Is Israeli Couscous Gluten Free?

Last Updated on April 1, 2022

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: is Israeli couscous gluten-free? And taking a look at the best places to find gluten-free Israeli couscous. We’ll even be taking a look at how to make your own at home. You’re probably already familiar with traditional couscous, but what about Israeli couscous? Let’s first take a look at what it is and the ingredients.

What Is Israeli Couscous?

You may know this dish better as pearl couscous or giant couscous. Despite its name in English, Israeli couscous is not technically a type of couscous! In the 1950s, rice was scarce in Israel, so they resorted to using pasta. Israeli couscous is in fact tiny balls of pasta, which are then toasted. It’s typically made using semolina flour.

Learn more about: Does Couscous Have Gluten? (And GF Couscous)

Ingredients In Israeli Couscous

The typical ingredients to make Israeli couscous are:

  • semolina or wheat flour
  • water
  • onion
  • feta
  • lemon
  • olive oil

Gluten Free Israeli Couscous Brands

While there isn’t a huge selection of gluten-free Israeli couscous brands, here are our top picks – which are surprisingly accessible.


Streit’s is one of the best places to buy Israeli couscous that is gluten-free. Amazon stock it for just under $15 for 3 bags. The only ingredients in this couscous are:

  • potato/tapioca starch
  • potato flakes
  • pasteurized egg white
  • emulsifier (monoglyceride of palm oil)
  • stabilizer – xanthan gum
  • spices

The only ingredients you need to add to this couscous are oil, garlic, onion, salt, and spices. It’s ready to eat in just 10 minutes, which makes it the perfect easy meal.


Goldbaum’s offers an Israeli couscous which is very similar to Streit’s option in price, and in taste. It’s around $4.79 a box. The ingredients you’ll find in this product are:

  • tapioca starch
  • potato flakes
  • potato starch
  • pasteurized egg white
  • emulsifier (monoglyceride of palm oil)
  • stabilizer
  • xanthan gum
  • turmeric
  • paprika

This couscous will be ready in just 6-8 minutes!

Other Brands

If you’re from the UK, stores such as Tesco and Asda have their own brands of gluten-free couscous, so it’s definitely worth checking out, as those options will be far cheaper than the brands above.

Israeli Gluten Free Couscous Recipe

While the giant balls of couscous are a great start to Israeli couscous, you need a few more ingredients to make it the perfect dish. This recipe from David Larsen comes highly rated and doesn’t need too many ingredients at all!


The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 cup of gluten-free Israeli couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • salt
  • pepper


This recipe couldn’t be easier and you can prepare and cook this dish in less than 30 minutes! All you need to do is:

  1. Gather your ingredients together
  2. Cook your onion in a pan with olive oil for around 5-7 minutes (ensure that the onion is soft)
  3. Add the couscous. Cook until golden brown/lightly toasted
  4. Add the prepared vegetable broth and cook for a further 3 minutes
  5. Add the white wine and stir well. Leave to cook for around 5 minutes
  6. Finally, add your spinach and put your pan on low-medium heat. Cover and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
  7. Take the pan off the stove and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese (however much you like!)
  8. Add your salt and pepper for seasoning, and your Israeli couscous is ready to serve

Health Benefits Of Israeli Couscous

There are many health benefits to adding Israeli couscous to your diet. Some of these benefits include:

  • Selenium. This is a great antioxidant and helps your thyroid to function correctly
  • Fiber. This is great for your gut health and particularly good for those with gluten issues
  • Healthy. Although other grains are healthy, couscous is particularly healthy – providing more protein, vitamins, and minerals than a serving of white rice


I hope this article has helped to answer the question: is Israeli couscous gluten-free? And give you an idea of brands to explore to fulfill your Israeli couscous cravings! Some other brands to look out for are Viva Mais, Vitabella, Wholesome Kitchen, and Clearspring Organic – some of these just offer traditional couscous, but still just as delicious! Hopefully, they’ll be more options available to us in the future.

Do you know of any other gluten-free Israeli couscous brands? Or do you have your own recipe that you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!

Read more about: Does Buckwheat Have Gluten?


Is All Israeli Couscous Gluten Free?

Unfortunately, you can probably tell from the ingredients that Israeli couscous is not gluten free. Whether it's made using wheat or semolina flour - both contain gluten and should be avoided when following a gluten free diet. However, it is possible to buy gluten free Israeli couscous; but this will be clearly marked with a gluten free label.

What is a Gluten-Free Alternative to Couscous?

If you're looking for a gluten free alternative to couscous, there are actually a range of different gluten free grains that you can try. Some of the most popular choices are: quinoa, sorghum, millet, short grain rice, cauliflower, cornmeal and potatoes. All of these alternatives are naturally gluten free, but be sure to ensure that their made in a dedicated facility, where they have not been a victim of cross contact. 

Is Israeli Couscous the Same as Regular Couscous?

No. Regular couscous is much smaller and doesn't have the same shape as Israeli couscous. Whereas balls of Israeli couscous are much larger and have an almost chewy texture. Israeli couscous is also pre-toasted, which often makes it far more flavorful. The only similarities between the two are that they're both made using semolina flour and water. 

What is Gluten-Free Israeli Couscous Made of?

Whereas traditional Israeli couscous is made using semolina flour, when Israeli couscous is gluten free, it's more often made using a mixture of tapioca and potato starch. This is the case for most gluten free brands available.