Baked Couscous Poppers | Cupcake Project

Baked Couscous Poppers

These baked couscous poppers are brown and crispy on the outside, but become an exciting avalanche of tiny couscous balls in your mouth. The couscous poppers are simple to make (just bake cooked couscous mixed with eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, and spices). You can vary the cheeses, spices, and accoutrements to suit the occasion:

  1. After-school snack: Mozzarella cheese, basil, garlic, and a tomato or ketchup dipping sauce
  2. While watching the game: Cheddar cheese, chili powder, and a mustard dipping sauce
  3. Dinner party: Smoked gouda, sea salt, chives, and barbecue sauce
  4. Whatever you dream up!

How to Make Baked Couscous Poppers

Baked Couscous Poppers

Baked Couscous Poppers


  • 2 cups water
  • 10 ounces uncooked couscous (You can use plain couscous or boxed couscous that comes with a flavor packet that you like.)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko, but any breadcrumbs would work.)
  • spices, to taste
  • 1 3/4 cup shredded cheese (Use any kind you like.)


  1. In a small saucepan on high heat, bring water to a boil.
  2. Stir in couscous.
  3. Immediately remove from heat. Cover and let sit for five minutes.
  4. Remove cover, fluff couscous with a fork and set aside to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Once couscous is cool, mix in eggs, 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, spices, and cheese.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  8. Roll couscous mixture into balls.
  9. Roll the balls in the remaining half cup of breadcrumbs. It won't seem like they are very solidified. That's OK. The balls will get a crunchy protective layer when they bake.
  10. Bake for thirty minutes or until the balls are lightly browned on the outside.
  11. Serve warm.



Bellicious Kids made a pan-fried version of couscous poppers.  I used that recipe as a starting point for mine.  I typically prefer baked over fried, but I think I may be in the minority on that.  Her fried version is definitely worth a look.

My friend, name twin, and fellow St. Louis food blogger, Iron Stef, declared 2012 to be the year of the balls.  It’s because of her that I even thought of making couscous balls.

The Photo

Regular readers will notice that, unlike most of my other photos, this one is overlaid with text.  I’m experimenting with making that a regular part of photos on this blog.  If you have an opinion about text on photos, join in the conversation on the subject that’s taking place over in the Cupcake Project Facebook community.

Next Up

Obviously, couscous cupcakes are coming soon!

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25 Responses to Baked Couscous Poppers

  1. ironstef February 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    thanks for the shout-out, Stef!! These look so fun! Definitely need to try this recipe. Year of the Balls!!! :)

  2. Natalie February 17, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    love this idea! i want to try with quinoa!

  3. Kitchen Belleicious February 17, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    LOVE LOVE your version. In fact, I have leftover couscous in my fridge right now and might give it a try. I haven’t done them in a while. Thanks for the shoutout and letting me know you did the recipe. Love your blog

  4. 9kids February 18, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    These sound like a perfect snack choice! Can they be made ahead and frozen?

  5. Stef February 18, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Belleicious – Thanks! And, thanks again to you for getting me started.

    9kids – I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not.

  6. Hannah February 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    About how many does this make?

  7. Queen Fluffy February 19, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Does anyone have a version to make jalapeno poppers?

  8. drake6234 February 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    What spices did you use??

  9. Manders Panders February 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    We love couscous and this is an exciting way to mix it up! From the way the cousous is initial made in the recipe it sounds like this is the smaller cousous rather than Israeli pearl couscous. Which one is better for this recipe? THANKS!

  10. Jo February 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    This looks absolutely delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  11. Stef February 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Hannah – It totally depends on how big you make the balls. I made medium-sized ones and it made about two dozen.

    Queen Fluffy – That would be fun to experiment with.

    Drake – I actually made mine plain and then topped them with smoked sea salt. My husband ate some of them with leftover buffalo chicken sauce and loved them that way.

    Manders – I used the smaller couscous. I bet it would work well with the Israeli style as well although I haven’t tried it.

  12. Sandhya February 20, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Yummy yummy yummy!

  13. Russell at Chasing Delicious February 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    These guys look soo good! What a scrumptious recipe.

  14. Kris February 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    definite yummy~am going to try this one for sure!

  15. Anonymous February 22, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    think this would work with quinoa instead of couscous?

  16. Susan March 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    These are yummy! But they definitely need a dipping sauce, which is fine b/c who doesn’t love sauce. I made mine with cheddar and veggie ham, with a honey mustard dipping sauce. Yum!

  17. kelly March 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I made them with quinoa… Cheddar cheese, ancho chili powder & garlic… BBQ dipping sauce… YUM

  18. Lyndsy March 15, 2012 at 3:02 am #

    I love your blog! Funny that the these would be my first pick to make on a Cupcake site since everything else looks so delicious too. But wow! These were great and so quick to throw together too. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  19. kathy August 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    These are awesome! And they reheat quite well! Makes a lot so would be a great appetizer for a group..Thanks so much sharing this! I too would like to try it with quinoa!

  20. Anonymous January 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I made these today and they are amazing!

  21. Anonymous March 20, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    I made these yesterday with leftover couscous I had in the fridge. I didn’t have any eggs so I made ground flax seed egg substitute in my blender. I also lightly sprayed them with olive oil before baking. They were AMAZING! My boyfriend and my younger brother devoured them. Thanks for such an awesome recipe!

  22. Rose-Anne June 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Great recipe, great lil app., for a get together. I doubled the recipe for a party of 30+ n made goat cheese n roasted beet balls, but NOT enough spice wow factor even after all that ! Thank god I baked only 1 try n tried n re- rolled in a dry flavored rub, n OH YA BABY !! A dipping sauce a must. ♥

  23. Alissa April 11, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    I made these today, and I used chicken stock instead of water, and added sautéed onions for flavor. I love the texture of them, especially with th crispy panko on the outside. My kids ate them, dipped in yogurt sauce, but hubby ate one and asked for leftover pizza. Good base recipe, but they reeeeeally need salt. Like, a tbsp at least.

    • Stef April 14, 2015 at 11:46 am #

      Salt is such a personal preference. Glad that you and your family enjoyed them!


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