Hummus is pretty much the perfect food: full of protein, great for quick meals and snacks, and it’s so dang easy to make. Yet, all those store-bought brands come in such tiny, plastic packages! So expensive! So wasteful! So I’ve started just making my own huge batches of hummus in bulk so that have delicious homemade hummus for a whole month, without having to buy store-bought and without having anything go bad. The trick? A freezer.
Might not seem like a big deal, but seriously, this is my favorite new kitchen hack– who knew you could freeze hummus!?!? You probably know already that bulk cooking is a great idea: make a big batch of grains, beans and veggies to save energy, save time, and ensuring you have good food to eat all week. And hummus prep is no different. Having fresh hummus in the freezer has been a saving grace on days when I don’t have time to cook, or for last minute potluck dinners. Below I will share my tips for making the best hummus in bulk and some awesome, non-traditional hummus recipes from my archives.
The Best Hummus Starts with the Best Chickpeas
Hummus is usually made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), but you can also try black beans, white beans or mung beans. Assuming you’re going with traditional garbanzos, get your beans in dried form. This is significantly cheaper and less wasteful than cans. No judement against cans – I use them all the time for quick meals. But for big batches like this, it’s best to cook them fresh. Yes, it takes a bit longer, but the results are so worth it. The steps below yield a perfectly cooked bean that’s easier to digest, since it’s been soaked so long and cooked with kombu, a seaweed that helps tenderize and mineralize the beans. You can use these steps for all beans except lentils, which don’t need to be soaked.
- Add beans of choice to a large stockpot, at least 2-3 cups dried beans. Cover with filtered water and fill as much as the stockpot will hold– beans will expand to at least twice their dried size, so be sure to leave some room. Let stand overnight (at least eight hours).
- After soaking, drain beans (do not save the soak water). Rinse well.
- If you have a slow-cooker, now is the time to use it. Add soaked beans to a slow cooker, cover with water, add a postage-stamp size piece of kombu to the water. Cover, cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- If you don’t have a slow-cooker, return beans to stockpot, cover with fresh water, add a postage-stamp size piece of kombu to the water and cover. Bring to a low boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours, checking for doneness after 1 hour.
- For either method, drain beans and let cool completely at room temperature. Kombu will be really soft and broken up; I like to leave the mushy seaweed in the beans for extra minerals, but you can also scoop it out (it does look weird, but it’s so good for you!)
- You can store beans in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze them directly. For either fridge or freezer, place in airtight containers. Once your beans are frozen, the texture does change, and they are best blended up, mashed into burritos, or used in soups– anything where an extra squashy texture is desired.
How to Make Delicious Homemade Hummus in Bulk
Follow the steps above for making your beans; this cooking method yields the best beans, so of course it makes the best hummus too. The best practical hummus that is: I just had a conversation with a friend a few days ago that used the method from America’s Test Kitchen which requires that the beans are individually peeled.
The primary ingredients needed for hummus are beans, tahini (sesame butter), lemon juice, salt, cumin, olive oil, and water. Most recipes also call for garlic, but I’m not a garlic lover so I never use it. I like to think beyond the traditional flavors and add mix-ins like toasted sesame oil, roasted vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, ginger, turmeric and so much more. See some suggested pairings below the recipes.
Yield: If you follow the recipe below, you’re going to get about 4-5 small containers (6-8 ounces); you can freeze these containers and have enough hummus for a whole month!
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
½ cup tahini
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic (optional)
¼ teaspoon each cumin, black pepper, and sea salt
Water, as needed for texture
- In a food processor, pulse garbanzo beans until crumbly.
- Add all remaining ingredients except water and blend until very smooth, adding a few tablespoons of water at a time to adjust texture as processor is spinning.
- Taste, and add more lemon, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
- Blend in any other mix-ins and process until smooth.
- Let stand at least one hour for flavors to meld. Pack hummus into airtight, reusable containers and move to freezer immediately.
- To thaw frozen hummus, place hummus in refrigerator overnight, or leave at room temperature for about four hours.
- Whatever flavor you choose, serve hummus alongside crackers, a veggie plate, or on your favorite sandwich.
Funky Flavors for your Homemade Hummus
There are so many ways to make hummus even more awesome. Here are a list of other hummus recipes that you can try to incorporate into this batch method. It’s pretty cool how much great food can be frozen and turn out just perfect!
- Red Pepper Hummus: Blend in ½ cup of jarred or fresh-made roasted red peppers. This adds a sweet flavor and reddish color to the hummus. Other flavors that would pair nicely here would be fresh or dried basil or oregano, or some chopped olives.
- Black Bean Hummus: Swap chickpeas for black beans, swap lemon for lime, and add some coriander and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
- Sweet Potato Hummus: Sneak in vitamin-rich sweet potatoes to make your hummus extra nourishing. Add about ½ cup of roasted or boiled skinned sweet potatoes and blend until smooth.
- White Bean Hummus: This is my newest favorite. I like to swap cannellini beans for the base, along with a great flavor boost that I learned from Heidi Swanson. Instead of adding the olive oil directly into the food processor, add the olive oil to a small saucepan and over medium-low heat, brown 2-4 cloves minced garlic and 1-2 Tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary, then blend it all together. Skip the cumin in this batch, and let the flavor of the rosemary shine.
- Edamame Hummus: Bright green and beautiful edamame makes a unique hummus. Swap the beans and everything else is the same! I made this years ago for a cooking class and it was interesting and yummy.
- Caramelized Onion Hummus: Sweet, rich caramelized onions and coconut oil makes this hummus magic. See full recipe and caramelized onion tips in the link.
- Sprouted Hummus: From our former writer Matthew, sprout your beans for extra digestibility.
- Sun-Dried Tomato & Sesame: This flavor combination blows people away, and it’s always a dinner party favorite. Make the recipe as above, omitting the cumin. Add ¼ teaspoon Liquid Smoke, ½ cup soaked or jarred sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil.