Sauce

This Easy Trick Makes Store-Bought Hummus Much Less Blah

November 16, 2016

If you've met freshly made hummus—the kind that's creamy and buoyant, light enough to swoop your pita through yet rich from chickpeas and not at all bitter—store-bought hummus (at least the kind that's readily available) can be a letdown. Stiff and heavy, overly lemony or generally bland, but a realistic settlement: Sometimes you want hummus and you just don't have the time or energy or willpower to make it.

In these instances, store-bought hummus gets the job done—but there's a trick to make it much more appealing, in both texture and flavor, in a matter of seconds: For an 8-ounce container of hummus, gradually fold in 2 to 3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (you probably already have it!) with a spatula until you see that the hummus is simultaneously lighter and creamier.

It’s crazy how much more appealing it looked than your average plastic-sealed supermarket variety.
Jenny Rosenstrach
See that yogurt streak? The hummus is already easier to swirl and scoop.

Taste it, adjust the salt and pepper, then, if you want to go the extra mile, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and pretend you made it yourself. (Hummus purists, I hope I have not offended you with the addition of yogurt.)

Shop the Story

The tip comes from Jenny Rosenstrach's website Dinner: A Love Story (she's also the author of a book by the same name, Dinner: The Playbook, and, most recently, How to Celebrate Everything), and she learned it from her friend, Heidi, who

thinks she originally got the idea from Ottolenghi or Nigella, but has been hacking her hummus for quite a while now, usually starting with Whole Foods’ store brand plain hummus (none of those weird flavored numbers) because it had the right amount of lemon. The addition of yogurt gave it a subtle tang, but mostly it was about the texture. It’s crazy how much more appealing it looked than your average plastic-sealed supermarket variety.

Inspired, the next morning I picked up a container of Trader Joe’s “Smooth and Creamy Classic Hummus” along with a seven-ounce 2% Fage plain Greek yogurt. (My TJs didn’t have full fat version.) I scraped the hummus into a mixing bowl, then folded in a large tablespoon of yogurt at a time—sorta like folding in egg whites into a batter—until it reached the same luscious consistency of Heidi’s. (In total I used about three heaping tablespoons.) I decanted the whole thing into a little serving bowl, topped with olive oil, tiny bit of sea salt, some paprika, then watched as both kids attacked the stuff with pita chips. Definitely a keeper.

Ottolenghi has actually disavowed the addition of Greek yogurt (along with peanut butter—which Nigella recommends!—and olive oil). But when hummus is what we want and store-bought hummus is the best option, yogurt we will add.

And, if you want to take this yogurt situation even farther, and you do have the desire to make hummus from scratch, Martha Rose Shulman's Turkish Hummus replaces the tahini with yogurt entirely for an altogether airier dip.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Store bought or homemade, I pimp the hummus with my own smoked paprika/cumin oil. Heat a two or three spoonful of good olive oil. Put a teaspoon of smoked paprika and half a teaspoon of (preferably black) cumin in a heat-resistant cup. Pour the hot oil on the herb mixture and let it bubble away and cool down. Spread out the hummus and drizzle that fragrant oil on the dish. Add some extra chickpeas to the platter. You could use some liquid of the chickpea can to loosen up the store bought hummus, or some brine from the preserved lemons :)”
— Jo S.
Comment

How do you doctor up store-bought hummus? Tell us in the comments!

11 Comments

Janet M. May 12, 2018
I started eating hummus when we lived in Saudi Arabia during the 1980s--love the stuff, and although it's easy enough to make at home, cleaning the blender is a pain. I always doctor the prepackaged stuff with cumin, garlic, lemon, and a few drops of toasted sesame oil. The wonderfully silky hummus from the deli counter gets that way with the addition of way more oil than most of us actually want. I'll try the yogurt trick, and still dress it with a bit of olive oil, parsley, and paprika.
 
FS May 11, 2018
I don't get the hummus love, but then I've only had the store bought kind. Not interested in making the stuff at home, either. Guess I'll never figure it out!
 
Donna H. January 25, 2017
Never considered the yogurt thing. I've just discovered how easy it is to make homemade. Now I never buy store brand. That way, I know exactly what's going in. Preserved lemon, tahini, chickpeas, and lots and lots of good quality olive oil. Add some chipotle infused as well. Deeeeelish!
 
Ana K. November 20, 2016
A Lebanese friend of mine made the same suggestions many years back. I always add some Greek yogurt to my traditional hummus recipe and everybody loves it!
 
Jo S. November 17, 2016
Store bought or homemade, I pimp the hummus with my own smoked paprika/cumin oil. Heat a two or three spoonful of good olive oil. Put a teaspoon of smoked paprika and half a teaspoon of (preferably black) cumin in a heat-resistant cup. Pour the hot oil on the herb mixture and let it bubble away and cool down. Spread out the hummus and drizzle that fragrant oil on the dish. Add some extra chickpeas to the platter. You could use some liquid of the chickpea can to loosen up the store bought hummus, or some brine from the preserved lemons :)
 
Shelley M. November 16, 2016
Yogurt makes it less bland? I thought the ingredient would be more lemon.
 
Janet H. November 16, 2016
Drizzle with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle with smoky paprika, and toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts. When making from scratch toasted sesame seeds add a much better flavor than tahini and much more cost effective.
 
melissa November 16, 2016
need to try this. i stopped eating hummus because i found store-bought so gross compared to restaurant hummus! [i know it's easy to make my own, so please save the comments! lol]
 
Ashley B. November 16, 2016
sprinkle with sumac!<br />
 
Maria S. November 16, 2016
It's rare I don't make my own, but in a pinch I'll add a big spoon of greek yogurt (read it somewhere long ago) and a big spoon of tahini (because I've never found a store brand that uses enough tahini for my taste). Then whip it, whip it good... Drizzled with plenty of olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika, it's much harder to tell it wasn't homemade.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. November 16, 2016
Adding more tahini is so smart! Do you whip with a whisk or in a machine?