Classic Hummus

I’m gearing up for our trip to Israel and getting so excited about immersing myself in the delicious world of Israeli food. We visit Israel every couple of years, and I always look forward to the fresh kibbutz-grown produce and flavorful Middle Eastern spices. One of my favorite indulgences when we visit Israel is the hummus.

Hummus was adopted by the Jews from the Arab food culture and has become a mainstay in the Israeli diet. Fresh hummus is served in almost every Israeli restaurant. It’s eaten as both an appetizer and a main course, usually served with hot baked pita bread and a bowl of olives. It’s often paired with fresh fried falafel. I love hummus because it’s tasty, filling, and heart-healthy. It’s vegetarian and pareve, which means it can be served alongside a kosher meat meat. Twenty years ago, hummus was relegated to the health food stores, an oft-overlooked exotic Middle Eastern side dish with a niche audience. The dish has quickly gained popularity in the U.S. and can now be found at most major grocery stores. It’s nutritious and gluten-free… and if you make it yourself, it’s affordable too! You can make about three times the amount of hummus for the price of one store-bought tub, and it tastes so much better made fresh. As long as you have a food processor, nothing could be simpler. Of course, you could mash it the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle, but it will take some serious elbow grease. I highly recommend the processor if you have access to one. ;)

I like adding roasted garlic to my hummus instead of plain garlic. The roasted garlic adds depth to the flavor, and just a hint of smokiness that I find delicious. It’s also easier on the stomach. I’ve provided instructions for roasting garlic on a previous blog. Feel free to use raw garlic if you prefer a stronger, sharper garlic flavor. Keep in mind that all ingredients are “to taste.” The key to great hummus is tasting often and adjusting the flavors as desired.

This hummus will taste best when made with cooked chickpeas instead of canned. To learn how to prep the chickpeas, check out this post: How to Soak and Cook Chickpeas.

There are endless variations on traditional hummus– you can add roasted bell peppers, spinach, or olives to make your own creative flavors. You can also use black beans in place of garbanzos. Enjoy!

Note: Since originally posting this recipe, I have improved it by doubling the amount of roasted garlic and cutting the amount of liquid added at the beginning of processing. I’ve also cut the salt lightly; salt it more to taste if you want. I am always working to improve my recipes, and these small changes take this hummus from good to fantastic. Enjoy!

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Classic Hummus

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups soaked and cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (1 1/2 cups dry) OR
  • 2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed - I prefer cooked beans
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 8 roasted garlic cloves, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Paprika and fresh minced parsley for garnish (optional)

You will also need

  • Food processor
Prep Time: 05 - 2 Hours
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 10 - 2 Hours 10 Minutes
Servings: 10-12 appetizer portions
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • If using canned chickpeas, drain the chickpea water from one can into a small bowl and reserve. If using dried chickpeas, drain and rinse them after soaking, then simmer them in lightly salted water on the stovetop for 60-90 minutes until soft and tender. Drain the beans and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water in a small bowl.
  • Note: to make this hummus ultra creamy, you can peel the cooked chickpeas. Squeeze each chickpea gently to remove the skin, then discard the skins before processing. While this step is not completely necessary, it will ensure that your hummus turns out very smooth and creamy.
  • Reserve about 15-20 whole chickpeas for garnish. Outfit your food processor with a blade attachment. Place chickpeas, tahini paste, roasted garlic, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper into the processor.
  • Pulse the ingredients for about 60 seconds, then process until smooth. Taste the mixture and add more salt, lemon juice, or garlic to taste. Process again to blend any additional ingredients. If the texture seems too thick, add some of the reserved water from the chickpea can or cooking liquid and continue to process until desired consistency is reached.
  • Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl and create a well in the center with a spoon. Garnish with reserved chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika and minced fresh parsley. Serve with pita, crackers, or fresh dipping vegetables.

 

Comments (57)Post a Comment

  1. Looks great, didn’t realize how easy it was. Guess I’ll have to get off my lazy tookus and make some on of these days.

    1. Teresa, yes you can make it without the tahini, but it honestly won’t be as yummy or creamy. Hummus without tahini isn’t really hummus, it’s more like a dip. You also may not need as much liquid for the texture.

  2. Hi honey, love your blog. Long time reader, first time commenter. This looks so good. I was starting to feel guilty spending $5 on a tub of Sabra, and really it doesn’t taste as good as the hummus at the Arab restaurant in my town. You inspired me, can’t wait to whip some up fresh this weekend!

  3. I usually use little more lemon in mine. Never tried it with roast garlic only plain, the roasted sounds good.

    1. Hi Orly! The roasted garlic makes it more mild/digestible, the raw garlic is a bit sharper. Both are good, but I prefer it roasted. Others like it raw because the flavor is stronger. This is definitely one of those recipes where ingredients should be adjusted “to taste”– some people like a little more lemon, others more garlic, others more spice. Adjust to taste and enjoy!

    1. Hi Laura! Tahini paste can usually be found in the same section as the peanut butter. It’s sold in jars. It’s made from sesame seeds pulverized into a nut-butter texture. If you can’t find tahini at your grocery store, your local health food market or Middle Eastern store should carry it. Enjoy!

  4. I almost always use peanut butter in place of the tahini. I always have too much left over and never use it in time and I feel bad wasting a whole jar of tahini.

  5. I made hummus with black beans and Cannellini beans that turned out quite good. Have never used tahini in any of my hummus as it is expensive and a bit hard to find where I live. I once took some quite garlicy chickpea hummus to a potluck. People complained it was too garlicy but ate up mine because the other hummus brought to the party was just too bland. I am a garlic freak.

  6. WOW, this is the best hummus I ever tasted! I never tried it with tahini paste before and it made a big difference in the flavor. Thank you for sharing!

  7. It’s good that you include the olive oil in the well at the end, the Israeli way; you might try making the hummus without blending olive oil into the mixture.
    Instead of paprika, Aleppo pepper (semi-hot) is also good sprinkled on top.

    1. Hummus I think is the bomb!! I first tried when a friend brought chips and hummus to the beach omg!! I so lime it on a pretzel

  8. Great stuff in here, Tori!! I consider myself a hummus queen and am constantly tweaking my recipe. I recently started roasting the garlic but I will switch to your wonderful way. Thanks so much for the explicit instructions! I use no oil but a lot of the cooking water from the beans to loosen it. I use Maldon salt, cumin & coriander. I also include the zest of the lemons, a recent tweak. The hummus is to die for and much better and cheaper than Sabra or any brand. I start by soaking 1 pound of chickpeas and using 4 cups for my recipe and have 2 cups in the fridge which are great to throw into practically anything. I use the cooking water and freeze the rest in ice cube trays to use as a marinade enhancer. I have to give away 1 pound to friends to avoid having to throw any out. It lasts 8 or maybe 9 days and I eat it with veggies only and lost 10 pounds as a result of eating so many veggies (cukes, radishes, daikon, red or green cabbage (smear on a leaf and roll; surprisingly great), jicama, and, new great one for me, kohlrabi (crunchy and delicious), and mini tri-color peppers. It’s more of a meal for me than a snack. Love it! I’d be happy to share my recipe. Just ask!

  9. I really love your recipes with the explanatory photos. I see you have a passion for Middle Eastern recipes. Will you please come up with a delicious, easy recipe version of deconstructed grasp leaves or stuffed zucchini or stuffed egg plants? (using the beef meat version?). Please! I don’t have the patience to roll grape leaves or hollow out then stuff zucchini or eggplants with a meat/rice stuffing. I have always thought to myself there must be a quick and efficient way to make these, albeit using some deconstructed method. Thank you kindly :)

    1. Lama, that’s an interesting idea. I’ve done deconstructed stuffed cabbage, but not the stuffed zucchini or eggplant. I don’t think the deconstructed grape leaves would work, since the leaves themselves don’t have much texture or bite to them on their own– but the zucchini or eggplant might be doable. I’ll keep it in mind!

  10. Awesome recipe, again. Sallyanne dresses it with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced black olives and feta cheese. Whoa, it’s the first thing goes at our parties.

  11. Tried your hummis recipe out on my boyfriend. Have been summarily advised that I should NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, purchase store-bought hummis again!! LOL! It was a huge hit! Thanks Tori!

  12. I have begun to pop the chickpeas out of their skins before using. Makes the hummus smooth, smooth, smooth! It takes a bit of time. I sit at kitchen table and listen to itunes, can do a can in about 12 minutes, or dried beans/boiled in about the same amount of time. They also taste a lot better to me without skins (creamier).

    Try it, I think you’ll notice a significant difference!

    1. Hi Gena, yes– if you look at the instructions above, I have added this tip, which I was recently reminded of by Deb Perelman on Smitten Kitchen. It definitely does make a difference if you have the time to do it!

  13. hi i want to make hummus but i don’t want to use 8 roasted garlic cloves so how many fresh cloves should i use because as u know if i put eight fresh ones it would be really strong so how many?

    1. Start with 1 medium clove and process. Taste. If you want it more garlicky, add another clove. Continue adding till it tastes the way you want it to. If I’m using raw I usually only add one clove, but I don’t like my hummus super garlicky.

  14. I am a very strict vegan , I am following Dr. Esselstynes diet , almost to the letter.I am trying to reverse my heart disease. I cannot use oil of any kind, not even the sesame oil which is in tahini. I love hummus and I want to make my own. I love it on whole wheat bread that I make using no oil. Do you have a recipe that I use? Thank you in advance for your time. Jim

    1. Hi Jim, I don’t have a recipe for tahini-free hummus. You can try making the recipe as written, but omit the oil and tahini. Add warm water to the blender till the mixture is smooth. It may taken you several times scraping the sides of the processor and reblending till it gets smooth; the water will help. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

  15. Hi Tori, greetings from Denmark, thank you for all the great receipes in here, we also enjoy a good hummus here, I always use tahine, but I always have too much of it left over, since they only sell it in large bowls where I live. Do you know for how long an opened bowl of tahine can be kept in the fridge?

    1. Hi Amalie, in my experience tahini in a closed sealed jar will last quite a long time– a few weeks, at least– if it is kept refrigerated. It’s similar to peanut butter in that way.

  16. Love your site – such lovely pics with your recipes!

    I have a Vitamix blender that I use for (well, everything) making hummus. A bonus of the high-speed blender is that I don’t need to use tahini… I can use sesame seeds instead. The blender blitzes everything to creamy oblivion (skins on the chickpeas too) so I don’t have to whinge over a jar of tahini languishing in my fridge.

    Although I doubt it would languish long these days anyway, since my 3yo son refuses to eat meat – but he loves hummus. I add nonfat Greek yogurt to it to make the hummus a more filling and nutritious meal for him.

    Oh, and an emergency substitution of lime juice has turned into our favorite recipe tweak of all time! Try it some time instead of lemon! Thanks again for creating such a wonderful site! I can’t wait to try more recipes!

  17. I tweak this with lemon AND lime. I used the fresh and the roasted. I am not going to use the fresh again after the roasted was tasted! Delicious with the cumin as well. I have never seen that one in any recipe and I have been making my own for a long time. YUM!

  18. Excellent recipe. I’ve made hummus this way for some time, but this inspired me to start from scratch by cooking the garbanzo beans, and it really is superior! The cooking water can be added to the mixture if you need a little liquid in order to get a nice puree. I will also try roasting the garlic, as I prefer a more mild garlic flavor, and raw can be too sharp.

    There is also a wonderful spice, smoked sumac, that can be sprinkled on top instead of paprika. I’m not sure if it’s used in Israel, but it is used on hummus in other Middle Eastern cuisines, and it adds a wonderful, smoky depth of flavor. It’s not always easy to find, but well worth the effort.

  19. Thank you for your wonderful recipes. I also am going to try making the tahini sauce as well as the Falafel as per your directions. Seems mouthwatering. But can I cut out the onion and garlic?

    1. Hi Vidya– you’re welcome! You can cut the onion and garlic, but they might be kind of bland without. If you have trouble digesting garlic, try roasting it first. It really makes a big difference.

  20. Hi. Just discovered your site today….will be reading often! Two notes on hummus. I live in the southwest and like spice and have been adding Chipotle to my hummus (powder not the chipotle Chile in adobo) with some toasted red Chile flakes. I roast peeled garlic cloves in a saucepan with olive oil – enough to cover, and then use the oil to sauté or add to my hummus if I want a more delicate garlic flavor. This might help someone who wants the flavor but has problems with raw garlic. I found your site today looking for a recipe for challah bread. I made it for a friend who had asked me to bake 2 loaves for him and some friends tonight. I didn’t get to taste it but he told me it was a great success.

  21. I had hummus AND falafal a long time ago and always thought I hated chick peas because of the taste. Then I had a dish called Jasmine’s Rice which was jasmine rice with cooked carrots, chick peas, onions, celery and topped with roast lamb. Now I know from a meal I made the other night that I’m not that into Tahini. So I found a recipe to make hummus with peanut butter instead of tahini (and another that talked about making hummus without tahini because kids don’t like the taste of tahini. Guess I’m a kid) and I used this recipe. So when I processed it I had to do more after the first 1/4 cup of water, so I added the next one with lemon juice. Fantastic!!! Give it a try using organic natural peanut butter (found some without even salt — only ingredient was peanuts) and it is fantastic with all the subtle flavors coming through.

  22. I lived in Israel for 3yrs and my favorite part was the food. Falefa was my absolute favorite. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner. I still miss it now that am back,home.there was,this shawama place in takana( hope I spelt it write) .it was to die for. Omg. I loooooove Israeli food.

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