Perfect Couscous

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Couscous is made from tiny steamed balls of semolina flour. Though we think of it as a grain, it’s actually a type of pasta.


Couscous is a North African dish made from tiny steamed balls of semolina flour. Though we think of it and cook it as a grain, couscous is actually a type of pasta. It’s one of the easiest, fastest, most versatile side dishes you can make. And it’s especially wonderful with stews or saucy main dishes. Depending on which brand you buy, you’ll find that there’s some variation on the suggested proportions of liquid to couscous.

What you’ll need to make couscous


How to make couscous

To start, bring the cooking liquid (preferably a flavorful chicken or vegetable broth) to a boil in a medium pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a pad of butter, and a little salt.


Next, add the couscous. (I use 1-3/4 cups liquid to 1-1/2 cups couscous.)


Take the pan off the heat, cover, and let the couscous steam for 5 minutes.


When you lift the lid, the grains will appear flat in an even layer. Use a fork to fluff it up and break up the clumps for light and fluffy couscous. For a traditional Moroccan feast, try pairing this couscous with my Moroccan chicken tagine.


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Perfect Couscous

Couscous is made from tiny steamed balls of semolina flour. Though we think of it as a grain, it’s actually a type of pasta.

Servings: 4 - 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes


  • 1-3/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups (10 oz) couscous


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water (or broth), salt, butter, and oil to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the couscous and break up any clumps. Serve warm.
  2. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The couscous can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat it in the microwave until hot.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 226
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 220mg
  • Cholesterol: 5mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made this on 2 successive nights. First night, used substandard (old) couscous. Consistency was perfect, flavor sucked. I mean, wasn’t very good…
    Made it again tonight, fresh couscous. Perfect, both consistency and flavor.
    Paired with Moroccan chicken with preserved Meyer lemons. Not your recipe, Jenn (blush!).

    Will become the basis of lots of variations in the future: roasted garlic, sauteed onions, etc.

    Many thanks for this recipe. So simple, so right.


    • — JoeW on September 29, 2019
    • Reply
  • The first time I made couscous was from a Hello Fresh meal kit. It was awful. Slimy little pellets of awfulness. So, being forever the one to keep trying something new, I bought the Hello Fresh kit again and ditched their recipe and used yours instead. My result wasn’t perfect. But the chicken broth was a great improvement, as was the butter. This was something I would actually eat. I don’t know if that counts as a testimonial.

    • — KimC on September 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • As a suggestion. You should make some couscous without that Hello Fresh Meal Kit. That’s probably your problem & why you are ending up with something you wouldn’t eat. Especially if it’s the larger Israeli couscous, where this recipe needs modification or it doesn’t come out right.

      Instead, you should get some regular CousCous from the bulk foods section of your grocery store & cook it from scratch. It literally only takes 10 minutes to make & the last 5 minutes is just letting it sit. It’s also very inexpensive to buy.

      • — Justin on September 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • Recently, I purchased both traditional couscous and Israeli couscous from the bulk dry food bins at the grocery store. But I realized I no longer had a recipe available at home, so I went online and your site was the first one I found, at the top of the search results, and it looked simple & straightforward. For my first batch I decided on the traditional couscous, and to use this recipe, but with some modifications, based on what I have available.

    I have a bunch of turkey broth available, so I decided I would use it & instead of butter (unsalted) I used original Smart Balance, which is not unsalted. Upon completion, it didn’t look exactly like your picture, but once I used a fork to fluff it up, it looked & tasted absolutely wonderful. I haven’t had any great couscous since many years ago when I served in the military and spent time on more than one occasion in the Mediterranean. This recipe, turned out perfect, bringing back many wonderful memories of the food.

    I will be using this recipe, many, many more times with many different meals.

    • — Justin Taylor on September 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • Super easy and delicious!!! Thank you 🙂

    • — Cristal on September 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • We usually buy the packaged couscous where you add water. This was so much better! The chicken broth combined with the butter and olive oil gave the couscous an added dimension. We could have made a meal out of it! Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Carolyn on August 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Was delish and EASY. Exactly what I was looking for. 🙂

    • — Reba on July 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • Worked out great!

    • — Jenny on May 24, 2019
    • Reply
  • This worked well… I used this couscous in place of the barley in the Egyptian salad, and it upstaged the main dish!

    • — Helen on April 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • I’ve been dealing with clumpy couscous when the solution was so simple. Thank you so much.

    • — Madonna Gorriaran on April 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • Worked a treat!

    Delicious chicken parsley couscous using your method was delicious.

    • — floz on February 19, 2019
    • Reply
  • excellent, accurate recipe,
    thank you

    • — jack on January 31, 2019
    • Reply
  • Really loved this recipe

    • — Carter on October 16, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thanks for the recipe!

    • — Pablo on October 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • I loved this recipe. I did a second time with a little switch to it, I added some butter and herbs, and it come out super delicious. Thanks for the amazing recipes.

  • Perfect little addition of taste and so easy! We throw into our salads to bulk up a bit besides using as a side with bbq dinners. Sometimes I”ll roast vegies and then toss them together! YUM!!

    • I’d never cooked couscous before but it worked out perfect. Was great with my lamb stew.

      • — Troy on April 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe. I cook it olive oil till it becomes a little golden and add just water. This way, I can use the couscous as a salad or instead of rice and sometimes in desserts with fruits.

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