Skip to Content

Perfect Couscous

Savory, fluffy and a refreshing change from the old standard sides, perfect couscous is easier to achieve than you might think. Here’s how it’s done.


white enamel soup pot with cooked couscous inside

What Is Couscous?

Although many people think of couscous as a grain—like rice or quinoa—this classic Moroccan starch is actually a type of pasta. Made from partially-cooked semolina flour and water, it comes in a few different sizes. Moroccan couscous pieces are the smallest, while pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) is slightly larger, with the chewy semolina balls roughly the size of little peppercorns. Because it’s par-cooked, tiny Moroccan couscous takes only a few minutes to prepare—one of the many reasons we love this oft-overlooked side dish.

white soup pot filled with couscous being fluffed with a fork

Is Couscous Healthy?

As starches go, yes, couscous isn’t a bad choice at all! Here’s the deal: couscous is made from semolina, which is a type of flour made from Middle Eastern durum wheat. Semolina flour is particularly high in protein—at least as flours go—which makes it a healthier choice than other pastas. It’s also high in B vitamins and selenium, so it is by no means an ‘empty’ carb (although, yes, couscous definitely counts as a carb!). Couscous is not gluten free—a common misconception—and in fact, semolina flour is especially high in gluten! Definitely one to avoid if you have a gluten sensitivity. But, if you’re good with gluten, and looking to mix up your dinner side dishes, our basic couscous recipe might be just the ticket!

ingredients for perfect couscous in small bowls
white soup pot filled with couscous being fluffed with a fork

How to Cook Couscous

All you need to make perfect couscous is five minutes and some stock—chicken stock or vegetable stock will both work. The key—as with cooking most grains—is to know the ratio. The couscous ratio is 1.5 cups couscous : 2 cups stock. Here’s how to make our easy couscous recipe:

  1. Bring a pot of stock to a boil. (We add a little oil and salt for extra flavor and richness.)
  2. When you’ve got a rolling boil, turn off the heat, pour in the couscous and cover the pot.
  3. Now, walk away! For five whole minutes. No peeking!
  4. Fluff! This is the fun part. Grab a fork and open that lid. The couscous should have soaked up all of that flavorful stock. The tiny couscous kernels tend to stick together as they cook, so use the fork to gently fluff the couscous a bit.
  5. Serve!
white soup pot filled with couscous being fluffed with a fork

Tools You’ll Need:

The Best Couscous Recipe Deserves an A+ Accompaniment

And we know just the recipe(s)!

Good Couscous? Or Was it Truly Perfect Couscous?

The not-so-secret secret—as we hope you now know—is that perfect couscous is actually really easy to achieve. Let us know how yours turned out! Snap a photo of your finished, fluffy couscous and show us what you served it with. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see. Happy eating!

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Perfect Couscous

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min
  • Calories: 71


  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous


  1. In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock, olive oil and salt to a boil over high heat.
  2. Turn off the heat, pour in the couscous and put a lid on the pot. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories71
  • Protein2 g
  • Carbohydrates10 g
  • Total Fat3 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium199 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Perfect Couscous

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Zlata

    What kind of couscous brand do you suggest to use?

    I typically get the Rice Select brand in the tub, you can normally find it in the rice isle.

  • Sonia

    When you say “Kill the heat” does that mean turn off the element but leave the pot on it? Or turn off the element and remove rhe element from it? I apologize, my first language is French. Thank you.

    I will edit that. It means to turn off the heat.

  • Cee

    Way too easy! Why haven't I cooked this more often? Thanks for demystifying it.

    You're so welcome! Glad it's in your tool belt now Cee!