How to Cook Couscous

5 from 23 votes

Follow my guide on how to cook couscous with step-by-step pictures, whether it's small (Moroccan), medium (Israeli/Pearl) or large (Lebanese)

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Here is how I cook couscous: Moroccan (the small kind,) Israeli/pearl (medium,) and (the biggest) Lebanese, aka, Moghrabieh. Totally vegan and typically made from wheat, couscous is native to North Africa and popular throughout the Mediterranean.

Three types of couscous on a white plate before cooking

Couscous is semolina wheat, water, and salt. That’s all. No fat. No cholesterol. Some varieties are available in whole wheat or alternate grains like barley.

Three types of couscous

Couscous comes in three basic varieties/sizes: small, medium, and large. Which one is just right for you depends upon what you like and what you’re making.

  1. Moroccan Couscous: This small-grained couscous is the one most commonly sold in the U.S. Sprinkle it on salad greens like quinoa, mix with finely chopped veggies for a quick salad, or used like rice or pasta to soak up a saucy dish. Serve it hot or cold!
  2. Israeli/Pearl Couscous: The larger toasted balls of this couscous have a softer, chewier texture, and a slightly nutty taste. This couscous loves salads.
  3. Lebanese Couscous/Moghrabieh: While this can be sub for Israeli/pearl couscous, it is larger in size, and I typically only use it for traditional Moghrabieh recipe – which is named after the type of couscous used. Moghrabieh is a Lebanese chicken broth stew made with chickpeas and onions.
Three types of couscous in bowls before cooking

How to cook couscous

Moroccan couscous cooking instructions

Begin by rinsing the couscous in a fine-mesh sieve to remove extra starch.

Rinsing Moroccan couscous before cooking it
  • In a small pot, bring water or stock along with salt to a boil. Take the pot off the heat. Add the rinsed couscous.
  • Stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Cover and let stand for five minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and serve as a side or use in a salad.
Process shots for how to cook Moroccan couscous

Israeli couscous cooking instructions

  • Begin by rinsing couscous in a colander with cold water, making sure to agitate the couscous with your hands to rinse it. Drain immediately.
  • In a small pot, bring water or stock and salt to a boil
  • Add couscous and olive oil, reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, bout 10 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Process shots for how to cook Israeli couscous

Lebanese couscous cooking instructions

  • In a small pot, bring water or stock along with salt to a boil.
  • Add couscous and olive oil. Then reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for a few minutes. Make sure to fluff with a fork before you serve.
Process shots for how to cook Lebanese couscous

Recipes with couscous

Frequently asked questions

How long will cooked couscous last in the refrigerator?

It will be fine for three days. But also, consider what foods – fish or chicken – you may have mixed it with.

Can you freeze cooked couscous?

It is best not to freeze cooked couscous. The texture will not be the same when you defrost it. Plus, it cooks very quickly, making it a simple grain to prep.

How should I store uncooked couscous?

Like all my dry goods – including flours, quinoa, and oats – I transfer my couscous from its store packaging to an airtight glass or plastic container. That way, any pantry pests that may have been hitching a ride packaging (especially in cardboard!) are thrown away.

Three types of couscous on a white plate after cooking

In the U.S., couscous is usually a savory dish, but in the Middle East it sometimes gets mixed with sugar and fruits for a sweet finish to meals.

For more cooking tutorials, check out:

If you’ve found this cooking resource for How to Cook Couscous helpful or if you’ve tried any recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience with this technique. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

How to Cook Couscous

Follow my guide on how to cook couscous with step-by-step pictures, whether it's small (Moroccan), medium (Israeli/Pearl) or large (Lebanese)
5 from 23 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Calories 163
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 12 mins

Ingredients
  

Moroccan Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water/stock
  • Pinch salt

Israeli/pearl Couscous

  • 1 cup Israeli/pearl couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups water/stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Lebanese Couscous / Moghrabieh

  • 1 cup Israeli/pearl couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups water/stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

Moroccan/semolina Couscous

  • In a small pot, bring water or stock along with salt to a boil.
  • Add rinsed couscous, stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Israeli/pearl Couscous

  • Rinse couscous in a colander with cold water, making sure to agitate the couscous with your hands to rinse it, drain immediately.
  • In a small pot, bring water or stock along with salt to a boil.
  • Add couscous and olive oil, reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Lebanese Couscous/Moghrabieh

  • In a small pot, bring water or stock along with salt to a boil.
  • Add couscous and olive oil, reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 72mg, Fiber: 2g, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Three types of couscous on a white plate before cooking

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