Authentic Lebanese hummus is known for its smooth and creamy texture and complex flavor profile that balances tangy lemon, nutty tahini, and garlic. Learn how to make the perfect Lebanese hummus at home with this recipe, which includes four additional flavor variations: red pepper, garlic, sun-dried tomato, and spicy hummus.
It could be said that I am biased toward Lebanese food. I am, after all, a very proud Lebanese American. We are known for hospitality, warmth, and love for food. Especially food. In fact, the Lebanese have a reputation for cooking and are often named the best cooks in the Middle East. Some of our specialties include tablue, batata harra (spicy Lebanese potatoes), vermicelli rice, and baklava.
I understand how this could be of debate, but when it comes to hummus, there is no better hummus than Lebanese hummus. By removing the garbanzo bean shells, the garbanzo beans can be ground into a softer paste. Then, two ice cubes are added after all the ingredients have been mixed in the food processor. I know what you are thinking; You add ice cubes to hummus? The answer is yes, and there is an excellent reason why.
Ice cubes are a common technique to achieve a creamy texture. The ice cubes slow emulsification when the oil and water-based ingredients combine to form a smooth texture. This slower process allows the ingredients to blend more thoroughly, creating a creamier and velvety texture.
Keep reading to learn more about hummus and how to make it. I have also included a chart that you can use to make different flavors of hummus, including spicy, red pepper, and sundried tomato.
What is Hummus?
Hummus is believed to have originated in the Middle East, specifically in Egypt or Syria. Hummus has been a part of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines for centuries and is famous throughout the entire region. While store-bought hummus has become popular in the US because of its convenience, it differs significantly from traditional hummus.
Lebanese hummus is known for its smooth and creamy texture. Lebanese hummus is often made fresh and served within a day or two. On the other hand, store-bought hummus is often mass-produced and can have a coarser texture due to preservatives and artificial thickeners.
Lebanese hummus has a more complex flavor profile that balances tangy lemon, nutty tahini, and garlic. In contrast, store-bought hummus has a dulled flavor due to preservatives.
Ultimately, traditional Lebanese hummus is easy to make and worth the few extra minutes of work vs. the store-bought convenience. I feel confident that once you try this recipe, you will always prefer it to anything from the store.
Baking Soda - 1 and ½ teaspoons - Baking soda helps to remove the skins from the chickpeas. This simple step will go a long way to making this dish smooth and creamy.
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans/chickpeas) - 15 ounces - I usually use canned chickpeas; I like the convenience. You can also use dry chickpeas.
Fresh Lemon Juice - ¼ cup - Always use fresh lemon juice. There is no substitute.
Garlic Cloves - 1-2 - Garlic can quickly overpower the flavor. I recommend using one large clove or two small cloves.
Ice Cubes - 2 - This step makes a huge difference and is a game changer. The slow absorption of water makes all the difference. Note that cold water will not have the same effect.
Olive Oil - Always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to finish with a drizzle on top. The flavor pops.
Tahini - 2 tablespoons - This is a ground sesame paste similar to peanut butter. This ingredient is unique to the Middle East. I have found that buying high-quality tahini dramatically affects the overall flavor. Look for it in the Kosher section of your grocery store.
Arabic Bread - optional - Serve with pita or Syrian bread.
Step One: Prep -
Rinse and drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Place in a bowl of warm water about an inch above the chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Sprinkle in baking soda and let soak for five-ten minutes. Hold 5 - 7 chickpeas and gently rub or pinch them. The friction will cause the shells to fall off. This does not have to be perfect. Aim for 80% removed.15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans),1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
Step Two: Blend Ingredients -
Place the shelled garbanzo beans in a food processor. Use the pulse function for 3 minutes until the beans form a rough paste. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, one tablespoon of olive oil, and salt to the garbanzo bean paste. Continue to use the food processor and pulse until smooth. Two tablespoons tahini,¼ cup lemon juice, one whole garlic clove, and one pinch of salt
Step Three: Ice Cubes -
Add two ice cubes to the mixture in the food processor and pulse until smooth. This takes about 2 - 3 minutes, depending on your food processor. Two ice cubes
Step Four: Serve -
Serve on a small plate, then using the back of a spoon, carve out 1 - 2 wells. Fill the wells with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Lebanese also dust paprika on four sides for decoration.
In the mood for something else? Try one of my other Mederterian Recipes
How to Make Different Flavors of Hummus
While traditional hummus remains a staple, flavored hummus provides a way to enjoy hummus in different ways, such as a dip or spread, while adding variety. Flavored hummus has many flavors, including roasted red pepper, garlic, herb, sun-dried tomato and basil, and spicy. Use this graph to modify the recipe above to include additional flavors.
|Roasted Red Pepper||Add ½ cup of roasted red peppers, drained.||Add to the food processor at the same time the tahini is added.|
|Garlic and Herb||Three total cloves garlic, minced|
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
|Add the additional garlic as the recipe calls for. |
Add the parsley and cilantro after the ice cubes blend into the hummus. Pulse until combined.
|Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil|| ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained |
¼ cup of fresh basil, chopped
|Add the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil after the ice cubes have been blended into the hummus. Pulse until combined.|
|Spicy||¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or Aleppo pepper.||Add to the food processor at the same time the tahini is added.|
Different Ways to Enjoy Hummus
As hummus has grown in popularity, so have the ways to enjoy it. Here are just a few popular ways to eat hummus.
- Dip: Hummus is traditionally served with pita bread, crackers, or raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
- Mezza: A mezza (also spelled mezze or meze) is a selection of small dishes in the Middle Eastern similar to tapas. As part of a mezza, serve tabule, falafel, spicy Lebanese potatoes (batata harra), vermicelli rice, Turkish pide bread, and baklava.
- Spread: Hummus can be used as a condiment on sandwiches, wraps, or toast. It can also be used as a topping for baked potatoes or roasted vegetables.
- Falafel: Hummus is often served as a condiment with falafel, a popular Middle Eastern street food made from chickpeas.
- With grilled meat or vegetables: Hummus can be used as a flavorful sauce or dip for grilled meat or vegetables.
Hummus Topping Ideas
Hummus is traditionally served on a small plate or bowl. Then, using the back of a spoon, create swirls. Fill the swirls with extra virgin olive oil. Then add a sprinkle of paprika on four sides, like compass points (N, E, S, W).
While it's great on its own, adding toppings to hummus can take its flavor to a new level. Toppings can add texture, color, and depth of flavor to the dip, and there are endless possibilities to choose from. Here are a few of my favorite toppings.
|Cumin||Sprinkle some cumin for an earthy flavor|
|Feta cheese||Crumbled feta cheese adds tang and saltiness|
|Olive oil||Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top|
|Paprika||Add a sprinkle of paprika for a pop of color|
|Parsley||Chopped fresh parsley adds freshness and color|
|Pine nuts||Toasted pine nuts add crunch and nuttiness|
|Roasted garlic||Roasted garlic cloves add depth and sweetness|
|Sumac||Tangy and citrusy sumac is a popular topping|
|Sun-dried tomatoes||Chopped sun-dried tomatoes add sweetness and texture|
|Za'atar||A blend of Middle Eastern spices that adds a unique flavor|
Hummus Dipper Ideas
One of the best things about hummus is that so many different foods can be dipped into it. The normal dips in the US are vegetables, but many other possibilities exist. Keep reading for just a few ideas
While the proteins can be dipped into hummus, consider wrapping them in Turkish pide bread and using hummus as a condiment. Add a few vegetables, and you now have a perfect Middle Eastern sandwich!
|Breads and Chips||Protein||Vegetables|
|Bagel chips||Beef kebab||Bell pepper strips|
|Bread||Boiled eggs||Broccoli florets|
|Naan bread||Grilled chicken||Cauliflower florets|
|Rice crackers||Grilled lamb||Celery sticks|
|Sourdough bread||Roasted turkey||Cherry tomatoes|
|Tortilla chips||Shrimp||Cucumber slices|
|Turkish pide bread||Tofu||Olives|
What the Heck is Tahini?
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. I like to think of tahini as the sesame seed version of peanut butter. Similar to peanut butter, tahini varies in quality. Good tahini can be found in most western grocery stores in the Kosher section. At my store, it will cost around $6, which is a little more than a container of pre-made hummus and so worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tahani has a very distinctive flavor. If at all you can use it, please do. However, if you cannot find it or you are allergic to sesame seeds, you can use olive oil in its place.
While traditionally eaten as a dip, you can use it as a spread on sandwiches or toss it in pasta. There are so many creative ways to use it. I say experiment. I am sure it will be good.
Refrigerator storage instructions - Place in an airtight container inside your refrigerator for up to one week. Before you serve it, create the wells and fill them with extra virgin olive oil. Then put any additions on top.
Freezer storage instructions - I do not recommend freezing.
Check Out Some Of My Other Recipes
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Authentic Lebanese Hummus Recipe
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 Strainer
- 15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 whole garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- Step One: Prep -Rinse and drain chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Place the beans a bowl of warm water, about an inch above the chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Sprinkle in baking soda and let soak for five-ten minutes. Hold 5 - 7 chickpeas and gently rub or pinch them. The friction will cause the shells to fall off. This does not have to be perfect. Aim for 80% removed.15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 1 and ½ teaspoons baking soda
- Step Two: Blend Ingredients - Place the shelled garbanzo beans in a food processor. Use the pulse function for 3 minutes until the beans form a rough paste. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt to the garbanzo bean paste. Continue to use the food processor and pulse until smooth.¼ cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 whole garlic clove, 1 pinch salt, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- Steo Three: Ice Cubes - Add two ice cubes to the mixture in the food processor and pulse until smooth. This takes about 2 - 3 minutes depending on your food processor.2 ice cubes
- Step Four: Serve -Serve on a small plate, then using the back of a spoon, carve out 1 - 2 wells. Fill the wells with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Lebanese also dust paprika on four sides for decoration.1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- I recommend using extra virgin olive oil
- I like to add toppings when serving as a dip. The toppings create a showstopper look. When doing this, I usually add.
- Kalamata olives
- Quartered cherry tomatoes
- Pita bread, carrots, tomatoes, and celery are standard dips in the US.
Homemade hummus is the best!
What a perfect hummus! I loved the addition of kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes. All the toppings tasted wonderful together!