How to reheat couscous? - Step by step
If you’re looking for a delicious new side dish or a fun way to add more substance to your meals, couscous might be the perfect addition to your kitchen pantry.
This iconic North African food is easy to prepare and incredibly versatile. It cooks quickly and you can make large batches at once so you can use it all week.
However, you will need to make sure that you don’t lose the characteristic couscous texture during the reheating process, which will leave you with a lumpy batter.
So how do you reheat couscous?
The best way to reheat couscous is to heat it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When the couscous has absorbed the added water, remove it from the heat and serve.
However, there are many other ways to reheat couscous to your liking. We’ll share with you step-by-step instructions for all the ways you can reheat couscous and flavor it.
What is couscous?
If you’ve never cooked with couscous, you may be wondering what it is. Although it looks like a grain, it is actually a very small and delicious paste.
It originally comes from North Africa and is popular in countries like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
There are several different sizes, from the tiny semolina-sized Moroccan couscous, which cooks in just a few minutes.
If you’re looking for something more hearty, pearl or Israeli couscous (also known as giant couscous or ptitim) is large and takes about ten minutes to cook.
Couscous has a lovely chewy, yet firm texture, and tastes great as a garnish, added to soups and stews , stuffed with peppers or other vegetables, or used as a base for salads or protein bowls.
It’s delicious on its own and soaks up the flavors of whatever you make it with.
How to reheat couscous in the kitchen
There are two methods of reheating couscous in the kitchen. You can lightly steam it in a saucepan or sauté it in a skillet.
I like to use the stovetop method because it’s easy to keep an eye on the couscous as it reheats and it gives it a great fluffy texture.
In all of the reheating methods described, you must be sure to carefully stir the couscous.
If you stir too vigorously, you can break the paste and cause it to lose its shape and texture. Start stirring from the edge of the bowl towards the center and do not over stir.
Reheating in a pan
- Place a skillet on the heat at medium heat.
- Let it heat up for a couple of minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Add the couscous to the pan and break up any lumps with the spatula.
- Gently stir the couscous until it has absorbed the water. It may release some steam as it cooks.
- Once the couscous is very hot, remove it from the heat.
- Add to a serving bowl, spread with a fork, and season with sea salt.
Reheating in a saucepan
- Place the saucepan on the fire.
- Put it on medium heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water to the saucepan, then add the couscous.
- Stir the couscous and water together, then cover with the lid.
- Let it steam about 3-5 minutes, checking halfway and giving it a spin.
- When the couscous is hot enough, remove the pan from the heat.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve.
How to reheat couscous in the microwave
Another quick and easy way to reheat couscous is to use the microwave. You should make sure that you use a microwave-safe dish and you should not leave the couscous unattended, as it could cake or burn.
- Arrange the couscous in a microwave-safe dish large enough to allow you to stir the pasta without making a mess.
- Add 1 tablespoon of water for each cup of couscous and stir.
- Put the couscous in the microwave and set the timer for 1 minute.
- After 1 minute, remove the couscous from the microwave and stir.
- Return it to the microwave and set the timer for another minute.
- Remove it after 1 minute, stirring again.
- Continue reheating the couscous in 1-minute increments until the desired temperature is reached.
- Once hot, stir with a fork one last time and serve.
How to reheat couscous in the oven
Reheating the couscous in the oven takes the longest, but it can also give an interesting texture to the final product.
It’s much less likely to go mushy in the oven, and you can even leave it slightly al dente depending on how long you heat it, if that’s your preference.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the couscous in an ovenproof dish with a lid. If you don’t use a lid, the couscous is more likely to dry out.
- Add 1 tablespoon of water for every cup of couscous and mix it all together.
- Cover the dish with its lid and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Check the couscous after 10 minutes, stirring gently.
- If the couscous is not hot enough, put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven, stirring gently once more. If you want it hotter, put it back on for another 5 minutes.
- Repeat this process of checking and stirring every 5 minutes until you have reached the proper temperature.
- Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and serve.
Now that we’ve gone over various methods for reheating couscous, let’s look at some questions that may arise during the cooking process.
How do you store leftover couscous?
One of the easiest ways to preserve leftover couscous is to store it in the fridge. You should let it cool completely before transferring it to a closed container. I like to spread the couscous out on a plate so it cools faster.
You can leave it in the pan to cool, but you’ll need to stir it occasionally to help any trapped steam escape.
Once the couscous has completely cooled, you can place it in a plastic or glass container with a closable lid. It will last about 5 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze couscous?
Yes, you can freeze the couscous. You will need to make sure that it has completely cooled before putting it in the freezer. I like to put it in the fridge overnight and then put it in the freezer.
Try freezing the couscous in an airtight freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. This occurs when all the moisture evaporates from the food and can cause it to taste unpleasant once you thaw and reheat it.
Can you eat cold couscous?
Actually, couscous is wonderful if eaten cold. Like quinoa , it makes a great base for a variety of flavorful salads and can make them filling and filling. Try adding some couscous to your favorite salad and take it along on a summer picnic.
How do I make tasty couscous?
There are several ways to add a lot of flavor to couscous, and it all depends on how you prepare it.
Instead of cooking couscous in plain water, I always recommend using a vegetable or chicken stock. These broths will add an extra layer of flavor and nutrition.
You also want to make sure to season the couscous as you cook it, so salt is your best friend. Remember that couscous is a type of pasta and pasta loves salt water for maximum flavor.
I like to add about 1/2 teaspoon of broth per cup of couscous to enhance the flavor.
If you want to get creative, you can also add a minced garlic clove, some minced onion, grated ginger, or a couple of your favorite fresh herbs.
When it comes to cooking, some of the best dishes come from being creative with your recipes, so don’t shy away from these aromatic additions.
What is the difference between couscous and quinoa?
Although couscous looks like a grain, it is actually a paste made from semolina and wheat flour. Quinoa is a seed, which we often treat as a grain, from the buckwheat family.
Quinoa is a great gluten-free option for people looking for the texture of couscous.
While couscous is richer in carbohydrates, quinoa is richer in protein and fiber. So, depending on what you are looking for to complete your meal, you can choose couscous or quinoa.
As you can see, couscous is a great pantry staple thanks to its versatility and its ability to be frozen and reheated without losing its shape and texture.
Many of the brands available in North America are quick cook, so hit the store and grab some today.