Isn’t that hard to make? Don’t you need to go out and buy that sesame stuff, what’s it called – tahini?

No. And no.

The very simplest hummus (read: the one I make) is a simple purée of canned chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans); salt; cumin; garlic; and either olive oil, or liquid from the canned beans.

Dump into food processor. Process. Enjoy.

Trust me; you can do this.

Let’s start with the simple recipe sketched out above:

15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, liquid saved
3 to 9 cloves garlic, peeled*
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil; or a combination of olive oil and reserved liquid from the beans

*3 to 9 cloves – that’s a huge range, isn’t it?

Yes – and people have a huge range in their tolerance for/love of garlic. Obviously, 9 cloves will make a VERY VERY garlicky hummus. And be aware – the longer the hummus sits, the more garlicky it becomes, so you can’t really add garlic to taste.

Here are the chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans. This is a 15-ounce can; Progresso makes more like a 19- to 20-ounce can. Use either size; no need to adjust the recipe, other than the fact that you may find yourself adding a bit more liquid if you use the larger amount of beans.

Drain the beans, reserving the liquid; you may need some of it.

Put everything but the olive oil (and reserved bean liquid) into a food processor.

Process until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the bowl.

With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil, processing until the hummus is as soft/smooth as you like.

To cut back on fat, use a combination of olive oil and reserved bean liquid. Or use all bean liquid – though your hummus won’t taste as good without at least a touch of olive oil.

Use a spatula to test the texture. Just right?

Scoop it into a bowl. Here I’m serving the hummus with fresh, warm, homemade tortillas.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Hummus.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. catknitter

    I haven’t made hummus since we moved to Japan as I could not find Tahini. This recipe will be perfect.

    I recently discovered tahini in the commissary but you never know how old it is or whether they will get it back in or not. Having an alternative is perfect!

    I guarantee you’ll never miss the tahini – enjoy! PJH

  2. Sonya J Mills

    I whipped this up last night to go with some fresh organic grape tomatoes I’d picked up from the farmers market. I used some surprise garlic I found in our veggie garden this spring (moved in last fall) that I’d harvested just days ago. Within 30 minutes the entire batch had been gobbled up by my 2 daughters, myself and my mother-in-law.


    So glad for the comments here! I’ve tried making traditional hummus in the past but the tahini didn’t taste right. Now I’m wondering if it might’ve been rancid when I bought it. The tip to store it in the fridge is much appreciated. I’ll have to try it again someday. Lots of other great variations on this bean dip. Thanks!

  3. B Scott

    I call the recipe above “Garlicky Chickpea Puree” – not Hummus. I’m sure if you make the puree, it will be enjoyable. Hummus is an all together different and amazing food experience which can become an obsession.
    I recommend exploring the “The Hummus Blog” at This blog is written by two hummus-obsessed Israeli brothers with great descriptions and basic recipes. Their hummus recipe is at This recipe includes the two essential ingredients, lemon juice and tahini, which are missing above and which makes real hummus.
    Regarding tahini, I like a more subltle nutty flavor and so put in less tahini to start with than the amount mentioned in a lot of recipes. (And yes, I would buy a natural peanut butter – no added sugar, etc. if I could not obtain tahini – start with 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of tahini.)
    I prefer a lighter texture hummus. My prefereed store brand is Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus ( I find it easier to achieve a lighter hummus using an immersion blender in a tall narrow container. Once you chill hummus, it becomes more dense so beat it a bit more than you might expect. Use the lemon juice to thin it and than once you achieve the preferred amount of “tang”, use plain water. When I use canned chickpeas, I rinse them and throw out the liquid in the can. I find the chickpeas have plenty of flavor and I like the clean flavors of a few tablespoon so good olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and plain water.
    Finally, take a look at this short video about the quest for the best hummus and see how some people make a meal out of hummus.
    Enjoy your homemade Hummus.

    Thank you for sharing your hummus expertise! Irene @ KAF

  4. Heather

    Interesting comments! They make me think of a NYTimes article about hummus that just ran a few days ago — I love plain hummus but I especially like it with roasted garlic. I’m also a big fan of Trader Joe’s kalamata olive hummus, which is funny because I’m generally not the biggest olive fan! And I’ve been meaning to whip up some hummus for the past few days, so all this talk of it has spurred me on to toss some chickpeas in the pressure cooker and some garlic under the broiler. Can’t wait!

  5. BellesAZ

    When I was in college, my good friend and neighbor was from Jordan. He loved to cook and one of my very favorites was his Hummus and made from scratch Pitas. Hummus is very traditional and is made with only a bit of garlic (not 9 cloves – even 3 is pushing it) lemon juice, tahini and some of the liquid from the can. No cumin, no anything else.. just chickpeas.

    It is, however, easily adapted to any taste – including Westernized versions, flavor it up or add what you want. I think if you don’t want to buy tahini (not cheap and unless you eat alot of hummus, could be wasteful), then don’t! If you want to add cumin, then DO! Celebrate diversity and palates of a wide variety of flavor. I would never dream of putting in 9 cloves of garlic, but thats just me.

    When I plate my hummus, I drizzle olive oil on the top, sprinkle with a touch of paprika and serve with not just pita, but also a nice assortment of thinly sliced veggies cut on a diagonal… try carrots, cucumber, massively big black olives or even wedges of tomato straight from the garden. Just enjoy it.. it’s healthy, it’s easy and very satisfying.

    HINT: Try warming your chickpeas and broth in a saucepan until they are just at a simmer. They will break down easier in your food processor and you will get a creamier, more flavorful dish.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment here. I love everything you say. And next time, I’m going to simmer the chickpeas first. PJH


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