Couscous is a popular, versatile, and easy-to-make North African staple used in salads, soups, and main dishes.

Cooked Couscous
Cooked Couscous | Photo via Bigstock

How to Cook Couscous

One of the best features about couscous is how quick and easy it is to prepare. Traditionally, couscous was hand-rolled and steamed. Nowadays, store-bought dried couscous is simply rehydrated or cooked in boiling water. For even more flavor, use your favorite stock or broth instead of water and add a pinch of salt. Serve couscous with your favorite stews, sauces, or use in salads in place of pasta, rice, orzo or other grains.

Cooking Couscous
Cooking Couscous | Photo by Meredith

How to Cook Regular Couscous

  1. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water or stock to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Add 1 cup couscous, stir, and remove from the heat. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.

How to Cook Pearl or Israeli Couscous

  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups water or stock to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Add 1 cup Israeli couscous, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and fluff with a fork. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes to finish steaming.

Cooking Couscous in an Instant Pot

  1. Press the "sauté" button and add 1 tablespoon butter. Let melt, and then add 1 cup couscous.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups water or broth and a pinch of salt.
  3. Lock the lid in place and cook for 5 minutes on manual high pressure. When it beeps, do a quick release for regular couscous and 10 minutes natural pressure release for Israeli couscous. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Discover more about Couscous. And explore our entire collection of Couscous Recipes.