When It Comes To Hummus, Store-Bought Is Not Always Fine

I really try my hardest to avoid shaming people when it comes to buying store-bought items, because in most instances, the difference between store-bought and homemade is barely noticeable. If Ina thinks store-bought is fine, then you know what? So do I. However, there is one store-bought product that, quite frankly, really annoys me. It doesn't hold a flame to its homemade counterpart, which in my humble opinion, is super easy to make. The sacrilegious store-bought product? Hummus.

Listen, I am well aware that this is one of my snobbier takes. What can I say? If you've only tried hummus from a store-bought tub, I am here to tell you that you haven't experienced the real deal. Most brands add preservatives to their hummus in order to preserve freshness, but I feel very strongly that this addition ruins the flavor of the hummus. "Tangy" should not be a descriptor word for hummus. Homemade hummus is thick, creamy, and rich, whereas the store-bought version lacks any substantial flavor and is also texturally unpleasant. I'm sorry! Call me a hater, but I just know what I like, okay? Some brands are certainly better than others, but I am here to make the case that it's time for you to become a Homemade Hummus Person™ for life.

Hummus is a simple dip made of simple ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemons, and olive oil. One of my biggest issues with store-bought hummus is that you can't taste the tahini. Hummus should have a strong sesame flavor and a consistency that's thick and smooth as butter, and none of these qualities can be achieved without a heavy hand of tahini. Premium tahini is essential to a successful hummus (my favorite brand is Soom). How insufferable do I sound?

So, if you're ready to embark on your new lifestyle of homemade hummus, here's how it's done. You'll also a full-sized food processor or a high-speed blender to start. You can either use dried or canned chickpeas, though if this is your first hummus, I'd recommend starting with canned chickpeas, as it's much quicker and easier. That said, if you want to be an overachiever and use dried chickpeas, you'll need to soak them in water for at least eight hours (throw in a teaspoon of baking soda to help break them down even further) and then cook them on the stove, covered at a gentle simmer, for about two hours more. It's definitely an extra effort, but the result is worth your time.

When I'm making hummus with canned chickpeas, I like to reserve some of that chickpea liquid (known as aquafaba) to help thin out the dip. Another key to achieving your best hummus life is to blend it for longer than you think. Turn on your food processor or high speed blender and let it go for four to five minutes; this will not only incorporate more air for a light, aerated consistency, but it will make for an extra creamy texture.

The other understated beauty of making your own hummus is the ability to customize it. Throw in a head of roasted garlic. Maybe you're thinking pink and want to add in a peeled and roasted beet. You can always add in a handful of herbs, a couple roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or whatever else you've got on hand to zhuzh up your dip. The bottom line is this: homemade hummus is easy to make in your own kitchen, and it tastes far better than anything you can buy. The only shame in your store-bought game is when we're talking about hummus.

Homemade Hummus

Serves: 10-12Active: 10 minTotal: 10 min

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained, ½ cup chickpea liquid reserved
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • Hot sauce or red chili flakes, if desired
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Smoked paprika or aleppo pepper, for garnish
  • Pita chips, for serving
  • In a high-powered blender or food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, tahini, cumin, and hot sauce (if using). Blend for about five minutes, or until mixture begins to look smooth, adding reserved chickpea liquid gradually to help blend and thin out the hummus (you might not need it all). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Top with a drizzle of oil and serve immediately with pita chips.