Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus

By • July 9, 2013 140 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is simple and the results are perfect, but here's the real coup: Most from-scratch hummus recipes involve simmering the chickpeas for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Ottolenghi and Tamimi's are done in 20 to 40 minutes. How? See step 2. Briefly cooking the soaked chickpeas directly with baking soda scruffs up the skins and allows them to cook much faster and puree smoother. (Without having to peel the chickpeas by hand.) Recipe adapted slightly from Jerusalem (Ten Speed Press, 2013)Genius Recipes

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini (light roast)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Salt
  • Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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Comments (140) Questions (5)


5 days ago L Kaylor

I do freeze half of it, airtight. Thaw, stir in fresh olive oil, it's still delicious.


5 days ago Helen Grace

I wouldn't freeze it. It might not taste as good. I'd rather make less and have fresh.


5 days ago Sharon

Hummus freezes beautifully and tastes just as fresh and delicious as the day you made it.


5 days ago Allison

What is the best way to freeze some of it?


about 1 month ago L Kaylor

I don't know about this 'keeps for 3 days' stuff. I've made this many many times now, full recipe. 1/2 goes in the freezer (survives beautifully) the rest gets packed in an airtight glass container for the fridge. Delicious all week long!


2 months ago Pamela_in_Tokyo

Since this recipe only lasts 3 days or so, I would tend to want to make the amount I could use up in that time. If I was having a party, I would make the larger amount. This recipe is obviously useful when you're having a large group over.

There are lots of comments about the amount of tahini. And Alton Brown's recipe. I checked out his recipe to compare. I'm not advocating one or the other. I think it's personal taste. But here are a couple of observations that I made:

Alton Brown's recipe uses olive oil and Tahini whereas the above recipe uses only Tahini. Many commercial versions of Tahini have a lot of added oil. And most likely the added oil is not even sesame oil. So I think it is hard to compare the two recipes. The olive oil would add a different flavor. By using only tahini, you are getting some extra oil, but you are also getting a stronger Tahini flavor if you use only the Tahini.
Alton Brown also uses baking soda to cook his chickpeas. Many chefs in India also use it with their bean recipes.
The chickpea skin issue: I'm not sure if you have to peel them. The Indian cookbooks I have read don't seem to worry about peeling them.....

I think it comes down to personal taste. I like Tahini and I would like to try this recipe as is, but perhaps for some using only Tahini is too strong a sesame flavor. I think for the average person about 1/4 of this recipe is the amount to go for.....

One comment I would say about this recipe and all recipes in general: I always worry about recipes where some of the ingredients are hidden in the instructions. This recipe has salt in the list of ingredients WITHOUT the amount. You have to read the directions and then you're finally told that it's 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. I think the way most of us use our cookbooks is that for the first couple times we make a recipe, we do read the instructions but after we get used to the recipe, we just look at the list of ingredients. It's kind of a pain to have to keep referring to the directions. I have seen recipes where very important ingredients are hidden in the directions and not included in the list at the top. It's very easy to make a mistake and leave them out in that case.


2 months ago Pearl Polanski

Is it a sin to use canned chick peas? Some of us bitches are busy up in here.


2 months ago Tina Miller

No sin at all! I made it that way for years - but some time when you can plan ahead, make it this way to see the difference. I was surprised how much better this was - as long as you reduce tahini by half!


2 months ago Sharon

How important is tahini to hummus? Can I still make it without it?


2 months ago Sharon

EXCELLENT question. The problem is that both the taste and quality of store bought tahini varies INSANELY from brand to brand. I've had such horrible tahini that I finally started making my own - and I didn't like that either! Frankly, I simply cannot stand the stuff. Just Google some tahini recipes and see how many weird variations you get. Unbelievable! Decades ago, I started making my hummus with either roasted almond butter or cashew butter and it is truly sublime. Everyone wants to know why mine has so much more depth than others. Like most good cooks, I use what I like and what I always have on hand. Tahini is just another nut/seed butter, really, made from roasting and grinding the oily seeds. In fact, I remember one cook mentioning how much her homemade roasted sesame butter tasted like peanut butter! Most commercial brands add a LOT of lemon juice (or something sour) to their tahini (too much, in my opinion), making it entirely too acidic. That's why you simply cannot blindly follow recipes, but must taste and adjust to your liking. Recipes are merely guides. There is no holy grail for making hummus and I've never met any two people who make it alike. Try using a scant teaspoon of peanut butter instead of tahini. I know some people are going to be "aghast" and fly off the hook at this, but ignore them. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. It will reap excellent results.


2 months ago Sharon

P.S. If you have almond or cashew butter, start with that.


about 1 month ago Sharon

Thank you for all the helpful advice.


2 months ago Helen Grace

I add cumin to mine!


2 months ago Sharon



2 months ago M Stuart Itter

The recipe can't be right. As many have noted, way two much tahini. Something must be wrong in transcription of the fractions.


2 months ago Pearl Polanski

Actually the tahini volume isn't off. 1 1/3 cup of dried chick peas yield 4 cups of cooked. Most good hummus recipes have that ratio. This is a really big batch.


2 months ago Natalie

I just made this and WOW this is the creamiest hummus I've ever made. I cut the recipe in half (as it only keeps for 3 days) and I used way less tahini because it just seemed like a lot. I think I used half the amount. I added some cayenne for a kick. This is truly genius! That baking soda is CLUTCH


3 months ago Kara

After spending time in the Middle East, I love a good hummus and this was so much better than any store bought hummus! Delicious and so light, everyone liked it. I made my own tahini and added roasted garlic to soften the bite of raw garlic. Will make again.


4 months ago Gourmel

My hummus was so dense it burned out my food processor! I switched to my immersion blender until I was concerned it was overheating. The only thing I did differently is that my chickpeas soaked for a few days, not just one. Could that have caused it to be so heavy?


4 months ago Sharon

Oh dear. You are not the first person who has burned out a blender or food processor making hummus! That's why you have to start adding a bit of the cooking liquid from the beans and olive oil to allow the motor to begin blending the stiff bean paste. Restaurants have very heavy duty, professional equipment to do this with, primarily a Robot Coupe, which costs several hundred dollars. Home cooks routinely tax the living daylights out of their consumer model blenders & processors trying to achieve the same results. With consumer equipment, the trick is to add enough liquid and olive oil to facilitate smooth & rapid movement of the blades without watering down and diluting the hummus. A lot of trial and error is required here, and I speak from experience. As a professional chef, I've made hummus on the job, in a professional kitchen, and at home. Home is DEFINITELY more difficult. Each time it's a crap shoot. Just recently, I was foiled by a very stiff garbanzo bean paste and, regrettably, over compensated by adding too much liquid, . Drat! However, you CAN find your "happy spot" and devise a fairly reliable method of your own. It just takes time and tweaking. Fear not, you'll get it right! Good luck and don't give up.


4 months ago Sharon

Way too much tahini, better to add it to taste. I never add baking soda to beans. It's just not necessary and it affects the taste. Hummus is something that each person has to tweak to their liking. I love the taste of olive oil in mine and I've often subbed out a small amount of almond or cashew butter for the tahini. Absolutely hauntingly delicious! It takes a while to get it where you want it, so keep experimenting and trying out & comparing recipes. Have fun along the way because luckily, chickpeas are not expensive!


5 months ago Tina Miller

I wish I had paid more attention to the comments first! Dried chickpeas are definitely the way to go and this hummus was certainly smooth - but like some other comments noted it was way too much tahini for me. Next time maybe 1/3 cup (or less) tahini to 1lb chickpeas. But I did appreciate the reminder that home made hummus is SOO much better than store bought!


9 months ago Amy

I just made this...did not have 1.125 cups of tahani, but it was SMOOTH...I even had a tub of store-bought hummus, and it was as smooth. And, best of all, mine's cheaper, made by me, and not processed in a store. Just very good


10 months ago alexia schmidt

I made this recipe exactly as written, (with an 18-hour soak) and it is the lightest, smoothest, airiest, tastiest hummus I have ever had. I am completely obsessed and will now have to purchase bulk dried chickpeas to keep up with the addiction.


10 months ago Elan Yannis

look on this link


10 months ago Ann-Marie D. Nguyen-Shavurova

I have to second Alton Brown´s recipe - 1/3 cup is more than sufficient! Too much tahini in this recipe! I also learned from a Lebanese woman to soak the (dried) garbanzos for two days - her hummus is made in a blender and super aerated! Try that too!


4 months ago beejay45

If she soaked them that long, they would be starting to sprout, which does improve the flavor and, I have heard, makes them more digestible. So, I may give this a try once my current batch is gone.

I have to say, I've been making hummus for so many years that it's all by instinct. You have the tahini for richenss, lemon juice for tang, olive oil/sesame oil for creaminess, water/bean liquid for thinning and, of course, garlic for punch. Rather than follow a recipe, just line all these up and add them as needed to adjust flavor and texture. After a few times, you will have a feel for what will result in the version you and your family prefer.

So, that may seem like an awful lot of tahini, but that's the way Ottolenghi likes it. ;)


10 months ago Danny

First time ever making hummus and used this recipe because it came so highly recommended on these comments. I followed the recipe exactly, and while the texture is gorgeous, all I taste is tahini and baking soda - so much so that I've been guzzling water in the hours since I ate it.
Any suggestions of what might have gone wrong, or is the amount of tahini too much, as other posters have suggested?


11 months ago Julie Droescher

My (well, Alton Brown's) recipe calls for 1 lb of chickpeas, and only 1/3 cup of tahini.

Why so much tahini in this recipe above?