Homemade hummus is so easy to make, there is no excuse for eating inferior store-bought hummus again.
The beauty of homemade hummus is it only requires a few simple ingredients, most of which you can have on hand in your pantry.
This easy hummus recipe only takes around 20 minutes to whip up so can be made last minute or well in advance. Whizz up a batch and freeze in portions so you always have some on hand.
Not only is hummus a delicious and amazingly healthy dip to have at home, but it is also an incredibly portable and versatile picnic dip. It is a delicious foundation for so many vegan picnic recipes beyond just a dip.
Serve it as part of a Mediterranean platter, with pitas or crispy vegetables. Lather it on sandwiches or in wraps or serve it as a side to grilled meat dishes. There are so many reasons to know how to make hummus at home, not just as a tasty and versatile picnic dip.
While there are key ingredients in hummus, I feel like much of the recipe is “to taste”. Some people like a garlicky hummus and some regional recipes call for little or even no tahini.
Like any recipe, amounts are given as a base guideline and can be varied according to preference. With a recipe such as hummus, I believe it is important to add the seasoning ingredients to the chickpeas incrementally to taste and to achieve the desired consistency.
I find tahini, garlic, and lemon can overwhelm the nuttiness of the chickpeas very quickly. Even though the tahini flavour should make a statement, it should never overwhelm. Also, too much liquid such as olive oil, lemon juice or water can make your hummus runny as opposed to creamy.
You can always add more seasoning; you can’t take it away.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): It’s fine to use canned chickpeas – no shame. The purpose of this is for it to be an easy hummus recipe. If you can be bothered, remove the skins when you rinse them, you will get a smoother hummus but no biggie if you don’t.
Using bottle chickpeas over canned, I often find they are a little firmer than canned so could benefit from a quick cook to soften.
If you have the time to use dry chickpeas, make sure they are well soaked or cooked before using them. Mushy chickpeas are the key to creamy hummus. The trick to super-soft chickpeas and creamy hummus is soaking and cooking in a little baking soda. Again, removing the skins will reward you with creamier hummus. I know some who even enjoy this part of the hummus making.
Tahini: The other key to making the best hummus is using quality tahini. Don’t scrimp on this. Good tahini will have a lovely nutty flavour and a slight, but pleasant bitterness. It shouldn’t be difficult to blend the paste and oil together after it has separated. It may indicate it is old if the paste becomes unworkable.
If possible, buy your tahini as fresh as possible and store it in a dark cool place even after opening. Give it a little shake every so often to prevent the paste from settling and solidifying.
How much tahini to add varies according to taste and regional hummus recipes. Some hummus recipes will give tahini a starring role whereas other regional recipes may have very little or even none at all.
I like to have a reasonable amount of tahini but not enough to overwhelm the nuttiness of the chickpeas or worse, give the hummus an unpleasant bitterness.
Garlic: Always use fresh cloves. You can add the garlic crushed or simply slice a peeled clove in two and add to the blender. I prefer to add it crushed.
I tend to go easy on the garlic as I find its flavour continues to develop over time as the garlic mellows. There is nothing worse than hummus that has an overwhelming raw garlic taste.
If you want a nice caramelised garlic flavour, use double the amount of roasted garlic. Something I always make when I am roasting veg such as roasted vine tomatoes or grilled peppers. Which, by the way, are great picnic accompaniments to hummus.
Fresh Lemon Juice: Again, use fresh to achieve that fresh citrusy zing hummus needs to bring it to life. Hummus knows the difference between a real lemon and bottle lemon. And add incrementally. While hummus needs the freshness of lemon, you don’t want it to be too lemony.
If you are lazy like me and squeeze the lemon straight into the mix rather than using a juicer, watch for pips. I am often guilty of a stray pip or two in my hummus.
Olive Oil: Some don’t use any olive oil in the mix and save it only to dress the top. I like to do both. Whichever you prefer, use the best olive oil you can afford, especially for dressing the top of your hummus. Bad olive oil is worse than using substandard tahini.
Water (or the chickpea cooking liquid): Water will not only help your hummus into a nice light and smooth paste, but it will also actually help get the blending process started. The chickpeas and other ingredients, even with oil added are often too dry to get the blending process underway.
Some hummus purists believe, adding the chickpea cooking water or even the liquid from canned chickpeas, which is called Aquafaba, will enhance the flavour of your hummus like a good stock. It may even make it lighter.
It doesn’t really matter which you use, just make sure either is nice and cold and used sparingly. Too much liquid can make your hummus too runny.
Cumin: It’s not hummus without cumin. Cumin, along with garlic, lemon and salt is the combination which gives hummus its traditional flavour.
Salt: I use only a small pinch of sea salt because I don’t believe hummus needs any more than that. Remember, you are looking for a balance of flavours that ultimately allows those nutty chickpeas to still shine through.
What to Eat With Hummus
There are literally thousands of ways to use hummus, which is why it’s always worth whizzing up a big batch. These are a few ways you can incorporate hummus into your picnic routine.
- Use hummus as a dip on a cruditè platter.
- Serve it with fresh bread, warm pita or even crackers.
- Add it to a Mediterranean mezze along with our other favourite dip baba ganoush.
- Lather it on sandwiches or add it to wraps.
- Hummus is delicious served with grilled meats such as Moroccan spiced lamb, chicken kebabs or even a quality bbq sausage.
- Use it on a Mediterranean style burger.
Make a base hummus recipe and make simple additions to jazz up your hummus flavours such as these:
- Smoked pumpkin hummus
- Add grilled peppers for roast pepper hummus
- Beetroot hummus
- Roast carrot hummus
There’s really no limit to the hummus variations you can create once you have your base hummus.
How Long is Hummus Good For
Homemade hummus must be refrigerated within a few hours of making and will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. See our tips here for keeping foods cold at a picnic to ensure your perishable picnic food stays fresh.
Hummus is perfect for freezing and will keep frozen for as long as six months, which is another reason you should always whizz up a big batch.
Make sure not to overfill your containers as the hummus will expand when it freezes. It is also good to freeze in smaller portion size containers so you can defrost what you need.
Place in the fridge the day before to thaw. When it has defrosted, you may see some liquid sitting on top so make sure you give it a good stir before serving to get that creamy consistency back.
How to Make Homemade Hummus
This easy hummus recipe is based on using canned chickpeas. If you decide to use dry chick peas, obviously this will add some prep time but it is not a lot of extra effort. Just make sure you soak and cook well to achieve a nice mushy consistency before preparing the hummus.