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Hummus from The Nile.jpg
Hummus with olive oil, herbs, and spices
Alternative names Hommus, houmous
Course Meze
Place of origin Levant
Serving temperature Room temperature or warm
Main ingredients Chickpeas, tahini
Cookbook: Hummus  Media: Hummus

Hummus (/ˈhʊm.əs/, /ˈxʊm.ʊs/, or /ˈhʌm.əs/;[1][2][3] Arabic: حُمُّص‎, full Arabic name: hummus bi tahini Arabic: حمص بالطحينة‎) is a Levantine dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.[4] It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. It can also be found in most grocery stores in North America and Europe.

Etymology and spelling

"Hummus" comes from the Arabic word meaning "chickpeas", and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means "chickpeas with tahini".[5]

Spelling of the word in English can be inconsistent.[6] "Hummus" is the most common spelling in both American and British English.[1][2][3] The spelling "houmous" is however common enough in British English to be also listed as a less common spelling in some UK dictionaries but not, for example, in the Cambridge online dictionary.[2] Some US dictionaries also list other spellings such as humus, hommus, and hommos,[1] but not Merriam-Webster, for example.[7]


Hummus topped with whole chickpeas and olive oil

The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century.[8] A cold purée of chickpeas with vinegar and pickled lemons with herbs, spices, and oil, but no tahini or garlic, appears in the Kanz al-Fawa'id fi Tanwi' al-Mawa'id;[9] and a purée of chickpeas and tahini called hummus kasa appears in the Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada: it is based on puréed chickpeas and tahini, and acidulated with vinegar (though not lemon), but it also contains many spices, herbs, and nuts, and no garlic. It is also served by rolling it out and letting it sit overnight,[10] which presumably gives it a very different texture from hummus bi tahina. Indeed, its basic ingredients—chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic—have been eaten in the region for millennia.[11][12] Though chickpeas were widely eaten in the region, and they were often cooked in stews and other hot dishes,[13] puréed chickpeas eaten cold with tahini do not appear before the Abbasid period in Egypt and the Levant.[9]

Regional preparations

Hummus with pine nuts and olive oil
Hummus served with pita

As an appetizer and dip, hummus is scooped with flatbread, such as pita.[14] It is also served as part of a meze or as an accompaniment to falafel, grilled chicken, fish or eggplant.[14] Garnishes include chopped tomato, cucumber, coriander, parsley, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, whole chickpeas, olive oil, hard-boiled eggs, paprika, sumac, ful, olives, pickles and pine nuts. Outside the Middle East, it is sometimes served with tortilla chips or crackers.

Hummus ful (pronounced [fuːl]) is topped with a paste made from fava beans boiled until soft and then crushed. Hummus msabbaha/mashawsha is a mixture of hummus paste, warm chickpeas and tahini.

Hummus is a popular dip in Egypt where it is eaten with pita,[15] and frequently flavored with cumin or other spices.[14][15][16]

Hummus is a common part of everyday meals in Israel.[14] Apart from being included in the Mizrahi Jewish cuisine, a significant reason for the popularity of hummus in Israel is that it is made from ingredients that, following Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), can be combined with both meat and dairy meals.[14] It is seen as almost equally popular among Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.[14] Though not a traditional Jewish food, it is sufficiently popular in Israel to be found in numerous hummus-only restaurants across the country and is regarded as a national food.[14][17]

Many restaurants run by Mizrahi Jews and Arab citizens of Israel are dedicated to warm hummus,[14] which may be served as chick peas softened with baking soda along with garlic, olive oil, cumin and tahini. One of the fancier hummus versions available is msabbaha, made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chick peas, a sprinkling of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.[18]

For Palestinians and Jordanians, hummus has long been a staple food, often served warm, with bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All of the ingredients in hummus are easily found in Palestinian gardens, farms and markets, thus adding to the availability and popularity of the dish. In Palestine, hummus is usually garnished, with olive oil, "nana" mint leaves, paprika, and parsley.[19] A related dish popular in Palestine and Jordan is laban ma' hummus ("yogurt and chickpeas"), which uses yogurt in the place of tahini and butter in the place of olive oil and is topped with pieces of toasted bread.

One author calls hummus, "One of the most popular and best-known of all Syrian dishes" and a "must on any mezzeh table."[20] Syrians in Canada's Arab diaspora prepare and consume hummus along with other dishes like falafel, kibbeh and tabbouleh, even among the third- and fourth-generation offspring of the original immigrants.[21]

In Cyprus, hummus is part of the local cuisine in both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities where it is called "humoi" (Greek: χούμοι).[22][23] In Turkey, hummus is considered as a meze[24] and usually oven-dried with pastırma, which differs from the traditional serving.


Chickpeas, the main ingredient of conventional hummus, have appreciable contents of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, manganese and other nutrients.[25]

As hummus recipes vary, so does nutritional content, depending primarily on the relative proportions of chickpeas, tahini, and water. Hummus provides roughly 170 calories for 100 grams, and is a good to excellent (more than 10% of the Daily Value) source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, and several dietary minerals.[26][27]

Fat content, mostly from tahini and olive oil, is about 14% of the total; other major components are 65% water, 17% total carbohydrates, including a small amount of sugar, and about 10% protein.[26][27]

Packaged product

Lebanese-produced hummus in a can; label in Swedish

United States

In 2006, hummus was present in 12 percent of American households, rising to 17 percent by early 2009.[28] One commentator attributed the growth of hummus to America’s embrace of ethnic and exotic foods.[28]

While in 2006-8 when some 15 million Americans consumed hummus, and annual national sales were about $5 million, sales growth in 2016 was reflected by an estimated 25% of US households consuming hummus.[29] By 2016, the leading American hummus manufacturer, Sabra Dipping Company, held a 62% market share for hummus sales in the United States, and was forecast to exceed $1 billion in sales in 2017.[29][30][31] To meet the rising consumer demand for hummus, American farmers increased their production of chickpeas four-fold since 2009, harvesting more than 100,000,000 pounds (45,000,000 kg) in 2015, an increase from 25,000,000 pounds (11,000,000 kg) in 2009.[29]


In October 2008, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists petitioned to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade to request protected status from the European Commission for hummus as a uniquely Lebanese food, similar to the Protected Geographical Status rights held over regional food items by various European Union countries.[32][33][34] As of late 2009, the Lebanese Industrialists Association was still "collecting documents and proof" to support its claim.[35]

In 2012, Australian filmmaker Trevor Graham released a documentary, Make Hummus Not War, on the political and gastronomic aspects of hummus.[36]

In May 2010, the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus in the world returned to Lebanon.[37][38] The winning dish, cooked by 300 cooks in the village of al-Fanar, near Beirut, weighed approximately 10,450 kilograms (23,040 lb), more than double the weight of the previous record.[39][40][41] According to local media, the recipe included eight tons of boiled chick peas, two tonnes of tahini, two tonnes of lemon juice, and 70 kilograms (150 lb) of olive oil.[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c American Heritage Dictionary
  2. ^ a b c Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionaries
  4. ^ Sami Zubaida, "National, Communal and Global Dimensions in Middle Eastern Food Cultures" in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4, p. 35.
  5. ^ Maan Z. Madina, Arabic-English Dictionary of the Modern Literary Language, 1973, s.v. ح م ص
  6. ^ Pam Peters (2007), The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage, Cambridge University Press, p. 370, ISBN 0-521-87821-7 
  7. ^ Merriam-Webster
  8. ^ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, By Gil Marks, page 270
  9. ^ a b Lilia Zaouali, Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World, University of California Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-520-26174-7, translation of L'Islam a tavola (2004), p. 65
  10. ^ Perry et al., p. 383
  11. ^ Tannahill p. 25, 61
  12. ^ Brothwell & Brothwell passim
  13. ^ e.g. a "simple dish" of meat, pulses and spices described by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in the 13th century, Tannahill p. 174
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Raz, Dan Savery (1 August 2015). "Hunting for hummus in Israel". BBC Travel. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Pateman, Robert; El-Hamamsy, Salwa (2003) [1993]. Egypt. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7614-1670-8. 
  16. ^ Rombauer, Irma S.; Becker, Marion Rombauer; Becker, Ethan (2002). All about Party Foods & Drinks. New York: Scribner. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7432-1679-1. 
  17. ^ Yotam Ottolenghi (29 June 2010). "The perfect hummus debate". The Guardian. 
  18. ^ Food & Wine, May 2008; On the Hummus Hunt in Israel by Jen Murphy, p. 66,
  19. ^ Ibrahim, Lailie, Institute for Middle East Understanding, Hummus, a Palestinian staple Archived 1 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine., 31 March 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  20. ^ Arto der Hartoiunian Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, London 1983, p.33.
  21. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi (1999), Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, University of Toronto Press, p. 1244, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8 
  22. ^ "Traditional food of Cyprus". D.E.L.A.C. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "Cyprus foods, traditional dishes and recipes". Life in Cyprus, a view from the inside. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  24. ^ Shulman, Martha Rose (2007-10-30). Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine. Rodale. ISBN 9781594862342. 
  25. ^ "Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, canned per 100 grams". from Conde Nast; republished from the USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Hummus, commercial per 100 grams". from Conde Nast; republished from the USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  27. ^ a b "Hummus, homemade per 100 grams". from Conde Nast; republished from the USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  28. ^ a b There’s Hummus Among Us By Elena Ferretti, Fox News, April 05, 2010
  29. ^ a b c Justin R. Silverman (20 April 2016). "Hummus's quest to conquer America, one mouth at a time". Today. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  30. ^ Scott Goodson (5 June 2015). "The Surprising Rise of Hummus in America". Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  31. ^ Elaine Watson (29 September 2016). "Sabra 'well on its way' to becoming our next $1bn brand, says PepsiCo"., William Reed Business Media. Retrieved 1 November 2017. 
  32. ^ Karam, Zeina, "Hummus war looms between Lebanon and Israel", Associated Press, 7 October 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  33. ^ Carolynne Wheeler (11 October 2008), "Hummus food fight between Lebanon and Israel", The Daily Telegraph 
  34. ^ "Whose hummus is it anyway?", The Times of South Africa, 9 November 2008, archived from the original on 20 November 2008 
  35. ^ "Lebanese to Israel: Hands Off Our Hummus!". Haaretz. Associated Press. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  36. ^ Rutledge, David (11 March 2015). "Make hummus not war". ABC Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  37. ^ a b Lebanon claims latest title in 'Hummus War' (CNN)
  38. ^ "Lebanon breaks Israel's hummus world record". Gulf News, Lebanon: Al Nisr Publishing LLC. 9 May 2010. 
  39. ^ "Abu Gosh mashes up world's largest hummus". YNet. AFP. 8 January 2010. 
  40. ^ "Abu Ghosh secures Guinness world record for largest dish of hummus". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  41. ^ Jack Brockbank (12 January 2010). "The largest serving of hummus". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010.