Smooth and Fluffy Hummus

jar of tahini

So, maybe I’m a cheater. I’ve heard that the only way to get really good, authentic hummus is to soak and cook the highest-quality dried chickpeas you can find and remove the skins ( before you do any blending (or eating!). But I don’t have that kind of patience for snack-making. Usually if I reach for a snack at all it’s because I’m already rabid starving. One day I will make hummus with my own scratch-made and hand-peeled chickpeas and I will tell you all that nothing less will ever do. But today I want to be lazy, I don’t want to plan ahead, and I want my chickpeas to come from a can.

tahini and lemon juice

So whatever, this isn’t authentic hummus. But it is lighter than the stuff you get in a tub from the grocery store, a million times more delicious, and it’s almost as smooth as the hummus you get at a good mediterranean restaurant. It also takes about five minutes to throw together, so for me it’s just the thing.

The trick to getting hummus that is light and fluffy without soaking or simmering or peeling is in adding and processing your ingredients in the right order.

tahini cream

The first ingredients that should hit the blades of your food processor are garlic, lemon juice, and tahini. When you process the lemon juice and tahini together, they create a light, airy tahini cream. My first shot (above) was a little too thick, so I added another teaspoon of lemon juice, scraped the sides and bottom of the bowl, and gave it another turn around the blades. I ended up with …

tahini cream

This tahini cream (above). From here all you have to do is add the chickpeas, about a half cup at a time, blending for about thirty seconds between additions. If the hummus gets too thick, add a tiny bit of water. If it starts looking like the right consistency but it still isn’t as smooth as you like, let it run for a minute or so and stop adding chickpeas. You might not use the entire can, but you can put the extra chickpeas on top for garnish if you like.

light and fluffy hummus

A lot of people like to add olive oil to their hummus, but I feel like the flavor of olive oil kind of overpowers the delicate beany-ness of the chickpeas. I love a little olive oil on top, but I prefer the texture and flavor of hummus without any olive oil processed in. If you want to, you have my permission to add the tiniest dash of cumin.

hummus with olive oil

hummus with olive oil and red pepper

hummus with bell pepper


Serve it with peppers, cucumbers, pita chips, crostinis, or whatever else your little heart desires.

The recipe:

1/3 cup tahini

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, smashed

Process the above until thickened, light in color and evenly incorporated, scraping the bowl if necessary.

1 standard 15oz can chickpeas, drained

water (as needed)

salt, to taste

a dash of cumin (optional)

Add the chickpeas 1/2 cup at a time, adding water by the teaspoon if the mixture gets too thick. Process for about 30 seconds between each addition of chickpeas. Stop adding chickpeas when you reach your desired consistency (you should finish or nearly finish the can, but don’t sacrifice texture for volume). Process for another minute or two to eliminate any graininess. Salt to taste and add a little cumin if you want it.

  1. So delicious looking!!!

    Amy — September 25, 2013
    1. reply
  2. so can you get tahini at your basic grocery store??

    miranda — October 8, 2013
    1. Hey Mir! At my grocery store there's a little section of indian ingredients, and that's where I can usually find it. If your store doesn't have one of those, check the natural foods section (vegans love tahini) or even the nut butter section. Most stores do carry it these days.

      courtney — October 8, 2013
    2. reply
  3. awesome! thanks, i bet you the store i usually go to has it. they have a nice long aisle of authentic mexican/indian food ingredients.

    miranda — October 9, 2013
    1. reply
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