Instant Pot Pearl Couscous is a traditional Mediterranean side dish. Because of its versatility couscous can be flavored to go with many different entrees or added to a main dish. This simple side dish is cooks perfectly in the Instant Pot for a quick dish any night of the week!
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I cook couscous often as a side dish to go with chicken or seafood. The great thing about couscous is that on its own it has a subtle flavor, allowing you to flavor it to your preferences. This simple side dish is a very basic recipe. Once you master making this in your Instant Pot you can find different ways to flavor your couscous.
What is PeaRl couscous?
Pearl couscous also called Israeli couscous, are tiny balls of semolina flour about the size of a pearl. They are very absorbent and cook like regular pasta or rice, allowing it to be flavored with different spices, herbs or sauces.
There are many different varieties of couscous. Some brands are made with 100% whole grains, making it a healthy recipe that can accompany your main course.
Israeli couscous is different from traditional couscous. It has a more chewy texture and a nutty flavor making it a simple side dish or added to the main meal. Couscous can even be served at room temperature in a salad.
pearl couscous- this is usually found in the grocery store near the rice. It cooks similarly to rice or pasta.
chicken broth- a liquid is needed to hydrate the couscous, whether you use chicken, vegetable broth or water.
how do you prepare couscous?
Couscous cooks very similarly to rice, in either chicken broth or water. What I like about cooking in the Instant Pot is that it’s very hands off. I add all of the ingredients, chicken broth, couscous, salt, black pepper and parsley in the pot that fits in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Then turn it on and let it cook for 6 minutes. This way I don’t have to stir or watch for the pot to boil and can focus on the main dish I’m preparing.
By using a tablespoon of olive oil in the dish, it helps keep the couscous from clumping together. I like to add herbs and spices to flavor it. You can always experiment and use what you have on hand.
Some recipes call for toasting the couscous first, however the brand of pearl couscous I buy is toasted, so I skip that step.
Once your couscous is finished cooking use a fork to fluff couscous. Pour it into a small bowl for serving and garnish with a little more chopped fresh parsley.
how do you cook Pearl couscous in an Instant Pot?
Cooking Instant Pot couscous is one of my favorite easy recipes because you can quickly add everything to the pot, turn it on and finish your main dish. I have a few tips to using your Instant Pot if this is new or you just need reassurance!
An Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker. When you learn how to use it properly an Instant Pot will become one of your favorite kitchen gadgets! You can cook food faster than on the stove top because of the high pressure it creates.
There are many different versions of the Instant Pots that have features such as a saute function, yogurt maker or sous vide. Do the research to get the type that is best for you and what you plan to cook.
Add your ingredients to the Instant Pot, making sure to add the liquid. This is important because the Instant Pot works by boiling the liquid which creates steam to quickly cook the food quicker than simply boiling on the stove top. Follow these Instant Pot Tips below perfect results every time!
Basic Instant Pot Tips
Make sure your inner lid seal is pressed in around the lid correctly. If you ever find you are having issues with your pot not sealing, it’s probably because the seal isn’t pushed in around the lid properly.
Always turn the steam valve to the “sealing” position. This is a crucial step because if it is turned to “venting” it will never hold steam.
When the counter is finished on the Instant Pot you will want to release pressure using the quick-release method (for this recipe). You do this by manually turning the valve to allow the steam to escape quickly. When doing a quick release be careful and keep your face away and use a long handled spoon to push the valve.
Remember that the cook time is not the actual time that it takes to make the recipe. You will need to allow about 5 to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure before the timer begins the cooking time.
Always consult the manufacturer's instructions if you still have questions. I know that there are many functions to an Instant Pot but once you learn the basics you will love this style of cooking!
How To Serve
Couscous is a great side dish to serve with different entrees because it's flavor is subtle allowing it to work with anything from chicken to seafood. Pair Air Fryer Teriyaki Salmon with Homemade Glaze and Easy Cucumber and Carrot Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing for a complete meal!
Store any leftover couscous in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
You can make this dish vegan or vegetarian by swapping out chicken broth for vegetable broth. Both work well in this recipe and add more flavor than just water. If you have to use water and add a few extra spices, herbs and a pinch more salt.
Looking for other instant pot recipes? Try these!
My Favorite Kitchen Tools!
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Instant Pot Pearl Couscous
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Add couscous, chicken broth, parsley, salt and pepper to the pot for an Instant Pot.
- Secure lid and attach valve, turning to the “sealing” position.
- Press manual or pressure cook button and use the minus button to time for 6 minutes.
- Remember it will take at least 5 minutes to come up to pressure, then the display will count down.
- Once the 6 minutes is up you can quick release by venting the steam valve. Carefully with a long handle spoon turn the valve, keeping face away from steam.
- Remove lid fluff couscous with a fork and pour into serving bowl. Top with additional parsley.