Pressure Cooker Israeli Couscous
Israeli Couscous is a simple side dish that’s the perfect addition to whatever meat you’re cooking. Or, mix in some protein and veggies for a simple one dish meal. Making couscous in an Instant Pot is much quicker than cooking it on a stove top. This pressure cooker Israeli couscous recipe is quick and easy to make!
What is Israeli Couscous?
Israeli Couscous is little pasta-like pearls made from semolina or wheat flour. They have a fun, slightly chewy texture that sort of pops in your mouth. Trader Joe’s sells a Harvest Grains Blend that is mostly Israeli Style Couscous, but also includes red and green orzo, split baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa.
I’ve been making this easy pressure cooker side dish for a couple of years now. It’s become a family favorite. Trader Joe’s is about a 30 minute drive from my house, so I always buy several bags when I’m shopping at Trader Joe’s. My daughter often asks me to pick up a couple bags for her too.
This side dish is so simple to make, and since I make it often, I thought it would be nice to have it on my site so I wouldn’t have to try to remember how I cooked it last time. This time I served it with brisket.
Making Israeli Couscous in an Instant Pot
As with most pastas, couscous made in an Instant Pot cooks in half the time listed on the package. I also reduce the liquid recommended on the package by about 1/3, since you won’t have the evaporation you would if you were cooking it on the stove.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can also buy the Harvest Blend on Amazon. Or, you could substitute a package of regular Israeli Couscous in this recipe as well. You get 10 servings from one package, so you could make half a batch. But my family usually eats most of it the first night, and I look forward to having the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Pressure Cooker Israeli Couscous
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 16-ounce package Harvest Grains Blend
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in the pressure cooking pot. Add broth and Harvest Grains Blend. Stir to combine.
Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes*. When timer beeps, turn pressure cooker off and do a quick pressure release. Fluff with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste.
*Adjust the cook time to one half of the recommend cook time on the package if substituting a different brand of couscous.
I have trued this method several times and still find the Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains turn out crunchy. Perhaps I should try a measured Natural Release rather than a Quick Release?
Hi Rita – the Baby Garbanzo Beans do not get super tender whether you make it on the stovetop using the package instruction or in the pressure cooker using my instructions. That’s just the way the mix is meant to be, I like the contrast, but if you do want it more tender, you certainly could try using a npr.
I have used your recipe twice with the 16oz TJ’s Harvest Grains blend and it comes out absolutely perfect.
I usually sautee a couple of dozen large shrimp and add to the mix, along with some baby spinach – a yummy, healthy self-contained meal….thanks!
It sounds like a delicious way to change it up. Thanks for sharing Nick!
Perfect! Added diced zucchini, steamed chopped kale, and basil and leftover chunks of chicken. Voila, dinner!
What a great way to change it up. Thanks for sharing Anita!
Hi! I was looking for a better way to cook this exact product, thanks for posting! On the stove, as others said, the texture is really inconsistent, but TJ’s has been selling it for years so I figured I must be missing something. When I followed your directions everything was a little too al dente for my tastes, though better than my previous attempts. I added more water and cooked it on manual for a couple more minutes, then did a natural release. Nothing was over cooked, and the beans were softer though the chickpeas remained nutty. Pretty good. Next time I think I will try 3 1/2 cups of stock and 6 minutes with a natural release.
Thanks Josselyn – definitely change it up to suit your tastes.
I’d like make this for 15–what would you suggest?
Hi Whitney – I would just double the recipe and keep the same cook time. Better to have too much than not enough.
Thanks for posting this. A friend made a couscous salad with tuna which I want to duplicate, but I don’t want to mess around trying to figure out the timing when using the Instant Pot. Because you published this very basic recipe I can make the couscous and have confidence that it will be cooked properly the first time I try! There was a new Instant Pot owner at the same party and I gave her your website. Now I can email her the recipe for the couscous Tuna Salad AND your instructions for Israeli couscous (her husband is allergic to chick peas so they will be sticking with the basics!). Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and photos.
That’s awesome – thanks for sharing!
Thank you, thank you! I am making this exact thing and was just looking for generic cooking time in an instant pot. Lucky me! Was planning to make the whole bag so this is so perfect! Let me know if you need any favors in the future; I owe you one ?
Great! I’d love to hear your favorite flavors.
If I want to make half a bag (1 1/4 c), how would I adjust water and cooking directions?
Hi Barbara – you would use half of all the ingredients, but the same cook time.
I had not eaten couscous in ages, but discovered a box of Whole Wheat Trader Joe’s couscous at a petsit (as I eat whatever food is in the cabinets). It was extraordinairly easy to whip up – pouring boiling water into the couscous, and voila! A healthy grain to eat with whatever else I cooked up.
It’s particularly handy when you do not have a stove or oven to cook on – which occurs when we stay at my husband’s office in between petsits – that has neither, but does have a kitchen with a electric kettle.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this today and i came out perfect (1/2 batch). Thanks for all you IP recipes.
Thanks Mei – that’s great!
These came out great Barbara! I actually made a trip to Trader Joe’s for the mix. Accompanied my Instant Pot Moroccan Chicken, which I’m hoping to post very soon. Thanks!
Thanks Neena! I’ll look forward to you chicken recipe! Happy holidays 🙂
Looks great! How long would you whole wheat couscous for? Thanks for such a awesome site.
Thanks Robert! I haven’t tried whole wheat couscous, but generally 1/3 of the time of the package works for most things.
Hi Barbara, I could not wait to tell you how much I LOVE this recipe! I have never tasted or made Couscous before and felt a little guilty as my husband is from Israel and has mentioned it. I received the recipe via Email last week and once I saw how simple it was I had to try it. I ordered Trader Joe’Harvest Blend via Amazon Prime and it arrived Sunday….just in time for dinner. I made broiled Salmon and surprised my hubby with this as a side. He was shocked that I made it, and was amazed at how delicious it was! He said it was better than his mom’s! No salt or pepper was needed! This is now going to be a quick and easy “go to” side in our home. I did not tell him how easy this was, or that it only took 5 minutes! That will remain a secret. Thank you so much for this! I did earn Brownie Points on this one!! >3
Thanks Valerie – I’m so glad I could help you earn brownie points. 🙂 I wondered if the recipe was too simple to post. Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know that you’re glad I did.
I have LOVED Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend for about 5 years. Whenever I make a trip (the nearest TJ’s is about 1 hour away), I buy 2 packages. I now have an Instant Pot and am VERY anxious to use it to make this wonderful blend. I will check back when I actually do make it. Thank you so much!!! 🙂
Thanks Joyce – let me know how you like it in the Instant Pot.
I made this last night and added some left over salmon from the night before for a one pot meal. It was spectacular!
Thanks for the great recipe
Thanks for taking the time to let me know LeAnn! So glad you enjoyed it.
I don’t know if I have written this, but your site is inspiring. I keep coming back for more ideas. Thank you and to your contributors.!!
Thanks Robin! So glad you’re enjoying my site 🙂
I forgot one thing…..the photography makes me want to tuck my spoon right into the dish.
Awww that brought a smile to my face. I’ve really been trying to up my photography game. Thanks!
Barbara, I’m so glad that you PC-ized this recipe of Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend of Israeli Couscous mix. I have tried it innumerable times, cooking it with different methods (but not with a PC), and found that when the couscous was cooked perfectly, the baby beans (chickpeas, lentils, etc) were never cooked to tenderness….. they were still quite crunchy), so I stopped trying. I’ll be picking up a package on my next trip to TJ’s.
The garbanzo beans aren’t perfectly tender when pressure cooked, but they are softer. Let me know if you like it better. 🙂
Good to know. Thanks, Barbara for being up front about it. I’ll try playing with the cooking time a bit. Thank you so much for replying so quickly. We are here to help each other, right?
Definitely a journey together. If you want it softer, I’d try a natural release instead of a longer cooking time first.
You are so correct on this! I made this again and experimented by adding 1 minute, thinking the garbonzo beans may soften a tad more. I was not as happy as with your original 5 minute time. The additional time dried out the couscous and it was less fluffy and light. I will stick to your original which was perfection! <3
Trader joes is 2 hours away from me so I ordered the last package of this available on Amazon. I can’t wait to try it! I make your brown rice recipe nearly every week so this will be a fun switch up.
Thanks for sharing. I too buy this at Trader Joe’s and love it. So glad to learn I can make it in my Instant Pot now! Thanks Barbara!
What a great looking side dish. I love the blends that stores are carrying these days. No Trader Joe’s near close to me-nearest one is almost an hour away-but I know my grocery store carries Israeli couscous so I’ll pick some of that up next time I shop.
Thanks Barbara! 🙂
I have some leftover as I accidentally made the whole package when I originally intended to do half a bag. Do you have any recipes for a great side salad using the chilled leftovers? I have a potluck to attend tonight and thought I would try something new. Thanks!
Okay – I found the recipe for this mixed with kale but am wondering if it was kale in the picture? The greens do not look like the kale they sell here, ours has more of a bluish hue and is curlier. I think I may try a combination of this recipe with a similar one in another cook book.
Hi Juanita – I’d forgotten I posted the Kale and Harvest Grains salad. It’s a baby kale, so it’s more tender. Definitely change it up to suit your tastes. Have fun!