How To Make Silky Smooth Hummus

This really is amazing. One simple ingredient makes all the difference in texture. I love hummus and we buy it at the store quite often. Some of which have great flavor, but it always has a bit of a texture to it. In fact I’ve had hummus that way for so long I really didn’t know that it could be any other way. But a while back we had dinner at Mediterranean Exploration Company, and they had the best hummus, the texture was like velvet. Luckily I found a recipe in Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty. He also had some notes about this recipe on his website, stressing the importance of good tahini, however I used what I had and I think the brands he mentioned might be tricky to find depending where you live. I also found a version of this recipe on Food52, it was from a different Ottolenghi cookbook Jerusalem, in that recipe the ratio of chickpea to tahini didn’t seem quite right, they used half the amount of chickpea and the same amount of tahini as in this recipe, and I can see why the commenters were crying out “too much tahini!” in that case, but this is a good balance and a perfect base recipe to get creative with. So what makes it so smooth? Baking Soda. You soak the dried beans overnight in water with some baking soda, then the next day you cook them with baking soda as well. It softens the chickpeas and you don’t have to worry about the peels either, the whole business goes in the food processor and comes out perfect. Any time I prepare chickpeas from the dried beans I swear I won’t buy them in a can again, and then I do. But I’d much prefer to get into a groove of making my own because it pays off in flavor and texture. Recipe below. Enjoy!


  • 2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda (divided)
  • 1 1/4 cups tahini paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt

Place the chickpeas and 1 tablespoon baking soda in a large bowl, cover with double the volume of water and soak overnight. The next day drain and rinse. 

Place the soaked chickpeas and 1/2 tablespoon baking soda in a large pot. Fill with double the volume of cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 2-3 hours, or until completely soft and easy to mush. Add more water during cooking if necessary to keep them immersed. Drain and retain the cooking liquid. 

Transfer the warm chickpeas to a food processor, add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Puree for a minute or two until smooth. Add some of the cooking liquid (I used about 1/2 cup) and puree more. He says “You want the mixture to be very soft, almost runny, but just holding its shape.” Serve warm if possible. Makes about 6 cups of Hummus.