Israeli Couscous Mac & Cheese Recipe

An American-style pasta dish gets a Middle Eastern makeover.

Mac and cheese is one of the those comfort food dishes that is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

So when my co-workers suggested I try out a mac and cheese made with Israeli couscous, instead of traditionally larger pasta like elbows or shells or cavatappi, I happily accepted the challenge and decided to combine a more American-style pasta dish with some Israeli flavors, like cottage cheese and feta.

This baked dish is cheesy and familiar enough to feed the kids, but just different enough to grab the attention of adults. You can make it ahead, serve it for a weeknight dinner or serve it alongside some baked salmon for Shavuot.

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cous cous Mac and cheese
Photo credit Shannon Sarna

Israeli Couscous Mac & Cheese Recipe

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An American-style pasta dish gets a Middle Eastern makeover.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 2 ½ cups uncooked Israeli couscous (also called Middle Eastern couscous, or pearl couscous)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk or half & half
  • 8 oz 4% cottage cheese (around 1 cup)
  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper

For the topping:

  • cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • pinch salt


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add 1 tsp olive oil.
  2. Cook couscous 5 minutes. Drain in a large mesh sieve.
  3. While couscous is cooking, combine 4 Tbs butter and all the cheeses, milk, salt and pepper in large bowl.
  4. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square pan.
  5. Drain couscous and add to bowl with cheeses. Mix well.
  6. Add to couscous mixture to greased pan. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  7. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, 1 Tbs melted butter, paprika and pinch of salt.
  8. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over top over couscous.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.
  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Israeli




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