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?
Couscous can be frozen for around 4 months. To freeze couscous, you will only want to freeze cooked couscous as, in its dried form, it will last for months and months in the cupboard anyways.
Can You Refreeze Couscous? No
Does Couscous Freeze Well? Yes
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.
- Spread Onto a Baking Tray and Freeze
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 it in the freezer.
- Break Up Clumps
When the couscous is hard, remove from the freezer, break it up into grains (some clumping will always happen) using a fork.
- Bag Up and Refreeze
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.
3 Tips for Freezing Couscous
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing couscous to have the best results:
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.
Freeze In Portions
Avoid unwanted waste in future by freezing couscous in suitably sized portions. Use small freezer bags with each bag containing a portion for one person. This makes it easier to grab one, two or three portions at a time.
There’s no need to thaw couscous slowly in the fridge overnight. Instead, you can defrost it either in the microwave or in a pan over a low heat.
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
If you have access to a microwave then this is the approach to take to defrost couscous. It is rapid and foolproof:
- Transfer to Microwave-Proof Bowl
Transfer your couscous to a microwave-proof bowl or container. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the couscous.
- Microwave for 1 Minute
Microwave the couscous on high heat for a minute at a time, making sure you fluff it up with a fork after each minute.
- Continue Until Hot
The couscous will be ready when it is hot and has steam coming from it.
Defrosting On the Hob
If you’d prefer to avoid using the microwave then you can also defrost couscous on the stove:
- Heat Some Oil and Water
Heat some oil and a couple of tablespoons of water in a saucepan.
- Add Couscous
Pour in the couscous and heat until the water has been absorbed.
- Fluff Up
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.
Can You Refreeze Couscous
Like most foods, we would advise against refreezing couscous. The main reason is that the texture can dramatically change if it is refrozen. You’ll find it’ll become overly soft and even mushy.
Instead, try to freeze couscous in small freezer bags that are the equivalent of a portion of couscous.
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.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing couscous or couscous in general, then these may help:
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, as a couscous salad, which can impact the texture of your couscous.
Freeze your couscous on its own, thaw it out and then combine it 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.
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