creamy homemade hummus

By now, you’ve probably figured out I’m a bit obsessive about cooking from scratch. Michael used to tease me, and ask when I was going to start making my own water. There is a hazard to this, though, and in my case it started with a simple pot of beans. Most cooks will agree that there is no worse fate for a pot of beans than overcooking them. Beans should have a little bite to them; kind of like al dente pasta. You know their just right when you bite into them, and they give way ever so gently, but still require some chewing, and don’t just collapse in your mouth. They should hold their own, so to speak, when combined with other ingredients, as in the Chickpea, Parmesan and Fennel Salad in Homemade with Love.

Making hummus, though, requires a contradictory approach to cooking chickpeas. In this case, you want them to surrender their fight, which is the real secret to creamy homemade hummus. As the editors at Food 52 wrote recently, they should break up easily when mashed between two fingers, and be “almost, but not quite mushy”. The latter being a very fine line, in case you were wondering. What this means for me is that cooking chickpeas for hummus presents a problem. It means I actually need to make a separate batch of chickpeas—one for most other recipes, and another for when I’m craving hummus. Perhaps it’s the repetitive nature that bothers me most.

I’m an advocate of canned beans in a pinch, but one taste of hummus made with a batch of home-cooked chickpeas years ago, and I was ruined forever. So, for the last few months my compromise has been buying store-bought hummus. I can hear the collective gasps; I’ll give you a moment to pick yourselves up from the floor before I continue. (waiting…waiting…okay can we move on now?)

Yes, I buy already-made hummus on occasion. I know, I could use canned chickpeas, but I simply don’t like it made with the canned variety (and I’ve tried a few different brands). As I get older, I realize I’m not willing to compromise on flavor.

I’m not going to beat myself up for buying hummus because that would be pretty silly. I’m just going to try and plan better. I tend to wing most everything in the kitchen, even holidays and parties. Instead, I’m going to take my own advice, and shore up my freezer pantry with two kinds of cooked chickpeas. That sounds a bit over the top, even for me, but I never claimed to be sane.

Now onto more intriguing things, like trying my hand at homemade pita again. I made my first batch this weekend, and have some dough ready to rise while I walk the kids to school. Before you ask, yes puffing has been a bit hit or miss, but my thoughts on that are for another post coming soon. Happy Monday everyone!

creamy homemade hummus | recipe at

Creamy Homemade Hummus

Makes 6 servings

Music Pairing: Beginning to See the Light by The Velvet Undergound

It has been said that removing the tiny hulls from the chickpeas makes for a smoother, creamier hummus. I tried that craziness once, and didn’t see any noticeable difference worth the time and effort. I did, however, try this technique for cooking my chickpeas, and think it’s well worth the extra time after tasting my recent batch of hummus. It’s brilliant, actually, and a great compromise. Rather than remove every skin, about half of them come off on their own, albeit with some coaxing. I’ll warn you, though, that there will be a lot of foam to skim off. You also don’t want to stray too far from your stove when it comes to a boil, or you’ll have a mess to clean up as the foam cascades over the top of the pot (a reaction from the baking soda).

According to Ottolenghi and Tamimi, the baking soda acts as an abrasive that helps release the skins. I think it also helps soften the chickpeas quicker, too. I didn’t find the skins to simply float to the surface on their own, though. It took some frequent stirring, and skimming. I also strained my chickpeas from their cooking liquid (reserving it, of course, in a jar), so I could pick out the remaining skins that couldn’t be easily skimmed off (there were quite a few!).

Admittedly, it is a very fussy way to cook chickpeas, but it really did yield the smoothest hummus I’ve ever made. My solution will be to make a double batch, and freeze it in ready-to-make portions. If Homemade with Love was your introduction to cooking beans from scratch, this is a good intermediate exercise to “up your game”. A word about equipment— you really do need a good powered food processor or blender. I recently bought an 1100-watt Ninja blender at Macy’s for less than $100, and it’s been a great kitchen investment. It serves double duty as a blender and food processor, freeing up valuable counter space at my house upstate (which has perhaps the world’s tiniest kitchen, in a house, that is).

2 cups (400 grams) cooked chickpeas (made using this method)

1/4 cup (60 grams) tahini

1 small garlic clove, peeled & smashed

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel

Freshly squeezed juice of one medium lemon

Pinch of ground cumin

1 to 2 tablespoons reserved chickpea cooking liquid

Extra virgin olive oil, for garnishing

Add everything, except for the cooking liquid, to the bowl of a food processor or very powerful blender. Pulse a few times, to break up the chickpeas, then turn it onto a steady process until the mixture becomes smooth (you may need to stop and scrape the bowl a few times). Add the reserved cooking liquid until it reaches the desired level of creaminess.

Serve at once, with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. Leftovers may be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to three days.


  • sue/the view from great island

    There is nothing better than classic hummus, and yours does look especially creamy. I try and switch it up with different ingredients pretty often, but with mixed success…my latest was a black lentil hummus which was, well, grey :\

  • Leire

    If you forgot to soak your beans or chickpeas the night before my mom taught me the following trick.
    Pour just enough water to cover the chikpeas, bring to (almost) a boil, break the boil with additional cold water. Doing this 3-4 times equals a night of good soaking.
    In Spanish it even has its own name “asustar” which literrally means “to scare them”.
    Beans are put in the water when it is cold, chickpeas when it is hot. We do not let them boil because it breaks the bean.
    Give it a try!

    JP’s Note: Thanks for this tip!

  • Mary Kamerer

    I came across chick peas fresh in the shell recently in our local Hispanic market. I almost didn’t recognize them with their bright green color! The taste is so unlike the canned chick pea (which tastes like cardboard in comparison). And you should see the beautiful falafel they make!

  • Jill W

    I think I’m too lazy to make hummus from scratch, even though yours looks wonderful. (Chock it up to some bad cooking-beans-from-scratch experiences lately. I need to re-read your cookbook!) In the meantime, I’ll keep counting on Trader Joe’s for yummy hummus. But what I WOULD like to try are those intriguing ball-shaped goodies begging to be dipped in the hummus – is the recipe on your site somewhere? Thank you!

  • Leire

    If you return to France you need to organize a trip to the Basque Country (north of Spain). Our cuisine is really really good!

    Typical dishes include:
    Bacalo a la vizcaína
    Chipirones en su tinta

  • Delora

    I cook a lot of beans in my crockpot since I work OOTH and am always short on time. If I’m cooking a double (or triple) batch for multiple purposes, I can remove a portion of the beans when cooked to their desired state with a slotted spoon, and continue cooking the rest. I do this often with beans for salads, and then use the rest for a blended soup. Two meals in one, for half the effort 🙂

    JP’s Note: Delora, thanks for that tip!

  • Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)

    This is spectacular Jennie – so simply yet beautiful and I bet so very tasty! I made sweet potato hummus with the boys this week and they were amazed at how easy it is! Love teaching the “from scratch” stuff like this that they would never think of making themselves!

  • Brandi

    We have a fantastic middle eastern restaurant/grocery right around the corner from my house in South Carolina. The family who owns it is from Palestine and they are wonderful. When they make hummus, they use dried chickpeas. However, the owner once told me that the problem with canned chickpeas is that they aren’t cooked long enough. So, he insists that starting with dried is best. However, he did say that in a pinch used canned chickpeas but cook them for about 10 more minutes to ensure creamy hummus.

  • Wendy

    I made this hummus today and it was delicious!

    I have to say though, it was A LOT of work for a few cups of hummus! It took me almost an hour and a half from start to finish for just a few cups of hummus (I had to cook my chickpeas for 40 mins to get them almost mushy).

    I used baking powder instead of baking soda (who knew baking powder came in little cans like baking soda…that was an accidental purchase leaving me without baking soda), which didn’t remove many skins.

    JP’s Note: too bad about the error with the baking soda. Yes, it feels like a lot of work if you set out to make this all from start to finish. I make my beans in advance, and store them in the fridge. I just made a double batch of this hummus in less than 10 minutes thanks to planning ahead of time. You might want to think about that for the future.

  • Wendy

    Luckily I made an entire bag of chickpeas, so I can make another batch tomorrow. My 16 month old loved it so much (he ate about 1/4 of what I made this morning) I guess it is worth it! Hopefully goes better with baking sofa next time 😉

    Also, was much easier for me to separate the skins from the beans after I let them cool for a few hrs. Patience is not a virtue of mine. Hehe

  • Aqiyl Aniys

    I have made hummus before but I used organic chickpeas in a can.I did taste very good but now you have me curious about the taste of the hummus making the chickpeas from scratch. I need to give it a try.