Go ahead. File this title, specifically, that whole “hummus perfection” part under super bold claims and loaded statements.
After all, hummus is right up there with chocolate chip cookies when it comes to people getting super passionate about food.
But you should know that I’ve put my time in when it comes to hummus. I’ve made batches upon batches of it and I love chickpeas so much they’re practically their own food group in my world.
But also? I’ve hit the ground in the name of hummus research and have clocked in over 1 month of travel in the Middle East, easily eaten my weight in hummus, and have cooked with chefs from Israel to Lebanon and grilled them about their hummus secrets.
Top Tips For Hummus Perfection
And what do I have to show for it? This technique makes for an all-time best hummus. Here are my key tips:
Start With Dried Chickpeas
I know, you’re over it before I start because I want you to start with dried (preferably peeled) chickpeas, aren’t you?
But, before you reach for canned chickpeas, hear me out: the texture you get from cooking the chickpeas from scratch is so much better than anything canned. And you can flavor and cook them to your liking.
Of course, in a pinch, I’d still use canned but it’s basically not the same thing.
Soak Them A Long Time (With Baking Soda)
So, you’re gonna want to soak the chickpeas before cooking them. I have no scientific proof but I swear that adding in some baking soda and soaking it around 12 hours makes for a shorter cooking time and better texture.
And, if you don’t have time for a long soak? Go ahead and do a quick soak. Oh, and make sure to rinse the chickpeas well before you cook them.
Flavor Then Cook Then Cool
Okay, here’s where you can head off and choose your own adventure. Yes, you could totally just cover them with water and simmer away but I’m into flavoring it. I usually add in some combo of a couple of whole garlic cloves, and an onion peel, some dried chiles, or a pinch of cumin or coriander seeds and, if I’m being fancy, I cook them in half water, half broth situation.
Then just cook them a really long time (until they easily smush when you pinch them but still hold their shape) and add the salt at the end, once they’re cooked the way you want. Add enough salt to flavor the chickpeas and the broth (you’ll use that later so don’t make it too salty) and here’s a major key: let the chickpeas and the cooking liquid totally cool before you blend them.
Peel each chickpea. No, Seriously.
I started getting super serious about hummus perfection after I made Maureen Abood’s version out of her cookbook. The game-changer? That she uses peeled chickpeas when making her hummus.
You can buy already peeled dried chickpeas from her though they can be a bit pricey. Otherwise, start with unpeeled dried chickpeas and then peel them by hand — it takes some time but it’s all in the name of hummus perfection!
Let it rest.
If you have a high-performance blender, this is the time to pull it out because it will make it super smooth and whipped. Also, you want to get the best quality tahini you can find — it should taste like sesame and be a little sweet and not too bitter.
For every single measurement and the step-by-step, check out our Most Perfect Hummus recipe. Yes, I know, it’s a lot of work but it’s so worth it.