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Here’s how to cook millet and some top millet recipes! A tasty alternative to couscous or rice, it’s easy to make and versatile.

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Looking for a new whole grain to add to your repertoire? Try millet! Millet tends to take a back seat to grains like quinoa and farro: possibly because it’s also used as bird food in the US! But it’s a diet staple in Africa, Asia and beyond, and holds its own when cooked. Instead of being extra chewy like many whole grains, millet has a light, almost couscous-like texture. It cooks in just 20 minutes, which is half the time of brown rice. Use it in grain bowls, grain salads, casseroles, soups, veggie burgers, and more!

What is millet?

Millet is a whole grain that looks like a tiny kernel of corn. It’s actually a seed that comes from plants in the grass family called Poaceae. It’s gluten-free and an excellent substitute for couscous or bulgur wheat. This seed is an important diet staple in Africa and Asia, and becoming more popular in the West for its nutritional content. Millet is fairly high in protein (1 cup cooked millet has 6 grams protein). It’s also a good source of various vitamins and minerals, like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

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. It also works as a hearty breakfast cereal with milk and honey or sugar, much like oatmeal.


How to cook millet: tips

There are a few ways to cook millet: head to the recipe below for our master method! Here are a few tips on the basic method before you start:

  • For a fluffy, light millet, 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.
  • Toast the millet in a dry pan first. Stir it over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. This helps to bring out its nutty flavor.
  • Add the water, olive oil and salt and simmer 17 to 20 minutes. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until all the water has been absorbed.

Millet recipes

Millet is a versatile grain you can use in many different ways! Eat it as a side dish, in a bowl meal, throw it into soups and stews, eat it as a casserole or even in a veggie burger. Here are a few of our favorite millet recipes:

This millet recipe is…

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

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How to Cook Millet (& Millet Recipes!)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


Here’s how to cook millet in 20 minutes with 3 ingredients! A tasty alternative to couscous or rice, it’s easy to make and versatile.


  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Pour the millet into a dry pan. Toast for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it smells toasted and you start to hear the millet pop.
  2. Pour in the 2 cups water (it will spit as the pan is hot, so take care). Add the olive oil and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for about 17 to 20 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed.
  3. Allow to stand covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the millet with a fork. Add more salt to taste if desired. To serve as a side dish, add chopped herbs, spices, more olive oil or butter, or Parmesan cheese to taste. 
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

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 for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Pretty says:

    I just investigated the beet risotto – that looks great! Good thought on subbing in rice pudding as well — we’ve never made rice pudding, however will think about this when we do

  2. Corey says:

    Hey guys,
    How long will this keep in the fridge once cooked?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Hi there! It should last 3 to 4 days refrigerated. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Steve says:

    I have had millet here for several months, so will try it out, either for breakfast or in a salad in place of rice.
    Worthwhile to remember that millet can suppress thyroid function and cause hypothyroidism, if you eat a lot. So best taken in moderation.

  4. Steen Bo Jensen says:

    Some dont like the taste of millet, that is the saponine a bitter soap tasty stuff on the outside of the seed.
    To get rid of it you have to either let it sit a while in water an rinse thoroughly. Or put boiling water on, rinse in cold water; do that a couple of times and you will get rid of that soapy taste. Cant do that with the flakes. Some manufactories do rinse the millet before sending out to the costumers. Millet is great, roast onion, tomatoes, red bell pebber, chilli, season with a curry of your like and mikse it into the cooked millet.

  5. gitty says:

    My first time making and eating millet and made it today according to your recipe and it came out well. Is it supposed to still have alittle bite to it?

  6. Joyce says:

    Just found your site when looking for information about Millet. I had some and wanted to use it so began “googling”.
    Impressed with the nutrition content.
    I cooked Millet in my Rice Cooker on White Rice. If you do, when finished, check to see if is is cooked to your preference.
    I made it for cereal, so wanted it a bit moist.
    Thanks for your Roasted Broccoli and CheddarMillet Bake. Sounds delicious! Will try it very soon. Joyce

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