How to Make Awesome Hummus

August 4th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Lunch

Have you ever run your finger along the side of the near empty Sabra container and wondered:

“how the heck do they make hummus so dang smooth?”

Have you then stuck that hummus covered finger in your mouth and wondered:

“how the heck do they make it so dang creamy?”

Well wonder no more.  I’ve busted two of Sabra’s smooth and creamy secrets and I’m here to spill the beans.

The naked beans, that is.

Secret #1You’ve got to peel the skin off your chick peas.

Naked Beans

That’s right.  You’ve got to strip that chick (pea) down. Peel the skin off each and every one of those garbanzo babies before you go one step further into your typical homemade hummus recipe.

I had no idea. No idea until I read it in Peas and Thank You, that is.

(Thank you Mama Pea for that one.)

My friend Google tells me that many other people know this too though.

HOW AM I ONLY NOW JUST COMING TO LEARN ABOUT THIS? Why didn’t anyone tell me?!  I’ve been making hummus and/or buying Sabra and/or wondering what The Sabra Secret was for years now.

Feeling like I’ve got the brain the size of a chick pea here, people.

(and before you send the the Sabra Police after me, let me give the disclaimer that I’m not sure if this is what Sabra’s secret really is or not – me and my bean brain like to make giant leaps.)

I’m going to assume that if I didn’t know this – there are probably some of you smooth operators out there who didn’t know this either.

It is therefore my foodie duty to share the secrets of the smoothest hummus this side of the supermarket shelves with you.  So here we are. You, me and a pile of nudie beans.

“That’s great,” you’re surely thinking. “but how long is that going to take?”

Well I happen to be in a position to answer that question.

Because I timed myself.



Bean Timer

24:05!? That’s like my typical 5K time. Are you telling me in the time it takes me run 3.1 miles and burn 310 calories I could peel the skin off two cans of chick peas and burn maybe a whopping 15 calories?

“That’s a lot of time for peeling beans.” you’re probably thinking now. “I don’t know if it’s worth it. I think I’d rather just go for a run and then shop for some Sabra.”

Well, first of all – I made a double batch. That means theoretically, you could peel one can of chick peas in 12 minutes.

(Wanna race?!)

As an added bonus, with each skin you slip off with your thumb and forefinger you reveal a cute little butt.

Little Butts

Now it’s feeling worth it, eh?

That’s what I thought.

Secret #2!

The order in which you combine your hummus ingredients matters.

You need to cream your tahini, oil, lemon and salt together FIRST.

First Cream Tahini, Lemon Juice and Oil

Until now, I’ve always thrown everything into the food processor at the same time.  But now I know.  And now you know too. Break down those fat molecules in the tahini and oil and make them all rich and creamy before the beans get in there and break up the party.

Naked beans go in LAST.  (and gas will probably be passed.)

THEN add the beans to your food processor

(this is an especially helpful tip if you make your hummus in standard blender, PS.)

OK, who’s ready to strip down and dive right in?

Creamy Dreamy Hummus

I’m suddenly reminded of that moment following birth when you are first presented with your newborn baby.

You look lovingly at their sweet little face and super smooth skin and garbanzo bean butt.

Then you see those those tiny little fists and kicky little feet that they’ve been using to punch you in the bladder and wedge between your diaphragm and rib cage for the last 8 weeks.

You are then left wondering how something so small and seemingly innocent could make such a giant racket.

So That's What Was Making All the Racket

I have no idea either. Freaking bean skins.

Before we wrap this post up, let’s get back to that “is it worth it?” question.

Zero Scale Hummus Weight

(scale zero’d, silky smooth hummus weighed.)

Weight Close Up

Survey says? 1 lb, 10 oz (or 26 oz) of hummus.

I pay $4.99 at my local Wegmans for the “Family Size” (or 17 oz) vat of Sabra… that’s about $.29 an ounce.

I got two cans of garbanzos for $.79 a piece at that same Wegmans. Add in other ingredients like one lemon, 2 Tbsp tahini, 1/2 c canola, 2 cloves of garlic and a couple shakes of salt – let’s generously round up to $3 for this batch of homemade hummus.

$3 for 26 oz of boneless, skinless hummus works out to be $.11 an ounce.

Put away your calculators – I’ll save you from all the conversions.

It’s like I got a tub of Family Size Sabra for $1.87 and 24 minutes of my time. And I got to look at 3,490 cute little butts.

My math says that’s worth it.

My stomach says it’s time for lunch.

My brain says “wait! Take a picture before you take a bite! Sheesh, lady.”


Now you can run your fingers along your plate to scoop up any remaining hummus. Just be careful not to eat all 26 ounces in one sitting. That whole thing probably has 3 bagillion calories in it. You only burned 15.

Linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade

Please know that links to Amazon are affiliate links. It doesn’t change the price you pay, but if you buy something from Amazon after following one of the links in my posts, I earn a percentage based commission from Amazon as a part of their affiliate program. This is one of the ways I generate revenue from the posts that I write here. I promise that I only link to items that I truly endorse. You don’t ever have to buy anything, but if you do, thank you for supporting the site and the work I do here.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

57 Responses

  • Jennifer says:

    OMG….your post is hilarious!!! I thought the “nudie beans” was funny until I got to the “butts”. So, so funny and boy are they cute, too. :)

    Last time I made hummus I used the dried garbanzo beans, in fact, I have another bag in the cupboard. What a pain, though, to prepare those first because they never seem to ever soften completely. I’m definitely going the canned route next time I use them.

    • It is more work to go the dried bean route, but it’s even cheaper that way if you have the time! Plus it saves you from the BPA issue if you buy canned beans (unless you buy from a company that specifically makes BPA-free cans, but they are typically more expensive…)

      But I agree – soaking and then cooking your own beans is tedious, I rarely do it.

      • gina says:

        If you soak the chick peas over night with 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda, and change the water in the morning, your chick peas will only take about half an hour maximum to cook till soft.

        • Wow! I had no idea, I love this tip. Thanks!

          • gina says:

            It also gives a lighter colour than if you don’t soak them. and your own cooked chick peas taste so much nicer than the canned ones, although I do admit to having the cans in my cupboard, but that’s for emergencies only!! I make a mean veggie dish using chick peas and eggplant if anyone wants the recipe 😉

          • gina says:

            alison, I just sent you the recipe, along with a couple of others, hope you enjoy them!

        • Rajeev says:

          Hi. Could you please send me you mean chickpea and eggplant recipe. I am a pure vegan looking for interesting recipes.


    • rea says:

      You can soften the dried chick peas by putting some baking soda to it when you boil it. It’s lesser time to cook. Try it.

  • Oooo I already do #1 but #2 is mind blowing! Thanks!

  • Loved this post, so funny! Who knew you needed to peel those beans! Love the little naked bean butts. 😀

  • Gina, send it my way and I’ll totally try it and share it in a post!

  • Robin Sue says:

    So you essentially performed a 24:05 minute chicktease. Cool. I had no idea that I was supposed to strip these little guys! I have roasted them before and now I wonder if I am supposed to peel them for that too? Hmmm.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Not To Cup « eggton

  • Eggton says:

    This is (a) super good to know; (b) hilarious. I look forward to reading your other posts, and I went back and changed mine to reference what you’ve done here. Many thanks to you!

  • Stacy says:

    We love hummus at our house and I do try to make it from dried chickpeas time permitting. The peeling is best done sitting in front of television, watching something that you would not normally watch out of guilt because it’s stupid. Doing something useful and money-saving redeems the show! Watch without guilt. Make smooth hummus. Win-win.

  • Gracie Chase says:

    This might be the funniest and most useful hummus commentary I have ever read.

  • Rebecca Wilson says:

    This was a joy to read. You’re a talented and very creative writer. My hat off to you and your wonderful contribution to the 9 JILLION articles/blogs/blurbs/BS sessions that I’ve read on the web.
    Thanks – it made me chuckle.

  • I so enjoyed reading this! Can’t wait to revamp the hummus amoung us. :)

  • Philippe Orlando says:

    No way, I have to peel them?
    But, do you really think the guys at Sabra do peel them? No way they do this by hand!
    I’m sure there must be an easy way to get rid of the skin

  • After I wrote this post someone told me that Sabra does indeed peel their chick peas, they have a machine that does it! (This is second hand info though… I have no idea if it’s true or not!)

    You don’t HAVE to peel them, but your hummus will definitely be creamier and smoother if you do!

    • Philippe Orlando says:

      The reason I asked is that I thought about his as a business and I’m also wondering if people’s taste could be trained to accept less creamy, no peeling, as long as it’s really good. There is after all a creamy and chunky version of peanut butter, so why not a “chunky” version of hummus?

  • Eric says:

    soooo funny…put “smooth creamy hummus” into th search bar and the first sentence here refers to smooth creamy Sabra…exactly what I’m lookin for

  • Jonathan says:

    Rather than peel each individual chick pea, there is a faster way. This works especially well with dry chick peas. If you bring them to a boil, let it boil for a minute or two (which softens them further), then add about 1-2 glasses of cold water, the skins should slowly rise to the top and you can remove them with a slotted spoon.

  • Asta says:

    Amazing! Went from lumpy lousy hummus to smooth, creamy, store bought-looking hummus. Yum!

  • dthuleen says:

    Just this morning, I made the smoothest hummus I have ever had, and I didn’t remove the skins. Instead, I followed a tip I ran across on a Wikipedia article, which is to boil the beans out of the can (I used S+W “Premium Garbanzo Beans with 50% Less Sodium”) for a few minutes, and then blend them more or less immediately, while they are still hot. Apparently, the skins fall apart completely in the blender if they are very hot. I added the tahini, salt, garlic, and lime juice (I had no lemons at the moment) to the blender after I had blended the beans. I added the olive oil on top of the puree, after I had removed it from the blender. I could improve the balance of lemon/salt/garlic, but the consistency was as good as I have ever had, and that included gifts from friends who are from the Middle East. Anyone know about this trick?

  • Diane says:

    I cooked the dry beans and made some hummus today and was wondering where I went wrong. After much effort and trying both a blender and a magic bullet, my hummus was not exactly creamy. I will gladly try stripping the little beans down and mixing the other ingredients first next time. Thank you for the informative and humorous tips.

  • Jessica says:

    WOW. You ARE very funny. Loved that you timed it and broke down the cost per ounce and everything. I read a few snippets of your post outloud to my co-workers and they stated we could be best friends. I will be reading more of your posts now. Thanks for the tips.

  • devannhoffman says:

    You are so funny and crack me up :)

  • Stephani says:

    Alison making hummus now. I will try to peel. I also have tried duluth’ s heating method as I read the same. I will let you know.

  • Scott Moon says:

    Great post! I use dried garbanzo beans and I cook them in the pressure cooker for about an hour with a bit of salt, half an onion, and a few cloves of garlic for about 45 minutes. Dried beans are so much cheaper than canned!

  • Ruth says:

    Would a crock pot vs pressure cooker work? If so how long (dried bean method)? Love this post, so glad I found you…and I want that chickpea-eggplant recipe too!

  • Jamie says:

    I am SO glad I read this before I attempt to make my first batch of hummus!! I am ready to strip my beans and look at some butts! Awesome! :-)

  • joe says:

    If you want to make Hummus smooth ad a spoonful of plain Yogurt you don’t need to peel it

  • Craig eliot says:

    You don’t have to go through all that trouble. Soak the beans overnight. Then in a pressure cooker let them cook for 35-40 minutes. This pretty much pulverizes the skins. The beans are as soft and smooth as silk.

  • Prescott says:

    Forget peeling chickpeas from the CAN! Just use dried beans and slow cook them yourself. This makes the beans extra soft!!! No need for peeling skins!!! And add drizzle the oil as the final ingredient. This creates an emulsion…. canned beans…. you think Samba or whatever uses canned beans??

  • Don says:

    If texture and flavor are an issue, naked chickpeas make all the difference in the world. Canned Chickpeas and store bought Tahini make a palatable hummus that is equivalent to fast food. If you cannot tell the difference or you think it is not worth the trouble, go the short route. Want to take your Hummus up a few notches higher? Soak the dry Chickpeas (2 cups or 1 pound) overnight with one teaspoon of Baking Soda and make your own Tahini. I use the following recipe for four cups of cooked naked Chickpeas.

    ¼ Cup Raw Sesame seeds
    2 Tablespoons Olive oil

    o Preheat oven to 350 °F.
    o Spread Sesame seeds on a cookie sheet.
    o Roast for 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT BROWN – It will make the Tahini bitter.
    o Place seeds in a spice grinder and grind to a paste.
    o Remove paste and blend in the Olive oil

  • I first heard about ‘skinning garbanzos’ on Splendid Table, which comes on around here (WITF-FM 89.5MgHz) from Harrisburg, PA. Lynn Rosetto Caspar is funny, like this lady. SO, being Great Lent (and Ruskiie’s take Lent seriously…, NO meat, dairy, eggs, fish, etc..) I thought of the recipe. It took me 47 mins to peel 1/2 a bag of overnight-soaked, then, flash blanched, and cooled chickpeas. What a pain.., but I now see the difference.
    Thanks for your site, best wishes, and Cheers, Mik

  • Kayla says:

    Thanks for the tips! And the good laugh. Can’t wait to go home and peel a can of bean butts!

  • Maryann says:

    I absolutely love creamy hummus like Sabra, and there is one that is manufactured in Texas that is even creamier than Sabra! I am sorry, but I can’t recall the name of it; and I am from Texas! I am older; so I may know about a kitchen utensil that some of your younger readers may not know about. It is called a Foley’s Kitchen Mill. It looks like a nice sized saucepan, but it has a handle that is in the middle of this saucepan-like container. If you look down into the bottom of the container, it has these tiny little holes. You put what you want to run thru the mill in the mill, and you turn the handle. All the goodie goes thru the holes leaving discarding stuff like the garbanzo pea husks at the top of the holes. Now, I must admit that I haven’t tried this; but I have been cooking for over 50 years. I have a real feel for when I know that something will work, and I just bet I’m right! I am going to do this when I find my mill. We just moved and many of my boxes are still packed! “Yes”, a Foley Mill is not cheap! They were always found in the kitchens of your female ancestors…they made baby food with them!

  • Melissa says:

    I LOVED peeling the skins off those little beans. Thank you SO much for the detailed pictures and instructions. I recently moved from Oregon to Hawaii and have been missing Trader Joes’ Mediterranean Hummus and finally had to make it myself.

  • Mark says:

    Great posts and tips – i will try them all sooner or later as hummus is a staple in our house. How can we submit recipes? I have developed some over decades (world’s best granola for example) – they just happen to be vegan but there goal is to be delicious and healthy. Thank you for the mental fuel.

  • Mark says:

    A little follow up after some thought. I always buy my garbanzos at the Indian grocery – 8 #s for $10.50 – what a deal! We also like to use lemon zest in with it for some tang. By the by, that is not an idle boast about the granola – i give it away as gifts on a regular basis – mostly by request – other recipes include gazpacho, tabbouleh, grilled eggplant, felafel, black beans…. If i share the recipes it makes for a world with more good food in it – like the hummus.

  • kimberly says:

    Made my first hummus today….lumpy…could not figure how the store bought brand looks beutifuly smooth….read your secrets…thankyou!!

  • andy says:

    great post. very funny. we too have often wondered what the secret is to silky, smooth hummus. thanks.

  • Jason says:

    Great idea about creaming all the ingredients before adding the chick peas, however, the thought of 24 min of peeling little butts was not a-peeling, pardon the pun! So i lightly boiled half a bag and added a 1/4 tsp of baking soda which softened them right up. Spun them in the cuisinart and they were super creamy. Thanks!!

  • This form of coverage will often include an annual boiler servicing
    for no extra cost, a feature that could save you almost one-hundred pounds a year.
    Extra combustion chamber surface area to avoid the flames
    that could damage the surface of the coils.

    Most home owners prefer to have combi boilers these days.