Classic Hummus Done Right

September 3, 2011

Hi all!

As I’ve said before, I’ve been making a lot of hummus these days, and in the past few months I’ve posted a few of the exciting hummus variations I’ve been coming up with, such as my unbeatable Beet Hummus and my newest hit, Orange Sunflower Hummus. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to go back to the classic formula: you know—chickpeas, tahini, and lemon juice, all mixed together. Or such were my thoughts earlier this week when I was deciding what sort of hummus I should make next. However, even when you’re making standard hummus, there are a few simple tricks I’ve learned over the years that will elevate your dip from ordinary to extraordinary. And so, here they are: four easy tips for classic hummus done right!

1. Use dried chickpeas, not canned!

Whenever I can, I try to use dried beans rather than canned ones in my hummuses. I think the taste difference is indisputable: home cooked beans just taste so much better, and this makes your hummus taste that much better in turn. And although cooking chickpeas yourself is without a doubt more work than simply opening a can, it really isn’t as much work as you’d expect: simply soak the chickpeas for 6 to 8 hours or overnight, and then simmer them for about an hour and a half, until soft.

2. Keep the liquid from those cooked chickpeas!

Hummus recipes usually call from anywhere between 1/4 to 1/2 water. This water is used solely to thin out the dip at the end and get it to the right consistency. However, if you reserve the liquid from the chickpeas you’ve cooked, you can use that instead of water and get the same textural effect while also getting a little added chickpea flavor in there at the same time. Granted, this doesn’t make a big difference, but if you’re cooking your own chickpeas anyway, it’s an easy thing to do, so why not? (And if you do end up using canned chickpeas, you can save the liquid from the can and thin it out with the necessary amount of water.)

3. Use an actual lemon, zested and juiced!

One of the core components of any hummus is some sort of citrus, traditionally lemon, and using hand-squeezed juice from a fresh lemon is obviously the best option here. Plus, if you use an actual lemon, you have the advantage of being able to zest it as well, and pack even more excellent lemon flavor into your dip. It’s totally worth the small extra cost!

4. Instead of raw garlic and olive oil, give garlic butter a try!

Typically, hummus recipes will say to put in a couple cloves of garlic along with a spoonful or two of olive oil, and one simple twist you can do here is to fry up some garlic butter instead. Simply melt 2 tablespoons of vegan butter or margarine in a small saucepan, and saute 6 cloves of chopped garlic for several minutes, making sure not to burn them. Then simply empty the sauteed garlic with the butter into your food processor and mix in with everything else.

So those are my tips! In case you need it, here is the basic formula I use for classic hummus (although you can definitely adjust these ingredient amounts according to taste and pantry/fridge availability):

Classic Hummus Done Right (makes a little over 2 cups)


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about 3/4 cup dried, or 1 can)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed in 2 tbsp vegan butter (or 2 cloves raw garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved chickpea liquid/water
  • salt to taste


Simply whip everything together in a food processor, adding reserved chickpea liquid/water a little at a time until you reached your desired consistency.

Hope you guys liked this tutorial! Have any extraordinary hummus tips of your own? If so, please share them in the comments—me and all my other readers will definitely appreciate them!

Until we eat again,



  1. Hi there, I just stumbled on your blog. I;m about to make some hummus and will use your suggestions, thanks! Great posts from what I’ve read so far.

    • Awesome! These little tweaks really do make your hummus so much more fantastic. Hope they all work out for you!

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