What is a Good Substitute for Freekeh? (UPDATED)

image of ingredients to replace freekeh

You will see freekeh used in a wide variety of recipes. This wheat product is a popular ingredient or dressed up and used as a side or even the main meal.

So, what do you do when creating a meal that calls for freekeh, and you are all out? What can you use to substitute for freekeh?

There are a few great ingredients out there that can take the place of freekeh with ease. And we have a great list of the best six.

  • Teff
  • Farro
  • Brown rice
  • Bulgur
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous

Now the next time you find yourself looking for an alternative to freekeh to finish a recipe. Keep this article on hand. We offer tons of information on each ingredient and which recipes they can fill in for freekeh the best.

img of Freekeh

What is Freekeh?

Freekeh is an ingredient often used in dishes that come from the  Middle East. It is the result of unripened, roasted wheat crushed into small particles. This type of wheat is similar in size to spelt or wheat berries.

Freekeh is well-known for its health benefits and versatile functions. You can add this ingredient to many dishes, whether sweet or savory. And it is popular in foods like salad, porridge, and soup.

Because freekeh is not high in carbs, it is a favorite amongst keto’ers and other low-carb diets.

What Does Freekeh Taste Like?

Before using freekeh in any dish, you should be aware of its flavor profile. It offers a similar nutty, earthy taste and a chewy texture like other wheat options. Yet, this source has a unique smokey flavor.

Durum wheat is roasted and then goes through a drying and rubbing process to get a smokey flavor. This process helps boost the flavor profile and nutritional components.

Is Freekeh Good for you?

Freekeh is on the list of superfoods thanks to its various health benefits. You should add this product to your diet whenever possible for optimal health. (*)

  • It contains 44% of your daily fiber intake.
  • Promotes good eye health
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Low on the glycemic index
  • Assists in muscle development
  • Benefits gut health

How Do You Use it?

The taste and texture of freekeh are the same as other grains, such as wheat berries and farro. It makes a great side to meat proteins such as chicken or steak. But it can also fit well next to berries as a breakfast food.

Some great dishes that use freekeh include:

  • Greek Freekeh Salads
  • Freekeh topped with roasted vegetables.
  • Freekeh, quinoa breakfast porridge with fresh fruits.
  • Spicey fish stew (with freekeh)
  • Chicken with freekeh on the side
  • Mediterranean freekeh salad
  • Freekeh, pesto, and rice
  • Freekeh breakfast bowls with kale and egg whites

What is a Good Substitute for Freekeh?

TeffEthiopian-exclusive gluten-free grain. Smaller in size than freekeh.YesCooking and baking
Brown RiceNutty and chewy texture similar to freekeh. Versatile for various dishes.NoGrain bowls, stir-fries, side dish
QuinoaPopular and nutritious substitute. Pasta-like texture, absorbs sauces well.YesSpaghetti, soups, stews

Freekeh is a fantastic ingredient that can is often used in many dishes. It is versatile, has a great texture, and provides a unique flavor profile.

With all that said, you can replace it in many recipes if needed. Below are six great ingredients we have used in place of freekeh. They provide a fantastic likeness and substitute with ease.

1. Give Teff a Try (GLUTEN FREE OPTION)

Teff is an Ethiopian-exclusive wheat cultivated to make flour in Africa. The flour makes flatbreads that people use as silverware.

Although it is a staple food in other countries, it isn’t as common in the US. But it can be the perfect substitute for freekeh in many recipes.

Teff is ideal for those looking for a gluten free alternative. This ancient grain is a millet, not wheat so it won’t affect those with gluten intolerances.

Teff is about the size of a poppy seed, making it smaller than freekeh. Yet you can still use it in its place when cooking or baking.

To substitute: For one cup of freekeh, use one cup of teff.


  • Teff is very small, the size of a poppy seed
  • It is a millet, not wheat, making it gluten free.
  • You can use it in place of freekeh in baking and cooking.

2. Brown Rice Offers a Great Taste and Texture

Brown rice is another perfect alternative to freekeh. It gets its nutty, chewy texture from the bran coating the rice, which is close to that of freekeh. You can use this product in many ways.

Brown rice is also a healthy food and contains tons of vitamins and minerals. These are benefits you wouldn’t get with the white version, including,

  • Protein
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B
  • Iron

You can use brown rice instead of freekeh in any dish. But it goes great in grain bowls, stir fries, and seated next to protein.

To substitute: use one cup of brown rice for one cup of freekeh.


  • Brown rice has a lot of health benefits
  • It is ideal in grain bowls, stir fries, and as a side dish
  • It has a nutty, chewy texture

5. Quinoa for the Win (Gluten-free Alternative)

Quinoa is a popular diet food thanks to its various health benefits. 

This substitute is the edible seeds of a herbaceous plant from the amaranth family. They started as livestock food. But it didn’t take long to become a popular ingredient worldwide.

Quinoa has a texture like pasta and can be absorbent in dishes with sauces or broth. You can use this ingredient when making spaghetti, soups, and stews. You can also use it in various dishes where liquids are common.

To substitute: Use one cup of quinoa for one cup of freekeh.


  • Quinoa is absorbent
  • It is very healthy for you
  • Great in soups, pasta, and stews

Other Freekeh Substitutes To Try

4. Farro Can Substitute Freekeh in Many Recipes

Farro is a form of hulled wheat. It is a hearty ancient grain and is often found in foods like salads and soups and dressed up as a side dish.

Farro has a distinct nutty flavor and a texture like freekeh. Yet, this ingredient is much lighter than most of the other options.

Farro also has various health benefits and is full of nutrients and fiber. But it does have gluten, so not an option for gluten free recipes.

You can replace freekeh with farro in many dishes.  But its ability to maintain a chewy texture for long periods of time makes it perfect for grain base dishes.

To substitute: For one cup of freekeh, use one cup of farro.


  • Perfect ingredient in salads, soups, and dressings
  • It has a nutty flavor like freekeh
  • Is a gluten free option

5. Bulgur Wheat Can Get the Job Done

Bulgur wheat is common in West Asian cuisine. Here this cereal wheat is only boiled halfway and then dried out.

This form of wheat is very versatile and cooks much quicker than freekeh. For that reason, you will have to keep your on on your dish and check the consistency often.

Bulgur wheat is a low calorie substitute for freekeh with many essential nutrients. Some of these nutrients include magnesium, iron, and protein. Bulgur is also full of fiber which is ideal for gut health.

You can use bulgur wheat instead of freekeh in things like hamburgers, salads, tacos, and pasta.

To substitute: Use one cup of bulgur wheat for one cup of freekeh.


  • Bulgur wheat is versatile
  • It cooks very quickly
  • It goes well in meat patties, tacos, etc.

Learn more: The Best Bulgur Wheat Substitutes

6. Couscous Can Substitute Freekeh 

Couscous is small granules made from durum wheat. It is pasta that softens when mixed with water. It is similar to freekeh in texture and taste. You can use this alternative when making dishes with sauces or in salads.

Couscous is extremely high in gluten, making it a poor option for those with an intolerance.

To substitute: Use one cup of couscous for one cup of freekeh.


  • Couscous is high in glucose.
  • It has the same texture and close taste as freekeh
  • It is a pasta

These six items are not the only ingredients that substitute freekeh well. But they are some of the best options we like to use in our favorite dishes.


Our list above is an excellent resource if you are low on freekeh and need a great alternative. Any option we offer will take the place of freekeh in almost any dish.

No matter which freekeh substitutes you decide to use. Know you will have the perfect ingredient to optimize any recipe calling for it.


Up Next: Your Top Guide For All Food Ingredients Substitutions!

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