Lemon Couscous – A simple, yet flavorful, side dish that has just the right amount of lemon, garlic, and seasonings. Serve it with lamb, chicken, or the protein of your choosing to make a complete meal that your family will love.

Our Lemon Couscous recipe is made with simple ingredients and comes together in less than 15 minutes, making it a perfect side dish to serve with a hearty steak or a juicy lamb chop. Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to get fluffy lemon couscous every time.

The Best Lemon Couscous

If you’re getting bored of the standard rice and pasta side dishes, this lemon couscous is the refresh that you’ve been waiting for. Its fluffy texture, paired with bright flavors of lemon and garlic, make it the perfect spring side dish. Sprinkle some chopped parsley on top to add a pop of color and a clean peppery taste.

What You Will Need

  • olive oil – Just a bit to cook the garlic.
  • fresh garlic – Equal parts peppery, earthy, buttery, and slightly sweet flavors.
  • chicken broth – Feel free to substitute with water if that’s more convenient.
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper – Just a bit to enhance the flavors.
  • lemon zest – A go-to when we want to amp up the lemon flavor in any dish.
  • butter – Swap with a dairy-free butter if you need this recipe to be dairy-free
  • Moroccan-style couscous – Find this ingredient in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store – this is the kind I used specifically.
  • lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice will offer the best flavor. Use a lemon juice to make sure the lemon seeds don’t slip through during the juicing process.
  • parsley – A clean, peppery herb for added flavor and a pop of color.

What Is Couscous

While it may look like a grain, couscous is actually a type of pasta made from semolina flour, which gives it its golden yellow color and mild nutty flavor. There are many different varieties of couscous, but for this recipe we chose the popular Moroccan-style couscous, which you can find at most grocery stores. Pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous, is made of larger and rounder pieces of dough, and therefore takes slightly longer to cook.

How To Make Lemon Couscous

Start by adding oil to a medium sauce pan and bring it to medium-high heat. Next, add in the minced garlic and move it around the pan for about 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.

Add in a cup of chicken broth or water, salt, pepper, lemon zest and butter and stir to combine.

Bring the chicken broth mixture to a boil and add in the couscous. Stir the couscous around the sauce pan and then quickly cover the sauce pan to capture the steam and remove the pan from the heat.

Let the couscous steam for 5 minutes, and then remove the lid and fluff it with a clean fork.

Add one tablespoon of lemon juice, taste, and adjust the lemon flavor to your liking by adding more lemon juice or lemon zest.

Finish it off by sprinkling some chopped parsley on top and serve warm.

What To Have With Lemon Couscous

Because this lemon couscous recipe is on the lighter side, it pairs wonderfully with hearty proteins and even works when sprinkled over a simple salad. Here are some of our favorite complimentary dishes that work with couscous as a side dish.

  • Grilled Lamb Chops – Mild and tender lamb chops pair perfectly with this easy couscous recipe. Top everything with our mint chimichurri and you can thank us later.
  • Steak – While your couscous is steaming, whip up our super simple cast iron flank steak recipe as the main course.

Recipe FAQs

  • dairy-free: Make this recipe dairy-free by using a plant-based or dairy-free butter.
  • storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Made this lemon herb couscous and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!


Lemon Couscous – a light, bright and delicious lemon couscous recipe that is the perfect side dish for any meal!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, more per taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter (regular or dairy-free)
  • 1 cup Moraccan-style couscous
  • 12 tablespoons lemon juice
  • topping: parsley, fresh chopped (optional)


  1. Bring medium saucepan to medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add garlic and move around pan until fragrant, approx. 30 seconds.
  2. Add 1 cup water, salt, pepper, lemon zest, butter. Stir and bring to a boil.
  3. Add couscous, stir quickly, cover and remove from heat.
  4. Let stand 5 minutes.
  5. Fluff with fork.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and toss. Taste and add any additional lemon zest or juice, as desired.
  7.  Serve immediately – we love serving this with these Grilled Lamb Chops + Mint Chimichurri.


  • Dairy-Free: to make this dairy-free use a plant-based butter.
  • Couscous: I used Moraccan-style couscous for this recipe – you can use a pearl or other type of couscous BUT you may need to change the cook time, etc. Simply look at the package instructions and cook accordingly.
  • Storage: store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.