All recipes for couscous I've seen instruct to add the couscous to already boiling water.

Why is that so? What difference does it make if it will be added to boiling water or cold water on the stove?

  • the water doesn't even need to be boiling; i used to make it in the morning undergrad in my coffeemaker after my coffee, would be done after about 25mins...
    – dandavis
    Mar 2, 2020 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


You don't really 'cook' cous-cous, it's already cooked - you just need to rehydrate it sufficiently, without getting it too wet & going sloppy.

Starting with boiling water give you a better time-reference - 5/10/15 minutes from that known start-point, depending on the specific cous-cous type. You switch off the heat as soon as you add [or in many cases just pour water onto it fresh from the kettle then let stand.]

Starting from cold would introduce an unknown variable - how long does it take to boil?

  • Does the same go for other pasta like spaghetti?
    – J. Doe
    Mar 3, 2020 at 10:16
  • 1
    No. cous-cous is pre-cooked; rice, pasta, bulgur etc are raw, which is why they get a period of simmering, rather than just adding boiling water & being allowed to soak.
    – unlisted
    Mar 3, 2020 at 10:19

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