Hummus…

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Hummus.

Isn’t that hard to make? Don’t you need to go out and buy that sesame stuff, what’s it called – tahini?

No. And no.

The very simplest hummus (read: the one I make) is a simple purée of canned chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans); salt; cumin; garlic; and either olive oil, or liquid from the canned beans.

Dump into food processor. Process. Enjoy.

Trust me; you can do this.

Let’s start with the simple recipe sketched out above:

15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, liquid saved
3 to 9 cloves garlic, peeled*
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil; or a combination of olive oil and reserved liquid from the beans

*3 to 9 cloves – that’s a huge range, isn’t it?

Yes – and people have a huge range in their tolerance for/love of garlic. Obviously, 9 cloves will make a VERY VERY garlicky hummus. And be aware – the longer the hummus sits, the more garlicky it becomes, so you can’t really add garlic to taste.

Here are the chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans. This is a 15-ounce can; Progresso makes more like a 19- to 20-ounce can. Use either size; no need to adjust the recipe, other than the fact that you may find yourself adding a bit more liquid if you use the larger amount of beans.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid; you may need some of it.

Put everything but the olive oil (and reserved bean liquid) into a food processor.

Process until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the bowl.

With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil, processing until the hummus is as soft/smooth as you like.

To cut back on fat, use a combination of olive oil and reserved bean liquid. Or use all bean liquid – though your hummus won’t taste as good without at least a touch of olive oil.

Use a spatula to test the texture. Just right?

Scoop it into a bowl. Here I’m serving the hummus with fresh, warm, homemade tortillas.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Hummus.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. JuliaJ

    How about substituting a teaspoon of sesame oil for some of the olive oil to give a bit of sesame flavor (it’s strong stuff so will try just a bit for starters)?

    The avalanche of dip recipes all sound yummy, perfect for summer picnics!

    Thanks!

    Great idea, Julia – of course sesame oil would be a perfect stand-in for the tahini. In fact, any kind of flavored olive oil would be lovely, too. Thanks for the inspiration- PJH

    Reply
  2. Laura

    Again, another thing I’ve always wanted to try, but no food processor, and my blender is too weak.

    You could try crushing with a potato masher, or using a mixer – it would be chunky, but still yummy. PJH

    Reply
  3. CJC

    I ran my beans and garlic through my mum’s Omega juicer last week and it worked great. I may have to try the mixer, though – I might not be fortunate enough to have a juicer when I start living in my own kitchen. :)
    Any ideas on which beans could replace the garbanzos to mix things up a little?
    Thanks!
    You could use almost any type of bean. I’ve used cannellini and PJ has used navy so experiment and let us know! Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  4. Emma

    I love the idea of hummus but I detest chickpeas. I’ve tried hummus in the past but I just can’t deal with the chickpea taste. Is there another bean I could use?

    Sure, Emma, you can use any bean. I’ve used white (navy) beans very successfully, and I’m sure you could use pintos, too, or cannellini. PJH

    Reply
  5. Lea

    An immersion blender works great for hummus! I use mine to make it all the time.

    Absolutely true, Lea – I forgot about that, thanks. PJH

    Reply
  6. Judy

    We eat a lot of hummus in our house. Our favorite has the addition of the zest and juice of one lemon and some fresh thyme. I just add water till the right consistency so there’s plenty of flavor but no added fat from the oil. Equally good with carrot sticks or tortilla chips!

    Reply
  7. Scenterella

    This looks soooo good. We use to have a favorite greek restaurant we went to and LOVED their hummus but, then we moved and have not been able to find anything half as good. I will have to make this so we can get our fix. We love garlic so we may end up using the 9 cloves. Thanks for the recipe.

    Remember, the garlic does increase its strength over time, so 9 cloves will give you one of those WOW WOW WOW garlic moments… PJH

    Reply
  8. Adina

    What’s the equivalent if I start with dried chickpeas? I’ve found recently that the taste of chickpeas made from dried is much better than that of the canned ones.

    No idea, Adina – cook some up and find out, I guess. Since the recipe doesn’t need to be precise as to the amount of chickpeas – just adjust the seasonings and liquid to the amount you use – you won’t have to stress too much about cooking the exact “right” amount. PJH

    Reply
  9. Bobbie

    My favorite hummus is red pepper hummus. How would you add to your recipe?

    Bobbie, I’d think you could roast red peppers enough to soften; peel if you don’t like any charred bits; then proceed with the recipe, using red peppers instead of garbanzos. Or use half garbanzos, half roasted red peppers? PJH

    Reply
  10. Claire

    I’ve used a mortar/pestle and chopped the garlic very, very fine when my blender went on the fritz. It makes a chunky but still tasty hummus

    My 3 year old daughter can (and has!) eaten an entire pint of hummus in one afternoon, so it’s something I always try to keep around for a healthy snack. I very rarely make it though, because tahini is so hard to find where I live. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Well, here’s your solution, Claire – hummus without tahini. Perfect! And very inexpensive, too. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    This is the motivation I need to start making hummus instead of buying it! We usually buy a big tub from Costco and it keeps quite a while once opened. How long will homemade keep in the fridge? About a week?

    Sarah, can’t tell you specifically, but I’m surprised bow long my homemade hummus stays good in the fridge. I’d say, 2 to 3 weeks? The thing is, it’s so easy to make, there’s no need to make tons of it at once – make enough for 1 week, then make it again. it’s REALLY fast. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  12. Mary Cay

    I find 1 1/2 cups of drained ,cooked beans is the same as a 15 ounce can of beans,drained.Since my DH has to watch his salt, i cook up a pound or so at a time and freeze them in 1 1/2 or 3 cup portions.

    Reply
  13. Rebecca

    re: the person who doesn’t like the flavor of chickpeas – I have used black beans many times and the flavor is great. Sometimes I throw in a portion of a canned chipotle pepper if I have one. I don’t know if that could be considered “real” hummus but it really is delicious. Its also a nice color contrast with regular hummus, I many times make a small batch of each flavor (black bean and regular) to take to a cookout because they are so pretty together!

    Rebecca, I love chipotle - but a little goes a long way, doesn't it? I was surprised how very hot it was. AND tasty. :) PJH

    Reply
  14. Kate

    Re: The person who likes Red Pepper hummus… it’s usually made with regular hummus and just about a half of a roasted red pepper, but you can add to taste. You still need the chick peas if you want it to taste like what you’ve bought in the store/had at restaurants.

    I come from an Arab family that would say its not hummus if there’s no tahini, but I’ll tell you a little secret, a bit of peanut butter comes pretty darn close to the taste of the real stuff. And I second the lemon recommendation.

    Thanks for the re pepper hummus advice, Kate. And I second the lemon juice – I used to add it, but more times than not I didn’t have a fresh lemon in the house, so gradually, I started leaving it out… but it’s definitely good. PJH

    Reply
  15. Jennifer Jorgensen

    For the people looking for an alternative to chick peas, one of my favorite hummus types comes from Trader Joe’s. I think it is all the same flavorings: fresh lemon juice, cumin, garlic, olive oil; but they use edamame instead of chick peas. Theirs is gorgeous. It would be a little work to defrost and shell those soy beans if you bought them frozen and ready to go, but it makes a great, and pretty, hummus.

    And I’ve seen frozen shelled edamame beans – thanks for the idea, Jennifer, sounds healthy and yummy both. PJH

    Reply
  16. Melinda

    I love King Arthur but this recipe makes me sad. Hummus is chick peas, tahini, olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt. Not other beans. No red peppers. No cumin. You might get a sprinkle of paprika on top. Call any other variation bean dip (and this looks like a pretty good dip!) It’s not hummus. You’re making my sweet Lebanese grandmother roll over. :(

    That said, here are some things I’ve learned:

    1. Refrigerate your tahini.
    2. If you find a strong taste from your canned chickpeas, soak them in fresh water. Still too strong? Give ‘em a bit of a boil on the stove.
    3. To get your hummus REALLY smooth, save a bit of the drained liquid from the can and add it towards the end of blending.

    I don’t mean to turn anyone off to trying new things…I’m just a bit of a purist when it comes to Lebanese food.

    It’s good to keep in mind a recipe’s roots, Melinda. Thanks for sharing- PJH

    Reply
  17. Rosemary

    I just started making my own hummus, it’s too expensive in the stores. So far I’ve been following a simple, basic recipe. The only changes I made is more garlic (love it, love it, love it), using 1/2 fresh garlic and 1/2 roasted garlic. The roasted garlic gives a richer taste. Thanks for the advice that the garlic taste get stronger with time – but we want to keep the vampires away, anyway. I’m interested in trying fresh garbanzo beans next time.

    Reply
  18. Allie

    Wow. I had no idea there was so many ways to make a mashed bean dip kind of thing. I love squished chickpeas as dip, whatever else you stick in the bowl. YUM. Pita, squished chickpea dip, and guacamole is a tasty thing.

    I can see I will be eating lots of healthy stuff this weekend, since I will need to try some of these ideas. With the homemade pita bread/flat bread (mine always puffs up but in very un-useful ways – the middle, the edge, two edges, etc.) recipe you guys have here, I will be all set.

    Reply
  19. DC mom

    You can easily freeze hummus if you make too much. I find it spoils much faster than 2-3 weeks though it’s usually eaten long before that.

    For super-duper-smooth hummus–or if you need a task to keep your kids occupied in the kitchen for awhile–rub the ‘husks’ off the beans before processing. This is no small job, and it takes away some excellent fiber, but it yields a luxuriously decadent and smooth hummus. Learned this from a middle eastern chef.

    Dried beans are fantastic–much better flavor than canned. Cooking them inspired me to get a pressure cooker, which I now can’t live without. I can make garbanzos from dried–no soaking!–inside of an hour and my kitchen doesn’t get hot from a long-simmering pan. No worrying about the plastic, BPA lining inside the cans. And organic dried beans are MUCH cheaper than canned regular beans.

    Now to try our hand at homemade pita!

    Reply
  20. Laura

    So, today I got a brand new, unused blender. I decided to use it and make this, after my strawberry banana smoothie. It was the best hummus I’ve ever eaten, better than the bland stuff from the grocery store.

    Reply
  21. ellen

    @bobbie: I love red pepper hummus too. as a shortcut I use a few of those jarred roasted red peppers. just put them in before the liquid b/c you will have to use less oil/water than in the plain kind.
    @emma: my favorite non-chickpea bean dip is a combo of white beans and pesto, make it the same way as this recipe but put in a few spoonfulls of pesto or a handful of basil and some pinenuts

    thanks for all these dip posts KA :-D perfect prep for my summer cookouts and pot lucks!

    Reply
  22. Iggy

    Nice to stumble across other hummus-lovers on this fine day.
    One of my fond childhood memories is from when my father would make hummus from scratch for Sunday breakfast.
    He used to pimp it up with variable spices, topped with chopped tomatoes, peppers, avocado, and in a glorious moment of Palestinian-Norwegian fusion; minced moose meat and chanterelles. Best Breakfast Ever.

    Btw, I notice you seem worried about the fat from olive oil. It is normally though that olive oil has great health benefits, and that it is one of the most healthy cooking oils of all. Especially when eaten cold.
    There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts antiinflamatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects in humans. It thus reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
    It would be far better for most people to exchange more fat in their diet from animal fat to olive oil.
    Drizzle it on everything, and you shall live long in the land :)

    Reply
  23. SallyBR

    I normally don’t like to mess with a classic, but last time I made hummus from scratch (and I did use tahini, but next time I’ll try to go for a little sesame oil instead, as Julia suggested) – I added smoked paprika, just a touch

    wow! That was awesome!

    Reply
  24. ATL Cook

    I added sour cream to store bought hummus that was too thick to dip vegetables in. I wonder if it would work with home made?

    I cook dried beans in the Crock Pot–no soaking needed. Do it overnight and they are ready the next morning. All those canned bean juices have way too much salt for me.

    I’d add some herbs too. Have lemon thyme which should be good. How about a little Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, chunky with flax seed? Mmmm.

    It was 100º in Hotlanta today; so cold salads and foods are the way to go. Took about 5 minutes to make sun tea today ~ ~ ~

    Reply
  25. BellesAZ

    When I was in college, my good friend and neighbor was from Jordan. He loved to cook and one of my very favorites was his Hummus and made from scratch Pitas. Hummus is very traditional and is made with only a bit of garlic (not 9 cloves – even 3 is pushing it) lemon juice, tahini and some of the liquid from the can. No cumin, no anything else.. just chickpeas.

    It is, however, easily adapted to any taste – including Westernized versions, flavor it up or add what you want. I think if you don’t want to buy tahini (not cheap and unless you eat alot of hummus, could be wasteful), then don’t! If you want to add cumin, then DO! Celebrate diversity and palates of a wide variety of flavor. I would never dream of putting in 9 cloves of garlic, but thats just me.

    When I plate my hummus, I drizzle olive oil on the top, sprinkle with a touch of paprika and serve with not just pita, but also a nice assortment of thinly sliced veggies cut on a diagonal… try carrots, cucumber, massively big black olives or even wedges of tomato straight from the garden. Just enjoy it.. it’s healthy, it’s easy and very satisfying.

    HINT: Try warming your chickpeas and broth in a saucepan until they are just at a simmer. They will break down easier in your food processor and you will get a creamier, more flavorful dish.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment here. I love everything you say. And next time, I’m going to simmer the chickpeas first. PJH

    Reply
  26. Heather

    Interesting comments! They make me think of a NYTimes article about hummus that just ran a few days ago — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/dining/16united.html?ref=dining. I love plain hummus but I especially like it with roasted garlic. I’m also a big fan of Trader Joe’s kalamata olive hummus, which is funny because I’m generally not the biggest olive fan! And I’ve been meaning to whip up some hummus for the past few days, so all this talk of it has spurred me on to toss some chickpeas in the pressure cooker and some garlic under the broiler. Can’t wait!

    Reply
  27. B Scott

    I call the recipe above “Garlicky Chickpea Puree” – not Hummus. I’m sure if you make the puree, it will be enjoyable. Hummus is an all together different and amazing food experience which can become an obsession.
    I recommend exploring the “The Hummus Blog” at http://humus101.com/EN/. This blog is written by two hummus-obsessed Israeli brothers with great descriptions and basic recipes. Their hummus recipe is at http://humus101.com/EN/2006/10/14/hummus-recipe/. This recipe includes the two essential ingredients, lemon juice and tahini, which are missing above and which makes real hummus.
    Regarding tahini, I like a more subltle nutty flavor and so put in less tahini to start with than the amount mentioned in a lot of recipes. (And yes, I would buy a natural peanut butter – no added sugar, etc. if I could not obtain tahini – start with 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of tahini.)
    I prefer a lighter texture hummus. My prefereed store brand is Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus (www.sabra.com). I find it easier to achieve a lighter hummus using an immersion blender in a tall narrow container. Once you chill hummus, it becomes more dense so beat it a bit more than you might expect. Use the lemon juice to thin it and than once you achieve the preferred amount of “tang”, use plain water. When I use canned chickpeas, I rinse them and throw out the liquid in the can. I find the chickpeas have plenty of flavor and I like the clean flavors of a few tablespoon so good olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and plain water.
    Finally, take a look at this short video about the quest for the best hummus and see how some people make a meal out of hummus. http://humus101.com/EN/2009/04/15/the-best-hummus-video-yet/
    Enjoy your homemade Hummus.

    Thank you for sharing your hummus expertise! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  28. Sonya J Mills

    I whipped this up last night to go with some fresh organic grape tomatoes I’d picked up from the farmers market. I used some surprise garlic I found in our veggie garden this spring (moved in last fall) that I’d harvested just days ago. Within 30 minutes the entire batch had been gobbled up by my 2 daughters, myself and my mother-in-law.

    Delicious.

    So glad for the comments here! I’ve tried making traditional hummus in the past but the tahini didn’t taste right. Now I’m wondering if it might’ve been rancid when I bought it. The tip to store it in the fridge is much appreciated. I’ll have to try it again someday. Lots of other great variations on this bean dip. Thanks!

    Reply
  29. catknitter

    I haven’t made hummus since we moved to Japan as I could not find Tahini. This recipe will be perfect.

    I recently discovered tahini in the commissary but you never know how old it is or whether they will get it back in or not. Having an alternative is perfect!

    I guarantee you’ll never miss the tahini – enjoy! PJH

    Reply

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