The Top Substitutes for Millet: Exploring Delicious Alternatives

The best millet substitutes

Millet is a whole grain that has gained popularity in recent years due to its versatility and gluten-free nature. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to substitute millet in a recipe, there are several grains and pseudo-grains that can work just as well. In this article, we will explore the best millet substitutes and discuss their unique qualities and benefits.

1. Bulgarian

Bulgur, also known as bulghur, is a wheat-based product that has been parboiled, roasted, dried, and ground into coarse grains. Although bulgur contains gluten, it can be a suitable substitute for millet for quick cooking. It has a flavor and texture similar to brown rice and works well in grain-based dishes such as salads and snacks. Nutritionally, bulgar is slightly higher in protein than millet.

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudo grain that has gained popularity as a nutritious alternative to traditional grains. It has a distinct seedy flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Although quinoa differs from millet in taste and texture, it can be used as a substitute in certain applications. Quinoa is commonly used in hot cereals, salads, and as a rice substitute. It is naturally gluten-free and quick to cook, making it an easy substitute for most millet recipes.

3. Amaranth

Amaranth is another pseudo grain that can be used as a substitute for millet. It has a smaller seed size and a soft, creamy texture when cooked. While it lacks the fluffiness of millet, it offers a texture similar to dishes like cream of wheat or grits. Amaranth is not ideal as a grain substitute, but can be added to salads, toasted, popped like popcorn, or used as a thickener in various recipes. Nutritionally, amaranth is lower in protein, carbohydrates, and fat than millet.

4. Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat groats are hearty seeds that are often classified as whole grains. They have a strong, earthy flavor and can be a good substitute for millet, especially in terms of nutrition and satiation. Both buckwheat and millet offer a variety of vitamins and minerals, with a relatively balanced distribution of fats and carbohydrates. Buckwheat groats have a slight advantage in protein content and a lower glycemic index. They can be used interchangeably with millet to add carbohydrate or plant protein to meals.


Rice is one of the closest textural substitutes for millet. While millet has a unique fluffiness, many types of rice can also achieve a light and fluffy texture when cooked. The choice of rice will depend on the specific recipe, but any type of rice can be a suitable substitute in most cases. Brown rice offers a more comparable nutritional profile to millet, although it has a different texture. Short-grain rice is particularly good for replacing millet.

6. Sorghum

Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain that can be used as a substitute for millet. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a texture similar to millet when cooked. Sorghum can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, and grain-based side dishes. It is a nutritious option, rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of fiber.

7. Barley

Barley is another grain that can be used as a replacement for millet. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture when cooked. Barley can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and grain-based salads. It is a good source of fiber and offers several health benefits, including improved digestion and reduced cholesterol levels.

Bottom line

If you need a replacement for millet, there are several grains and pseudo-grains that can be used interchangeably. Bulgur, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat groats, rice, sorghum, and barley are all viable options with their own unique flavors and textures. These substitutes can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, ensuring that you can still enjoy delicious and nutritious meals without millet. Experimenting with these substitutes will allow you to discover new flavors and expand your culinary horizons.


Can I replace millet with bulgur in gluten-free recipes?

No, bulgar contains gluten and is not suitable for gluten-free recipes. Consider using quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat groats as a gluten-free alternative.

Which millet substitute has the closest texture to the fluffiness of millet?

While no substitute can perfectly replicate the fluffiness of millet, quinoa comes closest in terms of texture when cooked. Its small, light grains can provide a similar mouthfeel in recipes.

Can rice and millet be substituted in recipes?

Yes, rice can be substituted for millet in many recipes. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different. Short-grain rice is often the best option to achieve a texture similar to millet.

Can I use sorghum to replace millet in baking?

Yes, sorghum can be used to replace millet in baking. It adds a mild sweetness and works well in breads, muffins, and other baked goods.

Are there nutritional differences between millet and its substitutes?

Each millet replacement has its own nutritional profile. While they may vary in terms of protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, they generally offer comparable health benefits. It’s always a good idea to consider the specific nutritional requirements of your recipe and choose a substitute accordingly.

Can I use barley to replace millet in porridge?

Yes, barley can be used as a substitute for millet in porridge. It has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor that can add depth to your breakfast dish.