Bulgur Pilaf Recipe with Turkish 10-Spice

Bulgur Pilaf Recipe with Turkish 10-Spice

Bulgur pilaf is a classic Turkish dish. It’s made from bulgur, a quick-cooking whole grain with an incredible nutty flavor and deliciously chewy texture. This bulgur pilaf recipe makes a great side dish to roasted meats, veggies, and salads. 

Spiced Pilaf

I love experimenting with spices in my cooking, often using some of these essential Turkish spices. For this bulgur pilaf recipe I decided to add some of my Turkish Curry Spice Blend, Turkish 10-Spice. This turmeric-based spice blend adds a beautiful golden color to the finished dish, and the flavor complements the nuttiness of the bulgur perfectly. If you don’t have any Turkish 10-Spice on hand, try adding a pinch of turmeric, or using a well-flavored chicken stock instead of water to add more flavor.

What is Bulgur Made Of?

Bulgur is made from wheat that is partially cooked, dried, and cut into smaller pieces. The many sizes of bulgur available are used for different recipes. For example, tabouli traditionally uses the super finely cut grain, along with the classic appetizer kisir. Coarser bulgur grains are used for pilafs, like this one. Pilafs can also be made into main dishes or salads with the addition of ingredients such as chickpeas or lentils.

bulgur pilaf recipe

What to Serve with Bulgur Pilaf

In the photo you may notice that I made sumac onions for a topper. These onions are usually served as a side to meat dishes, and add a great bite to this pilaf. Bulgur pilaf also makes a great accompaniment to Turkish-style Beef Kofte Kebabs. 

bulgur pilaf

Bulgur Pilaf with Turkish 10-Spice

Bulgur is dried cracked wheat that is used for pilafs, stuffings, and salads.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: bulgur pilaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4



  • Mince the onion, and dice the tomato.
  • Melt the butter or olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion begins to soften and brown around the edges, 4-5 minutes. Add the spice blend and tomato and cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the bulgur and evenly spread around the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is absorbed. After 15 minutes, taste a grain, if it's not tender but there's no more liquid in the pot, sprinkle 2 Tablespoons more water over the top, cover, and continue to cook.
  • Once tender, remove the bulgur from the heat. Set aside for 10 minutes, keeping the lid on. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.


*If you don’t have bulgur on hand, brown rice or quinoa may be substituted instead. Just be sure to adjust liquid amounts and cooking time accordingly. 
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