Baking Soda Is Key To Making Hummus From Canned Chickpeas Creamier

Nothing adorns pita bread like a scoop of creamy, silky hummus. With a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of spices, the Middle Eastern dip is impossible to resist. However, if you have ever tried to make your own hummus from scratch, you will know how elusive that creamy texture really is. Even if you follow a recipe step-by-step and run it through the blender endlessly, you may still find little chunks of chickpeas. As flavorful as it may be, a grainy hummus is hard to compare to the smooth, restaurant-grade spread. 


Enter baking soda, the solution to this hummus-making hurdle. It turns out that the common pantry staple is the savior every smooth hummus seeker needs. Beyond acting as a leavening agent, baking soda wears many hats when it comes to both cooking and household tasks. It absorbs odors in the fridge, removes pesticides from fruits and vegetables, helps get rid of used cooking oil, and, of course, helps to create a heavenly hummus. 

A break down of baking soda's softening abilities

The way baking soda helps yield a smoother hummus comes down to simple science. Baking soda is a base, meaning it scores high on the pH scale. Adding it to the water you use to cook your chickpeas will alkalize the water or raise its pH beyond 7. When cooked in this basic environment, the skin of the chickpeas dissolves more easily. Removing the skin is what helps achieve this creaminess, as the skin is the source of the chickpea's grainy texture. Many recipes will suggest you remove the skins one chickpea at a time, but using baking soda to break it down is a less tedious way to get the job done. 


Additionally, when immersed in the baking soda-water mixture, the pectin bonds in the chickpeas break down, softening the beans as they cook. The softer the beans, the more quickly and smoothly they will blend. 

A high-quality hummus calls for high-quality ingredients

Whether you heat canned pre-cooked chickpeas or soak and cook dried chickpeas, a dash of baking soda will go a long way. A half teaspoon of baking soda will suffice in a recipe that calls for two 15-oz cans of chickpeas. Simply strain the chickpeas, toss them into a pot of hot water, and allow them to simmer while the baking soda works its magic.


Baking soda is a key ingredient but not the only factor in a creamy, dreamy hummus. A high-quality tahini is also an important consideration. While some recipes call for less tahini and more olive oil, tahini adds a depth of flavor and a creamy quality that oil alone cannot achieve. Do not be afraid to add a generous portion of the silky seed paste. Skimping on tahini and failing to add baking soda are some of the biggest blunders you can make when preparing homemade hummus.