Smooth & Creamy Hummus

Smooth & Creamy Hummus II

Vegan, Gluten Free

I am a huge fan of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks and having the whole lot of them, I can often be found salivating over various recipes and wishing I could just jump on a plane to London and dine at his restaurant for a week! (I mean, if I’m already hopping across the pond, I might as well make it worthwhile).

However, having made for years, what I consider to be really great hummus from scratch, I sailed right by the basic hummus recipe in his and Sami Tamimi’s book, Jerusalem: A Cookbook because I thought I had that nailed down.  And then recently somewhere in the blogosphere, I saw a mention about cooking chickpeas with a teaspoon of baking soda as described in Jerusalem and how it had turned the chickpeas into the smoothest, creamiest hummus the writer had ever had.  It’s all about the papery thin skin that surrounds each little chickpea.  Those tough little buggers wreak havoc with any chance of a smooth hummus and instead create a product that is considered inferior by some because of the fibery grittiness.   In fact, the cookbook author, Paula Wolfert advocates for peeling the papery skins off Each. And. Every. Single. Chickpea.  Not going there ever.

Looking at what I usually conjure up, which was certainly flavorful, but stiff in comparison, I thought I would give it a whirl.

And it worked.

It was hands down, the smoothest, creamiest hummus I have ever made.  And I have to say, I think the chickpeas I used were a bit on the old side which only makes matters more challenging.  So I can only imagine how much smoother it will be with a fresher batch of dried chickpeas!

So here’s the deal, and it’s easier than you think – soak dried chickpeas overnight (12 hours or longer) in an ample amount of water and then the next day, drain the chickpeas and place in a pot over high heat with a teaspoon of baking soda and stir for three minutes.  Some of the skins will begin to loosen in those three minutes, but then you will add water, bring to a boil and many of the loose skins will float to the top where you can just skim them off, along with the foam. Or scum.  But I hate the word scum associated with food, so foam it is.  Another boon, is that the baking soda method shortens the cooking time substantially.  General stovetop chickpea cooking takes 1 ½ to 2 hours, but with the addition of baking soda, the time is shortened dramatically to 20 to 40 minutes (total cooking time depends on the age of the chickpea, something you won’t generally know until you cook them).  I most frequently cook mine in a pressure cooker which takes all of 12 minutes.

And yes, I was in a terrific rush to get out the door to bring this to a party so I did use my pressure cooker.

But don’t do that.

By using my pressure cooker, I missed out on the opportunity to skim off all of the loose skins.  So, while this newfangled batch was much smoother than what I have made in the past, it still was not as smooth as I know it could be.

Now I know!  Just a saucepan will do.

I like hummus on the lemony side, and I love it with ground coriander, cumin and Aleppo pepper, so I have added these spices and upped the amount of lemon juice.  Ottolenghi and Tamimi like hummus with lots of tahini – yeah, so do I, but hellooooo more gym time – there is no way I can bring myself to add the 1 cup plus that they suggest, so my recipe has half the amount which still renders a creamy and delectable hummus.

Spoon the hummus into a shallow bowl, drizzle on some olive oil (don’t pour it on, like I accidentally did in the photo), sprinkle with paprika and/or chopped parsley and then scoop up all the deliciousness with raw veggies and pieces of pita.

Let’s cook!



5.0 from 1 reviews
Smooth & Creamy Hummus
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adding baking soda to soaked chickpeas helps soften and loosen their skins to make the smoothest hummus. Lots of tahini helps too! Recipe adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ten Speed Press, 2012
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in ample water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup tahini paste (light, not roasted), well stirred
  • 7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 7 tablespoons ice water
  • Garnish: paprika and chopped parsley
  • For serving: your choice of raw veggies and pita
  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas.
  2. Place a 5 quart pot over high heat, add chickpeas and baking soda, stir to combine and cook, stirring continuously for 3 minutes. You will notice that the skins on the chickpeas will begin to loosen.
  3. Add 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook chickpeas for 20 to 40 minutes, skim off any foam or loose skins that rise to surface. Note that cooking time will vary based on the age of the chickpeas – it might take longer, but in any event – cook the chickpeas until they are very tender. To test, remove one from the pot, let cool for a few seconds and if it mushes up easily between your thumb and forefinger, they are done.
  4. Place garlic cloves in food processor and process until minced. Drain chickpeas. Add hot chickpeas and process for a minute until it is a paste. Add tahini, lemon juice, salt, coriander, cumin and Aleppo pepper and process for a minute to combine.
  5. With machine running, slowly add 7 tablespoons ice cold water through feed tube and process for 5 minutes (set a timer) until hummus is smooth and creamy. While that’s happening, clean up your kitchen!
  6. Transfer hummus to a shallow serving dish and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  7. To serve, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley and serve with your choice of raw veggies and pita.


Published on January 5, 2015
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. Hey Barbara!
    Loved reading this post. So informative! Love that you blogging again. Pressure cookers a girl’s best friend especially after working an 8 hour day!

    • I agree Cherie! I could not live without my pressure cooker! Attempting to blog at least once a week, maybe twice. Cross fingers! If you ever decide to do Indian cooking classes, I’m coming up! Cheers!

  2. Jonne Trees says:

    Your hummus was amazingly awesome before, and now it’s way better? Excellent blog post super, thank you
    I hope Cherie does have an Indian cooking class!

  3. love this and really love the bowl!

  4. I always wondered what was the secret to those smooth hummus spreads. Manually taking off the skins sounds so time consuming until reading this method. Thanks for the tip!

    • You are welcome. I’ve made hummus for years and now, with the addition of baking soda and the rapid cooking method (my batches have only taken 20 minutes to cook!!!), I am amazed at the difference. Cheers!

  5. First of all, I have (and LOVE) this cookbook. The pictures are so beautiful and enticing, they make me want to live in each page. The recipes I have made so far are all new favorites. Second, what’s not to love about hummus? I love how versatile it is, using it for everything from the traditional dip for veggies and pita, to sandwich spread, to sauce for fish. Yum, yum, YUM!

  6. I’ve read about the baking soda trick but haven’t tried it. And like you, I love the Ottolenghi/Tamimi recipes, but sometimes find that the proportions are not quite right for me. So I’m pinning yours and looking forward to trying it.

  7. Live Ottolenghi’s Cookbooks- I have two of them! This hummus looks AMAZING! :)

  8. There is nothing less appetizing than grainy/lumpy hummus IMO. Love to hear such great reviews for the creaminess of this recipe. Definitely going to have to try!

  9. Greg Hofmann says:

    Until reading this I didn’t know that my hummus could get better aside from the seasonings. Nice tip, I look forward to trying it. Happy to see you doing so well, Babs. Food blogging beats the deskjob :)

    • Greg — nice to hear from you — we are enjoying life in NH now and spent a lot of time traveling last year. Hope you and your family are well. Cheers!
      PS. Best. Hummus. Ever.



  1. Tabbouleh says:

    […] as part of a vegan or vegetarian mezze platter that includes a variety of olives, hummus (here is a great recipe I wrote about), stuffed grape leaves, marinated veggies, baba ghanoush and cubes of feta.  Whether […]

Leave a Comment


Rate this recipe: