How To Cook Couscous

Couscous is a staple in North African cuisine and a popular side dish around the world. It is a versatile grain that can be served hot or cold, in salads or as a base for stews. Despite its popularity, many people are intimidated by how to cook couscous. In this guide, we will show you how to cook couscous perfectly every time and answer some frequently asked questions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Couscous


– 1 cup of couscous
– 1 1/4 cup water or broth
– Salt
– Olive oil or butter


Step 1: Choose the Right Couscous

There are two types of couscous: Moroccan and Israeli. Moroccan couscous is smaller in size and cooks faster, while Israeli couscous is bigger in size and takes longer to cook. Choose the one that fits your recipe or preference.

Step 2: Measure the Couscous

Measure the amount of couscous you want to cook. A general rule of thumb is to use one cup of couscous for every two servings.

Step 3: Boil the Water or Broth

Bring the water or broth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Step 4: Season the Water

Add salt to the water to taste. You can also add other seasonings like cumin, coriander, or cinnamon, depending on your taste preference.

Step 5: Add the Olive Oil or Butter

Once the water is boiling, add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter for flavor and to keep the couscous from sticking together.

Step 6: Add the Couscous

Add the couscous to the boiling water, stirring briefly with a fork.

Step 7: Turn Off the Heat

Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it with a tight-fitting lid.

Step 8: Let Sit for 5 Minutes

Let the couscous sit for five minutes. This will give the couscous time to absorb the liquid and steam to cook it through.

Step 9: Fluff the Couscous

After five minutes, uncover the saucepan and fluff the couscous with a fork until it’s loose and fluffy.

Step 10: Serve or Store

Serve the couscous while it’s still warm, or let it cool and store it in the refrigerator for later use.


1. Can I cook couscous without boiling water?

No, you need boiling water to cook the couscous. The hot water or broth is what cooks the couscous and allows it to absorb the liquid, creating a fluffy and flavorful side dish.

2. How do I store leftover couscous?

Couscous can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stove with a little water or broth to keep it from drying out.

3. Can I use vegetable or chicken broth instead of water?

Yes, using broth can add extra flavor to the couscous. Vegetable or chicken broth is a great option and can be used in place of water or in combination with water.

4. Can I add vegetables or meats to couscous?

Absolutely! Couscous can be a base for a variety of dishes, and you can add vegetables, meats, or other ingredients to create new flavors and meals.

5. How do I know when the couscous is done?

The couscous should be tender and fluffy when it’s finished cooking. If it’s still hard or crunchy, it needs more time to cook.


Cooking couscous is a simple and quick process that can yield satisfying results. The key to perfect couscous is to use the right type, season the water, and let it sit covered for a few minutes. By following this guide, you can make fluffy and flavorful couscous every time. Experiment with different ingredients and seasonings to create new dishes and flavors. Happy cooking!

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