6 Steps to Creamier Hummus

Hummus is one of the simplest recipes - just 5 ingredients. Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin (plus salt and water). But simple is not easy. It’s incredibly difficult to match the creaminess of hummus that comes from hummus restaurants. (Here in Israel, we eat an entire bowl of hummus and pita as a meal. It’s not an appetizer dip)

Here’s a picture of my friend Avi’s perfect homemade hummus:

The primary barrier to ultra-creamy hummus is the peel of the bean. They’re tough. Even a strong food processor will have trouble breaking them up. But there are a few things you can do:

1. Peel the Chickpeas

This step takes time and is reserved for die-hard hummus fans. If you like a grainier hummus, skip it. But if creamy is your dreamy, try this out.

However there are ways to make this easier like using baking soda.

2. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is helpful during multiple steps in the hummus-making journey.

First, the chickpeas should be soaked in water and baking soda.

Then, after straining the chickpeas, incorporate more baking soda into them:

From Cook’s Illustrated:

“Ottolenghi and Tamimi stir baking soda into dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and drained. They heat the mixture in a pot for a few minutes before adding water and cooking the chickpeas as usual.”

Why does this work?

“The alkaline environment created by the baking soda helps break down the pectin in the beans, softening the beans’ skins so well that they disintegrate during cooking and are easily rinsed away.”

3. Overboil the chickpeas

Recently I didn’t boil my chickpeas long enough. Big mistake. If you think they’re ready, cook them a bit longer just to be sure. You’re not only making them softer, you’re also giving the peels more time to come off on their own (assuming you added baking soda).

4. Use More Tahini

Some hummus recipes call for olive oil, but according to award-winning hummus chef Michael Solomonov, you probably just need to be adding more tahini. His recipe calls for as much as half of the recipe by weight to be tahini!

5. Ice Water

Many recipes you find won’t tell you to use ice water when making the tahini, but some people online swear by it. Try this if you’re looking for a whipped texture.

6. Hot Chickpeas

Chickpeas are starchy and processing them creates a viscous liquid. That means they will get firmer as they cool. Blending the chickpeas while they’re still hot prevents that from happening. Notice I also wrote blend. You can use a high-powered blender if the chickpeas are hot. That may also have the added benefit of introducing more air into the hummus, making it even creamier.

At the end of the day, you’ll probably have to do some adjusting on your own to suit your tastes. Hummus is a great food to practice ditching the recipe and going by taste and feel, adding a bit of this, or a bit of that. For that reason, make sure you reserve some chickpeas just in case you need to make it thicker.

Happy Hummus Making!