Learn how to make the best homemade hummus with tahini and serve it as a dip or spread with plenty of pita bread. Plus, all the secrets to make hummus smooth and creamy
Hummus is a popular dish of the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern cuisine and lots of countries antagonize for its origins with Egypt being the most predominant. Hummus is a smooth spread (or dip or appetizer) made from chickpeas and tahini (sesame paste) with some olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
I still remember the first time I tried to make my own homemade hummus. It was terrible and I ended up eating only my homemade pita bread. The recipe I had followed used too much lemon juice and the end result was totally different from the hummus I was used to. That’s why I believe it’s best to find a good hummus recipe and gradually adjust it to your liking.
The recipe at the end of this article gives you a basic, smooth, fluffy hummus you can serve as a dip or appetizer. You can replace some of the water with lemon juice if you want it more tangy, you can add more garlic if you want it more garlicky (though traditional hummus is not very garlicky – 1 or 2 garlic cloves per cup of dried chickpeas are enough) or you can adjust the quantity of the tahini.
There are a lot of chickpea recipes you can try, from chickpea salad to main courses like the Greek baked chickpeas (revithada) but hummus should definitely be at the top of your list. It can be an interesting dip at parties and a healthy appetizer for family dinners. It can be a nutritious afternoon snack or a light dinner served with some pita bread.
To make a smooth hummus you don’t have to remove the skins from the chickpeas, and most of the times I don’t do it because I like to keep all the fiber, the vitamins and the other nutrients that the skins contain. But if you want to make an extra creamy and smooth hummus you will have to use the chickpeas without the skins. In the photos you see hummus made with whole chickpeas and in the 1-minute video (somewhere in this article) you can see hummus made with the skins removed (there’s also a longer YouTube video at the end). Both versions are very creamy but the no-skin version is creamier.
Kate from cookieandkate in her recipe for hummus with canned chickpeas suggests cooking them with some baking soda to remove the skins, but I always suggest to try and use dried ones! There are also dried chickpeas without the skins, so you can use those if you can find them. They’re called chana dal or split chickpeas or bengal grams. You’ll have more chances finding them at an Indian store.
What is hummus made of?
The basic ingredients for hummus are:
- Cooked chickpeas
- Tahini (sesame paste)
- Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- Water or chickpea liquid
What is the best way to make hummus from scratch?
The best way to make hummus from scratch is:
- Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water with some baking soda
- Cook them in a pot with fresh water until tender
- Process them in a food processor until mushed
- Add the rest of the ingredients of the recipe and process until very smooth
- Add cold water gradually until you get the desired consistency.
- Serve with pita bread
How do you make hummus more creamy?
- If you use dried chickpeas soak them in plenty of fresh water with baking soda. This helps them cook faster and also become very soft.
- Remove the skins. You can do this by rubbing the soaked chickpeas with some baking soda under a towel (like you see in the video) or you can use already peeled dried chickpeas (chana dal or split chickpeas or bengal grams).
- If you decide to use canned chickpeas (but please don’t) then taste one and if it’s not very soft you can boil them until tender .
- Process in a food processor. Gradually add cold water or cold chickpea liquid and process until very smooth and light. If you plan to store hummus in the fridge, expect that it will thicken some more.
Is hummus healthy?
Yes! Hummus is made primarily with chickpeas which fall into the legumes category. All legumes are full of plant based protein, fiber, and other nutrients like antioxidants. Additionally, tahini provides a good amount of good-for-your-heart fat while garlic is considered a super food. Freshly squeezed lemon juice offers some phytonutrients and Vit.C
How do you make hummus taste better?
- Since there are not many ingredients in this recipe you have to remember to find the best tahini and the best dried chickpeas. The tahini should be runny and the ingredients should list only sesame seeds (and maybe a tiny bit of oil). The oil of the sesame seeds has the tendency to separate inside the jar, so stir it well before use. Also, taste it to see that it hasn’t any bitter taste. Instead it should taste pleasantly nutty.
- If you can, don’t use canned chickpeas but opt for dried chickpeas instead. It makes a big difference!
- And since you’re getting in all this “trouble” it doesn’t make sense to use store-bought lemon juice. Buy a fresh lemon and squeeze it over a sieve.
- If you think something is missing, it may be the salt. Taste and adjust the salt accordingly.
- Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find (otherwise the taste can be heavy and unpleasant).
Things you can add to your homemade hummus recipe (in the food processor):
- roasted garlic or black garlic
- roasted beets (they will turn the color to red – see this beetroot hummus from Pepperdelight)
With beets and avocado you may have to adjust the rest of the ingredients to get the texture you like.
Things you can sprinkle over your creamy hummus:
- extra virgin olive oil
- smoked paprika
- toasted nuts (pine nuts are perfect)
- sliced olives
Can you make hummus without cooking the chickpeas?
No. Hummus is made with chickpeas which have been cooked until very soft and tender (I could even say mushy). If you try to process the chickpeas without cooking them you will end up with something that looks like falafel mixture. You can use canned chickpeas which are already cooked but their taste sometimes is not the best.
What is hummus traditionally eaten with?
- Hummus is traditionally eaten with pita bread. You can also reserve some of the cooked chickpeas and place them on top of your smooth hummus (optionally: bake them in the oven with some olive oil until crispy).
- Vegetables cut in sticks, are also a healthy alternative and with much less calories than pita bread.
- Hummus can also be served as a healthy side for lamb and other meat dishes.
- It can be slathered on slices of bread and topped with pitted olives
- You can make your Mediterranean style deviled eggs with hummus
- Add it to your falafel
- Use it as a condiment for your burgers
Can you make hummus without tahini?
Tahini is sesame butter. In the video I use whole sesame tahini and that’s why the color is darker. Unfortunately, the tradition says that you can’t make hummus without adding some tahini in it, because tahini gives hummus its signature flavor.
However, if you absolutely hate tahini, you can substitute it with some other kind of nut butter like almond butter or walnut butter, or you can completely omit the nut butter and add some extra oil (probably a neutral flavor oil because too much olive oil can be overwhealming). I haven’t experimented without tahini, so you will have to adjust the quantity of the extra oil according to your judgement.
Does hummus have olive oil?
It is not necessary to add olive oil into the hummus while you make it because the tahini has already enough oil. But you have to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the hummus before you serve it!
Can you make hummus without garlic?
Though sometimes I make hummus without garlic since I’m not the biggest fan, I can tell you that traditionally hummus is always made with garlic (but not a lot). If you’re not the biggest fan either, you can try and cook the garlic with the chickpeas, something that will mellow its flavor a lot. You can also use roasted garlic, or black garlic which has a totally sweeter and milder taste. And if you have some black garlic left, make sure to also try this black garlic tzatziki.
Why do you add cold water or cold chickpea liquid?
My experience says that it makes hummus fluffier, probably because the fats and the rest of the thickening agents (starch and protein from the chickpeas) become more stable when they’re at a lower temperature. It’s the same thing that happens with buttercream: if you try to whip some buttercream and use warm, melted butter it will never be done. The butter must be at a solid state in order to have enough strength to hold the air bubbles and become light and fluffy.
How long does homemade hummus last?
Homemade hummus will last in the fridge (at 39°F/4°C ) for at least five days without any problems. As with every other food, if you’re not sure whether it’s safe to eat it, smell it and observe its surface. Any changes in color or areas of discoloration and any weird smells are indications that it has gone bad.
- 1 cup (200 grams) dried chickpeas (see notes if you use already cooked/canned chickpeas)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda (for soaking)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda (for peeling the skins)
- 1 garlic clove (remove the green sprout from the center, if there is one)
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) tahini (stir it well before use. If you use whole sesame tahini it will be even healthier).
- 1 teaspoon fine salt (taste and adjust)
- 2-3 tablespoons (30-45 grams) fresh lemon juice (start with 2 tablespoons, taste and adjust)
- 2 tablespoons (26 grams) olive oil
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) very cold water or cold liquid from the cooked chickpeas (add it gradually because you may not need it all)
- Extra-virgin olive oil cumin, sumac, paprika, toasted pine nuts
Soak: Transfer the chickpeas into a large bowl and add enough water to cover them at least by two inches (you'll need about 2-3 cups). Add the baking soda, stir well and let them soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours.
Rinse the chickpeas very well.
Remove the skins (skip this step if you want to make hummus with whole chickpeas or if you used skinned ones): Add one tablespoon baking soda, mix well and let them rest for 15 minutes. Then, working in batches, rub them between a kitchen towel with force until the skins are separated. Transfer them to a bowl and add plenty of water. Then take out all the skins that are floating. Rinse well.
Boil: Transfer the chickpeas to a pot, fill it with water, add a pinch of baking soda and cook for about 45 minutes or until very soft and tender. Remember you will need to skim the foam with a slotted spatula when the water starts to boil. After that, cover the pot and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 50-60 minutes or until very tender.
Make the hummus: Transfer the chickpeas, the garlic, the tahini, the salt, the lemon juice and the olive oil to a food processor and process for a few minutes until you get a smooth paste. Scrape with a spatula as needed.Taste and adjust the salt, the lemon juice, the tahini and the garlic (I usually add a couple more tablespoons of tahini).
Fix the texture: With the machine running, gradually add the cold water, processing until well incorporated and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Serve the hummus on a plate and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin, sumac or paprika.
- Makes about 2 3/4 cups – serving size 1/4 cup.
- If you use already cooked chickpeas (homemade or canned) you’ll need 2+2/3 cups. Drain and rinse well before use.
- If you want to add chickpea liquid instead of water, reserve one cup, put it in the fridge and wait until it is very cold.
- You can soak more chickpeas (increase the water and baking soda accordingly) and freeze the ones you will not use. This will save you from soaking them the next time you want to use them in your recipes.
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