Learn the secret to the BEST, creamiest homemade hummus! Then stir in roasted garlic and top with Za’atar-spiced butter if you dare. SWOON.
If you want Hummus to blow your mind, make your heart sing, and invade your dreams, you’re going to have to make it yourself.
You’ll need to start with the right chickpea, of course. You’ll need to prepare it with love. And you’ll need to top it with butter.
You think I’m crazy, but this is the best idea ever.
The Right Chickpea
The key is to start with dried chickpeas, not canned. Canned chickpeas should be your #2 choice (see options below) but dried chickpeas will always be #1 in my heart.
Yes, this is more work, but you will be surprised at the difference. Make this authentic homemade Hummus once, and you may never go back to your store-bought hummus, no matter how many Kalamata olives or roasted red peppers they grind into it.
Learn all about how to cook chickpeas down below on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot.
You could take the easy way and just use raw garlic in your hummus. It’s good.
But YOU are an all star who loves this stuff, so please let me suggest roasted garlic.
Just cut the top of a bulb of garlic (or two or three or four), top the exposed cloves with olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Your house is going to smell amazing.
And by the way, you can roast the garlic any time. Place the roasted cloves in a jar in the fridge and just keep them submerged in olive oil. You’ll find all kinds of interesting recipes to stir them into, everything from mashed potatoes to mayonnaise.
So let me just say, butter is what has been missing from hummus your whole life.
Start with imported European butter, if you can, and clarify it to concentrate the flavor.
Sumac is a lemon-flavored spice in Za’atar. I found some at my local international grocery store, or, of course, you can find it on Amazon.
How to cook dried chickpeas:
Cooking beans is simple, but requires a little flexibility. That’s because every dried bean, including garbanzo beans, is different. And that means different cooking times, depending on the age of the bean, size and type of the bean, and so on.
For example, Rancho Gordo chickpeas are packaged fresh from the source. Even though they’re dried, they tend to cook a whole lot quicker than a dusty bag of beans you grab from the bottom shelf of the grocery store. The longer they hang out in the bag, the longer it takes to rehydrate them!
When you cook your own chickpeas, you get to control the texture, too. (For hummus, we want the chickpeas super soft and creamy.)
Here are my favorite ways to cook dried chickpeas. Depending on what kind of time you have, pick the one you want:
- Long soak method, which requires an easy overnight (8 hours) soak in water before cooking on the stove for about 2 hours
- Quick soak method, which requires a 2-minute cook and a 1-hour soak before cooking on the stove for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Slow cooker, which requires about 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat
- Electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) which requires about one hour.
Cooking chickpeas on the stove:
While not mandatory, soaking lets the chickpeas absorb water and get ready for cooking.
Overnight-Soaking Method for beans:
- Pick through and rinse the amount of beans you need.
- Add the beans to a bowl and cover with at least 2″ of water, then soak overnight.
- Drain and discard soaking liquid, then you’re ready to cook!
Quick-Soaking Method for beans:
- Pick through and rinse the amount of beans you need.
- To a large saucepan, add beans and enough liquid to cover them by 1 inch.
- Bring beans to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let beans sit for 1 hour.
- Drain and discard soaking liquid, then you’re ready to cook them!
To cook the soaked beans, add them to a large pot, cover the beans with several inches of water, add the baking soda, and bring everything to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until they reach your desired tenderness, usually* 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours.
While the beans are cooking, partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving a crack open for steam to escape. This will help the garbanzos soften and get creamy.
Stir the beans occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add extra water if needed.
*Cooking times are approximate. If your chickpeas are still hard after the cook time, continue to simmer!
Slow Cooker Chickpeas:
Super easy, if you have the time. I usually do this with 1 pound of chickpeas at a time and save the extra for another recipe or more hummus!
- Add 1 pound of dried chickpeas, some baking soda, and 7 cups of water to a slow cooker.
- Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Instant Pot Chickpeas:
Again, with this method I always make at least 1 pound of chickpeas at a time and find an excuse to make extra hummus!
- Add 1 pound of dried chickpeas along with 6 cups of water and some baking soda to the pressure cooker.
- Seal the lid and cook on High Pressure for 50 minutes, (or use the “beans” setting) and then let the machine naturally release for 10 minutes.
- Vent the remaining pressure before opening the lid, and open only when the steam release valve drops.
Chickpea cooking tips:
To soak or not to soak? That is the question! Technically, you don’t have to soak chickpeas or any beans before cooking. But with garbanzos, I feel like it gives them a little extra head start in hydration–especially if you’re using older dried beans.
To salt or not to salt? Real talk: you can salt at any stage of the game, or not at all. It really doesn’t matter with chickpeas for hummus.
Baking soda. A little bit of baking soda in the cooking water speeds up the process, making the water alkaline, which softens the chickpeas, too.
Get the right texture. In general, rely less on the clock than on the texture of the bean itself. If you have to cook longer, cook longer! You want the chickpea to be soft and break apart easily.
Can I use canned beans to make hummus?
Yes, and here’s how to figure out about how many cans you need to make the recipe.
8 ounces (1/2 pound, or 1 cup) of dried chickpeas yields approximately 3 to 3 and 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
14- to 16-ounce can chickpeas = 1 and 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
19-ounce can chickpeas= 2¼ cups cooked chickpeas
So… to make one batch of this recipe as it’s written below, plan on buying at least two 14- to 16-ounce cans of chickpeas. Reserve 1/4 cup of the canning liquid for use in Step 3.
It wouldn’t hurt to buy one extra can, just in case. If you don’t use it, you can make a pretty fabulous Mediterranean Chopped Salad later with the leftovers.
Homemade Hummus with Za'atar Butter Recipe
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place in a stock pot with baking soda and cover with at least 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, depending on the age of your chickpeas. Drain well, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
- In a food processor, combine chickpeas, salt, and garlic and blend for 30 seconds, periodically stopping the processor to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add tahini, lemon juice, and reserved liquid and process 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to process until you have a smooth puree. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until incorporated.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with clarified butter. Top with (or stir in) Za'atar spice if desired.
- To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off a bulb of garlic so the cloves are exposed. Set the bulb on a piece of foil large enough to wrap the bulb. Top the exposed cloves with olive oil and wrap the bulb tightly in foil. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife slides easily in to the middle of the bulb. The garlic can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove cloves from bulb, place in a jar, cover with olive oil, and close lid tightly.
- To make the Za'atar spice blend, in a small jar add 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Shake to combine.
- If you insist, you may substitute two 14- to 16- ounce cans of chickpeas for the dried. Reserve 1/4 cup of the canning liquid for use in Step 3.