You can't beat homemade hummus, no matter what the shelves upon shelves of pre-made stuff at the grocery store lead you to believe. But there are a few keys to ensuring that your hummus is scrape-the-bowl worthy. Here are five mistakes to avoid the next time you make hummus that will guarantee success.
1. Using canned chickpeas instead of dried.
Yes, in a pinch you can successfully make hummus with canned beans, but it just honestly won't be as good. Using freshly cooked chickpeas ensures your hummus will have the best flavor — they'll taste clean and nutty rather than potentially a bit metallic from the can. Plus, cooking them yourself means you can control the texture, cooking them up to be just soft enough to be blended smoothy but not overly mushy or worse, undercooked and grainy.
Follow this tip: Set time aside to cook up a pot of dried chickpeas instead of reaching for the canned stuff.
Related: How to Cook Beans on the Stove
2. Not using baking soda when cooking the beans.
What usually leads to hummus having a slightly grainy texture is the thick, fibrous skins on the outside of the chickpeas. While you could take the skin off each individual cooked bean, there's a better way. Instead, cook the dried beans with a little baking soda, which softens the skins, along with the beans themselves, making for an extra-smooth purée.
Follow this tip: Add a teaspoon or so to the water the chickpeas soak in and then again to the water they're boiled in.
3. Pureeing the chickpeas when they are cold.
If you cooked your chickpeas ahead of time and tucked them into the fridge until you're ready to purée them, it's a good idea to rewarm them a bit first. Warmed beans actually blend into a smoother, lighter hummus than cold beans do.
Follow this tip: If your cooked beans are cold, warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds before blending them.
4. Using less than stellar tahini.
It's not just about the chickpeas. You're adding a good amount of tahini to the mix as well so it deserves to be the good stuff. Cheap jars of tahini are made from low-quality sesame seeds and you can taste the difference. One great brand is Soom, which is based in Philadelphia and sources all of its seeds from a single region in Ethiopia.
Follow this tip: Don't be too cheap when it comes to the tahini — select a high-quality brand to ensure a high-quality hummus.
5. Tossing in too much garlic.
Yes, hummus should be garlicky but there is such a thing as too much garlic. Because you're usually blending in raw garlic, its flavor gets strong as the hummus sits so it's best to have a gentle hand.
Follow this tip: Start with one clove of garlic and see if that gets the job done. You can always add more next time — and remember that the garlic flavor will strengthen over time.