This easy authentic hummus recipe makes a homemade traditional hummus that a Lebanese friend taught me when we lived in Abu Dhabi in the late Nineties. I make this classic hummus recipe whenever we have cravings for Arabic food or are missing the Middle East and always keep cans of chick peas in the pantry for that reason.
It’s International Hummus Day today, so we thought we’d share this easy authentic hummus recipe for a homemade traditional hummus that a Lebanese friend taught me when we were living in the United Arab Emirates.
I make this classic hummus whenever we have cravings for Arabic food or are missing the Middle East. And we always keep cans of chickpeas in the cupboard for that reason. It’s perfect with our sourdough crackers. (As are these other homemade dips – we have more dip recipes here.)
Hummus is a quintessential Arabic dip eaten with an array of mezze or starters right across the Middle East. Thought to have originated in medieval Egypt, hummus is found right across the Arab world, from North Africa through to the Levantine countries of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, in the state of Palestine and Israel, and throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Hummus is more correctly hummus bi-tahina, because hummus means chickpeas in Arabic, and this is essentially a chickpea and tahini dip. Travel the Middle East and you’ll spot all kinds of hummus on restaurant menus, from the simplest, hummus bi-zayt (chickpeas with olive oil) to the most sublime, hummus wa rummaan (chickpeas and pomegranate).
This easy authentic hummus recipe makes the traditional hummus served in homes and restaurants across the region. It’s a classic recipe that is simple to make and is so good it doesn’t need any of those crazy flavours that became fashionable a decade or so ago.
Published 21 May 2020; Updated 13 May 2022.
Easy Authentic Hummus Recipe for a Homemade Traditional Hummus
We first published this recipe a couple of years ago when we had cravings for hummus and Middle Eastern food more generally after making so much Cambodian food – everything from Cambodian barbecue recipes and Cambodian samlors (soups and stews) to my Cambodian-Australian fusion recipes for sausage rolls and meat pies – while were staying at home quarantine cooking for the first couple of months of the pandemic.
Lara started a list of cooking projects, as much for us to keep us busy as well as for any of our readers who might also have been self-isolating. It included making homemade dips such as hummus from scratch, partly because it’s so satisfying to make anything from scratch, but also because it’s so much more delicious, healthier and cheaper than store-bought hummus.
During the 7.5 years we lived in Abu Dhabi and Dubai we would eat some sort of Arabic food at least a handful of times a week, whether it was Lara’s students or my work colleagues bringing boxes of treats such as za’atar croissants into work to share, dining out at Arabic restaurants, such at a Syrian restaurant we adored in Abu Dhabi where women made piping hot flatbreads to order, or picking up some Lebanese takeaway on our way back from our evening walks along the waterfront of Old Dubai.
When we ordered takeaway Lebanese – so we could enjoy it at home with a bottle of red wine – we always ordered the same dishes: mutabal, baba ghanouj, falafel, fatoush, tabouli, pita bread, a mixed grill, and, of course, hummus.
The next day there’d always be leftovers, because the servings were so generous, and we’d slather some hummus onto the reheated pita bread, along with whatever grilled meats and tabouli were left, and roll it up into a shawarma, the much-loved Middle Eastern sandwich.
And when we travelled the Middle East, whether it was on holidays or for work after we segued back into travel writing, we’d gorge ourselves daily on Arabic food, in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and the Arabian Gulf countries of Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. We never needed to cook Middle Eastern food at home.
Because of this, it was a while before I began making hummus at home, but when I did get around to it, it was in Abu Dhabi, where I finally learnt to make baba ghanouj, mutabal and this easy authentic hummus recipe, thanks to my lovely Lebanese office manager who shared tips from home.
Every few days I would take a Middle Eastern dip into the office and for morning tea we would scoop my homemade hummus or mutabal or baba ghanouj up with some crunchy carrot sticks, along with heady cups of Arabic coffee, while she critiqued my efforts. Now, whenever we get cravings for Arabic food I make this easy authentic hummus recipe to satisfy our cravings for Middle Eastern cuisine.
Tips to Making this Easy Authentic Hummus Recipe
Just a few tips to making this easy authentic hummus recipe as it really is very simple and doesn’t need to be unnecessarily complicated. Firstly, make sure you use good quality ingredients, especially when it comes to your chickpeas, tahini and olive oil.
Secondly, use fresh lemons for your lemon juice if you have access to them. Anything else would be haram in the Middle East but we are going through a pandemic* after all. (*And two years later, global supply chain issues!)
Lastly, try to get hold of sumac to sprinkle on your hummus at the end. But, if you can’t, ground paprika, while quite a different spice, is next best.
Making Homemade Hummus from Scratch
What makes this easy authentic hummus recipe so easy is that it can be made with a can of chickpeas and a handful of other ingredients that you throw into a food processor. Recipes don’t get much easier than that.
If you prefer to make this homemade hummus recipe from scratch you’ll need to begin with dried chickpeas and soak the chickpeas overnight to soften them. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to soften them faster.
Rinse the chickpeas and add them to a stockpot with water covering the chickpeas by at least one centimetre. Bring it to a boil on high heat, then simmer with the lid on for about one hour. Check the chickpeas at 50 minutes by trying to crush a chickpea with your fingers. If it crushes easily it’s done.
One big advantage making a classic homemade hummus recipe from scratch and soaking the dried chickpeas yourself is that you can then add the still warm drained chickpeas directly into the food processor, which will give you a very smooth hummus with a creamy texture sooner rather than later.
Another tip to a creamy texture is to remove the skins from the chickpeas. If you soak the tinned chickpeas for a minute, you’ll notice that the chickpeas have a semi-transparent skin. Removing the skins might be tedious, but it results in a much creamier final result – well worth the effort.
Note that if you’re using tinned chickpeas, it can take a long time in the food processor to achieve a smooth paste. Just keep going and add a little chickpea juice but take care so that your hummus doesn’t get watery.
Easy Authentic Hummus Recipe
- 400 g canned chickpeas
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sumac or paprika to garnish
- Drain the chickpeas, but keep the juice.
- Remove the skins from the chickpeas.
- Put some chickpeas aside for garnish.
- Place the chickpeas, garlic powder, olive oil, tahini paste, cumin and lemon juice in a food processor and process until combined.
- Add some of the chickpea juice and process again until quite smooth.
- Serve in a bowl and ripple the surface. Add a drizzle of olive oil, add the chickpeas and sprinkle with a little sumac, or if you can't get hold that, with paprika.
- Serve with fresh crunchy vegetables such as sticks of carrot, celery or cucumber, or with our sourdough crackers.
Do let us know if you make this easy authentic hummus recipe for a homemade traditional hummus. We’d love to know how it turns out for you.