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How to cook Israeli couscous (pearl couscous)

Learn all the ways to cook Israeli Couscous (a.k.a. pearl couscous) with chicken stock, vegetable broth or water. Always fluffy and never sticky, makes a tasty side or delicious salads!
Course Side
Cuisine Israeli, Mediterranean, vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword couscous, gourmet, pearl, ptitim
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 218 kcal
Author Makos


  • 1 ½ cups (200 grams) Israeli couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Saute: Add the couscous and the olive oil in a pot over medium/high heat and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it starts to smell nutty and the pearls start to brown in certain parts.

  2. Boil: Add the water and the salt and bring to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Taste the couscous and if it needs more time cook for additional 2 minutes.

  3. Drain: Remove from the heat and drain through a sieve. Transfer to a bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil (optional), fluff up with a fork and serve. You can also add ground black pepper, chopped parsley and lemon juice.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • If you use the no-drain method you will need 1 1/2 cups of stock (or water) and a pinch of salt. Cover the couscous with the lid and let it simmer for 8 minutes until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Then, turn off the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Keep some additional stock on the side because depending on the couscous, the amount of heat and the size of the pot, you may need to add more liquid during cooking.
  • This type of couscous is used to make this Israeli couscous salad.


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