Getting to Know Millet and a Guide on How to Cook Millet

Did you know?Millet is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Millet, often referred to as the “forgotten grain,” has been consumed by humans for more than a thousand years already and is now making a …


Did you know?
Millet is one of the oldest cultivated crops.

Millet, often referred to as the “forgotten grain,” has been consumed by humans for more than a thousand years already and is now making a comeback in the world of nutrition and healthy eating. Packed with nutrients and versatile in the kitchen, millet is a great addition to any diet. 

This article will let you know more about how to cook millet and everything you need to know about it. This beginner’s guide will walk you through the basics of cooking millet and provide helpful tips on using a rice cooker or instant pot.

What is Millet?

Millets are cereal grains that belong to a grass family called the Poaceae. While Millet is widespread globally, its origins trace back to Asia and Africa. Historical evidence indicates its cultivation in Asia, dating back to a period between 10,300 and 8,700 years ago.

Millet comes in various types, each offering unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. They are:

  • Pearl millet – Known for its versatility and mild taste, making it an excellent base for both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Foxtail millet – Boasts a slightly nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture, making it a popular choice for salads or as a side dish.
  • Finger millet – Also known as ragi, stands out with its dark color and earthy taste, providing an extra nutritional punch.
  • Sorghum Millet – Commonly known as Jowar in India, this type is often used for baking, especially flatbreads and cakes, or ground down to a meal for porridge.
  • Proso Millet – This is also called broom corn millet and is commonly found in the drier regions of Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, and North America
  • Browntop Millet – This type of millet is traditionally grown in India but it is now grown to combat soil erosion or desertification.
  • Barnyard Millet – Its specialty is that it grows even in marginal lands.
  • Little Millet – This type can be easily grown whether there is water logging or drought.
  • Buckwheat Millet – This is one of the most popular and widely used millet grains and is known to lower blood pressure and is diabetic-friendly.
  • Amaranth Millet – Also known as Rajgira, is a great source of protein and dietary fiber.

How to Cook Millet?

cooked millet

There are many ways on how to cook millet but the most common way is to prepare it like rice, just like below:

  1. Cook as Grain



Water or broth

Salt (optional)


  1. Rinse the Millet. Before cooking, it’s essential to rinse the millet under cold water. This helps remove any excess starch and prevents the grains from becoming sticky during cooking.
  1. Choose Your Liquid. For a basic cooking method, use water. However, for added flavor, consider using vegetable or chicken broth. The general ratio is 2 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of millet.
  1. Combine. In a saucepan, combine the rinsed millet and the chosen liquid. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  1. Simmer: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the millet is tender. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.

Once cooked, fluff the millet with a fork to separate the grains. Your millet is now ready

to be served as a side dish, base for bowls, or even as a breakfast alternative to


How Long to Cook Millet

Whole grain millet is a grain that cooks relatively quickly, being ready in 25 – 30

minutes. This makes it a popular choice for quick dinners.

Tips on How to Cook Millet:

  • For a fluffy, light millet – Use 1 part dried millet to 2 parts water or any liquid of your choice. It is still best to follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Begin by toasting the millet in a dry pan. Stir it over medium heat for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant to bring out its nutty flavor. 
  • Combine water, olive oil, and salt, then simmer for 17 to 20 minutes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed.
  1. Cook as Popcorn

Millet has the ability to pop similar to popcorn. Place a small quantity in a dry skillet and shake until you notice a slight alteration in color and shape. Because it is considerably smaller than popcorn, using popped millet adds a unique twist. 

  1. Cook as Poridge

Millet makes an excellent substitute for polenta or porridge in a 1:1 ratio. Grind millet in a blender or food processor until most grains are no longer whole and some flour has gathered at the bottom.

How To Cook Millet In A Rice Cooker

For those who prefer the convenience of a rice cooker, follow these simple steps:

  1. Rinse Millet -As with the stovetop method, start by rinsing the millet under cold water.
  1. Combine Millet and Liquid in Rice Cooker – Place the rinsed millet and the chosen liquid in the rice cooker. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
  1. Set – Close the rice cooker lid, select the appropriate setting, and let it do its magic. Most rice cookers have a setting for grains, and millet cooks well in this setting.
  1. Fluff and Serve – Once the rice cooker indicates that it’s done, fluff the millet with a fork, and your perfectly cooked millet is ready to be served.

How To Cook Millet In An Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is another fantastic kitchen tool for cooking millet quickly and efficiently. Follow these steps:

  1. Sauté Millet – Start by sautéing the rinsed millet in the Instant Pot with a bit of oil for a couple of minutes. This adds a nutty flavor to the grains.
  1. Add Liquid – Pour in the chosen liquid (water or broth) and add salt if desired.
  1. Set Instant Pot – Close the lid, set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure, and cook

In a Nutshell

As one of the oldest cultivated crops, millet has left an indelible mark on cuisines worldwide. Understanding the diverse types of millet and how to cook millet, allows you to tailor your food creations to suit your taste preferences and nutritional needs.

Learning how to cook millet in a rice cooker or how to cook millet in an instant pot helps you to create delicious and nutritious dishes with the simple joy of incorporating millet into your healthy favorites, such as popping millet to substituting it for breadcrumbs or using it in porridge. In essence, millet brings a delightful twist to your culinary adventures.