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How to Cook Couscous in Microwave

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Widely used in salads and side dishes, couscous is type of pasta that blends well with fresh greens and is a good source of fiber to keep you feeling fuller. Cooking couscous can be a headache to make it perfectly fluffy.

But microwaving makes it easy and flawless to cook pasta dishes. From water ratio to let it stand, there are tricks to make delicious couscous in the microwave.

How do you cook couscous in microwave? Place your desired amount of couscous into a deep heat-proof container. In a separate bowl or large glass cup, boil water in a microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, and then pour the hot water over the couscous.

Add salt, olive oil, and stir a few times to moisten. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to trap the heat.

Let it sit for 5 minutes on the counter. Carefully remove the lid and gently fluff with a fork to serve with your meal. 

Cooking couscous is much easier in the microwave. All you need to do is boil water in the microwave without superheating, and simply pour over the couscous to let it stand. 

Giving enough time to allow the magic happen so the couscous fully hydrates is key. 

If you are experiencing soggy and clumpy couscous, in this article we are going to share tips and cooking time to make tasty couscous to add to your diet. Answered below are frequently asked questions about microwaving couscous so that you get it perfect every time.

Can you microwave couscous?

Yes, you can microwave couscous, even if it is already cooked. To reheat the couscous, add a tablespoon of water into microwave safe container with couscous and heat for 1 minute.

Adding a splash of water allows steam to rise and moisten the pasta without drying it out. Avoid adding excess water if there is enough moisture or ice particles.

But if couscous is frozen, defrost or lower the power to prevent couscous from becoming mushy or overcooked while reheating.

Once couscous is microwaved, serve immediately and do not leave the cooked couscous at room temperature for longer than 2 hours because it is considered a perishable food and prone to bacteria growth.

What happens if you microwave couscous?

Couscous taste better when served warm instead of cold. Therefore, using microwave to cook or warm up couscous is highly recommended.

When couscous is microwaved, the water molecules hydrate the couscous to fluff and retrieve to the original state. However, it is not recommended to add too much water otherwise it will become mushy. 

Follow the water ratio when reheating couscous for every one cup of couscous, add up to 3 tablespoons of water. The water affects the texture of the pasta and select medium low heat instead of full power, too much water and too high of heat will make the couscous mushy.

Ensure the entire portion is heated properly and does not taste grainy, but has a bouncy and fluffy texture in every bite. 

Tips to cook couscous in microwave

To cook couscous in the microwave, it is very easy and straightforward. This type of pasta does not require cooking in boiling water, instead only submerge in hot water to rehydrate and quickly cook the grain.

Be careful not to overcook the couscous which can happen when adding the pasta before the water has boiled, heating for too long or starting with too much hot water.

To avoid this incident, follow these tips to cook couscous in the microwave to maintain its fluffy and delicate texture.

  • Spread couscous in an even layer to gently finish steaming at the end.
  • Follow the couscous water ratio of 1:1.
  • Use microwave-safe cup or bowl to boil water. 
  • Adding broth or stock instead of water will enhance the flavor. 
  • Don’t stir too much because this will cause the granules to break up.
  • Gently fluff with a fork after the couscous is cooked. 
  • Couscous does not need to be rinsed or soaked prior to cooking.

What is the ratio of water to couscous?

Even though couscous is not directly cooked with water in the microwave. Using enough hot water to fully soak into the grain is still very important fact that cannot be disregarded. 

The ratio of water to couscous is 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of dry couscous. 

Always refer to couscous package as some brands may require a slightly different ratio. Avoid using too much liquid with couscous because it can turn into sticky and mushy mess. 

Give and take depending on the type of couscous, you may need to adjust the water ratio accordingly.

  • Pearl or Israeli couscous: 1 cup of pearl couscous to 1½ cups of water
  • Moroccan couscous: 1 cup of Moroccan couscous to 1 cup of water
  • Lebanese couscous: 1 cup of Lebanese couscous to 1½ to 2 cups of water

How long does it take to boil water in the microwave?

To successfully understand how to cook couscous in microwave, properly boiling water in the microwave is an important step.

In general, it takes about 1 to 3 minutes to boil a cup of water in a standard microwave with 700 watts of power.

The time  to boil water will be faster or longer depending on the wattage of your microwave appliance. 

Here is a general idea for how long it takes to boil 1 cup of water in microwaves with different power:

  • 600 watts: 4 minutes
  • 700 watts: 3 minutes
  • 800 watts: 2 1/2 minutes
  • 1000 watts: 2 minutes
  • 1200 watts: 1 minute

Best way to cook couscous in microwave

The best way to cook couscous in the microwave is to accurately follow the couscous to water ratio and make sure the liquid reaches its boiling point before soaking the couscous to cook.

Select your favorite type of couscous and know the water ratio to boil with. Pour the recommended water on a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until boiling.

The temperature water boils at is 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius.

For additional flavor, add salt, olive oil, butter of your choice and stir to mix well. In addition, consider using vegetable, chicken or beef stock instead of water.

Cover the bowl with a lid, damp paper towel or microwavable plastic wrap to keep the heat trapped and slowly rehydrate the pasta.

Allow the steam to cook the couscous for 5 minutes, and then carefully open the lid to fluff with a fork. Avoid using a spoon to fluff because it will creating a clump texture.

Cooked couscous in microwave

Microwaving Couscous: Conclusion

Couscous is the easiest pasta to cook when in hurry. It takes less cooking compared to spaghetti or penne pasta. 

Microwave makes the process so easy, and it does not require draining or adjusting the power as you cook. In addition, you can reheat cooked couscous to serve warm in just a minute.

Measure the proper water amount and use a microwaveable bowl to boil water in the microwave. The ratio is generally 1 cup of dry couscous to 1 cup of water, however this can slightly vary depending on the type of pasta.

Pour boiling water into a container with the dry couscous in it. Add any seasonings if desired and stir well to combine. 

Close the lid or cover with plastic wrap to prevent steam from escaping, and cook the couscous for 5 minutes or until it is fully hydrated. Fluff with a fork and serve with your favorite dishes.