This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
How to Cook Couscous – a quick and easy recipe with three different flavor variations! Couscous is a North African (or Berber) sidedish of tiny steamed balls of crushed durum wheat that is traditionally served with flavorful tagines and stews. Vegan!
Couscous is one of the fastest and easiest side dishes you can whip up, that is especially handy when time is short and I’m really not exaggerating when I say this can be made in 15 minutes flat.
What I love about couscous is how versatile it is- flavorwise. You can doctor it up in so many different ways and easily make it interesting and flavorful. When serving with Moroccan dishes like tagines and stews, simply adding a cinnamon stick to the simmering liquid adds a beautiful aroma.
If pairing with seafood, infusing the broth with saffron and lemon is a nice touch.
What is couscous?
Couscous, if unfamiliar is not a whole grain, but it’s also not “pasta”. It falls somewhere in between – made from crushed durum wheat, rather than flour like pasta.
How to cook Couscous?
The great thing about couscous is it doesn’t really need to “cook”, it just needs to soak. And it can soak up any flavor you like- so versatile.
TIP: For the BEST flavor, first, toast the couscous in a dry skillet, and if in a hurry, simply skip this step!
Place the couscous in a serving dish.
Heat up the broth and season it how you like. There are 3 different variations in the recipe card below.
Here I’m seasoning the broth with lemon zest, saffron and a little garlic, perfect for seafood stews.
If going with a Moroccan stew, add a cinnamon stick to the simmering broth for a beautifully scented couscous!
Pour the boiling broth over the couscous.
Give a stir.
Spread out and cover with a lid or foil, letting the couscous soak up the flavorful liquid or 5-7 minutes.
To keep it warm, you could place this covered in a warm oven (on low) until ready to serve.
Fluff with a fork and separate the grains.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper, and garnish.
How easy is that?
Give this easy couscous recipe a try – it’s so simple and adaptable!
Serve Couscous with:
- Eggplant Chickpea Tagine
- Grilled Moroccan Chicken with Ras El Hanout
- Instant Pot Lamb Tagine
- Instant Pot Middle Eastern Lamb Stew
- Tunisian Chickpea Stew with Carrots and Harissa
How to cook Couscous (3 Variations)
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- Category: side dish,
- Method: soaked
- Cuisine: moroccan
- Diet: Vegan
How to cook Couscous – a quick and easy basic recipe with three different flavor variations! Couscous is a North African (or Berber) sidedish of tiny steamed balls of crushed durum wheat that is traditionally served with flavorful tagines and stews.
Basic Couscous Recipe
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup broth- veggie broth or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Moroccan: 1 small cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (or finely minced garlic clove) 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro for garnish
- With Seafood: pinch saffron (crushed), 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 finely minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley for garnish.
- Chili Garlic Lemon: 2 garlic cloves finely minced, 1/2-1 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. (see note) Garnish with lemon zest and optional toasted pinenuts.
Toast couscous in a dry skillet until fragrant over medium-high heat and place in a shallow serving dish.
Heat broth in a small pot and add water, oil, salt and pepper. Add additional seasonings except for fresh herbs. Bring to a boil. Pour over the couscous, give a stir, and cover tightly with a lid or foil for 7 minutes.
Remove lid, fluff with a fork separating the grains. Taste and adjust salt. Garnish.
Cooked couscous will keep 4 days in the fridge, or can be frozen.
If making the Chili Garlic Couscous, sizzle the garlic and chili flakes in the oil, before adding the broth, water, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, continue with the recipe.
- Serving Size: ¾ cup
- Calories: 261
- Sugar: 0.7 g
- Sodium: 577.5 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 45.8 g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Protein: 7.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: couscous recipes, easy couscous recipe, vegan couscous recipe., healthy couscous, how to cook couscous,
This is soooo good! I followed the recipe for the Moroccan version. My family loved it! And it is so easy! Thank you Sylvia!!
Are instructions the same for middle-sized or large (Israeli) couscous? Thank you.
No just the tiny couscous!
Delicious! And even more delicious as the flavors intensified as a leftover (I LOVE making things ahead and eating them through the week). Thanks!
Thank You for this, you inspired me to open the bag I have sitting on my shelf! Very useful tips…