Image of a bowl of houmous

Houmous is proof that some of the best tasting things in life are the simplest to make. It can be rustled up with just six ingredients and requires no cooking – only a food processor. The houmous recipe below will give you perfect basic houmous, and also a solid base from which to work in terms of experimenting with flavours.

Houmous is a chickpea-based dip, and a staple at any Levantine table spread. Its simplicity means the popularity of this dish extends far beyond its home of the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, and is now enjoyed across the world.

I have been eating houmous for as long as I can remember. My father would bring home great tubs of it from the local Turkish supermarket to accompany chicken and lamb kebabs he cooked over coals in the garden. They were always slightly charred from the lick of flames, and that combination of flavours instantly takes me back to the summers of my childhood.It’s such a popular staple food because it compliments so many things. Meat goes without saying, particularly lamb, but it’s also ideal for vegetarians who wish to dunk in a crisp crudité. It can act as a replacement for butter or mayonnaise in a wrap or sandwich, and it is wonderful simply scooped up with warm flatbreads.

Image of ingredients for humous including a bowl of chickpeas, some lemons, garlic and tahini

It’s also a great medium for experimentation. Houmous recipes across the countries of the Levant might include spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, paprika, dried chilli flakes, sumac, or za’atar. You might also come across houmous blended with red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and even caramelised-onion houmous in some supermarkets.

The hard and fast rule for flavouring houmous is that there are no rules, so it’s great for having fun with at home. Once you have mastered the basic recipe, you can flavour it with whatever takes your fancy. I quite like adding black olives (and therefore less salt), which get blitzed up with the rest of the mixture for a briney Mediterranean kick and a different colour.

Let your experimental side run wild, or simply enjoy as is.

Basic houmous recipe

Serves 6-8 as a starter

  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)
  • 4 tsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed sea salt
  • 6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Coriander or parsley leaves (optional)

Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.

When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour.

Image of a bowl of houmous


  • IHSV

    Hooker pipes? Pretty sure that’s punishable by death over there. Hookah though, maybe. Haha.

  • River P

    Hookers are illegal??? First I’ve heard of it. It was Apple flavour! I’ve since discovered you can’t have enough tahini either. All depends of course how many chick peas you did but I found you need loads of tahini many more lemons, heapings of ground toasted cumin as well……taste as you go, the only way to get the quantities just right.

    I have since discovered how to cheat effectively, no not with a hooker, but Marks & Sparks (marks and spencer) does an excellent additive free hummus. Just the basic natural ingredients. They use a little too much lemon and not enough tahini but it’s so time saving just to buy it and add tahini that I haven’t made my own hummus for a few weeks now. Mostly store bought is full of yuk, like preservatives, colorants etc I never touched the stuff but now……..can’t get enough. PS I’m not a shareholder either (:

  • I made these, they are the best!!

  • So good for a half vegan like me, I also eat it with falafel which is also a vegetarian food

  • benny black

    Not bad..

  • Dayzeye Reilly

    yum.perfect !

  • Karoliina

    ughh I threw away the liquid cause I thought you only need it for decoration… only after did I read the instructions. I would suggest you change the text a bit so it’s clear that only the whole chick peas are for decoration and the liquid is IMPORTANT

  • Monica Cappellini


  • Ronen Lahat

    I live in Israel where hummus is used more than Ketchup, and I’ve already become famous in my circle for my amazing hummus (this amazing hummus). I make the exact recipe but add a bit more garlic and cumin. If you want a secret ingredient add param masala, but that’s non-canonical. Somebody knows how to make it with dried chickpeas instead? Do I still use seven tablespoons of the water?

  • Chris

    Love this but will cut back on the salt next time as the water from the chickpea tins has salt in it.

  • Panaphobe

    I prefer a more rustic approach, crushing the peas with a common potato masher then mixing other ingredients with a sploon. Lends to a more interesting mouth-feel methinks.

  • This is nonsense. It’s usually water and salt, with salt substituted for calcium chloride in some low-sodium brands. The ones I just used (Metro store brand, low-sodium) contain no preservatives whatsoever, just chick peas and water.

  • Cooking at any temperature won’t rid them of toxins if there was any bacteriological or fungal contamination. Also, canned chick peas after 20 minutes in the pressure cooker would be something like porridge. Gross.

  • No, it’s necessarily better with tahina. That said, tahina varies widely in flavour and quality. I like them all, though I can understand how some people aren’t into the earthier-tasting ones. The more expensive ones (e.g. organic, fair trade, etc.) usually taste less earthy, and more sesame-y. Hummus just isn’t the same without tahina, even in terms of texture.

  • Hummus is also emulsified. That’s why the recipe says to add the oil last, and slowly.

  • The salt is soaking up the garlic juice that would normally stay on your cutting board and be washed down the sink.

  • You don’t need to cook the chick peas, and “undigestible cellulose” is also known as dietary fibre.

  • Pfft. Forget making hummus, I’d bet my bottom dollar you couldn’t so much as identify the difference in a blind taste test. As with dried, not all canned legumes are the same. Furthermore, if one isn’t blessed with a good Middle Eastern store with high turnover, they can easily end up with old beans that will *never* reconstitute.

    Finally, if you had read the byline, you’d know the hummus recipe isn’t JO’s. So now, you can “hummus off”!

  • “The Israelis do a very good one though…”

    Oh, piss off.

  • You are unqualified to opine as to authentic hummus, unless you’ve had it in Beirut. Matzoh ball soup…maybe.

  • You definitely want some kind of acid in it, to cut the fat from the tahina and oil. Commercial recipes substitute white vinegar for some or all of the lemon juice, and I’ve also used lime juice in a pinch (not bad).

  • You need not warm it up, but if you make it with dried chick peas that you cook beforehand, you can certainly serve it directly from the food processor at whatever temperature it is. It’s a little runnier, of course.

  • Yes, absolutely! Put it in a plastic container, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Then, pour some oil on top to act as a moisture barrier. I read it keeps up to 6 months like that, though I’ve never had hummus last that long in my house! 🙂

  • I forget the name, but chunky hummus is definitely a thing in it’s own right in Lebanon. Also, the traditional method for both kinds is to emulsify the ingredients with a mortar and pestle. Cheers.

  • Using water in place of can-water is perfectly acceptable.

  • “Needs more garlic…”
    Not all cloves are created equal.
    “…needs more tahini (sic)…”
    “…needs more lemon juice…”

  • I only do that in a pinch, and it’s not half as good. Also, unless you’re using fresh-ground PB, it needlessly adds sugar.

  • Cheaper tahina is rather bitter, which I like, but I know others probably don’t. Hummus without it is pretty lame, though.

  • Your lemons must be like grapes. I get 1/4 c from one lemon.

  • To get more flavour from your seeds, toast them for a few seconds in a warm (not hot!) pan, then whizz them up with whatever oil you’re using in the hummus. Cheers.

  • This is beautiful.

  • Good call on all counts!

  • I find 1 tsp. of salt to be insufficient, at least with my no-salt, no-calcium-chloride chick peas. I know traditional recipes are light on salt, but if you’re just dipping veggies in it, you’ll probably want closer to 1 tbsp. Of course, start with 1 tsp. and add more to taste.

  • Brian Fullerton

    1 jar of ground sesame seeds (from Sainsbury’s).

    4 (good sized) cloves of garlic.

    6 tablespoons of olive oil.

    8 tablespoons of water.

    6 tablespoons of lemon (2 lemons).

    1½ teaspoons of sea salt.

    2 “boxes” of organic chick peas.

    Throw all into a large glass bowl and wizz with a stick blender
    Makes enough for 2 or 3 plastic tubs.

  • MikeC

    Tahini amount has to be a typo??

    2 teaspoons is ample I would say, after making a few batches from this recipe.

    Also, the oil amount can be adjusted for how wet/dry toy want to mixture.

  • PL C

    Is it possible to pressure can hummus?

  • Earl Robinson

    Drop the tahini and olive oil and make it even healthier.

  • J R

    I love making home made houmous. This is the basic recipe I have too minus the tahini (it’s really not necessary).

  • J R

    I use canned chickpeas. Tahini is really not necessary. I’ve seen recipes that don’t call for it and it tastes just fine.

  • J R

    I beg to differ. I’ve tasted it with both with and without tahini and to me, not much of a difference.

  • J R

    sounds like you need a better blender? I use a food processor, seems to work better for me.

  • Julia Benson

    I know tinned chickpeas are convenient, but if you soak and then cook dried chickpeas, the taste is even better.

  • Stephanie

    I liked it, but found it had too much salt for my taste.

  • Aibhlin

    I recently tried a houmous recipe where they suggested whizzing up the tahini and lemon juice until it kind of emulsified (I know that’s not the correct term, but I can’t think of another term to use!) before adding the rest of the ingredients. It made a really lovely creamy texture and the houmous was great! Just wanted to pass that tip on!

  • Jessica Brisson

    What is the health information for the receipe (calories, salt, sugar, etc)?

  • Magdalena Keating

    The tin the chickpeas are contained in breaks down and is very bad for your health. I second pressure cooking chick peas. I pressure cook mine for 35 min and they are beautiful and tender.