Have you ever wondered how to make hummus from scratch using dried chickpeas? Silky smooth, balanced, light and fluffy. Is this how you would describe the hummus you’ve been eating?
Big statement, I know, but wait until you try this deliciousness. If not, I have some news for you. You haven’t made or bought the best hummus yet. I’m here to show you how to make hummus from scratch and transform your life.
If you’re currently buying your weekly dose of hummus at your local grocer, that will not compare or come close to how tasty the real hummus is when you make it at home using dried chickpeas.
Yes, it’s a little more involved than grabbing a tub off the fridge shelf and tossing it into your trolley but trust me, you’ll never buy another tub of hummus again after you make this recipe.
Now before we get into talking about all things hummus related, let’s clarify something. Hummus literally means “chickpeas” in Arabic. So for those of you that say chickpea hummus, you’re saying “chickpea chickpea”. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it, shall we?
This popular Middle Eastern dip is known to be made fresh every morning and served as breakfast, a snack, as well as on the side of most meals for lunch and dinner.
Hummus has won the world over, but it’s so much more than just a snack to be served with carrots and celery sticks. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s super healthy and all, but hummus has so much more potential. I’ll get to serving suggestions later.
Even though I already have multiple recipes that use hummus, I was inspired by a cooking series I watched on Middle Eastern cuisine to do a better job at it.
I got excited about challenging myself to make the best classic hummus that you can find. Simple, everyday ingredients that most of us already have in our pantries that transform into a beautifully smooth and creamy spread.
Up until this point, I’ve been making hummus at home for around 8-9 years, and it’s been good. But I’ll never make that hummus again. Once you try this, you won’t go back either.
Not only will the flavourless store-bought hummus never set foot in your house again, but you’ll be wondering where the real hummus has been all your life. The way that you’ve been eating it will also transform. Let me explain.
I always used to eat only cold hummus. Make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge to enjoy over multiple days. I also always used canned chickpeas. Those two rookie errors alone will change the game. If you normally don’t like hummus, this recipe will change your mind!
What is in hummus?
You’ll find only a handful of ingredients in any good hummus recipe. Here’s what you’ll find in this one.
Chickpeas are what makes hummus, hummus. They’re a great protein-filled legume that is a wonderful base for our favourite dip. You can use dry or canned chickpeas for this recipe; you can read more about that in my tips and tricks section below.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that creates a beautiful nutty and earthy flavour in the hummus. Complimenting the chickpeas perfectly, the quality of the tahini is essential.
Only use the variety that you like the taste of on its own, and make sure you stir in the natural oils that can sometimes sit on top. To learn more about tahini, I’ve written about it in my tahini dressing recipe.
Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice. The kind that you buy at the shops that come in a plastic container will not give the hummus the same zesty freshness. This brightens the tahini and gives it that lovely lightness and fresh flavour to round out the tahini notes.
The same goes for garlic. Please use fresh, raw garlic for this recipe. It makes all the difference. Use more or less depending on how much you love the bite that raw garlic gives.
If you want to mellow the lemon out a little, add it to the lemon juice in a small bowl for 10 minutes before adding it to the food processor. It’ll just take the edge off a little.
The key ingredient to bring all the flavours and ingredients to life! Adjust the salt to your palette.
Ground cumin is not always used in hummus (normally used as a topping), but I like the earthy balance and hint of flavour that cumin brings to the dip. This ingredient is totally optional.
This hummus is technically oil-free, but in a classic hummus, you’ll always see a generous drizzle of oil in the crevices of the hummus on your plate. It stops the hummus from drying out and adds that extra bit of creaminess. It’s not necessary. However, you can also add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil into your hummus to give it that extra elevated flavour.
I haven’t personally tried it, but I’ve heard that you can use olive oil in its place if you don’t want to use tahini. You would use much less so you don’t get that strong olive oil taste in the back of your throat, but add it in a single stream with the food processor on to achieve ultimate creaminess.
What makes hummus so creamy?
The creaminess comes from a few different factors: good-quality tahini, super soft chickpeas, and cold water if needed.
The way that you get the chickpeas silky smooth is by adding one little extra ingredient into your cooking water, bicarb soda.
Bicarb soda (aka baking soda) raises the pH level of the water and helps the chickpeas break down, creating that creamy pureè for the perfect hummus.
One last factor that also helps get the best creamy hummus is removing the chickpea skins once you’ve cooked them. It’s easier than you think once the chickpeas have overcooked in the bicarb salty water.
Most of the chickpeas will float to the top (see photo below, end right), and you can typically just scoop them out that way.
Rinse and repeat until you get as many of the skins as possible. I wouldn’t stand there peeling each one (unless you feel like it) as it can get time-consuming, and I think if you get the majority of them, it’ll be fine.
Here are my tips and tricks to make the best homemade hummus
- One thing that most people don’t realise is that hummus is meant to be eaten warm or at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge. The first time I made hummus with dried chickpeas straight after having cooked them, the flavour profile was so different and in a good way! Give it a try. If you want to warm it up if it has been in the fridge, just transfer it to a pot and cook for around 10 minutes (add some water and stir it in) on medium heat or in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring occassionally. The flavours really come alive!
- As I mentioned above, adding bicarb soda is key to get a silky smooth and creamy hummus. Please don’t skip this step!
- Another thing I made note of above is to remove chickpeas skins once they’ve cooked. If you don’t have the time, or can’t be bothered, your hummus will still taste amazing, it just won’t take it to the next level – that being silky smooth and ridicilously fluffy.
- It’s really important to use a good-quality tahini for your hummus. I used to use unhulled tahini for years because of its extra nutritional value, but it’s too bitter for a traditional hummus. So, I’ve started using hulled tahini for my hummus. This means that the outer kernel has been removed from the sesame seed therefore removing the strong bitter flavour and making it lighter in colour. I believe it also makes the consistency of the tahini nice and thin. The brands that I use are either Chef’s Choice or the Macro (Woolworths brand) here in Australia. I’ve heard that Soom makes a really nice tahini if you’re based in the US.
- Hummus is freezer friendly. Simply add it to an airtight container – leaving about an inch of space at the top as the hummus will expand as it freezes. It’ll be fine for around 2-3 months in your freezer. To defrost, pop it in your fridge overnight. You may get a thicker hummus, and can fix that with stirring in a bit of cold water.
- Ideally use a food processor or blender to make your hummus (I’ve tried both with great success). However, if you don’t have either of those, I’ve seen it made traditionally with a pestle (from a mortar and pestle- the pounding stick) and a ceramic bowl. You can see that method in this video. Your hummus will be thicker and chunkier but delicious nevertheless!
- If you don’t have time, or can’t find dried chickpeas, you can use canned chickpeas instead. (Just note that you won’t get the same results.) Add the drained chickpeas to a pot with 5 cups of water and ½ a teaspoon of bicarb soda. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas are super soft. From there, follow the rest of the instructions as per the recipe below.
Topping ideas for creamy homemade hummus
There are an endless amount of ways to serve your hummus. For this recipe, I wanted to keep it super simple and authentic. Mine is topped with some of the saved cooked chickpeas, cumin powder, sumac and olive oil. Below are a few extra suggestions to get your creativity flowing.
- Thin strips of red roasted peppers
- Pickled whole green peppers/chillies/jalapenos
- White/black sesame seeds
- Za’atar spice
- Any fresh green herb, in particlar parsley and cilantro/coriander
- Lemon zest
- Chilli powder
- Fresh or sun-dried tomatoes
- Baked garlic cloves
- Caremalised onion
- Pickled onion
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (if you like extra zing)
- Toasted pine nuts
- Flaked or slivered almonds
What can I serve with hummus?
Just like the topping ideas, this list is also almost endless! Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- In a wrap with falafels
- Dip falafels into it
- Dip any kind of bread into it
- An addition to an entree
- With roasted vegetables
- On the side of a salad
- On toast with tofu scramble
- On toast with other toppings (see toppings above for ideas)
- As breakfast with a few different condiments (gherkins, olives, bread, roasted red bell peppers)
- As part of a toastie, burger or sandwich
- The most popular way (until now) alongside crackers, carrot and celery sticks
- Part of a nourish bowl
- Tossed through noodles or pasta
If I haven’t convinced you yet to try this recipe, I don’t know what will! With any simple recipe that you do try, adjust the ingredients to your liking.
Prefer the hummus to be a little bit more garlicky? Add an extra clove. Want a stronger tang? Add more lemon juice. You get where I’m going with this. More or less salt, even some pepper or chilli powder for that slight bit of background heat.
Other basic recipes you’ll love:
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