My Favorite Hummus Recipe… Everything’s From Scratch

Okay so this isn’t an original recipe, exactly. It’s a hybrid, relying on Michael Solomonov’s tehina sauce and hummus recipe from his Zahav cookbook, and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s hummus recipe at Serious Eats. The biggest change I made is that I make my own tahini. So I thought I’d share it here and see what y’all think.

Quick thing, first… I realize that those links are to “Israeli-style hummus”, two of which are from an Israeli cookbook (well okay… the hummus and the tehina sauce). I’m really not interested in the debate over whether or not that’s a hummus that exists. We Jews seem to really love our tahini, because we add a lot of it to our hummus. So maybe this is more a “Jewish-style hummus”? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a recipe, not a political post. You’re making this entirely from scratch, so you can source the ingredients from wherever you want. You don’t have to support anything you don’t want to support to make this.

And as for the debate over the Middle East… yes I have thoughts, and honestly, they’re likely in line with most of you reading and most other bloggers on this network. It is also a debate I do not like having. I have my reasons for that. Please respect that.

Let’s just enjoy a perhaps overly-complicated recipe for hummus…

Before you do anything, fill a large cup or very wide-mouthed bottle with water and ice and put it in your fridge. Why? You’ll find out later…

Okay so after you’ve got the ice water in the fridge, you need to start with the chickpeas. You’re not using canned chickpeas, here. You can, but I don’t recommend it. I recommend dried chickpeas. So let’s start there…

Overnight Chickpea Soak

-8oz (225g/~1 cup… ish) dried chickpeas

-6 cups cold water

-1 tsp (6g) baking soda

-2 tbsps (24g) Diamond kosher salt (if you aren’t using Diamond kosher salt, then you MUST use the equivalent in WEIGHT, not volume, of whatever salt you are using… so if you don’t have a jeweler’s scale, just get some Diamond kosher salt)

1 In a large stockpot, combine your dried chickpeas, water, baking soda, and Diamond kosher salt, and stir. Let soak, covered, in the pot, for 12 hours. The chickpeas will double in size.

Okay so 12 hours have passed, and your chickpeas are ready for step two. Which is… the boiling. This is the main thing I took from Kenji’s recipe. See, Michael simply boils the chickpeas in water, baking soda, and salt for a bit over an hour. Kenji turned around and took it to the next level by adding aromatics and boiling everything for two hours. He wasn’t just making chickpeas for hummus, but also aquafaba, or bean stock.

My difference was to wrap the aromatics up in a cheesecloth bag. The reason for this is that after two hours the aromatics are very hard to separate from the chickpeas, because everything is basically a mush. The only other difference is that Kenji includes the carrot when he blends the chickpeas… I don’t.


The Chickpea Stew

-The soaked chickpeas

-1 tsp (6g) baking soda

-1 tbsp (12g) Diamond kosher salt (again… add any other salt by weight, not volume)

-Aromatics wrapped in a large cheesecloth bag, which is then sealed with string (include one stalk of celery, one large carrot, a few whole cloves of garlic, one medium onion [cut in half], a couple bay leaves, a few whole cumin seeds lightly crushed just enough to give off their oils, etc); this is optional, but highly recommended… it will add an amazing flavor. If you don’t have something… don’t worry! You can add any aromatics you want…

-6 cups (48oz/1370g) water

1 Strain the chickpeas and discard the water. You want to use fresh water for the stew.

2 Add the chickpeas to the pot, then add the bag of aromatics. Fill the pot with 6 cups of fresh water and stir in the baking soda and salt. Turn the heat to high and bring it all to a rolling boil while stirring. Once boiling, turn the heat down to between low and medium-low. You need to keep it low enough that the water won’t boil over (because believe me, it will if you aren’t careful), but you want it high enough that it will lightly simmer.

3 Let that simmer go for two hours with the pot covered. Stir every once in a while, but if your heat is good, you shouldn’t have to very often.

So what do you do for those two hours? Well… you could just sit around and wait… maybe watch some TV or surf the web or something. But you still have more work to do. You have to make the tahini and then the tehina sauce.

The Tahini

Start by pulling out your blender; not your food processor. Don’t have a blender? Okay fine use your food processor… just know that your food processor will not get anything here as smooth as a blender would. Or, at the very least, it’s going to take longer… a lot longer…

Also… you’ll be cleaning that blender a few times, because you’re going to need it three different times from here on out. So get ready.

-16 oz (453.5g/~3 cups… ish) sesame seeds

-Olive Oil

1 Turn your oven to 350˚F. While it’s heating up, line the largest baking sheet you have with tin foil. Pour the sesame seeds onto the tin foil and spread out as best you can. You may have to do this in two or even three batches. That’s okay.

2 Once the oven is at temp, put the sesame seeds in and toast for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove, and stir and flip with a wide spatula. Put back in the oven and toast for another 3 to 5 minutes. Now be careful… sesame seeds will burn easily. So watch them closely. You want them to smell nutty, not burnt.

3 Once all your sesame seeds are toasted (whether all at once or in batches), pour them into your blender. Put the top on and blend at the highest speed until the seeds are a dry, uniform, powdery paste. Then start adding your olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time. I end up using somewhere around 3/8 of a cup of olive oil. You might use more or less. Do NOT add all the olive oil at once. Just keep adding olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time between blends until you end up with a paste that has the consistency of smooth peanut butter

Congrats! You now have tahini! That wasn’t that hard… was it?

For the record… if you have a strong enough blender, or you’re willing to work in an absurd number of tiny batches in a spice grinder, you could grind the sesame seeds until they give up their own oil. You could also just use sesame oil instead of olive oil. Just know that the flavor is going to be a bit different to what you’d expect from this kind of hummus. (For the record, it actually tastes really good… it’s just ever-so-slightly different, is all… the sesame taste is even stronger…)

Now you need to pour the tahini into a mixing bowl and clean your blender, because you need it for this next part…

The Tehina Sauce

-The tahini you just made

-1 entire head of garlic

-0.75 cup lemon juice

-1.5 tsps (6g) Diamond kosher salt

-0.5 tsp ground cumin

-Ice water

1 Is your blender clean? Good! Take your head of garlic and pull it apart. Drop in the cloves, skins and all, and discard what’s left. Then add the lemon juice. Cover your blender and blend the garlic into the lemon juice until what you have resembles a juice with fine pulp.

2 Let this sit for ten minutes, allowing the garlic to steep and mellow.

3 Ten minutes later, pour the lemon garlic juice into the bowl with the tahini through a fine-mesh strainer. You do not want any garlic pieces. You want only the garlic-infused lemon juice in there. You can discard the garlic pulp… it’s not really useful.

4 Add the salt and cumin to the bowl with the juice and the tahini. Remember that ice water I made you put into the fridge a bit over 12 hours ago now? Go get it. Also, grab your tablespoon measure (and make sure it’s cleaned from the olive oil)…

5 Start whisking everything currently in the bowl (minus the water) together. What you’ll notice, after a bit, is that it seizes up. Here is where that ice water comes in handy.

6 Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and keep whisking until the tehina becomes a creamy, pourable sauce. Unfortunately, I never counted how many tbsps of ice water it took me. But it’s not going to be one or two. You’re gonna need a decent amount. Do NOT, however, add the ice water all at once. 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking in between, is how to do it.

Congrats! Now you have tehina sauce! Go ahead and try it… you actually have quite a bit more than what you need for the hummus and believe you me… it tastes amazing. So try it. Get some pita or potato chips and feel free to snack. Just make sure to reserve 1½ cups of it for the hummus. Enjoy the rest however you want. If, while you’re trying it, you feel you need more salt and/or cumin, feel free to whisk more of them in to taste.

Now, clean your blender.

If you did this right, you actually probably still have a good hour or so before your chickpeas are done. So go ahead and put your tehina sauce in the fridge, give your chickpeas another stir and check the water level (your chickpeas should never be above your water level, so if you need to, add more water… however, I’ve never needed to), make sure your blender is clean and ready for round 3, and go relax for a bit, until the timer for your chickpea stew goes off.

And… ding! That’s it! Your chickpeas are ready! Now you have a decision to make. You have a bunch of aromatics and a really tasty stock you can save for other applications… do you enjoy vegan soups? This will work deliciously for that. And the aromatics (at least the veggies) are a perfect addition to that.

So… let’s strain those chickpeas, save the liquid and aromatics, and make our hummus…

Also… notice anything about the chickpeas? Like… how mushy they are? Yeah that’s the point. See… the real secret to a creamy hummus is peeling the skin off of the chickpeas. But be honest… do you really wanna do that? Do you have time for that?

Probably not.

But if you boil them for two hours, well… well then it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to peel them. The boiling did… like… 90% of the work for you. All you have to do now is… well… blend ‘em…

The Hummus

-The chickpeas

-1.5 cups tehina sauce

-1 tsp (4g) Diamond kosher salt

-0.25 tsp ground cumin

1 Take the strained chickpeas and add them to your blender. Add the salt and cumin, as well. Cover the blender but remove the little cap in the middle and use a towel to cover that hole instead (steam will occur, and you want it to release). You may notice that you have some trouble blending the chickpeas into a paste. If this happens, add the reserved chickpea stock (oh look! Another use for it!), 1 tbsp at a time, until your chickpeas are blended. (You may also need to use a silicon spatula to push unblended chickpeas down to the blades. At least I noticed I had this issue a lot.)

2 Once the chickpeas are a paste, pour them into a bowl and add 1½ cups of the tehina sauce. Whisk together until fully blended. Taste, and add more cumin, salt, and maybe even tehina sauce as desired.

You can serve it right away with pita, or you can keep it in the fridge for about a week.

So what should you do with that extra tehina sauce? I mean besides as a dip… you can make it into a sauce for chicken. Perhaps I’ll share that recipe with y’all in the future. You could also make falafel and use it for that… there are actually a lot of applications to use the extra with. Just use it fast… it really only lasts about a week, maybe two in the fridge.

Oh and BTW… I have nutrition facts for this one…

Nutrition Label for Hummus. See below for transcript...

Nutrition Label for Hummus. See below for transcript…

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size – 2 tbsps

Servings Per Container – 24

Calories 78                            Calories from Fat 29.58

Total Fat 5.1g                                                             8%

  • Saturated Fat 0.6g                                             3%
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 2.2g

Cholesterol 0mg                                                         0%

Potassium 111mg                                                       3%

Sodium 78mg                                                             3%

Total Carbohydrates 8.1g                                          3%

  • Dietary Fiber 3.3g                                               13%
  • Sugars 0.4g

Protein 1g                                                                   2%

Vitamin A 0.2%

Vitamin C 2%

Calcium 1%

Iron 5%

Vitamin E 0.1%

Vitamin K 1%

Thiamin 5%

Riboflavin 2%

Niacin 2%

Vitamin B6 1%

Folate 2%

Pantothenic Acid 0.1%

Phosphorus 5%

Magnesium 6%

Zinc 5%

Selenium 3%

Copper 5%

Manganese 5%


  1. Jazzlet says


    I’ve not made my own tahini before, not sure bout trying, I only have a stick blender, a good one, but all the same that’s a lot of work. I suppose traditionally the seeds would have been pounded in mortar, I do have a big one, but I’m not sure I’ve the patience or endurance necessary, those women must have had serious arm muscles. But I do agree that cooking the chickpeas yourself makes a far better hummous. I sometimes make it with just olive oil and a bit of the cooking water, which is good too.

    If you can find or grow it all pulses are enhanced by cooking with winter savoury, it looks a little like rosemary, but with more delicate leaves. It’s easy to grow, in fact it will seed it self happily into your other herb pots.

  2. VolcanoMan says

    This reads like an advertisement for Diamond kosher salt. Just sayin’. ;). I’ll have to give this a try, although I think I’ll step back the volume, since hummus is less good after it sits around for more than a day or 2 (unlike some foods which improve with a couple days of aging in the fridge, like curries) and I don’t think I can get through what probably amounts to almost a liter of hummus in that short span of time. And I’m pretty sure the oil content involved here will make freezing a bad idea (never tried to freeze hummus before so I can’t say for sure, but I suspect).

    Also, I like my hummus spicy, so I’ll probably chuck in some nice hot Hungarian paprika, or maybe use a diced Scotch Bonnet in the garlic-steeping-in-lemon-juice step to infuse a bunch of capsaicin into the juice. Maybe some chopped pine nuts too, add a bit of texture. I know it’s not “traditional” but whatever. Hummus is nice in that it holds up well to a wide variety of savoury flavors, giving people the option to experiment, to find the right hummus recipe for them. Thanks for the recipe, Nathan. Happy New Year.

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