What are Buckwheat Groats…and what do you do with them?

By Ann Fulton

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What is this nutritional powerhouse and how do you use it? 


Despite what its name suggests, buckwheat is not related to wheat.  (And though it seems counter-intutitive, it’s gluten-free.)  Not a grass like regular wheat, buckwheat is more closely related to rhubarb.

Buckwheat is a nutritional powerhouse that is a central component of Eastern European cuisine.  Those who have used buckwheat flour probably recall a certain bitterness. Buckwheat groats are the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant, and their taste is quite mild. In contrast, the flour is ground from the seed hulls.  Buckwheat groats look and taste a lot like steel cut oats, but the softer seeds can be enjoyed raw.  When roasted, they take on a delightful, more intense flavor.

Typically, I use groats in their raw form for a breakfast recipe (that I will soon share) similar to overnight oats.  Groats can be cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or–if you’re feeling industrious–ground into fresh flour.  I like buckwheat groats as an option to steel cut oats or millet breakfast porridge.  For extra texture and crunch, raw or roasted groats can be sprinkled over anything from salads to chili to your regular stovetop oatmeal or cold cereal.

With a cook time of 8-10 minutes, groats are perfect served pilaf-style as a quick-and-easy side dish at dinner. Because they contain all the essential amino acids, these grain-like seeds are considered a complete protein.  Groats are also high in iron, zinc and selenium.

Try this for several healthy and hearty prep-ahead breakfasts: Cook 1 cup of buckwheat groats in 2 cups of simmering water for 10-12 minutes (covered) or until the water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and transfer the cooked groats into four separate bowls.  To each bowl add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Cover and refrigerate.  In the morning, uncover one bowl and add 1/4 cup almond milk (or milk of choice) and gently heat (you may use the microwave or transfer to a pot and heat on the stovetop).  Add another glug of milk to reach desired consistency, fresh or dried fruit and nuts of choice, a drizzle of maple syrup and enjoy!

What is this nutritional powerhouse and how do you use it? A few easy, delicious ways to enjoy are included.

This is an example of what you might find at the store. Bob’s Red Mill and Shiloh Farms are two brands I have used that do not need to be rinsed.


The nutritional profile, as shown on a package from Bob’s Red Mill.

You may also enjoy:


Overnight Buckwheat Groats

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  1. Ned

    Loved this post! I’ve always been curious about buckwheat groats, but never knew what to do with them. Now I’m inspired to give them a try. Your recipe looks delicious and I appreciate the breakdown of the different ways to use them. Can’t wait to experiment!

  2. Nancy Creeman

    Foodmap says 3/4 c of buckwheat groats contains 7 grams of fiber.
    The groats you recommend here contain 1 gram of fiber, as evidenced on their package.
    How can there be such a discrepancy?

        1. Ann Post author

          I understand that, CC. I was inquiring as to the other source Nancy referenced, which offered conflicting nutritional stats. That said, the package above lists 1 gram of fiber for 1/4 cup of the groats, so the discrepancy, while still there, is somewhat less.

          1. Jeanne Beebe

            Yes, the amount differs between 3/4 cup in Nancy’s question and the 1/4 cup listed on Ann’s photo. Also, these are buckwheat GROUTS, which are hulled. I’m guessing that accounts for the remainder of the difference. The hull itself probably doubles the fiber but tastes bitter.

  3. Gloria Klyne

    When I was a teenager (many years ago) my Jewish neighbor used to make buckwheat dish that was delicious- I think it was called Kasha. I would love the recipe. It was a simple side dish, that was a bit greasy – I think there was chicken fat in it. Anyone know what this might have been.

  4. Louren

    Breakfast is my number 1 go to meal for the day. I usually start with overnight soaked oats , mixed with a whole bunch of extras- chia,goji,linseed,chopped almonds. I’ve tried buckwheat porridge before but I never thought to soak them over night. Looking forward to giving this a go.

  5. Dana

    How do they compare nutritionally to oat groats? I soak oat groats overnight, then cook in a rice cooker. If I buy them from a store which sells them in a bulk bin, do you think they need to be rinsed?

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Dana, It doesn’t hurt to give the groats a quick rinse before cooking, especially if buying in bulk. Nutritionally, one cup of cooked groats contains about 155 calories, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fiber. The groats are also a rich source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, folate and vitamin B6. If you try, I hope you enjoy!

  6. Mike O'Neal

    I have a recipe that calls for buckwheat groats, but I have in the pantry some oat groats I’d like to use up. Can I substitute?

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Mike, I can’t say for sure without seeing the recipe, but it could work. Oat groats generally take a little more time to cook and require more water.

  7. Shanelle

    I’d never had them before today (and I’m 40+) – I don’t think they’re common Down Under but I’m gonna work out how to get some. the recipe looks good, I did steel cut oats for a while before I got out of the habit of precooking. Since they don’t take long to cook, could you do it in the morning or are they a diffeent consistancy if left overnight??

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Shanelle, The consistency is slightly different when cooked versus when simply soaked overnight (as with overnight oats). It’s not a huge difference though, so you can really prepare them in the way that’s most convenient.

  8. Dolores

    Trying buckwheat for the first time. Trying to eat healthier and found this dietary choice on my search for healthier food.
    I thank you for the recipe tips and look forward to adding this new food to my diet.

    1. Ann Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Dolores. I hope you enjoy this as a healthy addition to your diet and that you find another recipe or two to enjoy as well!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Silva, I’ve never heard them referred to as kernels, and I’m guessing it may simply be an alternate name.

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    1. Marian

      I was wondering if Groats could be used in a muesli? I have a muesli recipe that lists buckwheat flakes and puffs, I can’t find either of them.

      Thank you in advance!