Our Favorite Hummus Recipe

I’m ashamed to say that back in 2017, we posted a deeply flawed hummus recipe. Today, we right those wrongs with Michael Solomonov’s (of Zahav fame) great hummus—plus our personal tips for success. 

You can still reference that old post for a still very good recipe for two kinds of pita chips—one salty and one cinnamon-sugar sweet! And if you can’t find tahini paste, it offers a decent workaround. 

The All-important Tahini 

The chief reason people called me out on my naively subpar hummus recipe was the lack of tahini. I never knew how to whip it properly for a smooth hummus, so I would forgo it entirely.

That is before some handy instruction and hummus education from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov. It’s a great cookbook, full of stories and truly delicious recipes.

A note:

While Solomonov’s cookbook is about Israeli cooking, hummus is a dish with roots across the entire Middle East region. Read more on the history of hummus at NPR: Give Chickpeas a Chance: Why Hummus Unites, and Divides, the Mideast.

The trick is to whip the tahini with garlic, lemon juice, and ice water to make a tahina sauce, and then add the chickpeas. This recipe follows the same formula, with some slight adjustments on salt, which can always be changed per your tastes. 

Hummus IngredientsHummus Ingredients

Another vital note: tahini paste is NOT the same as Chinese sesame paste. Tahini paste is much lighter in color and smoother in consistency. Chinese sesame paste is darker, more toasted, and has a firm, almost sandy texture. 

Thinner vs. Thicker Hummus? 

It seems like every time I make hummus, I grapple with a split personality moment. Of course, I want my hummus to be super smooth at all times, but the real question is whether I want my hummus to be thinner (high on tahina sauce, lower on chickpeas) or thicker (high on tahina sauce and high on chickpeas)? 

I will admit though—regardless of the quantity of chickpeas, I don’t cook them from dry. I reach for the cans. Yes. I admit it. And I am ashamed. I’m willing to live with this character flaw.

One 14-ounce can of chickpeas gets you a thinner hummus that is positively fantastic with lamb chops and laffa bread.

If you’re looking for something more substantial for spreading on toast, or if you simply prefer a thicker hummus, two 14-ounce cans does the trick! 

That said, I reallocate the time saved soaking dried chickpeas to patiently ensuring my chickpeas are 100% well-processed for a super smooth, perfectly whipped hummus. 

Hummus Recipe, thewoksoflife.comHummus Recipe, thewoksoflife.com

Hummus Recipe Instructions

In a food processor, combine lemon juice, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Let sit for 10 minutes.

Lemon Juice, Garlic, and Salt in Food ProcessorLemon Juice, Garlic, and Salt in Food Processor

This step mellows the garlic. 

Garlic, salt, and lemon juice blended in food processorGarlic, salt, and lemon juice blended in food processor

Add the tahini and cumin, and blend until a thick paste forms.

While that’s happening, add ½ cup of water and a handful of ice into a measuring cup with a spout. Add the ice water in a thin stream until the sauce takes on a whipped, light and creamy texture.

It will almost double in volume. It should take anywhere from ⅓ to ⅔ cup of ice water. For a thicker hummus, err on the side of less.  

Whipped tahini mixtureWhipped tahini mixture

Add the drained chickpeas…

Adding chickpeas to tahini in food processorAdding chickpeas to tahini in food processor

And blend until totally smooth and not at all grainy. This could take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, with some occasional scraping down of the bowl.

Sometimes I let it run for extra time, and busy myself with another kitchen task to ensure the smoothest possible hummus. If you need to, you can add in an extra few streams of ice water along the way. 

Hummus in food processorHummus in food processor

Season to taste with more salt (I add an additional ¾ teaspoon, for 1 teaspoon total), lemon juice or cumin. 

Spoonful of hummusSpoonful of hummus

To serve, dollop the hummus in a shallow small bowl or a deep plate. Go ahead and run your spoon in a swirl to make that jazzy restaurant pattern. You earned it.

Sprinkle a pinch of paprika over the top, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. 

Hummus in white dish with laffa breadHummus in white dish with laffa bread

Optionally, you can also sprinkle over some chopped parsley. 

We served ours with homemade laffa bread, also from Zahav.

Dipping laffa bread into hummusDipping laffa bread into hummus
Hummus in white dish garnished with paprika, chickpeas, and parsleyHummus in white dish garnished with paprika, chickpeas, and parsley


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