We learned how to make perfect homemade hummus from a pro: former DEZ chef and co-founder Eden Grinshpan. You’ve probably bought dozens—if not hundreds—of tubs of hummus at the store, and been reasonably satisfied most times, but making hummus from scratch is not only easy and way cheaper, it’s far more delicious. Just follow a few simple tips and tricks for the best homemade hummus ever.
A little background on your teacher to begin: You may know Eden Grinshpan from Eden Eats, or from “Top Chef Canada” (which she co-hosts). She fell in love with the Food Network at a young age and was inspired to create her own dishes for her family, but that was no passing phase. Eventually, she attended Le Cordon Bleu instead of college, with the full support and encouragement of her parents. So she knows her stuff, and hummus is no exception. While her first restaurant, DEZ, has sadly closed since we visited, you can still use her expert tips to make your own super silky, flavor-packed hummus at home.
What Makes Hummus So Good?
As Eden proclaims, having fresh homemade hummus in your fridge is such a great feeling; it’s so simple to make but so impressive, and not only delicious enough to appeal to everyone (it was one of the first foods her daughter ate), it’s suitable for practically any diet, since it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free, and loaded with protein and fiber.
She shared a recipe for a beautifully blushing beet hummus with us (and if you subtract the beets, it’s a perfect basic hummus), but first, her key tips on what separates great hummus from merely good.
The Keys to Perfect Hummus
Starting with dried chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) is best, and if you go that route, you need to soak them overnight. The next day, cook them in a fresh change of cold water with baking soda to help break down the skins, and test for doneness by pinching a bean here and there; they should be super creamy and break easily between your fingers.
If you’re already thinking There’s no way I’m ever soaking beans overnight and cooking them from scratch, not to worry! Eden advocates for using canned chickpeas to make your own hummus if the choice is between that and picking up store-bought hummus. She admits to using canned at home, too. But she does advise you use low-sodium beans, and rinse them well under running water before you throw them in the food processor. (And if the issue is just the soaking part, try a trick from Cookie and Kate and briefly boil some canned chickpeas with baking soda; this combines the best of both worlds for almost-last-minute hummus that’s also the creamiest it can be.)
The Lemon Juice
A good amount of fresh lemon juice really brightens up the hummus and keeps it from being dull or flat. You’ll be adding garlic and salt to help boost the flavor too, but the fresh citrus cannot be underestimated (or skipped).
Eden uses a lot of tahini (a thick paste made of ground sesame seeds) for a velvety smooth texture and nutty depth of flavor. She likes Soom, but choose whatever brand you prefer. If you’re new to tahini, note that it will always taste somewhat bitter, but if the bitterness is overpowering, you should hold off on hummus until you can get a better brand of tahini.
The Ice Water
Yep, a little ice water blended in further elevates the light, creamy, fluffy texture of the hummus, and is a nifty trick to keep up your sleeve—or share with everyone you know.
It’s a technical term! Or at least it’s a great way to create rims and wells in the hummus that’ll hold your toppings (more on them below). To do it, load up a bowl with fresh hummus and hold it in one hand; with the other, apply the back of a large spoon to the surface of the hummus, and keep the spoon still while you rotate the bowl against it. The hummus should hold the mark like a stiff whipped cream will hold peaks, or a good buttercream will show swirls from a spatula. See the video if you need a demo.
You know how some brands of hummus include a drizzle of oil and a measly ring of toasted pine nuts or flecks of red pepper? It’s a good idea, but you can do it so much better at home. Eden likes a bright lemon vinaigrette with jalapeño (find her recipe below), but a delicious, high-quality olive oil alone will also do the trick. Be generous with your pour, then add some other goodies, like toasted pine nuts and Aleppo pepper flakes or fresh herbs.
You can blend pretty much anything into hummus, from roasted peppers to carrots to olives and so on—but for a gorgeous pink hue and earthy-sweet flavor perfect for spring, try beets! Eden roasts her beets with vinegar, cardamom, sugar, and salt, for a brighter flavor than you sometimes get. They’re incorporated into the hummus itself and also scattered on top, along with fresh mint, pine nuts, and more of that fantastic lemon vinaigrette.
How to Serve Hummus
In the U.S., we tend to serve hummus as-is, with an assortment of pita chips, veggies, and other dippers (sometimes just arrayed around the grocery store container; for shame), as a crowd-pleasing dip or appetizer. But in Israel, where there are tons of hole-in-the-wall hummus shops that specialize in the art of hummus, it’s often served warm and always super-fresh, in bowls intended to serve a single person, with plenty of fresh pita to scoop it up. Depending on the place, you can get all kinds of things added to your bowl of hummus, too, like ground lamb or roasted eggplant. Some people even put shakshuka on it.
At home, try eating your epic made-from-scratch hummus as a meal, still warm, with whatever toppings strike your fancy—but be sure to get the best, fluffiest pita bread you can find, because you’re going to want to scoop up every last bit from the bowl! (Try this easy flatbread recipe if you want to make everything from scratch.)
How to Make Hummus from Scratch
This recipe is for Eden Grinshpan’s beet hummus, but if you’re not swayed by that beautiful pink hue, just omit the beets and you’ll end up with a bowl of traditional—and delicious—hummus.
For the Beets:
- 4 beets, yellow and red variety
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 cardamom pods, optional
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons salt
For the Hummus:
- 1½ cups raw chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Fresh water to cover
- ¾ cup raw tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ⅓ cup cooked beets
- ⅓ to ½ cup ice water (use less for a thicker spread)
For the Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- ½ jalapeño, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
- Kosher salt, to taste
For the Garnish:
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Additional beets, chopped
- Mint leaves
- Pine nuts
- Make the beets: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the beets with the vinegar, cardamom (if using), sugar, and salt in a deep roasting tray. Pour in water to come halfway up the beets, then cover well with foil and place in the oven to roast until a knife slides through the beets easily, around 45 minutes.
- Remove the beets from the liquid and use a kitchen towel to remove the skin while still hot.
- Make the hummus: Drain and rinse the chickpeas after they’ve soaked overnight. Place in a deep pot with baking soda. Pour in water to cover, then bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and skim the film that forms on top.
- Let simmer on medium heat until the chickpeas are creamy and break between your fingers when pinched, around 30 minutes.
- Strain the cooked chickpeas and place in a Vitamix or strong blender with tahini, garlic, salt, and beets. Blend until smooth, then slowly pour in the ice water until creamy.
- Make the garnish: Place the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, jalapeño, and salt in a blender and combine until very fine. Top the hummus with the jalapeño mix, beets, mint, and pine nuts. Serve warm.
You will need a high-powered blender or food processor to make perfectly smooth and fluffy hummus, but it’s a worthy investment for sure—which you can also use for homemade nut butter, sauces of all kinds, and so much more.