We're reader-supported. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

Do You Drain Canned Chickpeas for Hummus?

Chickpeas make up the base and the most important part of your hummus recipe. It’s the one thing you definitely want to get right.

Chickpeas—also known by their Spanish name, garbanzo beans—are the main ingredient in hummus, a creamy purée that can be used as a dip or spread on crackers or pita bread. The recipe for hummus is also easy to follow for cooks of all levels of experience, making it a popular dish.

All you need for hummus is tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and some liquid. Put the tahini and lemon juice in your food processor, blend well, then add the rest of the ingredients and repeat the process until your homemade hummus reaches the desired consistency.

Yes, it is really that simple! And yet, for something so uncomplicated, hummus can be surprisingly difficult to prepare if you’ve never done it before. And, if you are doing this for the very first time, you are faced with an important dilemma: Do you drain the can of chickpeas to make hummus?

The answer is both “yes” and “no.” To get a perfect, creamy hummus, you should drain the chickpeas from the can, but keep the chickpea water. When you blend the ingredients for your hummus, add some of that water back in to achieve the consistency you want.

Read on to learn why.

What is Hummus?

Hummus comes from the Middle East and has been around for longer than most home cooks realize. It is said that the first mentions of this spread date back to 13th-century Egypt, where chickpeas, sesame seeds, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and garlic have been combined and eaten for centuries.

Only in more recent years did hummus become quite popular in the United States—and for good reason. This spread is about as delicious and as versatile as spreads get; from crackers and pita bread to veggie roll-ups and deviled eggs, the ways to eat hummus are limited only by the imagination.

When you puree chickpeas, you get a very creamy result that’s meant to serve as the base for your hummus recipe. By and large, hummus always remains the same: garlic, tahini, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice round out the rest of the ingredients.

Of course, there are also many variations, but nothing deviates too far from the original recipe, mainly because hummus is so good in itself that additional spices are unnecessary.

How to Make Hummus

If you want to make the best hummus, you’ve to accept that, as with most things, you get exactly what you pay for. For the best hummus, you need top-notch ingredients.

So, if you want to prepare this creamy and delicious mixture, stay away from the copycat products. Hummus is great, and eating it gives you a good occasion to treat yourself to high-quality food every now and then, right?

To get the most out of hummus, start with Goya chickpeas and Soom tahini. Keep your tahini in the fridge and do not take it out until about an hour before measuring it to mix into our hummus recipe. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas;
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1½  tablespoons of lemon juice, freshly squeezed;
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini;
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped;
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper, freshly cracked;
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, fine.

If you can get freshly ground black pepper (instead of pre-ground pepper) and fine sea salt (instead of table salt), all the better. To get the creamiest hummus, you need to drain the chickpeas and then go through them one by one, removing their skin.

We know; this is a pain and a dreadfully slow way to prep your chickpeas. But this is how you get the most delicious hummus that you’ve ever tasted. So the result, at least in our book, is totally worth the effort.

Drain Your Can of Chickpeas

You do not have to squeeze the chickpeas like you would a can of tuna. Instead, pour the contents of the can into a colander, but put a container underneath so you can catch the liquid. Keep the drained aquafaba; you will need it later.

Mix All of Your Ingredients

Throw the tahini and lemon juice into the blender and blend well. Then add the remainder of the ingredients and purée the entire thing thoroughly. Once again, the trick to properly-prepared hummus is to take your time; it is not one of those foods that taste better chunky.

Taste Test the Result

Here’s where that extra aquafaba comes in. Once everything is properly blended, it will come out a little stiff. When that’s the case, start adding in some of that drained chickpea juice from earlier and blend again. Do this until your hummus reaches the right consistency.

Other Additions to Your Hummus

You don’t have to stop there. As aforementioned, there are a variety of “accommodating” flavorings that you can try, depending on what you like. To give you a few ideas, consider:

  • Nutty hummus;
  • Lemony hummus;
  • Olive hummus;
  • Veggie hummus;
  • Sweet hummus.

All of these flavorings just involve a little, added spice or ingredients after you’ve pureed everything.

For one, if you want to increase the zest of lemon flavoring, blend in ¼ cup of chopped-up lemons. You will get tangy, lemony hummus that pairs exceptionally well with fish.

Add ¾ cups of chopped, green olives for an olive hummus variation. Switch the olive out with chopped walnuts for a nutty hummus, and blend in some zucchini for an excellent, light-green veggie hummus.

For a sweeter Hummus, drip some molasses or maple syrup to the finished result just before you eat it. Pomegranate molasses is also a fantastic way to customize that spread, and it’s very popular with the kids.

Honestly, the sky is the limit in terms of where you want to go with your Hummus flavors. You can add smoked paprika, ground cumin, tangy sumac, and so forth, and so on until you find exactly the right flavor for you.

Final Thoughts

While you should definitely drain your can of chickpeas, it’s even more important to hold onto the drained juice, and a great idea to individually strip the skin off of all of the chickpeas.

While it will take a little longer to create your perfect style of Hummus, the extra juice, and stripped chickpeas are invaluable to reach that perfect, creamy texture of Hummus that the whole house will absolutely enjoy.

Know your author

Written by

Jim is the former editor of Home Cook World. He is a career food writer who's been cooking and baking at home ever since he could see over the counter and put a chair by the stove.