Here’s how to cook millet in 20 minutes using just three ingredients and links to our favorite millet recipes! A gluten-free alternative to couscous and pasta, millet is incredibly easy to make.
Ever heard of millet? I hadn’t, until we started getting into whole grains. Millet tends to take a back seat to the fancier-sounding trendy whole grains like quinoa. On a whim, we recently bought some with no idea what to expect. We were both pleasantly surprised with the result – instead of being extra chewy like most whole grains, millet has a light, almost couscous-like texture! I was excited to learn that it cooks in just 20 minutes, which is half the time of brown rice. (While our package instructions said to cook for 35 to 40 minutes, we found it needed much less time.)
What is millet?
Technically a seed, millet is an excellent gluten-free substitute for couscous, or even pasta. Millet is fairly high in protein, and it’s a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s also highly alkaline, which makes it easier to digest. Millet comes in many different varieties, but your local grocery store most likely sells yellow proso millet. It has a slightly nutty flavor and makes for an easy side dish as well as a hearty breakfast cereal with milk and honey or sugar, much like oatmeal.
How to cook millet
For a fluffy, light millet, you want to use 1 part dried millet to 2 parts water (the instructions on your package of millet may differ from ours, but we’ve found this ratio works best for us). Before adding water to the millet, toast it over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Once the millet has been toasted, add the water and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and cover the pot. The millet will need to bubble away for 15 to 17 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. I know it’s tempting, but don’t open the lid during the cooking process or else you’ll let the steam escape!
To make millet that’s creamier, like mashed potatoes, you’ll need to add more water and stir the millet frequently during the cooking process. Creamy millet makes for an excellent alternative to oatmeal, or it can be dressed up with fresh herbs and some butter and served alongside your dinner.
Some great millet recipes:
- Roasted Broccoli and Cheddar Millet Bake
- Millet Cakes with Carrots & Spinach from Love & Lemons
- Creamy Millet Porridge with Roasted Strawberries from Naturally Ella
- White Cheddar Leeks & Greens Millet Bake on Laura Lea Balanced (from our cookbook!)
Looking for more whole grain recipes?
- Spinach Artichoke Red Rice Casserole
- Mediterranean Rice Bowl
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bark
- Southwestern Black Bean Quinoa
This recipe is…
Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.Print
A gluten-free alternative to couscous and pasta, millet is incredibly easy to make. Here’s how to cook millet in 20 minutes using just three ingredients.
- 1 1/2 cups millet
- 3 cups water
- Kosher salt
- Pour 1 1/2 cups millet into a dry pan. Toast for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Pour in 3 cups water and add a few pinches kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for about 17 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed.
- Fluff the millet with a fork, and add some salt to taste.
- To serve as a side, add a bit of olive oil or butter, and herbs or spices as desired.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to cook millet, millet recipe
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.