Want to know how to make a creamy, dreamy hummus? Just follow these steps.
1. Start with dried chickpeas
Dried chickpeas tend to make a smoother, more flavorful hummus than canned chickpeas do. For the best results, buy dried chickpeas that look plump, not shriveled. If they have a harvest date on the bag, all the better; ideally, they will have been picked within the last year. If you must use canned, cook them in boiling water for 20 minutes or so to help them lose their tin can flavor and make the beans extra soft.
2. Use baking soda
For the silkiest textured hummus, use baking soda; it makes the chickpeas extra soft (and reduces the cooking time, to boot). Either soak your chickpeas with baking soda (about 1 tablespoon for ½ pound) or add baking soda to the cooking water (1 teaspoon per pound).
3. Cook chickpeas until very soft
If you’re serving chickpeas in a salad, you want them to be just cooked through. For hummus, however, it’s best to cook them until they’re so soft, they’re almost mushy, but not quite.
4. Cook the garlic
This is an optional step but one that can make a huge difference. For hummus with a sweet, mellow garlic flavor rather than one that’s sharp and pungent, cook the garlic cloves with the chickpeas or sauté or roast them before adding to the mix.
5. Make sure your other ingredients are fresh
There’s nothing worse than hummus made with bottled lemon juice or rancid oil or tahini. Since hummus is so simple, do it justice and be sure to use the freshest ingredients possible.
6. Keep garnishes simple
A drizzle of olive oil makes hummus look and taste that much more appealing. You can also try sprinkling whole chickpeas, fresh parsley, a little paprika or za’atar (the herb-y Middle Eastern spice and seed blend) over the top. Otherwise, a good homemade hummus needs little else.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and the blog Eat Better, Drink Better. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.