Can you cook couscous in a rice cooker? Guide to perfection

Bold spicy aromas are spreading through the house. Cloves, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, garlic — something Moroccan or Algerian is cooking in the oven. Couscous — a statement ingredient of North African cuisine. It’s spicy, delicious, and unique — a gift from ancient civilizations. Today, we are combining modern technology with a traditional dish. Let’s see what comes out of it.

cook couscous in a rice cooker

The origin of couscous

Couscous came from the Middle East and North Africa. It was allegedly ‘invented’ by the Berbers between the 11th and 13th centuries. Such a long history implies a vast variety of dishes and the kinds of couscous itself.

What is couscous?

This is a grain product made from durum wheat, which is ground into semolina flour. Then it’s mixed with water and rolled with palms and fingers until the semolina turns into tiny balls about the size of a pinhead. Quite tedious work. But it’s worth it.

Of course, now most couscous is not handmade, but it is delicious regardless.

Depending mainly on the size, there are several kinds of couscous.

Couscous types

Moroccan couscous

This is traditional couscous with smaller balls almost the size of semolina, cooked in just a few minutes.

Israeli couscous

This kind of couscous is also called pearl couscous.

It’s larger than Moroccan with a cooking time of 10 min.

Lebanese couscous

The largest kind — the balls are the size of a pea with a rich nutty flavor.

A rice cooker for couscous?

A rice cooker is a great kitchen appliance. You don’t need to limit its use to just cooking rice.

It is really easy to cook couscous in a rice cooker; it takes no time, and the couscous comes out fluffy and light.

Sometimes, if you don’t follow the right steps, your cooked couscous will resemble sticky lumps instead of fluffy goodness.

That’s why follow our simple recommendations, and the result will be just perfect.

Rice cooker couscous

So let us walk you through the entire process (which is fast and simple, by the way), and you’ll learn how to cook couscous in a rice cooker.

  1. Add water/vegetable broth/chicken broth into the rice cooker. Use the liquid you prefer. If you don’t want any additional flavors interfering with your choice of spices, use water. Chicken stock will bring a special aroma to your couscous, as well as vegetable broth. For one cup of uncooked couscous, you’ll need 1.5 cups of the liquid.
  2. Then add the uncooked couscous. Mind the ratio.
  3. Add also a dash of kosher salt.
  4. Now it’s time for a bit of olive oil. That’s an important step. Olive oil will prevent couscous granules from sticking together and ruining the fluffy texture.
  5. Set your rice cooker to the ‘basic’ mode. In some models, it’s called the ‘white rice’ setting. Depending on the model, the name could be different, but it will be the most basic rice setting either way.
  6. When the couscous is ready, fluff it to keep the granules separate from each other and change the setting of the rice cooker from the ‘white rice’ setting to the ‘keep warm’ mode.

After 5 minutes, it’s ready. If you are not eating couscous immediately, you can let couscous rest in the rice cooker in the ‘keep warm’ mode for up to an hour. Just make sure that it’s still fluffy and tender. As you can see, cooking couscous is quite easy.

  1. Add seasonings to the cooked couscous, and it is ready to be served. You can go for an authentic Moroccan, Algerian, or Middle Eastern dish like Couscous Bidaoui, Couscous au Beurre, or Israeli Couscous Salad. Or get inspired and create a unique fusion of ingredients and cultures.

Let us give you some ideas.

Great additions to couscous

Herbs. Here, only the sky’s the limit. You can experiment with the herbs and create more and more variations.

If you are serving couscous as a side, the herbs will accentuate the flavors of both the entrée and couscous.

Lemon. Couscous loves lemon. Just adding lemon juice will enhance the flavor and create a delicious side.

If you serve it with a heavy meat entrée, it will add a fresh note to the nourishing course.

Olives. Green olives are the best here. Chopped olives go very well with couscous. Serve them as a side with chicken or turkey, and your tasty dinner will be a hit.

Cinnamon. This universal spice can make your couscous a great side for a chicken, or you can make a sweet couscous cream with apple and cinnamon.

Israeli pilaf-style couscous with raisins, mint, and almonds is a good option too.

Chocolate. Add cocoa powder or chocolate cubes for wonderful desserts with couscous. Adding chocolate to couscous desserts is a great way to create a deliciously sweet perfection.

Milk, honey, vanilla, almonds, and some berries — a fantastic feast of textures and flavors.

Some more delicious couscous dishes

One-pot smoked almond and herb couscous

A delicious dish packed with various textures and aromas. Cook couscous in the rice cooker with smoked paprika, almonds, garlic, and a bit of olive oil. Serve with roast chicken. A festive dinner is ready.

Garlic chicken with Israeli couscous

A heavenly dish. You can cook couscous in the rice cooker with some olive oil and spices, saffron and a bay leaf, and some chopped onions as well. We use pearl couscous for that dish.

In this dish, you mix vegetable broth with a cup of white wine, which will add a tender aroma to the couscous in a rice cooker.

Olive oil and some roasted pine nuts — and the rice cooker will do the rest.

This is an exquisite dish where the spices in the chicken combined with the ones in the couscous are creating an incredible combination of flavors.

Moroccan sweet couscous

A wonderful traditional Moroccan dessert with dates, raisins, sultanas, chopped prunes, almonds, and cinnamon.

Cook couscous in a rice cooker and save time. Don’t forget the olive oil for fluffy couscous.

Or add butter instead. For dessert, we can substitute the oil with butter. Butter will also add extra flavor.

This exquisite dessert will take you to Medina in Marrakesh, and you won’t even have to stand up from the table. So rich and authentic is the taste of this dessert.

Final thoughts

Cooking couscous in a rice cooker is easy. Making your appliance multitask is a smart move because a rice cooker is not particularly small. If you can find more ways to use it — good for you.

Couscous gives you endless possibilities for delicious meals. Serve it with roasted vegetables or make a garbanzo bean couscous salad if you are a vegetarian.

If not, grilled meats make fantastic duos with couscous, as well as kabobs, or roasts.

Rice cooker couscous is in no way inferior to the traditionally cooked one. So get inspired, create wonderful dishes, and enjoy.

Frequently asked questions

How much water do I need for 1 cup of dry couscous?

If you make couscous in a rice cooker, use 1.5 cups of water for 1 of couscous. If you cook couscous the traditional way, you’ll need 1.25 cups of boiling water for 1 cup of couscous.

Which is healthier, rice or couscous?

If we are talking about white rice, couscous is healthier, as it provides more protein and contains more vitamins and minerals than white rice.

How much water do you put in rice cooker for couscous?

If you make couscous in a rice cooker, for 1 cup of couscous you’ll need 1.5 cups of water.

How to cook whole wheat couscous in rice cooker?

If you make couscous in a rice cooker, add water and couscous in a rice cooker (1 cup couscous – 1.5 cups water/vegetable broth), then a dash of kosher salt and a little olive oil.

Use the ‘White Rice’ setting on the rice cooker.

After the rice is ready, fluff the couscous in a rice cooker, set it on ‘keep warm’ and cook for 5 more minutes.

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