Bulgur Pilaf (Basic Recipe) | Turkish Eats

Bulgur is used in numerous pilaf recipes in Turkish cuisine. The one given given here is the most basic recipe with only the essential ingredients. In different parts of Turkey, many variations of this basic recipe can be found. This pilaf can be served next to any kebab.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper (anaheim or similar)
  • 1.5 cup broth
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper (or tomato) paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Finely chop the onion, set aside.
  2. Finely chop the pepper, set aside.
  3. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a medium sized pot and sautee the chopped onion and the pepper for a few minutes.
  4. Pour the broth into the pot.
  5. Add the red pepper paste. If you will use tomato paste instead, add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
  6. Add the salt - if the red pepper paste is very salty, do not add any salt. This is typically the case for pepper pastes imported from Turkey.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil at high heat.
  8. Add the bulgur, mix and bring it to a boil.
  9. As soon as it begins to boil again, place a paper towel on top, cover the pot and turn off the heat.
  10. Let the bulgur absorb all of the juice in the pot for about 45 minutes. In Turkey, this is referred to as "letting the pilaf rest". Resist the temptation to check how the pilaf is doing and do NOT open the cover until you are ready to serve.
© Mehmet Ozturk 2017