How To Cook Couscous Pearls?

Couscous pearls, also called Israeli or pearl couscous, are a fun twist on the usual North African food. These small, round pasta-like grains are made from wheat flour and have a slightly chewy texture when cooked.

They can be added to many meals because they are so versatile. Unlike smaller Moroccan couscous, couscous pearls must be cooked more like pasta. They are great in salads, soups, or with saucy dishes.

This guide will show you the best ways to cook couscous pearls so they turn out great every time. You can learn how to bring out their nutty flavor and add them to your cooking to give dishes a unique texture and taste.

How To Cook Couscous Pearls?

Pearl couscous is easy to cook: it only takes 10 minutes to boil! It’s not like regular pasta, you cook it until the water is absorbed, like rice. Different brands of pearl couscous may cook slightly differently, but here’s the basic idea of how to cook it:


  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon


  • Heat the water in a big pot until it starts bubbling. 
  • Put in the pearl couscous, garlic powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let it simmer. Cover it and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the couscous is soft and the water is gone.
  • Put the couscous in a bowl, add olive oil, and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Fluff the mixture with a fork to separate the pieces. Add the chopped parsley, lemon zest, and a little bit of salt. Serve right away. Leftovers can be kept for up to 1 week. Add a little more salt or olive oil to make it taste fresh again.

Ways To Dress Up Pearl Couscous

Plain pearl couscous is loved for being simple and easy to use in many different ways. You can keep it plain for a quick side dish on busy days, or add extra ingredients to make it more flavorful when you have more time. This lets you be creative with your cooking while still fitting it into your daily routine.

Here are some suggestions for when you want to add a little more.

Replace the water with broth of your choice. Choose a broth with less salt to avoid making it too salty.

Use fresh herbs. Using herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, or chives can easily add a different taste to your pearl couscous. 

Use spices. Pearl couscous has a mild taste that can easily pick up stronger flavors. After cooking, you can add garlic powder, paprika, or cumin to season it. 

Add grated lemon peel. I enjoy grating a whole lemon and mixing it lightly with cooked couscous to give it a fresh citrus taste. You can also try using grated lime peel if you prefer.

Add some dried fruit. Raisins, figs, dates, apricots, or prunes are good options (cut larger fruits into smaller pieces).

Add nuts. Cook your favorite nuts in a small pot and put them in the cooked couscous for some crispy texture. Walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and almonds would all be good options to add to couscous. 

How To Store Pearl Couscous?

Keeping pearl couscous fresh is important. Here’s how to store uncooked and cooked pearl couscous:

Storing Uncooked Pearl Couscous

Keep in Original Packaging: If the package is still closed, you can keep it in the bag it came in.

Transfer to an Airtight Container: If you want to keep the pearl couscous fresh, put it in a sealed container if you’ve already opened the original package. This will keep it dry and safe from bugs.

Store in a Cool, Dry Place: Put the container in a cupboard or pantry where it won’t get too hot, wet, or sunny.

If you keep uncooked pearl couscous stored correctly, it can stay good for up to two years.

Storing Cooked Pearl Couscous

Cool Down: Let the couscous cool down before putting it away. But don’t leave it out for more than two hours or bacteria might grow.

Use Airtight Containers: Put the cooled couscous in containers with a tight seal. This will stop it from taking in any smells or moisture from the fridge.

Refrigerate: Put the closed container in the fridge. Cooked pearl couscous can last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Freezing Option: To keep cooked pearl couscous fresh for longer, you can freeze it. Just put it in containers or bags that are safe for the freezer. It can stay frozen for about three months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge before warming it up.

How To Serve Pearl Couscous?

Pearl couscous is delicious and can be used in many different dishes. Here’s how to serve it to get the best flavor:

Salads: Pearl couscous makes a Mediterranean couscous salad more filling.

Grain bowls: Make tasty dinner bowls with pearled couscous as the main ingredient. I enjoy simple roasted cauliflower bowls, but you can also use pearl couscous in tuna bowls or chicken shawarma bowls. 

With pesto: This might seem a bit different, but you can mix cooked small pasta with some pesto and serve it under grilled chicken for a fast meal.

In soups and stews: Put some cooked small pasta in your favorite soup to make it more filling. (It’s really good in my lemon chicken soup!)

Learning how to cook couscous pearls opens up many cooking options. These small, pasta-like grains can be used as a base for salads, soups, main dishes, and side dishes. By following the instructions to boil or toast couscous pearls, you can bring out their nutty taste and create a nice texture. Whether you want to make a fancy meal or a quick one, couscous pearls can be easily flavored and mixed with different ingredients. They are a must-have in any kitchen.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it interesting.

Read More: What Nuts Are In Baklava?

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