How to Cook Couscous


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Couscous is the perfect alternative to plain rice or pasta. These yummy, pearl-shaped grains go great in a salad or are perfect served hot as a side dish!

And couscous is SO easy to cook! It’s a simple ratio: one cup of grain to one cup water and ready in about 5 minutes. How easy is that?

Couscous in a bowl with a spoon

What is Couscous?

Popular in Moroccan cuisine, couscous can be prepared and served at any meal because of its versatility.

Unlike quinoa, which is a seed and is gluten-free, couscous is actually a tiny, round pasta made from whole wheat semolina flour. Couscous resembles small pellets, but there is also a pearl sized version (also known as pearl couscous or Israeli couscous).

Both couscous and quinoa can be used interchangeably in most recipes as long as they are added cooked because quinoa takes a lot longer to cook. Try it in this delicious black bean salad to change things up!

Couscous in a pot with water

How to Make Couscous

To make Moroccan couscous (the smallest grain of couscous):

  1. Bring water (or stock or broth for more flavor) to a boil. Add butter.
  2. Add couscous and any herbs or seasonings you prefer. Stir thoroughly and remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Fluff with a fork and serve.

To Cook Pearl/Israeli Couscous

  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or stock or broth for more flavor) to a boil.
  2. Add 1 cup pearl couscous and any herbs or seasonings you prefer.
  3. Simmer 12-15 minutes or until tender.

Couscous in a pot

How to Store Couscous

Since couscous is essentially another form of pasta, it can be stored the same way any cooked pasta is.

  • Place cooked couscous in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Couscous can be frozen, but remember, pasta is never as firm when defrosted.

With couscous, it’s easy to make a fresh batch! There are so many ways you can use couscous, like this Mediterranean couscous salad, that it won’t last that long anyway!

What To Serve With Couscous

Because it’s so easy to prepare and has mild flavor, couscous can upgrade rice and pasta dishes. Plus, it can be served hot or cold! Who doesn’t love that? Couscous goes great with meat dishes, especially chicken. It also fits in well in vegetarian dishes. Try it with these balsamic grilled vegetables for a meatless Monday meal!

More Delicious Side Dishes:

Couscous in a bowl with a spoon
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Review Recipe

How to Cook Couscous

Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Indian
Couscous is the perfect alternative to plain rice or pasta. These healthy, pearl-shaped grains go great in a salad or in hot recipes!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup couscous (Moroccan couscous, not pearl/Israeli couscous)
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • seasonings such as garlic powder optional

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Instructions

  • Bring water and butter to a boil.
  • Add couscous, salt and any seasonings. Stir to combine.
  • Cover, remove from heat and allow to sit 5 minutes.
  • Fluff couscous with a fork and serve.

Recipe Notes

To Cook Pearl/Israeli Couscous
  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water (or stock or broth for more flavor) to a boil.
  2. Add 1 cup pearl couscous and any herbs or seasonings you prefer.
  3. Simmer 12-15 minutes or until tender. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 188, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 178mg, Potassium: 72mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 87IU, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg
Keyword couscous
Bowl of Couscous with parsley with a title

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Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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