How to Cook Barley for Breakfast Cereal


While barley is often cooked into savory side dishes, it works equally as well as a hot breakfast cereal, sweetened with sugar and topped fruit and nuts. Barley is widely used in beer production, but the mildly sweet and chewy grain is also a nutritious addition to any diet. Barley is low in fat and an excellent source of fiber and protein. To prepare barely as a hot breakfast cereal, use widely available pearl barley, which has the outer husk and bran layers removed, making this notoriously slow-cooking grain a little faster to prepare.

Things You'll Need

  • Large bowl
  • Colander
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Milk and/or water
  • Pour the pearl barley into a bowl and rinse under cold running water. Drain the barley in a colander.

  • Bring water or milk to a low boil in a saucepan on the stove. For 3/4 to 1 cup of pearl barley, use about 3 to 4 cups of milk or water, depending on how thick you want the cereal to be. You can also use equal parts water and milk.

  • Add the pearl barley and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low. Cover and cook the barley, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the barley has thickened to your desired consistency. It may need less time if you prefer a thinner hot cereal. If it thickens too much, stir in milk, little by little to loosen it up.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in any complementary dried fruit you would like, such as raisins and dried apricots. Pour the hot barley cereal into individual bowls and enjoy with optional additions of sugar and and coarsely chopped nuts.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can prepare your barley breakfast the night before in a slow cooker by adding 1 cup of barley for every 4 cups of water in a slow cooker and set the cooker on the low setting the night before. In the morning, you can stir in sugar and water toppings you prefer.
  • If you wish to use hulled barley, which contains more nutrients in the husk and bran layers, add another 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.

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