How to Cook Millet Perfectly: Every. Single. Time.

How to Cook the Most Perfect Millet

Millet is a rising star among whole-grain enthusiasts. With its high-fiber, high-protein nutritional profile and a taste akin to corn, it is becoming increasingly popular and common in both household kitchens and on the menu at restaurants. Learn how to cook millet so that it is a delightfully fluffy and appetizing, every single time.

Millet can be intimidating to cook, and if you don’t do it right, you may reject it as too chewy and textured for your liking. Don’t make the mistake of shunning millet simply because you haven’t learned how to cook it correctly.

Millet is an ancient seed that heralds from Africa and northern China. About two-thirds of the world’s population regularly enjoys millet. In the United States, it has only become popular over the past few years with the rising interest in dietary fiber and healthier sources of carbohydrates. The grain looks a lot like birdseed (and actually is used in birdseed!) before it is cooked, but turns out to be surprisingly light and mild in texture and taste after it is boiled in water. It has nutty overtones but is neutral enough to be versatile, fitting into just about any dish that would otherwise call for white rice.

In a 100-gram serving of millet, there are 378 calories, 4.2 grams of fat, 195 milligrams of potassium, 9 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of protein, and plenty of iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Learn how to cook millet the right way and enjoy!

Step By Step: How to Cook Millet

  1. Assemble 1 cup of raw millet, 2 cups of water, a dash of salt, and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. One cup of dry millet will make about 3.5 cups of cooked millet, so adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly. If you are looking for a porridge-like consistency, use 3 cups of water per 1 cup of millet.
  2. Toast the millet in a dry saucepan over medium heat to bring out its nutty flavor. Use a spatula to mix it while it heats for about 3-4 minutes. The grain’s color will turn golden brown.
  3. Increase the heat to high, add the water, and toss in the salt. Stir.
  4. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Add in the butter, give the mixture a good stir, and place a lid on the saucepan. Let simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. Be careful not to lift the lid off the pan or stir the mixture too often, as doing so will alter the texture of the millet. However, if you have opted for a thinner, porridge-like millet, you can stir occasionally as the millet simmers.
  6. After 15 minutes, or once the grains have absorbed most of the water, remove the pan from the heat and let sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes. These last 10 minutes are crucial for the millet to continue to absorb the remaining water and reach the right consistency.
  7. After 10 minutes have passed, remove the lid and use a fork to fluff the millet. Serve immediately.

But don’t stop there.

Millet is splendid simply cooked with only a bit of butter and salt to enhance its natural flavors, but millet works even greater wonders in more complex dishes! These savory millet cakes are infused with the flavors of carrot, cilantro, and curry spice. Or, you could go the sweet route with this morning recipe for honey apricot millet with blueberry compote and toasted almonds. It’s a breakfast to fuel your body and soul!

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Millet Porridge Image from Shutterstock