I’m fairly convinced that hummus is some of the best stuff on earth. It might look beige and boring in the bowl, but this blend of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic creates a dip that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Skip the store-bought stuff — making it yourself is so easy and will be far tastier than just about anything from the deli section.
What Is Hummus?
Hummus is a Middle Eastern invention, and I am thankful for it. Chickpeas are a sweet and nutty legume that become incredibly creamy when blended, especially once you add a few spoonfuls of sesame tahini and a healthy glug of good olive oil. Lemon juice gives the blend a tart balance, while garlic adds its own pungent punch. It’s fantastic with just these five ingredients (plus salt and pepper), but can be even better with spices like sumac, cumin, and smoked paprika.
The Easiest, Everyday Hummus from a Can of Chickpeas
The hummus we’re making here uses canned chickpeas, which are readily available, easily stored for spur-of-the-moment hummus cravings, and also surprisingly good. This said, hummus made from chickpeas that you cook yourself is a beautiful thing. If you have the time and inclination, I encourage you to try it. You’ll need about two cups of cooked chickpeas for this recipe (roughly 1/3 pound dried chickpeas).
Tips & Tricks for Easy Everyday Hummus
Hummus is more of an idea than a recipe — this is my favorite version, but there is lots of room for others. Play around with the proportions, add some spices, and make this recipe your own.
For even smoother hummus: If you love super-smooth hummus, it’s also worth taking the time to pinch the skins from each chickpea. This is a time-consuming endeavor, no question, but hummus made with these chickpeas is smooth as silk.
Tahini & its substitutes: Tahini is one ingredient you might not have in your pantry. In a pinch, you can substitute other nut butters, but there’s something about the earthy, slightly bitter taste of tahini made from sesame seeds that adds that little “something” to hummus. Stored in the fridge, a big jar of tahini will last for quite some time, so you don’t have to worry about using it up right away. Along with hummus, tahini is also fantastic in salad dressings, sauces for grilled foods, and as a spread on sandwiches.
Deli containers of store-bought hummus are always a disappointment — over-salted, a little too coarse, and never worth the price tag. It just makes sense to make hummus at home. I made this batch of hummus using my go-to brand of chickpeas, Goya. These canned legumes have a beautifully creamy texture, but most importantly they remain intact in the can, which is essential when pinching skins is the first step of the procedure.
I wondered at first if this step was truly worth it, in the end deciding to remove the skins and choosing the shortcut of canned beans rather than cooking dried beans to account for the extra work. For even smoother hummus, I increased the processing time to five minutes and thinned the dip with some of the reserved chickpea liquid (aquafaba) rather than adding more lemon juice and olive oil to maintain the balance of flavors.
— Patty, May 2018
How To Make Hummus from Scratch
Yield: Makes about 1 1/3 cups
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (do not drain), or about 2 cups drained, cooked chickpeas
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon), plus more as needed
- 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Serving options: pita wedges, pita chips, raw sliced vegetables
- Food processor or blender
- Can opener
- Fine mesh strainer
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Citrus reamer (optional)
- Rubber spatula
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas into a strainer, reserving the liquid from the can. If time and patience allow, pinch the skins from each of the chickpeas; this will make your hummus smoother.
Combine all ingredients in the food processor. Combine the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender.
Blend hummus until smooth, at least 5 minutes. Process the hummus continuously until it becomes very smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to integrate any large chunks.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste. If your hummus is stiffer than you'd like, blend 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin it out and make the hummus creamier.
Transfer to a bowl and serve. Scrape the hummus into a bowl and serve with pita chips or raw vegetables.
Emma Christensen is a former editor for The Kitchn and a graduate of the Cambridge School for Culinary Arts. She is the author of True Brews and Brew Better Beer. Check out her website for more cooking stories.