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How To Reheat Couscous – Is Microwave The Best Idea?

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Made of tiny semolina balls, couscous is a wonderful North African dish that can replace rice just like magic. Easy to cook with a simple boiling, couscous can be served as a side dish with your favorite vegetable, meat, or seasoning.

Some people prefer to cook couscous for a meal and freeze the leftover for later. However, reheating food calls for careful considerations. If you wonder how to reheat couscous, here’s all you need to know about getting it all done with the right tips and tricks.

reheat cosucous

How to reheat couscous

To reheat couscous you have to make sure it has enough water. For each cup of leftover couscous, you add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water. Stir gently while still cold, and put it in the microwave on medium.

Let warm for 30 seconds, then take back out to stir, repeat the 30 seconds again, stir again, and so on until the couscous is rehydrated. Keep in mind that the microwave will burn or dry out the couscous, so be sure to stir every half minute !

The whole idea behind reheating couscous is to get it done in a way that makes it look freshly cooked in terms of the taste as well as the texture.

The small size of the particles and the high porosity of couscous make it essential to reheat it so that it doesn’t make it mushy. If your couscous is frozen the best method to get the job done is to sautee it, as it makes it taste good and makes it fluffy again.

When you sautee couscous, it opens the clumps formed due to freezing, and separates the grains from each other to result in a delicious texture.

Read Also:How To Reheat Chicken Strips

Detailed steps on reheating couscous

When you have cooked couscous and plan to refrigerate it for reheating later, make sure to put it in air-tight containers or zip bags. Don’t switch containers to keep couscous while you put it for refrigerating.

Transferring cold couscous from one box or bag to another makes it break down and turn mushy by losing consistency.

Couscous has a tendency to absorb liquids and calls for careful reheating because of its porous texture and small particle size. When reheating it, follow these steps :

Add up to 3 tablespoons of water for every cup of couscous

Once you take the couscous out from the freezer, start by mixing one tablespoon of water into the same while it’s still cold. Notice the changes in the texture of the couscous with the addition of water. The grain texture will help you determine whether it needs another tablespoon of water.

Reheating couscous by boiling in a bag

Go for medium or low heat if you are using a bag to boil the couscous. While there’s no specific time duration to reheat the same, paying close attention to the grain texture is the key to getting it all done.

After the initial 5 minutes of reheating, check how the grains turn out. Allow the couscous to heat properly, while making sure that the grains look bouncy and supple. Avoid overcooking the grains, they will look pasty if overcooked.

boiling bag

boiling bag

Reheating in a frying pan

Another method to reheat couscous is to go for a skillet. Make sure you use medium heat, beginning by spraying the pan to provide ample of coating to prevent the couscous from burning.

Avoid stirring the couscous. Instead move the granules around by moving the pan with the handle. This allows for even heating of the grains.

If you are choosing to stir it, make sure to pay extra care. Start around the skillet’s edges and gradually move towards the center of the contents. Don’t stir too much, or the grains will end up breaking.

You can always put the couscous into the frying pan right from the refrigerator, simply adding other ingredients to turn it into a wholesome dish.

Can you reheat couscous in a microwave?

Yes! You can always reheat couscous in a microwave in just a matter of a few minutes and some easy steps.

Once you take the frozen couscous out, transfer it into a microwave-safe bowl or container. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the couscous, and place it inside the microwave.

Allow the food to heat for a minute, followed by forking and microwaving it again until steam rises from the bowl. After every minute, make sure you fluff the couscous using a fork. Once fully hot, serve the couscous.

Keep in mind that frozen couscous has some ice in it, which will melt into water and hydrate the couscous. Better to add more water later, than too much water the first time.

Can reheating couscous alter or spoil its taste?

There’s no doubt in the fact that food tastes better right after it’s cooked and served fresh. However, the fact that couscous tastes almost as awesome when reheated as it’s cooked fresh makes it a wonderful choice for a make-ahead-of-the-time meal.

The right process of freezing and reheating is all it takes. Before refrigerating it or putting in the freezer, allow the cooked couscous to cool down. However, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours to avoid spoilage.

Should couscous be thawed before heating?

It’s not really necessary to thaw it before you reheat it. However, if the couscous seems to have turned into large frozen chunks, then you need to go for some thawing.

Can reheating couscous lead to food poisoning?

A safe and proper storage followed by the right process of reheating doesn’t impose any food poisoning risks. Don’t leave cooked couscous at room temperature for a considerably long time. The bugs present in couscous start to multiply.

In turn, this leads to the production of toxins in the food, making it poisonous to humans.

How long does couscous last in the freezer ?

While simply refrigerating couscous gives it a small shelf life, freezing it works as quite a wonder. You can put the couscous in the freezer without a worry as it’s not going to spoil or expire while it’s frozen. Keeps up to 12 months, but we recommend eating it sooner.

But you must make sure that your couscous doesn’t get freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when all the moisture is sucked out of the couscous and it gets totally frosted. In such a scenario, reheating the couscous will only make it bland.

The solution is to freeze it using air-tight containers or bags. This way there won’t be any way for the moisture to be sucked out.

Read Also:Can Ramen Be Reheated?

Can couscous become mushy after reheating?

Yes, if you’re not careful your couscous can get mushy after reheating. This is why you don’t have to use a lot of water and stir the couscous too much when reheating it.

Truth be told couscous’ texture isn’t meat for freezing and reheating, as it’s such a fragile grain.

Once you have got your hands on the right method to reheat couscous, it seems a true piece of cake to add it to your choice of meals with minimal effort.

The fact that it couples up miraculously well with everything ranging from nuts, dates, crunchy veggies, celery, and chopped leafy greens like spinach and kale makes it a super versatile element to prepare a fulfilling meal. Simply grab it out of the freezer and let the reheating begin.


There is not only one way of reheating couscous and depending on the circumstances you are in, some of them may not be suited. Usually, if you are at work or in a hurry, reheating couscous in the microwave will work the best.

I hope this article showed you the best ways to reheat your leftover couscous.

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