Home RecipesAppetizers Traditional Hummus with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Traditional Hummus with Toasted Sesame Seeds

by Karen D. Insignares

Learn everything you need to know on how to make this basic hummus recipe. This versatile and traditional hummus can be made in your blender, food processor, or by hand. It is smooth, delicious, easy to make, and ready to go on sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, and more.

What is  Hummus?

Hummus is a spread or dip that originated in the Middle East. The name derives from the Arabic word for chickpeas, which is the main ingredient in this spread. 

It’s difficult to say what a traditional hummus is, the earliest recordings have been in cookbooks written in Cairo  in the13th century which described hummus as being a cold purée of chickpeas with vinegar, pickled lemons with herbs, spices, and oil. 

That’s far from the typical hummus we make today.

Today, hummus is typically made by grinding cooked chickpeas, garlic, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice into a thick flavorful paste.

Is Hummus Good for You?

There are so many variations and recipes for hummus. We’ve personally made a beet hummus, roasted garlic hummus, and even attempted a chocolate hummus spread (but that didn’t work out too well, I’ll try again). 

Yet, hummus is essentially a puree of chickpeas, garlic, tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. Even when you add herbs and roasted vegetables to make the dip more exciting, all of these wholesome ingredients offer plenty of plant-based protein, fiber, healthy fats, and nutrients. 

The ground chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed paste) in hummus are an excellent source of protein. The olive oil offers healthy fats which help you feel fuller faster. 

In summary, hummus is a crazy healthy snack, and the best part is that beans are the most affordable proteins you can get your hands on!

That’s why you need to try out this recipe.

If you’re interested in reading up on more health benefits of hummus: Jillian, a holistic coach at Dr.Axe, dives deep into the 8 Health Benefits of Eating Homemade Hummus.

Note: Anything “healthy” is only healthy when eaten in moderation. There is such a thing as too much hummus. In fact the recommended serving is 2-4 tablespoons, which is about 1/4 cup of hummus. 

How to Make Hummus Without a Food Processor

It’s absolutely possible to make hummus without a food processor. 

Make Hummus with a Blender

In this recipe we actually make our hummus in the blender. All it takes is a little water to get the ingredients swirling and smooth. 

The amount of water depends on how powerful your blender is. If you have something like a vitamix, you’ll probably only need to add a few tablespoons of water. 

For a regular ol’ blender like mine, you’ll need about 1/3 cup of water and some more time.

Make hummus with a Mortar and Pestle

Don’t have blender or food processor? Don’t worry we can figure this out. 

You can use a lot of elbow grease, your microwave, and a mortar and pestle, potato masher, or fork to mash your ingredients into a chunky mash. 

To make this process a bit easier, I would highly recommend heating your chickpeas in a Microwave or on your stovetop. Warm chickpeas will be a lot easier to mash by hand. 

Traditional Hummus Ingredients

Hummus is one of the simplest spreads to make. Most of the ingredients you’ll usually find in your pantry. You’ll need:

  • Chickpeas* – in this recipe we used chickpeas cooked in a pressure cooker in some chicken broth, just because that’s what was available at the time. Equally as delicious is using a can of chickpeas.
  • Tahini – Tahini is toasted, ground, and hulled sesame seeds. It has a delicious nutty aroma.
  • Garlic – In this recipe, I use one fresh clove of garlic, but you can use more if you’d like. You can also use fresh spicy garlic, or sweet and aromatic roasted garlic.
  • Olive Oil – We will use a nice drizzle of olive oil in the hummus and also drizzle it over the top.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is so vibrant and delicious, but in a pinch, you can use bottled juice as well. Did you know once upon a time they used to use vinegar? True story.
  • Water – I like to use water because it doesn’t affect the flavor too much, but you can also use some of the aquafaba (preserving liquid) from the canned chickpeas.
  • Kosher Salt – I use Morton kosher salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal, it’s also more affordable.
  • Paprika – I sprinkle a bit of paprika on top for that smokey flavor and those eye-catching specks of red that infuse beautifully with the olive oil.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – since tahini is a sesame seed butter, I thought toasted sesame seeds would go perfectly sprinkled on top. It add a wonderful little crunchy texture and compliments the nutty tahini.

* Canned Chickpeas vs. Dried Chickpeas

The kind of chickpeas you use depends on your budget and the time you have to make them. 

The quickest and simplest method is using canned chickpeas. One can of chickpeas cost about 1.40 and yield approximately 2 cups. They taste delicious and come with the convenience of saving you a bunch of time and planning.

The most delicious and affordable method is using dried chickpeas. To cook dried chickpeas, you need to soak the beans in water overnight and cook in a bath of salted water on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker for about 45 minutes. While more time consuming, one pound of chickpeas will yield about 6-7 cups of cooked beans and only cost you 1.99

To put that in perspective, using a can of chickpeas is 3 time more expensive that using dried beans.

If you have the time, I recommend making your own chickpeas. With one batch of beans you can make hummus and a delicious curry for your family. 

But, if you don’t have time, then don’t stress trying to save $3, just make something that you will enjoy and still be affordable.

How to Make Hummus

Hummus is super simple to make. In this recipe, all you have to do is:

  • Heat up your chickpeas – Warm chickpeas will be easier to blend, place in the microwave for 30 second intervals until warm.
  • Add in the Ingredients – Add all of the ingredient to the blender and pulse.
  • Add liquid as needed – The hummus will be thick at first, and your blender may struggle to blend all of the ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time as needed.
  • Taste –  Taste your hummus and add salt or lemon juice to adjust for your taste.
  • Serve – Pour hummus into a shallow dish and with a spoon make swirls in the hummus. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle paprika, and garnish with fresh minced parsley and toasted sesame seeds on top for a beautiful presentation.

How to make toasted sesame seeds

In a small pan, add a few teaspoons of sesame seeds and bring up to a medium-low heat. Stir sesame seeds constantly until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.

Dipping into a bowl of smooth hummus with pita bread

How to Fix Runny Hummus?

Hummus is really easy to make, but it can also easily get too runny. Instead of a creamy spread you may end up with a chickpea soup (note to future self: could a chickpea soup actually be delicious). 

It’s essential, when blending the hummus, that you only add a tablespoon of water at a time. Stir the mixture in the blender often so that the mixture stays fairly thick.

If your hummus becomes too runny, it’s a pretty simple fix. All you have to do is add a few more ingredients to make it bulky again. The simplest way to thicken up your hummus is to add some more chickpeas.

If you ran out, you could add other starchy ingredients like red beets, sweet potatoes, or even peas if you like them.

My experience with making hummus in the blender is that it tends to come out thinner than a hummus made in the food processor. It spreads more like creamy mashed potato. It is still incredibly delicious though!

What to Do if Hummus is Too Thick?

Balance, it’s a playful game with hummus. You want something thick enough that will spread easily on some toast, but not so thin it will drip off the toast.

Add some Liquid

If your hummus is too thick, you’ll need to add some liquid. But which liquid do you add? In this recipe, we use lemon juice, olive oil, and water. All of these ingredients will change the flavor and texture of your hummus, so it’s important to taste your hummus before deciding which wet ingredient to add and thin out your spread.

Water – will not do much to affect the flavor of your hummus, so it’s a good option when you like the taste but just want to thin out the consistency of your hummus.

Olive Oil – will add richness and earthiness.

Lemon Juice – will add brightness and acidity.

How to Spice Up a Hummus Recipe

Chickpeas are an affordable source of healthy plant based protein. In a hummus, it makes a tasty snack, side, and party/potluck dish.

What’s especially great about having this basic hummus recipe in your arsenal is how creative you can get with it. Try adding some of these amazing flavors into your next batch of homemade hummus.

Or you can garnish your hummus with some of these beautiful flavors that add a distinct taste, texture, or brightness to the spread.

Over head shot of basic hummus topped with toasted sesame seeds

How to Eat Hummus?

There are so many fantastic ways to enjoy hummus. My favorite is to eat it with some pita bread, which is simple, delicious, and a great little mid day snack. 

Of course, we’re always looking to expand the way we eat things, getting creative in the kitchen, so we waste less food, so here are a few other ways to eat hummus.

  • Party Dip – Dip into our homemade hummus recipe with a side of raw veggies: carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, snow/snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, the list can be endless.  
  • Side Dish – Try it as a side to main dishes like grilled chicken, falafel, fish, or (also my favorite) kibbeh.
  • Spread – Use it as a spread on sandwiches and wraps
  • Pizza Sauce – Make a Mediterranean Inspired Hummus Pizza (recipe coming soon)!
  • Salads and Rice Bowls – Add a spoonful to a rice bowl or salads with your favorite toppings like tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, pine nuts, sesame seeds, avocado, hard boiled eggs, and so on.

How long Does Hummus Keep?

Your hummus can go bad. Homemade hummus will last 3-5 day in an air tight container in your refrigerator. 

Where as store bought hummus will last about 6-7 days once opened

What to Do With Leftover Hummus

A common way to use up leftover hummus is to add it in sandwiches or wraps. It’s such a great alternative to mayonnaise and mustard. 

But if you’re looking for a truly exciting way to use up some leftover hummus, may I suggest Pizza Sauce? Yes, you heard me! This is one of the most amazing ways to go! 

We made a mediterranean inspired pizza the other day that I am just dying to share with you! Think about it. Pita bread, slathered with a hefty splotch of hummus, topped with mozzarella and feta cheese, sprinkled with fragrant Italian seasoning and finished with sliced tomatoes. Guys, I’m drooling right now! I promise I’ll get that recipe out for your soon! 

Can You Freeze Hummus?

I almost never get the chance to freeze hummus, babe swoops in and eats the batch within a few days.

If you don’t think you’ll finish a batch of hummus within 4-5 days, you should definitely freeze it. All it takes are these simple steps.

  1. Use a freezer safe air-tight container – Make sure you leave some room for when it expands in the freezer. I recommend using small containers 4-8 oz, so you can take out what you need.
  2. Freeze up to four months – Technically. Anything frozen will start to lose flavor the longer it’s in there, so just be aware of that.
  3. Thaw in the refrigerator– The safest way to thaw your hummus is to leave it in the refrigerator over night. The smaller the container the quicker it’ll defrost.
  4. Stir – the liquids and solids in the hummus might separate in the freezer, so you may need to give it a good store before serving.

Waste Less Tips

Most of these ingredients store well in the fridge. 

  • Lemon Juice – Can be squeezed into ice cube trays and frozen for future use.
  • Parsley – To make your parsley last longer: Cut the ends of and place in a small jar of water, tie a dish towel around the jar, and cover it in a plastic bag. Place your parsley in the fridge. The plastic bag will help retain moisture in the leaves and the dish towel will collect extra condensation so the leave don’t decay in the excess water.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – Extra seeds can garnish rice bowls, sushi, salads, or fried rice.

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Basic Traditional Hummus with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Learn everything you need to know on how to make this versatile, basic hummus recipe in your blender. It is smooth, delicious, easy to make, and ready to go on sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, and more.
Recipe by Karen D. Insignares
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Approx Cost of Recipe: $$3
Servings: 8 1/4 cup servings


  • 15 oz chickpeas, 2 cups ($0.66)
  • 1/3 cup tahini ($1.88)
  • 1 garlic clove ($0.05)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil ($0.30)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice ($0.06)
  • 2 tablespoons up to 1/3 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ($0.01)
  • Optional Garnishes
  • Chickpeas ($0.03)
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley ($0.01)
  • Pinch of paprika ($0.01)
  • Drizzle of olive oil ($0.10)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds ($0.05)


  • Rinse the chickpeas with warm water, and reserve a few kernels for garnish.
  • Add chickpeas to a blender with tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Blitz in the blender, scraping down the sides a couple of times, until smooth. Add water as needed one tablespoon at a time.
  • Season with salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • Serve in a shallow dish with these optional garnishes: chickpeas, minced parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of paprika, and toasted sesame seeds.*


How to toast sesame seeds: bring a small pan to medium-low​ heat, add sesame seeds, and stir until lightly golden brown.

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