Hummus as we know it today has been around since at least the 13th century and has subsequently been a staple in many cultures’ cuisines for centuries. So what could possibly be left to improve upon in this much-loved side dish?
This was the question the Cook’s Illustrated test cooks asked themselves as they investigated how to make the creamiest possible hummus. And it turns out that all you need is a dash of baking soda and a few extra minutes over the stovetop.
To achieve a perfectly smooth texture in their hummus, the test cooks simmered their canned (yes, canned!) chickpeas with water and baking soda for 20 minutes and then quickly removed their grainy skins by gently swishing them under a few changes of water.
“It takes hours to soak and simmer dried chickpeas, but simmering canned beans took about 20 minutes. (There’s no shame here: Dried and canned beans are equally good in this recipe),” test cook Andrew Janjigian said of the method.
“I also added baking soda to the saucepan, which raised the water’s pH and helped the skins break down and slip off,” he added. “By the end of cooking, there was a ‘raft’ of skins floating on the surface that was easy to remove by draining and rinsing the beans a few times.”
Conveniently, you can be simmering your chickpeas while you mince garlic and whisk your other ingredients together, a perfectly silky texture coming together completely in the background. Even easier is the actual process of removing the chickpea skins, which requires only a quick swish under cold water.
How to make your hummus ultracreamy:
- Combine chickpeas, baking soda, and 6 cups water in medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chickpea skins begin to float to surface and chickpeas are creamy and very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Drain chickpeas in colander and return to saucepan.
- Fill saucepan with cold water and gently swish chickpeas with your fingers to release their skins. Pour off most of water into colander to collect skins, leaving chickpeas behind in saucepan.
- Repeat filling, swishing, and draining 3 or 4 times until most skins have been removed (this should yield about ¾ cup chickpea skins), then discard skins.
- Transfer chickpeas to colander to drain.
As one ATK subscriber commented on the recipe, “This was the creamiest, fluffiest hummus I’ve ever made.” So what are you waiting for?