How to Cook Couscous

Published on July 6th 2022 by Jennifer Dodd.
Last updated on March 4th 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Front View of How to Cook Couscous

Couscous is a quick and easily prepared ingredient that can be created into side dishes, soups, stews, salads, or used to stuff meat or vegetables. Couscous is made by combining semolina flour with water and rolled into either small pellets, called Moroccan couscous, or pea-sized pearls called Israeli couscous. Couscous was initially used in Arab countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, and Egypt and pairs well with dried fruit, pistachios, pine nuts, lemon, dates, fresh mint, and parsley. 

Here are two examples of How to Cook Couscous utilizing both Moroccan and Israeli styles of couscous. One is a recipe or a simple salad garnished with tart pomegranates, cucumbers, fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice. The other uses bell peppers stuffed with couscous mixed with cracked peppercorns, parsley, basil, red onion, and tomatoes and baked in the oven.   

Try adding couscous instead of rice in these trending recipes from Classic Bakes, Trinidadian Goat Curry, Guyanese Style Fried Rice or Curry Oxtail. 

 

Note: The nutrition values reflect only the cooked couscous. 

 

What is the ratio of water to couscous?

The ratio for regular couscous is 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of couscous. For Israeli couscous, 1 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup of couscous. 

Is couscous healthier than rice?

The nutrition values comparing couscous to rice are virtually the same. They're both high in carbohydrates and contain around 200 calories per cup. The main differences are that couscous contains gluten, whereas rice is a naturally gluten-free grain. Couscous also contains higher amounts of vitamins and protein than rice. 

How do you know when couscous is ready?

Couscous cooks within 15 minutes for regular couscous, all you need is to add couscous to boiling water, turn off the heat, and cover with a lid while it continues to steam in the pot. Then, fluff it up with a fork, and it's ready. 

Is eating couscous everyday healthy?

Couscous is relatively high in carbohydrates. A diversity of ingredients is needed to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Stick to consuming couscous once or twice per week and not every day.  

Author: Jennifer Dodd
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Time & Serves

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Serves
4

Ingredients

How to Cook Moroccan Couscous
  • 1 cup Moroccan Couscous 

  • 1 1/2 cups Water 

  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt 

How to Cook Israeli Couscous
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous 

  • 1 1/4 cups Water 

  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt 

Moroccan Couscous Salad
  • 1 recipe Cooked Moroccan Couscous 

  • 1 Pomegranate, seeds removed 

  • 1/4 cup Fresh Mint, chopped 

  • 1/4 cup Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped 

  • 1/2 Cucumber, diced small 

  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice 

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 

  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt 

  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Peppercorns, freshly cracked

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • 1 recipe Cooked Israeli Couscous 

  • 2 Bell Peppers, cut in half with seeds removed 

  • 1/4 cup Red Onion, diced small 

  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, diced small 

  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, chopped 

  • 1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped 

  • 1 Lemon, juiced 

  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt 

  • 1/4 teaspoon Peppercorns, freshly cracked 

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil 

Instructions

How to Cook Moroccan Couscous

Add the water and sea salt to a small pot, brining it up to a boil on the stovetop. 

Add the couscous into the pot of water stirring with a fork. Turn off the heat covering the pot with a lid and let stand for 10 minutes. 

After ten minutes, remove the lid and using a fork, fluff the couscous. 

How to Cook Israeli Couscous

Add the water and sea salt to a small pot, bringing it to a boil on the stovetop. 

Add the couscous into the pot of water, stirring with a fork, reduce the heat to a simmer & cook for 2 minutes. 

Turn the heat off and cover the pot with a lid letting it rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. 

Moroccan Couscous Salad

Add the couscous, cucumber, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper to a mixing bowl. 

Mix the ingredients and arrange the salad into bowls or a large bowl for that family-style touch. Garnish with fresh pomegranates & serve chilled.  

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Bell Peppers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a pastry brush, coat the peppers with 1/2 of the olive oil, salt & pepper. 

Place the peppers skin side down into a baking dish, add the peppers into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. 

Mix the Israeli couscous with the remaining olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, herbs, red onion & tomatoes in a mixing bowl.  

Once the peppers have roasted in the oven for 10 minutes, remove them from the oven. 

Spoon the couscous mixture evenly into each pepper cavity, and place the dish back into the oven for 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and serve as a side dish or a vegan entrée. 

Jennifer Dodd
Author:

Savor the taste of culinary excellence with Jennifer, where each dish tells a story of tradition and adventure.

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Keywords
How to Cook Couscous, Pearl, Israeli, Best, Easy, Vegetable, Simple, Traditional

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