Easy, (chickpea)sy.
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Creamy Tahini Hummus image
Creamy Tahini Hummus image
| Credit: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Paige Grandjean; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson

The beauty of hummus is its simplicity. It’s healthy, filling, versatile, customizable, and easy to bring with you on the go. It is the transportable spread that can elevate just about any sandwich, bring any old back of snackable veggies to life (even onions!), and is the perfect partner to a bag of pita or tortilla chips. There’s nothing that this creamy, chickpea-based dip can’t do, and that is the truth! All of this to say, there’s plenty of little mistakes that you might be guilty of that are preventing you from living your best hummus life. Here’s all the things that you might be messing up and keeping you from being the hummus god that you were set on the earth to be.

You’re not making it at home.

Alright, I’m coming out of the gate with a potentially blazing hot take on this one. Yes, store-bought hummus is insanely convenient, and with so many brands and flavors to choose from, there’s got to be at least a couple winners out there, right? Maybe so—I’m not really sure TBH. What I am sure of is that homemade hummus is the easiest, quickest thing to make, and your snack life will drastically improve for the following week if you take the time to make a batch. Not to mention, it’s cheaper! Do you like money? I do.

You’re overcomplicating the recipe.

One of the major perks of making hummus at home is that you can tailor it to your preferences. However, let’s not get carried away with these newfound liberties, okay? Like guacamole, the best hummus is the simplest one. We’re talking chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe a splash of water if you need to thin it out. Ehh, a pinch of ground cumin is a good thing too, if you like. But once you’ve got all the basics blended together, just stop there. Resist the urge to add your entire spice cabinet and extraneous veggies and condiments. It’s. Not. Necessary. Beet hummus, carrot hummus, red pepper hummus—sure, they’re all good and fine, but truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with the OG, so why fix something that isn’t broken? If you feel like dressing things up a bit, next time, try doing it with how you top your flawless classic hummus.

You’re Not Using Baking Soda

Okay, this mistake is very understandable. And admittedly, this step is for the overachiever—you can definitely get by without this. That said, if you do this, your hummus is about to possess a silky-smooth texture that you didn’t know was possible, and you might never go back to your old ways. Simply simmer a pound of dried chickpeas in a baking soda solution, and let it stand for at least 8 hours or overnight. This step helps to further break down the legume, thus resulting in the most addicting, creamy spread you’ve ever churned out of your humble food processor.

You’re Not Using Enough/The Right Tahini

The one ingredient that gives hummus its undeniable richness, depth of flavor, and subtle nuttiness is tahini. This means that the final product depends on the amount of tahini that you add and the brand of tahini that you’re using. Give your tahini a quick taste before you toss it in your food processor—it should be bitter, but is it so bitter that it’s unpalatable? That’s problematic. It should be smooth, nutty, and just bitter enough that it’s still enjoyable. Soom tahini, in my humble opinion, is unrivaled. Also, don’t skimp on it! For every pound of dry chickpeas, you should be adding at least a half cup of tahini. Do not be afraid to give tahini a starring role in your hummus production—your taste buds will definitely thank you.

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You’re Not Using Fresh Lemon Juice

There is only one acid that you need to add to your hummus, and that is fresh lemon juice. Not the stuff from that mysterious, plastic lemon-shaped vessel that you can buy in the produce aisle (surprise, it’s not filled with the fresh stuff). Instead, get a real, whole lemon, and give it a good squeeze. You’re doing awesome. If you’re feeling extra bold, send the peel across a microplane for an added kick of zest.

You’re Not Warming it Up

You get all the bonus points if you’re already doing this, but hummus is an especially good thing when it’s warmed up. Sure, if you’re snacking on it with carrot sticks and cucumbers, leaving it cold is far from criminal, but if you’ve got a handful of chips or warmed pita bread triangles, you better go ahead and heat that hummus up. Give it a drizzle of warm extra-virgin olive oil because you’re fancy like that, and wrap yourself up in your toasty blanket of homemade hummus.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane