By Carl Hanson
March 09, 2016

Homemade hummus is always a smooth move. Easy to make and super cheap, this healthy snack is just so easy to love!

Photo by lutzflcat

When hummus is among us, it never lasts long. We dive into a big bowl with pita chips or toasted pita wedges, crackers of every kind, and fresh veggies. Gone in a flash. Good thing it takes 5 minutes to make a second batch!

What Is Hummus? What Is Hummus Made Of?

Basic hummus is made from garbanzo beans -- pre-cooked garbanzo beans (aka, chickpeas) whirled about in a blender or food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a little salt, and tahini. That's it. Easy, chickpeasy.

But something so satisfying and simple can occasionally benefit from a few tweaks. With these hummus recipe tips and flavor twists, you can hone your hummus so it hits the mark every time.

How to Make Hummus

Here's how to make homemade hummus even tastier.

1. Watch the Salt

First things first. Sometimes just an extra pinch of salt can transform a bland hummus into a terrific hummus where all the flavors come together perfectly. It's a simple fix, but a little salt is often the answer to the question "how can I make my hummus taste better." On the flipside, if you end up with oversalted hummus, make a quick second batch, unsalted, and combine the two batches, adjusting the seasoning as needed.

2. Add a Squeeze of Lemon

If a pinch of salt pulls flavors together, a splash of fresh lemon juice brightens them up.

3. Don't Forget the Tahini

Tahini is a sesame seed paste that gives hummus its distinctive flavor. These days, prepared tahini is easy to find in grocery stores. Or try this homemade tahini recipe. You think making hummus is easy? This recipe is just roasted sesame seeds mixed with olive oil in a blender.

4. Try Chef John's Trick for Smooth, Never-Bitter Hummus

Don't add all the olive oil at once, says Chef John. Add just a touch, just enough to get it started. Pulse it, on and off, a few times, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula. Continue pulsing until the hummus is nice and smooth. Once it's puréed, add the remainder of olive oil, and give it a whirl.

5. How to Make Hummus without a Food Processor or Blender

Employ the hummus hack. Making hummus is all well and good if you have a blender or food processor. But what if you don't? Can you make good hummus without a food processor or blender? The answer is yes. Killer hummus, no surprise, actually pre-dates electricity and blenders. If you have a mortar and pestle, that works well. Same goes for a potato masher. A fork will do in a pinch. Smash up your beans and then mix everything together and give your hummus a quick, vigorous whip with a regular old whisk. Or pass it through a mesh strainer, stirring-stirring-stirring the hummus with a spoon and then pressing the last of it through the mesh with the back of the spoon.

6. Apply the Finishing Touches

Spoon your hummus into a bowl and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the top -- break out the good oil for this operation. And finish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or mint leaves and maybe some paprika or cumin. Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers are another terrific garnish. Placing a few whole garbanzo beans on top is always a nice touch.

&. Go with Dry Garbanzos

Canned chickpeas work great in hummus -- and most recipes call for canned. But if you're starting with dry garbanzo beans, here's how to prepare them: Put the dry garbanzo beans in a large bowl and completely cover them with cool water. Let the beans sit in the cool water for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Then drain the beans and add them to a large saucepan. Cover the beans, again, with fresh water, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Then pour the beans and cooking liquid into a bowl, and let them cool down to room temperature, and then refrigerate until cold. Your beans are ready for hummus!

And while we're at it, how about some homemade pita bread?

"It's easy to make homemade pita-style bread in your own oven using this easy-to-follow recipe," says Sandy.

Photo by Lelena109

VIDEO: How to Make Hummus

We told you making hummus was simple. And this video kind of reinforces the point. Canned garbanzo beans, lemon, garlic, and tahini whirling around in a blender makes good cinema. See how it's done:

Okay, so far so good. But we're in danger now of losing the hummus purists in the crowd. Folks who are convinced you can't make hummus without tahini, for example; they may want to take a deep breath before reading on. The people who say, "hummus is Arabic for 'chickpeas,' you can't make it with white beans!" They may want to click away, riding this link to the familiar comforts of Traditional Hummus. But for the rest of us, let's get to it...

Add Red Peppers

Red bell peppers give an already healthy snack the superfood treatment.

Try roasting those red peppers

Photo by lutzflcat

Add Fresh Herbs

Add some fresh basil, and it's pesto hummus, with totally tasty results. With this recipe, you'll also mix in some white beans with the garbanzo beans. Bonus Move: Spread this basil hummus on a turkey sandwich.

Photo by Allrecipes

Try a Little Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree -- plus cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice -- makes the perfect fall hummus. But with canned pumpkin, you can make this any time of year.

Photo by Snacking in the Kitchen

Dress It up Thai-Style

When traditional hummus pairs up with Thai flavors, the results are otherwordly. Garbanzo beans and garlic combine with coconut oil, lime juice, coconut milk, chili sauce, and other traditional Thai ingredients. The result is spicy, sweet, and savory all at once.

Photo by lutzflcat

And this, of course, is just the start. Because once hummus was released unto the world, the world responded by putting its mark on a good thing, taking local ingredients and fiddling about with the original recipe. That's how we get Sweet Potato Hummus and Black Bean Hummus, Jalapeno Hummus and Beet Hummus, Zucchini Hummus get the idea.

Check out our complete collection of Hummus Recipes.