What Does Hummus Taste Like?

A staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, hummus is a versatile dish that lends itself to different flavors. It’s often used as a dip for vegetables or naan bread. While made primarily of chickpeas, hummus tastes almost nothing like them.

Hummus is a rich, creamy spread that’s nutty and tart. It’s often made with garlic so notes of that are commonly present as well. Its texture is smooth, thick, and somewhat fluffy.

Hummus has few ingredients but is big on flavor. Made with only a handful of components it’s simple, easy to prepare, and delicious.

What’s in Hummus

While there are some similar dishes made with lima beans, boiled peanuts, and cauliflower, hummus is mostly made of chickpeas. Its other ingredients consist of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. 


Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpea makes up the majority of this dish. And while chickpeas are fairly mild and have a nutty, bean-like flavor, hummus tastes nothing like them.

In this dish, chickpeas are used mostly for their texture and ability to absorb other flavors. Like tofu, chickpeas are good at taking on the flavor of what they are made with.

When blended, chickpeas take on a wonderfully creamy, buttery, rich texture. It’s smooth and somewhat fluffy.


Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It tastes savory, somewhat bitter, and nutty.  In the hummus, the savory and nutty flavors come through strongly. However, the bitterness, if present at all, is faint.

Olive Oil

Good olive oil tastes rich and somewhat fruity with notes of pepper. 

While chickpeas don’t hold much flavor in hummus, olive oil does. The flavor of the olive oil will get absorbed into the chickpeas and you’ll be able to taste it in the dish.

In addition, it helps to make the hummus extra smooth and luxurious.

Lemon Juice

This is where the tart tastes in hummus come from. Generally, the juice of roughly two lemons is used to get the tart flavor common to hummus.


Traditionally, hummus was made with garlic and garnished with parsley and paprika. 

Those are still popular spices for hummus today. However, modern hummus incorporates many other spices, herbs, and flavors into the traditional dish. 

Some of the most popular flavors of hummus are roasted red pepper, olives, pine nuts, and herb and olive oil. You can even find seasonal or specialty hummus, like pumpkin, chocolate, and everything bagel seasoning. 

How To Eat Hummus

Traditionally, hummus was served as an appetizer. While that is still true today, we’ve expanded the uses for hummus. Here are some of the most common ways to eat hummus.

  • As a dip for vegetables
  • As a spread for sandwiches and wraps
  • Spread on crackers
  • With pita or tortilla chips
  • With a spoon

The Takeaway

Hummus is a delicious dish that tastes nutty, tart, and often, like garlic. It’s smooth, rich, creamy, and thick. 

Hummus is made mostly with chickpeas. However, it does not taste mostly like chickpeas, so don’t let that scare you from trying it. Also, you can refrigerate hummus to keep it fresh.

Recently there have been many different kinds of hummus available. So if you find the traditional type of hummus is not to your liking, try another!