What Is Israeli Couscous? Learn How to Cook Israeli Couscous

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 16, 2021 • 2 min read

Israeli couscous isn’t actually couscous—it’s a machine-made, perfectly round pasta with a delightful chewiness that’s ideal as a base for grain salads, pasta sauce, risotto, and more.

What Is Israeli Couscous?

Israeli couscous—also called ptitim, giant couscous, and pearl couscous—is often thought of as a whole grain, but it’s actually a type of pasta made of semolina flour and water, developed in the 1950s by prime minister David Ben-Gurion as a way to feed the influx of immigrants to Israel.

Israeli couscous is served as a side dish and works equally well in a room temperature pasta salad or served warm, with pesto or tomato sauce. For a nuttier flavor, try whole-wheat couscous, made with whole-wheat flour.