Farro Vs Barley: Key Differences

Farro vs Barley is a continuous debate that has caused significant disagreement among food experts.

However, if you are to compare the two grains, I’ll say it’s a tie. They have a lot in common.

Barley and farro are slightly different in appearance, which may affect cooking time.

And that’s the sole aim of this post, to examine where they differ, so you can stand a chance of making the right decision.

Also, farro is higher in protein. Aside from that, you can conveniently use both grains interchangeably in most recipes, as you will soon find out for yourself. 

Farro Vs Barley: Key Differences

Barley is one of the most consumed grains in the US. It is used whole in soups, milled to make bread, and cooked like rice to add to salads.

It is available in the complete form at the grocery store. When purchasing barley, there are two alternatives available: hulled and pearled.

Barley, like quinoa and rice, expands in size when cooked. Once cooked, you can anticipate it to grow to 3.5 times its initial size.

On the other hand, farro is an ancient grain that has existed for hundreds of years. And it is waxing strong to date.

Not only is it mouth-watering, but also nutritious.

Like barley, it’s a light-brown grain with a brilliant outer layer of bran. Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and chewy texture.

When cooked, both grains assume their original color but grow in size. Barley will appear stickier than farro when cooked.

Barley and farro grains both have a significant quantity of fiber. They have an excellent range of nutrients, with farro grains having a higher protein content.

These grains can absorb the flavors of soups and salad dressings. They add a distinctive texture to the finished dish, making them ideal additions to any meal.

Both grains have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor.

Farro, on the other hand, has a slight cinnamon flavor. Because of this flavor, it is ideal for use in sweeter dishes such as baking or sweet oatmeal.

You might be wondering whether barley or farro is good for your health.

That is a difficult question because they benefit one’s health in numerous ways. Here is some of the nutritional information for both:

Farro: A cup of farro provides 25% of the total fiber required by the body for the day. It also contains 6 g of protein. Farro is high in iron, magnesium, and carbohydrates.

Barley has a lower calorie count per serving and a slightly higher protein content than farro. It is enriched with fiber. It is high in manganese, selenium, and thiamine.

Barley contains a lot of antioxidants. It is also high in carbohydrates but low in sugar.

One of the differences between both grains is the cooking time. You can either cook them pressure cooker or on the stovetop. Regardless of both methods, farro will cook faster than barley.

However, you can speed up the cooking time of barley by soaking it in water for a few hours before cooking.

Barley cooking time:

  • Pearled barley: 35 minutes
  • Hulled barley: 40–50 minutes
  • Farro cooking time: Farro cooking time ranges from 12-15 minutes.

In terms of cost, farro is far more expensive than barley.

These delectable grains are frequently included in soups, salads, and breakfast dishes. They can both be used in place of each other with ease.

Read Also: Barley Vs Quinoa: Key Differences

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Cook Barley And Farro Together?

Have you given this some thought? Or have you thought about mixing two grains in the same pot? Well, the answer to that is yes. You can cook two grains in the same pot.

Keep an eye on the timer and check for doneness as you cook.

This is essential when cooking grains like farro and barley since they may swing from tender to mushy in minutes. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove the water from the cooked grains.

To be specific, you can cook several grains at once in a single pot. But only if you’re sure that everyone will finish simultaneously.

I suggest that you stick to one grain.

Where Can You Find Farro In The Grocery Store?

Are you having trouble finding farro in the grocery store? We’ve got you covered, so don’t even bother.

The grain aisle is where you should start looking if you’re looking for farro.

If it is not prominently displayed on the shelves. You can also check near the rice blends and other grains.

The grocery store’s bulk aisle may also have farro.

How Do You Preserve The Barley?

Has this question been a burden to you? Then you have nothing to worry about.

Despite being perishable like many other foods, grain products frequently have a much longer shelf life than most foods.

It is always preferable to purchase properly packaged and firmly sealed grains to guarantee optimal freshness and shelf life.

The perfect containers for preserving grain for home storage are air-tight grain cans, especially if the can is kept in a cool, dry, and dark place.

A sealed container is necessary to preserve freshness and lower the risk of contamination.

Where Is Farro Grown?

It is one of the earliest grains to have been cultivated, having been found in the Middle East’s fertile crescent. And it is currently more frequently grown in Italy: in Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany, the Marches, and Umbria.


Most likely, this boils down to choice.

Also, remember that the results will be the same whether you use farro or barley because they can be substituted for one another.

Honestly, most differences are based on appearance and time of cooking.

I’ve noticed that both grains have an oval shape. The farro grains are darker and thin, while the barley is slightly thicker and have a lighter tan/yellowish tint.

Both grains are acceptable to a different sets of people.

However, if you are looking for a delicious grain that doesn’t take long to cook, farro is the way to go.