...or the last hummus with canned chickpeas recipe you'll ever need.
Why Make Homemade Hummus
I have been making homemade hummus ever since I realized I could make it at home myself instead of buying plastic container after plastic container of the stuff either at the grocery store or as a special "extra large side" from my favorite Mediterranean restaurants. Hummus generally isn't that much cheaper to make at home, but it's always nice to know where every single ingredient comes from, and of course, it's infinitely more fun.
What You Need for Homemade Hummus
The first few times I made hummus, I cobbled together bits and pieces of different hummus recipes I found on the internet — almost every recipe has the same few ingredients, and these are what you need for this recipe:
- lemon/lemon juice
- olive oil salt
- a not-so-secret ingredient!
My hummus always tasted just okay, spicy with garlic and tart with lemon juice, but I never got the same ultra creamy, fluffy consistency of the restaurant hummus that even the grocery store hummus didn't always have.
Hummus doesn't have a lot of ingredients, so I tweaked here and there trying to achieve that creamy, fluffy hummus, whether it was ingredient amounts, the order in which they were added to the recipe, and even completely removing or adding other ingredients. Adding more lemon juice made the hummus, duh, too lemony. Putting all of the ingredients in the food processor at the same time as opposed to puréeing the chickpeas first made no difference. Adding more olive oil to the hummus left it grainy and just more runny.
A-Ha Moment for Fluffy, Creamy Texture in Homemade Hummus
Then, like every good food-obsessive a few years ago, I got my hands on Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook, Jerusalem. The simple recipe for hummus was a revelation to me. The recipe uses no olive oil, called for a lot of tahini, and added of all things, ice water. I was skeptical.
I made hummus following Ottolenghi's recipe.
The hummus was perfect.
They key here was the ice water, which seemed counter-intuitive to me. I'm no food scientist, but something about cold water at high-speed emulsifies the fat in the tahini, creating a smooth, creamy texture, not unlike the way emulsification of oil and vinegar creates a smooth and creamy salad dressing.
Canned or Dried Chickpeas?
There might be some science of to starting with dried chickpeas and dry-sautéing them with baking soda, but truth be told, starting with either dried chickpeas and slow-cooking them myself, or using great quality canned chickpeas didn't seem to make a difference in my own endeavors.
Canned chickpeas are easy and convenient, but if you've got the time, energy, and curiosity, try this recipe for Hummus with Dried Chickpeas.
How to Make Homemade Hummus with Canned Chickpeas
With that technique of adding ice water, plus testing and tasting over the years, I have my favorite recipe for Hummus with Canned Chickpeas. I cut down on both the tahini and the lemon juice, and omit the olive oil from the hummus itself. You do need a beautiful fruity, fragrant olive oil to swirl as a garnish at the end though!
Making the hummus is almost as easy as dumping everything into a food processor and letting it spin. I say "almost" because there is a little bit of technique involved in the order you add them to the food processor:
- garlic in food processor first to get the chop started
- pulse chickpeas until you get a thick mixture
- tahini, lemon juice, and salt to "loosen" the puree
- ice water one tablespoon at a time until fluffy
If you're more of a visual person, watch a short video of the making of the hummus here.
Ingredients Notes and Shopping Resources for Homemade Hummus
- CHICKPEAS. This hummus recipe is specific for canned chickpeas. My favorite brand of canned chickpeas is Eden Organic, but use whatever canned chickpeas you already have or can find. If you have it in you to start with dried chickpeas, use this recipe for Classic Hummus from Dried Chickpeas .
- TAHINI. Tahini is a Mediterranean-based smooth puree of sesame seeds, essentially a seed butter. It adds a nutty, umami, toasted flavor to foods and a fluffy texture to hummus. I have tried and liked Artisana Organic, Joyva, Kevala Organic, Whole Foods 365 Organic and a few other brands that aren't memorable, but all of which I was able to find either online or in a regular grocery store in Los Angeles. The one I like the most is Soom, which I first saw in the little shop at Suraya restaurant in Philadelphia (photo above). If you can't find tahini, or are new to tahini and don't want to spend money on an entire jar, you can substitute with half the amount of sesame oil, or leave the tahini out (use this hummus recipe with no tahini here), with the understanding that the final hummus will be good, but will taste very different.
- KOSHER SALT. I use Diamond Crystal brand, which is in the burgundy red box.
- OLIVE OIL. The olive oil here is for garnish at the end so use your favorite. I use California Olive Ranch.
How and Where to Eat Homemade Hummus
Wait. I don't understand the question? You mean there are ways to eat Homemade Hummus other than just immediately out of the food processor with a spoon?
These are some awesome ways to serve and eat Homemade Hummus, which you can treat as a dip, spread, salad base, and it doesn't have to be considered just an appetizer:
- as a snack by itself with pita chips (here's my homemade Pita Chips recipe!)
- on the Epic Mediterranean Mezze Platter as a dip with pita bread and crudites
- spread hummus on toast, grilled flatbread (you can make this 3-ingredient flatbread yourself in a skillet!), or baked pizza piled with vibrant vegetables
- Loaded Hummus Platter as a dippable "salad," spooned onto a platter and loaded with chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, avocado, and red onions
Variations of Classic Homemade Hummus
Of course you've seen all the different flavored hummuses (hummi?) at the grocery store like roasted red pepper and cilantro.
Once you've gotten yourself into the rhythm of making this classic flavored hummus, you can branch out and add ingredients like fresh or dried herbs, spices, and even other roasted or cooked vegetables for different flavors. Puree larger ingredients like roasted vegetables right along with with chickpeas. Add seasonings like herbs and spices when you add the tahini, lemon juice, and salt.
Here are a few of my favorite variations:
- Roasted Garlic Hummus. 1 full head of roasted garlic added with the chickpeas make the most insanely garlick-y Roasted Garlic Hummus ever
- Roasted Beet Hummus. 1 small chopped roasted red beet added with the chickpeas makes a bright fuschia Roasted Beet Hummus with an earthy flavor
- Avocado Hummus. half a small avocado added with the chickpeas for Avocado Hummus (you could use half lime juice for the lemon juice and add a jalapeno to make it even more interesting!)
- Olive Hummus. ¼ cup chopped olives with the tahini and lemon juice
- Green Goddess Hummus. 1 tablespoon each chopped basil chives or green onion, dill, and parsley for a bright, herbal hummus
- Sriracha Hummus. 1-2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce added with the tahini and about half lemon juice
Tools and Equipment You Need to Make Homemade Hummus
- MESH STRAINER. I have a set of three different sizes, and use the medium one to drain the chickpeas and give them a good shake. (The larger strainer is great for sifting flours and straining stock).
- FOOD PROCESSOR. I have been using my small 4-cup Cuisinart FOR YEARS. I will only "upgrade" when this one falls apart because it still works like a dream, but most importantly, it's easy to clean and PUT AWAY. This 4-cup capacity is the right size for small jobs like dips and spreads.
- KITCHEN TOWELS. I have purchased so many "fancy" branded kitchen towels over the years, but always come back to the inexpensive, no brand 100% cotton floursack cloths because they're absorbent and actually "dry" your hands or dishes or whatever you're wiping. Regular terry-cloth style towels are absorbent, but don't dry out themselves, and traditional tea towels are thin and dry out, but are also rough on the skin. Keep fancy kitchen towels for display, get the floursack cloths for actual work.
- CUTTING BOARD. This is my favorite very large cutting board that also doubles as a food/crudites/cheese board. It is very heavy.
- KNIFE. My daily, all-purpose knife, expensive, but definitely worth it
The next thing to conquer? That insanely, intensely delicious garlic sauce that they serve with roast chicken and lamb at Mediterranean restaurants, toum!
Hummus with Canned Chickpeas Recipe
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas a few whole chickpeas reserved to use as garnish
- 1 clove garlic peeled, crushed, and inner green stem removed
- ¼ cup tahini paste
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- ice cold water in a small bowl or glass as needed by the tablespoon, for texture
- optional garnish for serving as dip: extra virgin olive oil extra whole chickpeas, chopped fresh soft herbs e.g. parsley, mint, dill
- serve with: mezze vegetable crudites, grilled flatbread, just itself
- Drain chickpeas and rinse. Remove the thin, diaphanous skins from the chickpeas either by gently squeezing each chickpea and popping it out of the skin, or by placing a clean kitchen towel or paper towel on a flat surface, laying the chickpeas in a single layer, and rubbing them gently with a second kitchen towel or paper towel. The first method is slow, repetitive, and for two cans of chickpeas, takes about 25 minutes. I consider it meditation.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the crushed garlic until chopped. Pour peeled, canned chickpeas into the food processor and pulse until the chickpeas are puréed. The mixture will be thick and may require stopping the machine several times and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the tahini, half the lemon juice, and salt, and pulse until the mixture moves smoothly in the bowl. Add cold water by the tablespoon to the food processor as it is running until the hummus is smooth and the consistency you prefer. For two cans of chickpeas, I usually end up using 3 tablespoons of cold water, resulting in hummus with the consistency of thick frosting.
- Taste, add more lemon juice and/or salt if needed.
- Scrape the hummus into a serving bowl, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and garnish with chopped fresh herbs.
- Hummus can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three days.