2 Secrets to Smooth, Not Gritty, Smoky Garlic Hummus

red bowl of garlic hummus with a side of carrot sticks and crackers

Before I share my five-month trial and error process to create smooth and smoky garlic hummus, and the two secrets I learned to making it velvety smooth and not gritty, I should tell you about my conjectural aversion to tahini and chickpeas.

bowl of creamy smooth garlic hummus drizzled with olive oil

Prior to 2015, I would have told you “I don’t like chickpeas or garbanzo beans or whatever they’re called.” And no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks would I have tasted hummus. Ew! But that was before my sister Kalli introduced me to the buttery, protein-packed sexy shaped bean by way of her chicken chickpea cilantro salad.

bowl of chicken cilantro chickpe salad

Sometime after that, I dared to try hummus. I don’t remember where or when was my first time, but I started buying Kowalski’s Markets Roasted Garlic Hummus. Now mind you, Kowalski’s is locally owned and operated in the Minnesota Twin Cities area—more than a 3-hour drive from where we live. Which means it isn’t feasible to keep it stocked in our fridge, especially during a pandemic. But their hummus is how this savory Middle Eastern dish landed on my “list of foods I’ve grown to love,” like tomatoes in my pico de gallo.

So in April, I decided to make my own hummus. But when I learned that tahini is a common ingredient, my initial thought was that tahini is unpalatable. Why? Because I think that about a lot of foods I’ve never tried and that sound weird to me and I don’t know what it actually is. To my surprise, tahini is a thick, nutty paste made from ground sesame seeds—I like the flavor of sesame seeds! So here’s how I found my way to smooth smoky garlic hummus. I was surprised at how simple it is to make.

You will want to use a food processor or high-powered blender to make hummus.

My First Batch, the Gritty Garlic Hummus

I found a recipe and made it. I was feeling good about it, until it was on my tongue. That’s when I went online and searched, ‘why is my hummus gritty‘ and I learned about chickpea skins. Yes, these beans have skins.

bowl of skins removed from chickpeas

The first secret to velvety smooth hummus— you must remove the skins, even from canned chickpeas. All you need to do is lightly press the bean between your thumb and first two fingers and pop the bean into your other hand, sliding the skin off and discarding. Watch:

A Few More Trials to Making Smooth and Smoky Hummus

After I figured out the skins, I made smooth and smoky garlic hummus again but I added too much garlic so I had to add another can of beans, doubling the recipe. It was terrific. But I didn’t write down my ingredient list.

If you are new to using fresh garlic, read Four Garlic Cloves is not Four Garlic Bulbs so you know the difference.

I researched more hummus recipes and tips and tricks. A lot of people use dried garbanzo beans, soaking overnight, and cooking. Adding baking soda while cooking the beans helps remove the skins, even if you are using canned chickpeas. I tried that one time but I ended up with a mushy mess with no way to separate the skins from the mess so I threw it away. I’m sure I did it wrong.

I thought maybe if I used Kalani’s Ninja smoothie maker, the texture would be extra smooth. But I overestimated the container size and ended up with a glob of beans stuck at the bottom of the largest container that wouldn’t process.

So the next time, I used the small Ninja cup and it worked better. But I ended up finishing the hummus in my food processor anyway and I didn’t notice much of a differences so I just use the processor.

hummus in a food processor

Another time I made it, I forgot to add the everything but the bagel seasoning and I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t have as much flavor.

bowl of smoky garlic hummus and pile of fresh from the garden carrots

The second secret—adding two tablespoons of ice cold water to the hummus produces a fluffier, velvety texture. At last, I have a recipe worth sharing. It’s also cute served in 4-ounce mason jars.

4 ounce glass jar of hummus with a side of crackers

Now that we have a basic recipe we like, I’m willing to add new ingredients. What do you put in your hummus?

Sweet & smooth wishes,

I’ll still buy Kowalski’s Markets hummus because it’s delicious and I go there anyway for namesake items which have become pantry staples, like their North Woods Grill Seasoning, Italian vinaigrette dressing, and smoky sweet BBQ sauce. I also want to try their small-batch locally made whipped cream cheese.

Smoky garlic hummus

Staci at Random Sweets
Add veggies and crackers for a light lunch.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 134 kcal


  • food processor or blender


  • 15 ounce chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling on top
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • tablespoons everything but the bagel seasoning
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mesquite or hickory liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons ice cold water


  • Drain chickpeas. Rinse with hot water. Remove and discard skins.
  • Place chickpeas in food processor. Pulse until crumbly.
  • Pulse in 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and tahini. Process on high speed until smooth.
  • Add garlic (using garlic press and finely chopped). Add salt, cumin, smoked paprika, everything but the bagel seasoning, cayenne pepper and liquid smoke. Process on high until completely blended.
  • With the food processor running on high speed, pour in 2 tablespoons ice cold water. If the hummus isn't as thin as you like at this point, process in a little more olive oil until it is the texture you want. Taste test. Add additional seasonings to your liking.
  • Scrape hummus into a pie plate, tart pan, or bowl. Swirl the top and drizzle olive oil into the crevices. Sprinkle with additional bagel seasoning and paprika if desired. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 5 days. Serve with vegetables, pita chips, crostini, pita bread, crackers, almonds, and olives.


Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 243mgPotassium: 168mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 2mg
Keyword hummus, vegetarian

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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  1. I just bought tahini yesterday to make hummus. Must be in the air here in Brookings! I had read peeling wasn’t necessary, but now you have me second guessing that advice. Awesome to read such a fun food blog from local people!

    1. Hi Tasi! I could definitely taste the difference in texture without the skins so for me, it’s worth the extra time. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Swing by again or subscribe so you get posts by email. What do you put in your hummus?

  2. I will definitely give this a shot!
    My favorite commercial hummus flavor is roasted red pepper. That would be a fun variation to try.

    1. I feel like I’d like red pepper hummus. Of course, with garlic. Or maybe that would overpower the pepper. I don’t know. I’ll try it.

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