How to Cook Couscous In 10 Mins

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If you want to learn how to cook couscous in only 10 mins, you’ll find out how in this informative post. Couscous is an ingredient every well-stocked pantry should have!
overhead view of how to cook couscous in a bowl with spoon

So, I get the question How To Cook Couscous quite a lot and I would love to talk to you about this, especially as cooking couscous is very easy. And once you get the hang of it, you will almost certainly find its mild, creamy taste utterly addictive.

New favourite carb anyone??

And if you like how to’s you might like How To Cook Quinoa and How To Cook Canned Corn (which is good for adding to your dish)

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Why Make This Recipe

  • You can cook this easily with just 3 ingredients. Of course, you can add a whole list of other things in it to your taste.
  • This make a great side dish that is to serve with various mains.
  • Fast and Easy – Get this dish from the pantry to the table in less than 15 minutes. 
  • Hot or Cold  – This dish can be eaten cold or served hot for a versatile and simple dish.

What is Couscous

While lot of people think of it as grain (and I refer to it as such), it is actually a pasta made from semolina flour (from durum wheat and water).

Types Of Couscous

But, before I go further though let’s chat about the different types of couscous.

  • Moroccan Instant Couscous – Moroccan couscous is the one most easily found in supermarkets and corner shops is the instant couscous which is made from small bits of semolina. These have already been partially cooked for us so they are very ‘instant’ to cook. This is the type of couscous that I will be talking about in this post.
  • Israeli Couscous – Also known as pearl couscous, they are larger ‘peppercorn sized’ semolina pieces which take much longer to cook. I think this type of couscous works great in salads.
  • Lebanese Couscous – Also known as Moghrabieh couscous, this is the largest of the three, being almost the size of a small pea so as a result takes the longest to cook. Absolutely perfect for risotto / orzo style dishes.
overhead view of how to cook couscous in a bowl with chopped scallions

Ingredient Notes

  • Couscous – this recipe calls for instant couscous which can be found in the grain or pasta aisle in your grocery store.
  • Salt – for flavor. The amount depends on the saltiness of the cooking liquid.
  • Boiling liquid – for quickness or ease you can use boiling water. However you can use boiling broth like chicken broth or vegetable broth instead.

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Cook Couscous

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  • Add couscous to a heatproof bowl.
  • Pour some boiling water (or broth) over it, add in salt, mix it well and cover it with a plate or cling film.
  • After 5 mins stir it again, fluff with a fork and cover for another 5 minutes.

That. Is. It. Your couscous is ready in 10 mins. Simples right?

Other people prefer to steam couscous and that works fine too, but to be honest I think this method is soooooooo much easier than any other method that you have no need to try anything else.

Couscous In Microwave

If you want to know make this in a microwave, then it is easy peasy.

  • Add the water (or stock) to a heatproof bowl.
  • Bring the water to the boil in the microwave.
  • Add the couscous, stir and cover.
  • After 5 mins stir it again, fluff out the grains and cover for another 5 mins.

Recipe Tips

  • The secret to the perfect couscous is the liquid to couscous ratio, which volume wise is 1 to 1. In American measurements, this is 1 cup of couscous to 1 cup of liquid. To folks in Europe, that is 180g of couscous to 240ml liquid.
  • Change up the cooking liquid – use water for recipes where you will be adding lots of flavors like salads or tagines etc. For recipes where you will be adding less ingredients flavor it up with using broth or stock.
  • Sit and fluff – do let the couscous sit and absorb all the liquid for the best results. fluff the couscous to make sure the grains separate before using.
  • Toast – if you want to highlight the nutty flavor then toast the couscous with a little extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan before adding in the boiling liquid.

Delicious Flavor Variations

  • Add citrus – add a little bit of lemon zest or orange zest or lime zest as well as orange juice / lemon juice or lime juice to the cooked couscous for some fresh citrus flavor.
  • Add fresh herbs – I love adding in herbs like mint, parsley and cilantro.
  • Add veggies – Veggies like bell peppers, grated carrots, green onions, sweet corn kernels and peas are an easy way to add flavor and color.
  • Add oil – add a little olive oil for flavor.
  • Add nuts – add crunch and flavour with nuts like pine nuts, chopped walnuts and almonds. I love toasted almonds in this.
  • Add dried fruits – I love adding treats like a dried apricots, cranberries, coconut etc for sweetness.


How Much Couscous Per Person

Well, that depends on how you are going to serve it. If it is as a side to dishes such as this a stew or a lamb tagine for example, then I recommend about 90g (half a cup) of uncooked couscous per person.

If however the grain is the star ingredient for example in a salad, then you might want to think more like 135g and (0.75 cups) per person. If you are still unsure, then cook a little bit extra and use any leftovers the next day.

So here are some measurements for you to make your life a little easier.

How much couscous for 2? –  1 cup (approximately 180g)
How much couscous for 4? –  2 cups – (approximately 360g)

How Long To Cook Couscous

Using this method with boiling liquid and instant couscous, the grains take 10 minutes to cook. Quick and easy right?

How To Make Couscous Tasty?

Couscous is a good carrier of flavour which makes it a great base for almost anything.

The easiest way to add flavour to couscous is to use stock as the cooking liquid. Alternatively, you can add a little bit of melted butter or flavoured oils.

closeup of how to cook couscous with pomegranate seeds in a bowl

How To Cook Couscous Step-by-step

Couscous Ingredients

overhead view of three how to cook couscous ingredients in bowls

Mix the ingredients together.

overhead view of how to cook couscous in a clear bowl with spoon inside

Cover for 5 minute.

how to cook couscous with saran wrap covering clear bowl with couscous

Mix the couscous and cover for another 5 minutes.

how to cook couscous in a clear bowl with spoon inside and wrap partially off the side

The couscous is now ready to use.

how to cook couscous in a bowl cooked and ready to eat

Serving Suggestions?

You can serve this grain with dishes instead of rice or pasta. You can easily top with some grilled vegetables and some yoghurt sauce and you are good to go.

Need More Couscous Recipes and How To’s?

If you are looking for more couscous recipe ideas, then why not try these below,

How To Make Couscous Video

This post has been updated in October 2017. This was the previous picture. This post was first published in Feb 2013.

Thank you for reading my guide on couscous how to cook post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.

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An easy step by step guide on how to cook couscous in just 10 mins. A quick & versatile recipe - the perfect side dish - #couscous #moroccancouscous #howtocookcouscous
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5 from 5 votes

How to cook couscous

A quick guide on how to cook couscous
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 338kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy


  • 180 g couscous 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • 250 ml boiling water / stock 1 cup


  • Measure out the couscous and pour into a bowl.
  • Add salt to your taste.
  • Then pour over boiling water and mix well.
  • Cover the couscous and let stand.
  • After 5 min uncover and fluff up the couscous.
  • Then cover again and let stand for a further 5 minutes.
  • Uncover, fluff up the couscous, add desired toppings and serve.
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Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 11g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg












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