Try this flavor packed, Armenian style bulgur pilaf recipe to pair with your favorite protein like chicken, fish, or beef.
I’ve added a handful of “healthier” Armenian inspired dishes from my families background to my website. I love these fun keto and grain free Armenian Lamajuns “aka Armenian Pizzas” and even this lower carb version of cheese boreg (a tray of dough and cheesy goodness). I thought it was time to add a family staple with this bulgur recipe.
I grew up eating both rice based and bulgur wheat based pilaf as a side dish at weeknight family dinners and definitely on special occasions like Christmas or Easter too. It’s a really easy way to add a lot more flavor to a traditional grain based side dish and it’s hard to not want seconds.
While you will find very few recipes like this on my website (many are keto friendly or gluten free if you haven’t perused through the site), I find that adding this one makes space to preserve these traditional family recipes that very few Armenians may have held onto.
Grab all the recipe details regarding ingredients, how to buy bulgur wheat, and a handful of helpful cooking tips in the post below. Ready to get cooking? Jump to the recipe and dive in!
- Large Pot with lid
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
Need to know more about this recipe? Use my culinary notes below to help guide you through. Enjoy!
What is bulgur wheat?
Bulgur is a cracked wheat berry that’s used in a variety of recipes that you often see in Middle Eastern cooking (like Tabbouleh) and in pilaf (as seen here).
An important component to note about bulgur is that it is also usually par-boiled to help with the cooking process. Bulgur is typically a very dense grain otherwise and would need a long cooking time in order for it to be cooked through and tender enough to eat.
The origins of this recipe are not fully known. This is how my family has made it for the last few generations and isn’t comparable to a Turkish bulgur pilaf (this usually uses different spices and may contain finely chopped green bell peppers or fresh tomatoes). I prefer this version.
What bulgur wheat size works best for pilaf?
Bulgur can be purchased in several different variations of coarseness. They range in numbers to denote the coarseness (1-3), 1 being the most fine bulgur and 3 being the most coarse bulgur. We prefer the level 3 bulgur wheat for this recipe. If you can only find the finer forms, it will still work.
- Traditional Fine Egg Noodles- This compliments the bulgur wheat and makes up the base of the pilaf.
- #3 Bulgur Wheat- As noted above, use the most coarse bulgur for this recipe.
- Butter- Butter works best here because it can help add depth of flavor when browning the egg noodles. We prefer this over olive oil, but olive oil can be used if needed for dietary reasons.
- Chicken Stock- Stock can be used for the best flavor.
Cooking instructions and tips:
This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make and does make a large batch (serves 4-6 people).
Start with a large pot over medium heat. Add your butter to the base and allow it melt. Once it melts fully, add in your fine egg noodles.
Fine egg noodles are often very long. We prefer to crush the egg noodles into the pot with our hands to help break them up a bit before cooking. The next part is my favorite in the cooking process!
Add the raw egg noodles into the butter and continuously stir them to allow them to brown and not burn. Browning them in the butter adds SO MUCH FLAVOR and it also smells amazing. Once they brown add the bulgur into the pot.
Cover the mixture with your stock and add your salt. While my family uses half stock and half water, I prefer to use stock for the entire dish (sorry Grandma). Cover the mixture and reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid.
Allow the liquid to cook down fully (keep the lid on and do not remove). You want the bulgur to be tender and not mushy, so don’t over cook. If you find the liquid has fully evaporated and you see that the bulgur needs additional time to cook, add a splash of water back in and let it cook a few more minutes.
You can also let it continue to cook through off the heat with the lid on. The residual heat and steam and keep cooking the mixture.
When you are ready to serve the pilaf, make sure you fluff with a fork to help break up the mixture and make it more appealing for serving. Serve with your favorite protein! While this isn’t a low carb side dish, it is absolutely delicious. My family hopes you truly love it.
Easy Bulgur Pilaf
- 1 cup Fine Egg Noodles
- 1/2 cup Coarse Bulgar #3
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 tsp. Salt
- 4 oz. Water
- Start by melting the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Take the egg noodles and crush them over the pot to make them a bit smaller. Add them to the melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until they're golden brown and smell fragrant.
- Add in the bulgur wheat over the browned egg noodles. Add in the salt and pour in the chicken stock and water, then cover with a lid.
- Reduce the heat to low and let it cook until the liquid is fully evaporated. This is about 25-30 minutes. The liquid should be gone and the bulgur wheat will be tender.
- Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork before serving.