I’ve always loved hummus—but I never realized just how much better homemade hummus is until now. There is absolutely no comparison. And, despite the fact that I’ve happily dipped pitas into the store-bought stuff swirled with tapenade, pesto, and roasted peppers, a classic from-scratch recipe will show you what hummus tastes like in a truer form.

Funny Shameful story, but the first time I ever made hummus, I decided to omit the tahini because a) I was a total rookie, and b) I figured since I’d never heard of it, I probably didn’t need it. (Ah, young ignorance… ) I’m sure I don’t even have to tell you just how underwhelming that flavor profile was.

There are different regional preparations that you might want to seek out for inspiration. I like to keep mine simple with a blend of chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, za’atar, and parsley. In Egypt, they often add some cumin or other spices; in Palestine, they add mint.

And, of course, you can find an interesting variety of Americanized spins on hummus that incorporate avocado (I love avocado and even I’m not sure why this happened) and the abomination itself: dessert hummus. (Can we not.) Look. I don’t want to come off as smug and I’m all about experimentation, but that shit is whack. Call your dessert dip what it is and leave the gloriously velvety nutty perfection that is actual hummus out of it.

If you’re new to making hummus or Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in general, you might be wondering about a few of the ingredients here—mainly tahini and za’atar.

What is tahini and why is it crucial when making hummus?

Tahini is a saucy paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a staple in baba ghanoush, halva, and of course, hummus. If you try to make hummus without this good stuff, you’ll end up with a thick chickpea paste lacking that nutty flavor and velvety texture we love so much.

What is za’atar?

Unlike tahini, za’atar isn’t a necessity, but it’s delicious. It’s a spice blend made up of dried hyssop leaves, sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt and a few other spices, like thyme. You can sometimes find it in the spice aisle at your local supermarket, but I’d recommend hitting up a local Middle Eastern market or going online to snag yourself a high-quality blend. The difference is noticeable. While a regular store-bought blend is dry, like most dried spices, a good za’tar is fluffy and airy and tastes a million times fresher. It’s so soso good, that I also highly recommend whirling it into some olive oil and serving it with naan or pita. (Or, you can give this Man’oushe a shot, too!)

Homemade Hummus with Za’atar and Sweet Paprika.

You can keep things super simple with this recipe by adding all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blending them to smooth perfection, or you can jazz it up by sprinkling your za’atar and paprika over swirls of olive oil. I like to reserve a few chickpeas for garnish for the sake of texure, and fresh chopped parsley just brightens and freshens everything up.

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

Get the Recipe:

Homemade Hummus with Za'atar and Sweet Paprika

This homemade hummus is velvety smooth and full of flavor. Serve it with naan or pitas, veggies, over salad—the possibilities are endless.
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpeas, reserve approx. 1/3 cup of liquid and approx. 1/4 cup chickpeas for garnish, drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste

GARNISH:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Za'atar
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet paprika (or regular paprika)
  • Chopped fresh parsley

TO SERVE:

  • erve with pitas

Instructions 

  • Put the chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor (a blender will give you a much smoother hummus).
  • Begin to blend and add the chickpea liquid as needed to create a smooth purée.
  • Taste and adjust to your liking.
  • Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Garnish with za’atar, paprika, parsley, and extra chickpeas.

Notes

Makes approx. 2 cups.
!If you want to create your own za'atar, simply mix the following1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons sumac
Kosher salt and crackled black pepper