How to Cook *Perfect* Couscous

Making light, flavorful, fluffy couscous is quick and easy with a few tips, tricks, and simple step-by-step instructions!

How to Cook Perfect Couscous collage with text


Cooking couscous is not rocket science, but every package you buy seems to have different ingredient ratios listed in the directions. And the truth is, some ratios simply yield better results than others.

Furthermore, if you're anything like me, you like transferring your pantry staples to nice, tidy, labeled containers...and you subsequently throw away the directions. Then, when it's time to cook some couscous, you just may find yourself consulting Google every time! Welllll, today's post is for YOU (and me). 😉

Uncooked couscous in measuring scoop

What is Couscous?

Couscous is a popular, quick-cooking side dish staple that hails from North Africa and is essentially crushed wheat semolina. That's right...those itsy-bitsy pieces are actually a pasta rather than a grain! Today's post focuses on the variety of couscous that has the smallest grains -- often referred to as just "couscous" or sometimes "Moroccan couscous" (as opposed to Israeli or Lebanese couscous).

Most of the regular couscous that we find in the U. S. of A. is precooked. This make it "instant," meaning it only needs to steam in a hot bath for a few minutes to become light and fluffy. When possible, look for whole grain couscous, which is going to be healthier and pack an extra punch of fiber.

ingredients on counter

What Are the Ingredients?

Cooking couscous involves just a handful of ingredients.

  • Couscous. Obviously.
  • Liquid. I prefer using a low-sodium broth or stock here (as opposed to plain water) for extra flavor. The type of broth or stock you use (chicken, beef, vegetable) can be chosen to complement the final dish that the couscous is going into or being served with. If you don't have (or prefer not to use) broth, you may use water instead.
  • Fat. This is optional but recommended. You can opt for butter or extra-virgin olive oil. I usually use a combination of the two.
  • Salt. I prefer sea salt. An initial amount is given, but you can always tweak to taste, of course. If you use regular (instead of low-sodium) broth, you may want to consider using slightly less salt.
Couscous in a serving bowl

How to Cook Couscous

The steps are as simple and straightforward as the ingredients!

  1. Bring your liquid to a boil.
  2. Stir in the fat and the salt until dissolved.
  3. Stir in the couscous and immediately remove from the heat.
  4. Tightly cover with a lid and allow to steam for 5 to 6 minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek or you risk ending up with crunchy couscous!
  5. Once the time has elapsed, your couscous will look packed down when you lift the lid.
    How to cook couscous in a pot
    So use a fork to scrape the surface, gently break up the clumps, and fluff the couscous into fluffy flufferousness.
Being fluffed with a fork

Ta-daaaaaa!!! Congratulations! You are now a couscous-making PRO.

Now go whip up a Moroccan feast to accompany your yummy pot of couscous!

Or better yet, turn it into an amazing, colorful, bursting-with-flavor Summer Couscous Salad! 🙂 Enjoy, friends!

How to Cook Perfect Couscous with text overlay

More Simple Side Dishes

How to Cook Perfect Couscous ~ making light, flavorful, fluffy couscous is quick and easy with a few tips, tricks, and simple step-by-step instructions! |

How to Cook Couscous

Making light, flavorful, fluffy couscous is quick and easy with a few tips, tricks, and simple step-by-step instructions!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings (about 3 cups cooked)
Calories: 221kcal
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  • 1 ¼ cups low-sodium broth or stock (chicken, beef, vegetable) OR water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil OR butter OR a combination of the two
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup couscous


  • In a medium pot set over high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the oil (or butter) and salt until dissolved. Stir in the couscous, remove from the heat, and immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to steam for 5 to 6 minutes. Use a fork to scrape the surface, gently break up clumps, and fluff. Serve immediately.


If you'd like to make couscous without a stove, measure the couscous into a large, heat-safe bowl or a medium pot. Heat the broth in a measuring cup in the microwave until very hot (just boiling). Stir the oil/butter and salt into the broth, then pour over the couscous and stir to combine. Tightly cover with foil (or lid) and allow to steam for 5 to 6 minutes before fluffing as directed.


Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I had never had couscous. But my mother bought us some or a came with a gift at Christmas. I don't know how I got a box of it. But we tried this recipe, and now we love it, who knew? thank you!