How to Cook Couscous in a Microwave

A staple in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and African diets, couscous is made from semolina and water. Cooked couscous has a fluffy texture and mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of seasonings and dishes. Although couscous is traditionally prepared in a special pot known as a couscousier, you can cook couscous quickly with nothing more than water boiled in the microwave. Serve cooked couscous mixed with chopped vegetables and olive oil as a salad; as a side dish for grilled meat, poultry or fish; or as a bed for stews and braises.


Step 1

Measure the couscous into a medium-sized, heat-proof bowl. Plan on 1 cup of dry couscous yielding approximately 4 cups of cooked couscous.

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Step 2

Pour water, broth or a combination into a glass measuring cup or small heat-proof bowl. Use about 1 cup of total liquid for every cup of dry couscous.


Step 3

Heat the liquid in the microwave on high until the fluid begins to boil.


Step 4

Pour the boiling water over the couscous. Use a fork to stir the mixture.


Step 5

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow the couscous to sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.


Step 6

Remove the plastic wrap. Use a fork to gently fluff the individual grains before serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Regular or whole-wheat couscous

  • Medium-sized, heat-proof bowl

  • Water, broth or a combination

  • Glass measuring cup or small heat-proof bowl

  • Fork

  • Plastic wrap


For additional flavor, briefly toast the dry couscous in olive oil before adding the boiling liquid. Or add salt, olive oil or both to the liquid prior to boiling.

When you're using couscous in a salad or served with a dish rich in sauce, The Kitchn's Emma Christensen recommends using slightly less liquid to yield drier grains. For moister couscous, experiment with more liquid.


Israeli couscous contains larger grains and requires a different cooking method than regular couscous. Do not attempt to prepare Israeli couscous with liquid boiled in the microwave.

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