Classic Homemade Hummus Recipe
The Best Homemade Hummus Recipe
This is Your Guide to the Best Homemade Hummus Recipe You Can Make or Eat. Because there are so few ingredients in homemade smooth hummus, each one has to be the best. Here are the tricks to getting your homemade hummus to come out smooth and luscious.
I’ve been talking, and making, a lot of hummus lately. I put it on the menu of the cooking classes I teach, and most every talk I’ve given since the launch of my cookbook has included at least a brief ode to hummus-love. Some people look up and nod in harmonious agreement. Others, a blank stare. Still others, the nervous laugh of “is this girl okay?!”
If only they could taste.
Hummus-talk surfaces in my casual conversation all over the place, as it did when I was talking with the food editor of the Washington Post at a conference last spring. I lingered on the delights of a thick, rich, ultra-smooth homemade hummus that requires that every one of its few ingredients be at the top of its game. Joe asked me to write this down for his people, Washington Post readers, which landed in the paper and an online chat.
Here’s everything you need to know to make the ultimate homemade hummus:
Homemade Hummus Ingredients:
The chickpeas. Start with canned or dry chickpeas. For canned, drain and rinse. For dry, soak overnight, then drain and simmer in lots of water for a couple of hours until tender.
This next step with your chickpeas is KEY, so listen closely: chickpeas have an outer skin or peel that is the culprit of hummus that is grainy, and not at all smooth and luscious. It’s a job to get the peels off of chickpeas, but it’s worth it. Trust. See below to find out out it’s done!
The tahini. We’ve all had bitter, sludgy, separated tahini. It’s no good and makes hummus and anything it touches just okay, rather than luscious and delicious and a hummus you can’t wait to make again soon. After tasting and testing enough tahini to fill Little Traverse Bay, I recommend Soom, Al Wadi, and Lebanon Valley (here!). Shake the jar occasionally. Your tahini will last more than a year in the pantry.
The lemon. Fresh-squeezed, nothing but. Period. The end.
The garlic. Fresh, hard heads of garlic are best. Get the green sprout out of your clove if there is one by cutting it in half lengthwise. An annoying but worth-it extra minute to avoid raw garlic burn.
The liquid. Use chickpea cooking (or canned) liquid for added body and flavor, or water. Either should be cold, and add it sparingly so your hummus is thick enough to make a well in the center with the back of a spoon, in which we’ll drizzle olive oil and sometimes other toppings too.
The olive oil. Extra Virgin. Your best finishing oil thanks you for finally employing it here. Drizzle over top, not in the mix. We love EVOO from Lebanon (here!)!
A dash or two of salt is of course a must; add a little, then taste, then add more if needed.
Sumac spice or paprika sprinkled on top makes an authentic look and a gorgeous presentation.
How to make Homemade Hummus.
Prepare the Chickpeas. Start with canned or dry chickpeas. For canned, drain and rinse. For dry, soak overnight, then drain and simmer in lots of water for a couple of hours until tender. Warm the chickpeas in a sauté pan with a tablespoon of baking soda. Then immerse the warmed baking-soda-chickpeas in a huge bowl of water in the sink. Agitate, popping the skins off every chickpea you can grab. Pour off the water with the many skins. Repeat, and repeat again. Know too that there’s another option here, which is the SKINLESS chickpea, the pre-peeled chickpea that you can find here. The skins are off, so the chickpea need only be simmered until tender for about 90 minutes. Viola.
Use a Food Processor. Hummus becomes smooth and lush when it is blitzed in a food processor. The blades are wide and they do the job perfectly. Does a blender work? Hmm. If there’s no food processor in sight, this is the next best tool. The blender requires more stopping and scraping down as you go, to keep all of the hummus near the blades.
First blend the chickpeas and garlic. Before adding any liquid, get those chickpeas pulverized with the garlic. They’ll break down better without the liquid there.
Slowly add liquids. This means lemon juice and a touch of cold cooking liquid or cold water. Hold back here, adding liquid slowly so as not to make the hummus too thin.
Stop and scrape it all down. It’s a pain, but do stop frequently as the hummus blends and scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender. You’ll get any little pieces of chickpea or garlic blended in this way. If you wait until the end to scrape down the bowl, your gorgeous smooth hummus will get grainy from the pieces that weren’t blended in earlier.
One last thing: share! Especially with me! I’d love to see a constant stream of smooth, delectable hummus photos flooding our social media. How should we tag it?
#hummusaddict? True, but harsh. I’m thinking this: #hummuslove. Yours and mine.
FAQ and Tips for Making the Best Hummus ever!
Substitutions: Some recipes will call for other legumes than chickpeas. Black or cannellini beans, for example. These make a delicious dip. They don’t make hummus! “Hummus” is the Arabic word for “chickpea,” so…chickpeas are necessary if we’re calling our recipe “Hummus”!
Make ahead? Sure, hummus refrigerates for at least a week. Just be sure to “reconstitute” the hummus by allowing it to come to room temperature, then give it a vigorous whip with a whisk or stir with a spoon. Add a touch of lemon juice or water, if needed, to help smooth it out.
Can I make hummus by hand? Hummus has been around in Lebanese cuisine for a looooong time, long before any Sitto had a food processor or blender. They used a mortar and pestle to break down the chickpeas and create that smooth hummus texture. You can do same. No mortar and pestle? Try a potato masher. The end result may not be as smooth as the other methods, but you’ll still have a delicious hummus to devour.
Authentic Homemade Hummus Recipe
- 2 cups cooked skinless chickpeas (they take about 2 hours to cook properly from dry)
- 1 clove garlic, green sprout removed and minced
- 1/2 cup tahini, well-stirred before measuring
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chickpea cooking liquid, or cold water, as needed
- Extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
- Sumac, for finishing
- In the bowl of a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic until a thick paste forms. Give this a couple of minutes (longer than you’d think), to get the chickpeas very well pureed. With the machine running, add the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Taste and see if you’d like the hummus thinner or lighter. If so, Slowly add cold cooking liquid or water, a tablespoon at a time, until the hummus is very smooth and light but still thick (again, process a little longer than usual). Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice as needed.
- Spoon the hummus onto salad plate or bowl, spreading the hummus with the back of a spoon to form a well in the center. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, and serve immediately.
Leave a Comment
I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!
I must try your chickpeas and the Lebanon Valley tahini! And now that my husband is vegan and has joined me after a few decades, hummus is a staple for us-not just for special occasions.
Good for you two Diane, and I bet hummus is essential for you then! Let me know what you think of the tahini and chickpeas! Warm regards to you two–
Nothing better than fresh hummus. Am I mistaken that you used to put a little yogurt in yours?
Hi Bill! I did add yogurt into the mix, before I discovered the role of peeled chickpeas in texture and flavor. Still, the yogurt is a delicious addition!
Yumm for hummus.
Saw your article in the Washington Post, and now this write up. Both great writing and photography. thank you.
The Post article, which I saved, had a recipe listing ingredients, didn’t see that in the above article.
Am confused a bit though about peeled chick peas vs skinless chick peas, apparently the peeled ones have been treated and de-skinned already?
I also noted your comment about garlic burn and it brought back memories. In La Crosse Wisconsin there used to be a Lebanese restaurant, the former owner and chef still cooks for my brother occasionally. One time my brother and wife spent quite a bit of time peeling garlic cloves and putting them in a container in anticipation of the chef’s making hummus. They also had a store bought rather large unopened container of garlic cloves that had been peeled commercially already. Well this chef is famous for his use of garlic so we begged him to make two batches, one with less garlic. He did. It didn’t matter, both were very strong. I recall him dumping the entire container of garlic in the blender, I think before the other ingredients. In the second batch he used a bit less. For the fun of it I tried the stronger batch, I didn’t know garlic could burn almost like horseradish! But that begs the question Maureen, is one clove really enough! 🙂
Hi Jerry–all standard chickpeas have a thin skin on them. You can remove these yourself (method in my book and the Washington Post piece) or you can buy them already peeled from me! My pre-peeled chickpeas are dried but par-cooked, so they only need about 90 minutes in boiling water. As for the garlic, the hummus is your blank slate…I like one clove for a balanced, luscious flavor with the lemon, tahini, chickpeas, olive oil.
I love hummus but my body does not. Chick peas give me migraines if I eat too many. How about a killer Baba Ganoush recipe? Please, please
Jillian, bummer! But the baba gannouj is right here waiting for you!
I love to make homemade Baba Ghanooj and Hummus Bi Tahini. I always buy the smallest jar of the Tahini. However I am unable to use the entire portion at once. If I leave some Tahini in the jar, it solidifies after a few days. I tried warming the Tahini in a hot water bath to loosen it. No luck. I end up throwing the remainder away and buying a new jar.
Do you a method for how to keep the Tahini from not solidifying? Help is always appreciated.
Hi Anis–sounds like the tahini you’re getting is already somewhat solidified, and it’s tough to reverse that. My tahini is smooth fresh, and I keep it that way by shaking the jar regularly as it sits (at cool room temp).
You keep tahini for as long as a year? Mine lasts only a month. Before I need another jar 😉
Thanks for your blog. From a middle aged man in England who was vegetarian for 34 years until I became vegan this year. By exploring dishes from what I call the Mediterranean rim and the Middle East, I don’t miss dairy at all.
Wonderful Stephen! Lebanese recipes are perfect for the vegan diet, and I can see why you plow through your tahini! Sounds like you found a delicious one to use too, which is great.
The simplest and easiest to make recipe I’ve stumbled upon. Thanks for the hummus guide, Maureen!
Love your recipes! I went to the Lebanese festival, this past May, In Virginia and the food was delicious! We had a small family reunion, as we are of Lebanese descent, however, our grandparents and parents have passed on, and recipes lost. We all bought cookbooks, and most of the recipes were very confusing, as we are ALL Americanized. I sent everyone the name of your website, through email, and told them to refer to your recipes .
With that being said, I just wanted to thank you for your dedication to the Lebanese cuisine, and keeping it True! We so appreciate your recipes. I love that you always keep it authentic, and then maybe add your own spin.
How wonderful Tara, thank you!
What a lovely website. Your recipes looks so delectable and I’m sure to try them as my kids prefer Lebanese over our ethnic food from India and Pakistan!
Thank you so much Asma!
Thank you for the best hummus recipe Maureen. I always make hummus and today I followed your recipe step by step & my husband said it’s so delicious what did you do differently & I told him it’s yours.
Recently I made so many recipes from your book & they all turn out great successes. The tabouli with avocado, most of the salads, the leg of lamb, 2 chicken recipes one from your blog ( your mom’s baked fried chicken), potatoes with za’atar, eggs with za’atar. The dark chocolate cake with raspberry. I’m enjoying cooking a lot because of your beautiful & easy recipes. Thanks again.
My son is a fan of hummus, he prepares big batches every week.
I´m sure he will try your recipe.
I wish you a wonderful 2016
Madrid, Spain 1/1/2016
One person commented that she had a problem with solidified tahini. When I get a new jar of tahini it is often separated with the oil on top and the sesame paste solidified on the bottom. I put the whole thing in the food processor and blend it for a few minutes until smooth, then pour it back in the jar. After that, all it needs is an occasional shake or stir to keep it from separating again. Whenever I make your hummus recipe I have to decorate it with three whole chick peas (always three) and paprika on top or my husband won’t eat it. I have discovered that there are unwritten rules about how Lebanese food needs to be decorated or presented to make the dish truly authentic.
I do the same thing with a new jar or can of tahini! And I do it just before making a batch of hummus, so the residue of tahini in the processor bowl gets incorporated into the hummus. I also put the now-homogenized tahini into the fridge so that it does not separate.
Love that Anne, thank you!
Hi Maureen, do you have any experience making hummus using desi chicpeas? My local grocery store started carrying these and I noticed the skin is already removed, but not sure if these are appropriate for hummus?
I have tried them and found the flavor not quite the same, but you may want to give it a whirl!
My Paternal Grandmother was Abood, immigrated to Texas as a 12 year old in 1880. Wonder if we are kin?
Certainly possible! No one in our family started out in Texas, but they may have been from the same village? Dier Mimas.
I never realized making your own hummus was so simple! It’s probably way better than the store-bought stuff too 🙂
Very nice post! Thank you so much!
i have always cooked my chickpeas in pressure cooker. Can you estimate how much time it would take to cook your already peeled chickpeas, which I have waiting to be cooked?
Hi Ina–I have not tried the skinless chickpeas in a pressure cooker! The ones I sell are parcooked, so no long soak–it takes a full two hours on the stove so you may be able to estimate from that based on other things you’ve cooked with pressure.
Hi, I also use pressure cooker… depending on the actual pressure you use,and size of it, , usually takes about 5-6 mins cooking…. I cover them with water, 1inch above surface of (pre-soaked over night chickpeas)with a change of water next day,(use boiled water to steam them in p.cooker on full , If I see they are not quite as soft as needed for hummus, after that time , I steam them maybe 1minute or more. Actually , cooking times,depend on the quality, and size of chick peas,also whether they are whole chickpeas or halved … hope that helps
Hi Maureen, I’m a fan! Question: do you measure the tahini in a liquid or dry measuring cup? I’ve always used closer to a 1:1 ratio (with more on the chickpea side), as I learned from an Israeli Chef (no, not THAT one ) . It’s delicious and creamy, but I’d like to toy around with other handed-down-now-updated recipes from hummus’ first origin, which I understand is Arabic, more specifically Palestine/Lebanon. Shukran!
Measure tahini in a liquid measure…but I have to say I just pour it in, a good healthy glug of it, approximating the amount that I like based on past batches (I like a good amount when the tahini is excellent, like the one we offer at Maureen Abood Market.) Enjoy Lebanese hummus, and thank you!
We have just made your recipe hoping it’s as good as Ishibelli restaurant in London. It is fabulous but I made the mistake of putting too much garlic in. I have more chickpeas, cooked with some of the liquid. Do you recommend I add more to reduce some of the strong garlic taste or would a little yogurt work best.
Hi Iris–I think adding more chickpeas would even out the flavor of the garlic, but you may not be able to get them as smooth as the initial batch. Adding yogurt is a good idea too! Either way, adding ingredients like these will help to further distribute the flavor of the garlic, and reduce it.
Tried your hummus, pita chips, and mint lemonade recipes. Awesome! Delish to the max. I will be giving many more of your recipes a try for sure. I’m only cooking for one so am sharing all your goodies. Wonderful that your keeping the authentic dishes alive. Happy I stumbled across your recipes. Shukraan from Montreal.
Is there a brand of canned chickpeas you recommend if cooking even the skinless chickpeas is too much to do?
Hi! Look for all-natural or organic chickpeas. I often purchase the grocery store private label natural chickpeas for salads and other dishes and they are fine.
Do you also sell peeled chickpeas in bulk? Please provide info and pricing.
Being lazy…. I mix the Hummus components in the reverse order. First, in a fast food processor, I make a tahini sauce (Garlic, cold water, lemon) to the thickness I like, than, I take 2/3 of the quantity out for making other dips. I add the peeled and cooked garbonzo beens and blend to a smooth past. pour the Hummus to a container, get another 1/3 of the prepared tahini sauce, mix it with parsley and mire minced garlic (must taste the garlic) and save it as Tahini dip. The third 1/3 is mixed with the inside of a roasted eggplant, added (but not too much) lemon and garlic to taste and mixed lightly to make “Baba Gamush… So here you are: three dips for the short cut cooking lover. cooking time 15 minutes, excluding the poiling and peeling of garbonzos as well as eggplant roasting time. …and if you are told it’s great with Pita bread, one may ask what Pita bread…. I know of at least a dozen different types and choosing one is really a matter of personal preferenceI My advise to skip a Pita bread that crumbles in your hands.
Well to me that’s not lazy, it’s brilliant! Thank you for sharing!
I made this with white beans instead of chickpeas and added a little fresh turmeric. I added a lot more lemon juice. Ate with raw carrot and red bell pepper. Very good!
Ugh, wish I had a happier comment! I got some rather strong garlic cloves and dang it if by just trying it…my stomach is killing me! Seems like I could soften the flavor out with the lemon juice and tahini…but no. It will keep any vampires within a mile or 2 from our house! The hummus is for tomorrow’s dinner…can u think of a way to save 4 bags of cooked chi chi beans made into garlic hummus? Ps. Our family is vegan so that yogurt I thought about won’t work bcuz I don’t have any! Thank u for any ideas! Help! Lol
Nancy, sorry I didn’t get to you before your dinner! Too much garlic is tough to counter without something like yogurt, but even then you’ll get a lot of the strong garlic flavor. Other ingredients to add to disperse the garlic flavor: cooked beet, or roasted red bell pepper. The best way to fix this is to puree more chickpeas and tahini, adding your prior garlicky batch, or just some of it, to the new. It sounds like I’m saying you have to start over and kind of, you do!!
Wow! I’ve just made this and it’s without a doubt the best hummus I have ever made! No oil in the mix or yoghurt to thin it. Followed your quantities to the letter apart from subbing ice cubes for water. (Saw the ice cube thing on another blog) Totally worth removing the skins. It’s absolutely delicious and so smooth!
Amanda, this is so great! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for this great “hack”! Peeling the skins definitely makes a difference. If I’m in a hurry, I’d love to make this with canned chickpeas. Would you still use two cups cooked if using canned chickpeas?
Roupen, you can absolutely substituted canned chickpeas and you can skin them in a big bowl of water, rinsed repeatedly. First warm the drained chickpeas in a skillet with a couple of teaspoons of baking soda. Yes, two cups of canned chickpeas.
Can the skinned chickpeas be cooked in a pressure cooker?
Hi Amy–you can do this but the chickpeas really break down under pressure. Just take care not to overcook. I do prefer stovetop!
I’ve read basically everything there is to read online about hummus, and this is one of the better overviews. Here are two other tricks for getting the skins off if you can’t buy the pre-skinned ones for whatever reason (great idea for a product, by the way):
1. Chana dal (split chickpeas). These come split in half and therefore skinned. Apparently, the chickpeas are of a smaller type and they’re used in Indian cooking. However, they cook fast and sure are convenient for making hummus. I don’t know why they aren’t more popular.
2. Saute in baking soda on medium heat for a few min, boil for just 10 min or so (in the baking soda), then remove from the heat, rinse, and squeeze them, which cracks them in half and makes split chickpeas. Do this under running water and the skins come right off. This technique isn’t much different from what the author mentioned, albeit a bit more aggressive.
Your lesson on cooking and skinning the chickpeas has been invaluable to making the yummiest hummus. Many thanks. By the way, I see in the NY Times you’re collaborating with one of my favorites, Melissa Clarke. Thrilled to watch what you two create.
Thanks so very much Kate! Great to connect with you!