Couscous alone can be quite dull – but when dressed in lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt, it’s transformed into the perfect side dish. Much like rice, it can be combined with a range of vegetables to turn it into a meal. But can you freeze couscous? How do you freeze it? Is it actually any good when frozen?
You’ll be pleased to know that yes, you can freeze couscous. While uncooked couscous is a dried product that can last ages in the kitchen cupboard, it can also be frozen once cooked, ideal for preparing dishes in advance.
Freezing couscous is similar to freezing other grain varieties and pasta types. Provided you freeze it properly, you can enjoy your cooked couscous at a later date without it being particularly obvious that it was once frozen.
It is best to keep couscous separate from the rest of your dish, as different foods might affect the texture. For example, you might want to freeze roasted vegetables and couscous and at a later date combine the two to give yourself an easy, filling and delicious midweek lunch.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through this article to answer some of the most common questions people have when it comes to freezing couscous:
How to Freeze Couscous
When it comes to freezing it, remember to wait for it to completely cool. If you try to freeze it too soon, you’ll risk the couscous clumping together, or even risk contamination. Just follow these straightforward steps to get it right every time:
- Once cooked, allow it to cool.
- As soon as it is cold, lay it out on a baking tray. Use a fork to ensure it is as broken up as possible. Cover the baking tray in clingfilm and place in the freezer.
- When the couscous is hard, remove from the freezer, break it up into grains (some clumping will always happen) using a fork.
- Tip the grain into a freezer bag and return the bag to the freezer.
Freezing your couscous correctly will make sure the texture remains the same after defrosting, giving you perfect couscous every time.
How Long Can You Freeze Couscous?
If you’ve taken the right steps to freeze your couscous thoroughly, then you can keep it frozen for three to four months. While it will remain safe to eat after this time, this is when it will be at its best. By using a ziplock bag, you can keep the air out that can sometimes lead to freezer burn. You should follow guidance similar to freezing pasta to give you an indication of how long you can freeze couscous.
You Can Freeze Couscous for up to 4 Months
How Do You Defrost Couscous?
It’s essential to defrost couscous properly to make sure you get the best taste and texture. You’ll want it to taste as fresh as possible – otherwise, what’s the point in freezing it?
There are two ways you can defrost couscous:
Defrosting In the Microwave
- Transfer your couscous to a microwave-proof bowl or container.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the couscous.
- Microwave the couscous on high heat for a minute at a time, making sure you fluff it up with a fork after each minute.
- The couscous will be ready when it is hot and has steam coming from it.
Defrosting On the Hob
- Heat some oil and a couple of tablespoons of water in a saucepan.
- Pour in the couscous and heat until the water has been absorbed.
- Take off the heat and use a fork to fluff up the grains.
With it being so simple to freeze and defrost, it makes sense to freeze plenty of couscous in bulk.
Does Couscous Freeze Well?
If you take the right steps to freeze your couscous properly and take care while defrosting, there should be no difference in the taste and quality of frozen versus fresh couscous. If you leave your couscous in the freezer for too long or if you heat it for too long when defrosting, there is a small risk that you’ll ruin the texture of the couscous. That’s the only place you need to be careful.
Other Questions about Couscous
Below are a few of the other common questions we have come across when it comes to couscous – some related to freezing and some not. If you’re still sat there with a question or two about couscous then drop a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll aim to help out as much as possible.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Couscous?
Cauliflower couscous isn’t actually related to couscous in any way. Having said that, you can freeze it. You just need to spoon it into bags and stick it in the freezer. To defrost, just steam is until warmed through and completely thawed.
Can You Freeze Couscous Salad?
Although it is possible to do so, we would discourage freezing the couscous with other ingredients which can impact the texture of your couscous. Freeze your couscous on its own, thaw it out and then combined with oil, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and seasoning. You’ll have a far superior tasting couscous salad.
Can You Freeze Couscous with Vegetables?
As above, we would actually advise against it. It can be done but there’s a chance your vegetables will make the couscous soggy when defrosted. That’s why would recommend freezing your vegetables and your couscous separately and then combining then after thawing.
Can You Freeze Israeli Couscous?
Israeli couscous (or giant couscous) can be frozen using the same method we have described on this page. The good news is that, because the grains are larger, they will actually be easier to break up and there’s a reduced chance of clumping.
Can You Freeze Uncooked Couscous?
In theory, you can, but what would be the point? One of the main reasons for freezing something is to get ahead and prepared, which is why we recommend freezing couscous cooked. The other reason why there’s no point in freezing uncooked couscous is that the dried stuff keeps for absolutely ages. In fact, if you store it in an airtight container, then it will keep for several years.