This 20-minute couscous recipe turns simple, quick-cooking couscous into a one-pot-wonder with a fusion of Moroccan and Spanish flavors! Couscous is combined with shrimp and Chorizo, along with onions, garlic and warm spices like turmeric and cumin all in one pot. Let me tell you, this is next-level Delicious! 

Did I mention it's so darn easy to make?! Be sure to check out my video for how to make this couscous recipe (toward the end of this post.) And grab ideas for what bright salads and sides to serve along! 

Spicy couscous with shrimp and chorizo served in a bowl

Couscous is one of my favorite pantry staples, it's almost always on my shopping list. It's quick, convenient, versatile, and makes a fun alternative to your traditional pasta, quinoa, or even rice (although couscous is not gluten free.)

There are actually three different kinds of couscous:  

1. Pearl couscous, which resembles tiny pasta shaped like pearls (it's what I use in my popular Mediterranean couscous salad or these couscous bowls with roasted cauliflower.)

2. Lebanese couscous, which is a bit larger, the size of peas.

3. Then, there is the smallest size couscous made of fine granules of durum wheat. This one is associated more with Moroccan cooking, and it's what we're talking about in today's spicy couscous recipe with shrimp and Chorizo.

In case you're not super familiar, let's dig into what couscous is and how to use it, then we'll get to our tasty couscous recipe of the day!

Spicy couscous with shrimp and chorizo in a bowl


What is Couscous? 

Couscous--pronounced Koose Koose--is likely North Africa's most popular and most versatile dish. Moroccan couscous is the smallest size couscous you'll find. And although it looks like a grain, it's technically a pasta made with semolina flour from crushed durum wheat.

Back in the day, couscous used to be hand-rolled into tiny pasta. But thankfully, it is now available in instant-cook packages where couscous had already been pre-cooked by steaming and then dried. This leaves us with the simple task of re-hydrating in water, which typically takes something like 5 minutes!

A large pot containing shrimp, spicy couscous and chorizo

How to Cook Couscous and How to Use It? 

Simple, plain Moroccan couscous makes the perfect side to some of my favorite Moroccan dishes like this vegetable tagine, lamb stew, or even Moroccan fish (recipe coming soon!)

Like I said earlier, Moroccan couscous can be made almost instantly. Simply soak the couscous in boiling water for about 5 minutes or so, covered and undisturbed. Then, when ready, fluff it up with a fork (for flavor, add a pinch of kosher salt and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil).

But, there really are so many easy ways to use couscous beyond it's plain form. And today, we have a little Moroccan-Spanish fusion in this fun couscous recipe with shrimp and Chorizo!

Ingredients for spicy couscous and shrimp recipe

Spicy Couscous Recipe with Shrimp and Chorizo

My family calls this recipe, "jazzed up couscous" for a reason! It's a fun twist combining Moroccan couscous with shrimp and Spanish Chorizo, but that's not all!

Pulling this one-pot wonder together are a few flavor makers, from onions, garlic, and a little jalapeno to warm, good-for-you spices like turmeric, paprika and cumin.

Yes, it's a flavor party in one big pot. Best part?  It comes together in 20 minutes! You can see how I make this recipe in my video below. But here's the gist:

I start by frying up Spanish Chorizo slices just until they crisp up (dry Spanish Chorizo is cooked, but if you use Mexican chorizo, you'll want to make sure it is fully cooked.)a

While I let the Chorizo drain over some paper towels, I get the onions, garlic, jalapeno and spices going. The shrimp goes in, then I bring back the Chorizo.

And of course, because couscous cooks very quickly, it is the last thing added to the pot along with some boiling water.

Last bit to do is simply to cover the pot and let the couscous soak in the hot water off heat.

Spicy shrimp with couscous and chorizo in a small bowl

What to Serve Along? 

The beauty of a one-pot recipe like this couscous is that you really don't need to add much more to complete the meal. That said, I always like to add something bright to start with like a big three bean salad or fattoush!  A side of roasted tomatoes or roasted eggplant won't hurt either.


You can store leftovers of this couscous recipe in the fridge in tight-lid containers for up to 3 days. I end up eating whatever is left at room temperature though.

Watch the Video for How to Make this Couscous Recipe:



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Spicy couscous with shrimp and chorizo served in a bowl

Spicy Couscous Recipe with Shrimp and Chorizo

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4.8 from 30 reviews


Easy, 20-minute spicy couscous recipe with shrimp and Chorizo! This one-pot meal is a bit of a Moroccan-Spanish fusion. Quick-cooked couscous is combined with shrimp, Spanish Chorizo, and a few warm spices. Be sure to watch the video above to see how I make it.


  • 6 oz hard Spanish Chorizo, sliced into thin rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finally chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1.5 lb large shrimp (prawns),peeled, deviened and well-rinsed
  • 1 ¼ cup couscous
  • Boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, stems removed


  1. In a large cooking pot, heat just a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add the Chorizo sausages and cook just until crisp (hard Spanish chorizo should be cooked already.) Remove from heat and place on paper towels to drain.
  2. To the cooking pot, add onions, garlic and jalapeno, cook briefly until onions are translucent. Now add the spices and stir briefly, then add the shrimp. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the shrimp for 3 to 4 mins or until it is firm and pink. Do not overcook the shrimp.
  3. Meanwhile, boil 2 ½ cup of water.
  4. Return the Chorizo to the cooking pot and add the couscous, a little olive oil, a dash of salt and the boiling water. Turn the heat off immediately and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the fresh parsley.
  5. Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy! (see suggested sides)


  • Cooking Tip:  If you can't find Spanish Chorizo, Mexican chorizo works here, but you must make sure to fully cook it.
  • Recipe Variations: You can omit the Chorizo all togther or use a different kind of meat like cooked chicken or beef. And if you want a more mild version, use green bell peppers instead of jalapeno peppers.
  • Leftovers: Store leftovers in the fridge in tight-lid glass containers for up to 3 days. I prefer not to reheat this and just eat the leftovers at room temperature!
  • Visit our Store  for extra virgin olive oils and for all-natural and organic spices including turmeric, paprika, and cumin.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in February 2016 and has recently been updated with new media and information for readers' benefit. 

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. OMGOSH I cannot even begin to describe how delish this recipe was. My husband could not stop eating it! We paired it with a 2019 Vino De Espana.

    May I suggest doing wine pairings with your recipes?! 😉😁

  2. Was a little disappointed to say the least to be honest!

    I followed the recipe and added a little more ingredients than stated just to add flavour and in all honesty I found it quite bland… I think the whole recipe is a good one to take and make changes to it to build on what is already there however as it is I feel it needs a lot more flavour.

    I added butter to bring out the richness and add more taste as it didn’t have much, additional salt and pepper and I’m hoping after it had been in the Fridge overnight it would have sat and brought the flavours out. I will take the recipe and add to it as needed but otherwise it is a great meal idea and more prawns needed to be added but otherwise it’s a keeper with tweeks, just wish it had more flavour!

  3. Absolutely love this! I was missing a few items but made some substitutions, which I will list below because they were so good. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    I used cilantro instead of parsley (sprinkled on at the end)
    Added a little lemon juice at the end
    Used smoked paprika instead of regular

    Probably not as authentic with those substitutions but they seemed to work really well.

    1. Thanks for for sharing your adaptions here, Jamie! Sometimes we just have to use what we have on hand, right?

  4. It's my first time cooking couscous and tried this recipe cause I love shrimps. The result is just wow. The flavors are powerful but not overwhelming. I skipped the chorizo. So delicious. Thanks for the recipe, this will be a staple.

  5. Looks terrific, but it looks like regular couscous, not pearl couscous, right? Any way it could be modified to use pearl couscous? Cook it separately maybe? Thanks so much for all your terrific recipes and tips on each

    1. Hi Gwen. You are correct. This recipe uses quick-cooking Moroccan couscous not pearl couscous. If you're looking to use pearl couscous, you do need to fully cook that separately, then add it as indicated in the recipe but DO NOT add water again. You simply need to combine the already cooked pearl couscous with the rest of the ingredients.

    2. I never leave comments on recipes.
      This was fantastic!! I looked forward to every leftover meal!! A few adjustments i made were 1. I used vegan chorizo and 2. I added dried cranberries along with the hot water and couscous. I love sweet bites in a spicy dish.

      Truly delicious!

  6. I lived in Morocco for several months years ago... I was fortunate enough to have been there during Ramadan and aId. One of the desserts we had during said time was 1/2 wide pieces of pastry with honey or similar and sesame seed... do you have the recipe for this? Love your site, sent it to my sister as well...

    1. Hey, Laura. Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you're talking about chebbakia? It's a honey cookie with sesame seeds? I have not tried making it myself. But it's wonderful .

  7. I do like this very much the flavors are delicious I don’t know if I made a mistake somewhere but it seems very dry. And I have so much couscous maybe I didn’t add enough sausage and shrimp but the taste is delicious and was very easy

  8. Oh wow I'm just sat eating this and it is unbelievably tasty! Who said cous cous was bland and boring. Not in this recipe it isn't! The spices and jalapeno being warmth to the dish and the chorizo gives it that extra flavour and texture. Loads left over so this will definitely be a meal I take to work with me. Love it, thanks for sharing.

  9. So delicious. I used vegan chorizo (for my husband who is a pescatarian) and it was very good! And I love that I had everything on hand. Lunch for the next two days too!