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Here’s how to make Instant Pot bulgur wheat! This ancient grain is quick and easy to cook in a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Bulgur
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Did you know the Instant Pot is perfect for cooking whole grains of all kinds? Alex and I have been on a quest to discover all the basics you can cook in an Instant Pot. Rice, chickpeas, black beans, even hard boiled eggs and sweet potatoes cook up perfectly in a pressure cooker. So why not use it to cook bulgur wheat? This quick-cooking whole grain works well in the Instant Pot, where it’s totally hands off. This recipe is lightly seasoned and works as either a healthy side dish or a component to go in a salad or grain bowl. Ready to get started?

Bulgur wheat

Where to buy bulgur

Bulgur wheat is a whole grain made of cracked wheat. It originates in Middle Eastern cuisine. Ever had tabbouleh at a Greek or Israeli restaurant? Yep, that’s bulgur wheat! Where to buy bulgur? Many mainstream groceries stock bulgur these days, especially in bulk bins. You can also buy it online.

One note on sizes: bulgur wheat comes in different grind sizes, which changes the cooking time significantly. We recommend fine-grind and medium-grind bulgur wheat, which is the fastest to cook. Coarse-ground or extra-coarse bulgur take much longer to cook, so we generally buy the fine and medium grind varieties.

What if your package of bulgur is not marked? It’s likely medium grind. You’ll have to experiment with the cook time and cook longer if it’s still not tender after the allotted time.

Buy it: Bulgur wheat

Instant Pot bulgur

Is bulgur gluten free?

Bulgur is made from wheat, so it is not gluten free. Make sure to stay away from bulgur if you have a strict gluten free diet. If you’re looking for a gluten free substitute, you can use one of the following:

How to cook bulgur in a pressure cooker

How to cook Instant Pot bulgur (basic steps)

Is bulgur wheat faster in an Instant Pot than on the stovetop? Not really. So why make it in an Instant Pot? Well, a pressure cooker is a totally hands off method: there’s no need to even boil water. Throw in the ingredients and you’re good to go: then finish dinner while the Instant Pot does its magic!

This Instant Pot bulgur recipe uses the low pressure setting of the pressure cooker. While that might not sound interesting in itself, out of all of our healthy Instant Pot recipes, this is the first one to use low pressure. So make sure to select the Low setting when you cook!

Here are the basic steps on how to make Instant Pot bulgur:

  1. Place bulgur, water, garlic powder, oregano, and salt in the Instant Pot.
  2. Pressure cook on Low for 12 minutes.
  3. Quick release! Open the Instant Pot and fluff the bulgur with a fork.

How to serve Instant Pot bulgur

Now that you’ve cooked it up, how to serve this Instant Pot bulgur? Our favorite way to serve it is as a healthy side dish! Because this one is already seasoned with garlic powder and oregano, it’s perfect for serving alongside baked fish, cedar plank salmon or shrimp. A vegetarian main dish idea is to serve it alongside beans and greens with a fried egg: try our Bulgur Wheat with Fried Eggs.

The most popular use for bulgur is Tabbouleh, the famous Middle Eastern grain salad with lots of fresh parsley, tomatoes, and garlic. Here’s our version of that recipe: Mediterranean Bulgur Salad. It’s also fantastic in a grain bowl: try it in our Roasted Vegetable Bowl instead of freekah.

This Instant Pot bulgur recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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how to cook bulgur

Instant Pot Bulgur Wheat

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4.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 ½ cups 1x


Here’s how to make Instant Pot bulgur wheat! This ancient grain is quick and easy to cook in a pressure cooker.


  • 1 cup fine- or medium-grind bulgur wheat*
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Add the bulgur wheat, water, garlic powder, oregano, and salt to the Instant Pot and stir. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook on low pressure for 12 minutes (medium grind) or 7 minutes (fine grind): Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “Low Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  3. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid.
  4. Open the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


*Avoid coarse or extra-coarse bulgur, since the cooking instructions are different.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Seli says:

    Turkish here. Bulgur is a staple in my country and fine-grind bulgur is only used when making dishes like kibbeh, kisir (bulgur salad), fellah köftesi, or çiğ köfte. And recommending it for bulgur pilaf is misleading and will result in disappointment for those who will try it based on this recipe. I think it’s important to update the recipe so people don’t end up with a failed dish and refrain from using bulgur.

  2. Carol Mercer says:

    I made this recipe and added frozen mixed vegetables and cooked it as the recipe stated. It turned out great!

  3. Lisa Pecunia says:

    It isn’t mentioned but I assume the garlic powder and oregano go in at the same time as the salt?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      You are correct! We’ve updated the recipe accordingly. Thank you!

  4. Emma surf says:

    I’m making this for first time in insta pot because apparently I bought bulgur instead of barley 😁Does freezing the cooked bulgur work or does it change the texture too much (med or coarse).

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      It should be fine to freeze.

  5. Anne Eastwood-Lin says:

    I used this recipe to make the cracked wheat and it came out perfect. Never used the low pressure setting before. Will need to get your cookbook. Trying the roasted vegetables and meatloaf next

  6. Arthur Dent says:

    I doubled this recipe and it worked well when I used medium grind bulgur wheat. It even worked for me when I used coarse bulgur wheat once I increased the cooking time to 22 minutes. However when I tried fine grind bulgur wheat it failed. When I added two cups of fine bulgur wheat to my 8 Quart DUO EVO PLUS Instant Pot and then added 3 cups of water it absorbed all the water. I thought that was strange but I thought maybe it would still work but my Instant Pot gave me a Food Burn message while it was pre-heating. I added an additional 3 cups of water and stirred things up but I still received a Food Burn message during the pre-heating stage. So I’m at a loss on how to make this work for me.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Thank you for letting us know! We have not had this happen, but we’ll test again with fine grind and get back to you!

    2. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Hello Arthur! We’ve retested this recipe with our 6 quart Instant Pot using 1 cup of fine grind bulgur. We’ve updated the timing for 7 minutes on Low power for fine grind. We did not have any issues with a Food Burn message. Do you think you may have not changed to Low power before cooking? We’re not sure why the burn message would happen before cooking! It could be due to your specific Instant Pot? If you can’t get it to work, you could simply use boiling water for fine grind and skip the Instant Pot here — it takes just 7 minutes for 1 cup bulgur to absorb 2 cups boiling water.

      1. Arthur Dent says:

        Thank you for testing this recipe again. My Instant Pot is an update from older units. They had a 1000 watt heating element, mine has the redesigned 1200 watt heating element for faster pre-heating. It has 48 presets and the LCD screen shows what is going on during the cooking cycle. It also has the new pressure release system with a diffuser lid to keep the steam from venting straight up. Even the inner pot has been redesigned for easier browning and sauteing and now included two heat-resistant handle for easy handling.

        I had set for Pressure Cooking Custom cycle Low pressure 12 minutes cook time but it was still a no go. I boiled 4 cups of water in a saucepan and added that to two cups of fine bulgur wheat. I covered the pot and let it sit for 12 minutes. I discovered that I don’t like the fine bulgur. It didn’t fluff up like course or medium bulgur. I felt like I was eating sand. I’ll stick with the course bulgur.

        I haven’t found out how to make brown basmati rice in my Instant Pot either. It comes out far better on my stovetop using an induction burner.

        Thank you and have a good day.

  7. cb says:

    thank you for leaving a straightforward recipe on how to cook bulghur…I’ve seen everything from 20 mns on multigrain to sauté setting and boiling…it’s tabouleh not a chocolate mousse. Tabouleh can be customized any way one wants. I just needed to know how to do a quick cook. Oh and I did use this cook scenario and used oregano (never did that before) but ended up using za’atar instead of sumac because I didn’t have “just” sumac and za’atar of course being a blend does have it. I also incorporated broccoli, asparagus, and scallion…my friend is allergic to tomatoes so the oregano recommendation helped me come up with a recipe she could enjoy. Thank you

  8. Sam says:

    Hi, so excited to try this recipe in my instant pot! If I wanted to only make 1/2 cup of bulgur how much water do you recommend and would you still cook in low pressure for 12 mins with a quick release?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      That’s such a small amount, I’m not sure. I’d be worried that it would stick to the bottom because half the water wouldn’t be very much. If you try it, I’d do 1 cup of water, 12 minutes, and then drain excess water at the end.

  9. TurkishGirl says:

    Hi, I’m Turkish and this is a staple dish in our cuisine. This size of bulgur isn’t meant for cooking, let alone pressure cooking. It’s used for salads and adding some boiled water on it and covering for 15 mins should be enough. The bulgur we would cook is larger than this one and it doesn’t take longer than 20 mins to cook.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Thank you So Much for your response! I was about to cook some bulgur for Tabbouleh and felt that it shouldn’t be boiled but soaked – I had no one I could ask! THANKS!!!!!

  10. Sylvia Vigil says:

    Older instant pots do not appear to have an option to set low pressure. How does this affect cook time?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Sorry, we don’t have a recipe for this!

    2. Sandra says:

      I hit the porridge button, which you can then adjust to low pressure then set time for 12 minutes.

    3. VeggieTater says:

      I just use the rice setting which automatically cooks on low pressure for 12 minutes. Last time I sauteed some onions and garlic first, then added the broth, some spices, 1 cup bulgur and 1 cup of soaked soaked red lentils, using the rice setting. When done I added some ground flax as a binder and stuffed half peppers with the mix, then baked in the oven in tomato sauce. It was tasty!

    4. VeggieTater says:

      On the manual setting you can either use the “adjust” button to get low pressure , or just use the rice button which will automatically cook on low for 12 minutes.