Instant Pot Couscous

a bowl of pearl couscous garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes and dill

5 from 1 reviews

This recipe is for Instant Pot pearl couscous. Pearl couscous is slightly smaller than a pea, and has a chewy texture similar to pasta.

I've added additional ingredients to give the couscous as much flavor as possible. But if you'd like to make plain pearl couscous, just add the water, salt and couscous and follow the instructions for timing and release. 

If you'd like to make regular (instant) couscous, I don't recommend cooking it in a pressure cooker. Regular couscous, which is tiny like grains of sand, has already been steamed and dried and does not need to be cooked or boiled. It just needs to be reconstituted with water. See the section "Instant Couscous Water Ratio & Cooking Instructions" in the blog post above for regular couscous cooking instructions. 

Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 8 minutes to reach pressure + 5 minute cooking time + quick release


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion or shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups pearl couscous
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Press the saute button and add the oil or butter. 
  2. Add the onion. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. 
  3. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds more. 
  4. Add the water, pearl couscous, salt, smoked paprika and cinnamon.
  5. Secure the lid and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure. When the cooking time is complete, do a quick release of the pressure. 
  6. Stir the couscous then put the lid back on the pot for 5 minutes so that couscous completely absorbs any remaining liquid. 
  7. Serve warm. You can add fresh herbs like dill and parsley, if desired. 


Stovetop Instructions for Plain Pearl Couscous: Cook the pearl couscous like pasta in a big pot of boiling water. Gently boil for about 10 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain off remaining water. If using for a cold salad, give the pearl couscous a quick rinse under cold water to remove excess starch.

Leftover pearl couscous can be eaten cold or warmed briefly in the microwave 

This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot

Keywords: instant pot couscous, pearl couscous