How to CookMiddle Eastern

Want Great Hummus? Here's What You Need to Know

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Some hummus is eh. Some is good. Some is great. And some is exceptional. We're aiming for that last one—and, if you're making your own hummus, the chances are so are you.

Now, hummus isn't as easy as dumping chickpeas in a food processor, adding tahini and olive oil, and calling it a day. No! Like most things that scream simplicity, its technique and flavors are nuanced. It requires a little bit of planning, prepping, and (sometimes) ingredient-sourcing.

Here are 11 of our best hummus tips, aimed at helping you get that "exceptional" title:

Zahav's Hummus Tehina
Zahav's Hummus Tehina
  • Soak dried chickpeas in baking soda to raise their pH, which results in softer skins post-cooking.

  • The quality of tahini matters! Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav prefers Soom Foods.

  • For creamy hummus, overcook the chickpeas until they’re just shy of being mushy.

  • Purée, purée, purée: Whip your hummus in the food processor for longer than you think you should. This will result in, again, uber-creamy hummus.

  • You don’t have to peel garlic: Purée your unpeeled garlic with lemon juice and salt. Let it sit (the garlic will mellow in this time), the strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. It’s potent—in a great way!

Let Them Eat Hummus

Let Them Eat Hummus by Gena Hamshaw

Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus

Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus by Genius Recipes

  • If using canned beans, use the canning liquid instead of water. It will thicken the hummus.

  • On the liquid note, be conservative at first. You can always add more to thin out the mixture, but it’s much harder to fix a too-thin hummus.

  • And still on the liquid note, adding a little ice water at the end helps to lighten things up.

  • Let hummus rest for at least thirty minutes before eating. It will give the flavors a chance to come together.

A Genius Trick for Lighter, Smoother Hummus
A Genius Trick for Lighter, Smoother Hummus
  • Yes, topping hummus with olive oil is a good idea. But so is drizzling in a little olive oil in the last seconds of mixing.

  • You can use Swiss chard stalks to make ethereally light "hummus" (see here) (that's not technically hummus at all).

  • To improve store-bought hummus (because, yes, sometimes you just don’t have the time/want to make hummus) fold in two to three tablespoons plain Greek yogurt. It will make it seem creamier and lighter. Then, taste for seasoning, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle some paprika on top. Done.

Tell us: Do you have any hummus tips?

Tags: Hummus, Bean, Tips & Techniques