ago and loved it! I had read the Sarma Melgalis Raw Food vegan cookbook (her 2nd one) and had to try the Krispie bars made with sprouted then dehyratec buckwheat…sooo great! It kinda pips in your mouth, and made me realize how much I love buckwheat too. (The recipe I made required a dehydrator, but I bet sprouted buckwheat would dry out in a low oven fairly well.)


3 Autumn April 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Tamika, I love your idea of having buckwheat crepes frozen on hand! I bet they’d freeze a lot better then something like pancakes. Luckily, I love buckwheat pancakes enough that they usually all get eaten, no problem!

Rebecca, I haven’t! I don’t have a dehydrator, but do have to admit that I get a fancy treat from one lucky ducky every once in a blue moon. I’ll look out for any sprouted buckwheat krispies next time I do!


4 Zhen August 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I just received 5 lbs. of whole buckwheat, still in the hull, very dark in color. I haven’t had it like this before. Do you use it the same way as the lighter colored, hulled grain? I use it in gluten free baked goods, but afraid that it just won’t be the same smooth texture.


5 David September 29, 2014 at 4:33 am

Good simple recipe for Buckwheat Groats. You can substitute broth for the water for added taste. Also add some chopped onions or nuts for texture. You can get certified Organic Buckwheat Groats sent to your door from SunOrganic Farm online…


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