This article is about the food. For the organic matter in soil, see Humus.
"Homos" redirects here. For the Egyptian footballer, see Homos (footballer).

Hummus with spices and pita bread
Alternative names Hommus
Course Meze
Place of origin Egypt, Levant
Serving temperature Room temperature or warm
Main ingredients Chickpeas, tahini
Cookbook: Hummus  Media: Hummus

Hummus (/ˈhʊ.məs/, /ˈxʊ.mʊs/, or /ˈhʌ.məs/,[1][2][3] in full, hummus bi tahini, is a Levantine and Egyptian food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.[4] Today, it is popular throughout the Middle East (including Turkey), North Africa (including Morocco), and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. It can be found in most grocery stores in North America.

Etymology and spelling

Look up hummus in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

"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]



The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century.[8] Hummus has been connected to the Ayyubid Sultan, Saladin, and according to some food historians he first prepared it.[9] 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;[10] 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,[11] 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.[12][13] Though chickpeas were widely eaten in the region, and they were often cooked in stews and other hot dishes,[14] puréed chickpeas eaten cold with tahini do not appear before the Abbasid period in Egypt and the Levant.[10]

Regional preparations

Hummus topped with whole chickpeas and olive oil.
Hummus topped with ful and tahini

As an appetizer and dip, hummus is scooped with flatbread, such as pita. It is also served as part of a meze or as an accompaniment to falafel, grilled chicken, fish or eggplant. 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 (as photographed in the "History" section). 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 masubha/mashawsha is a mixture of hummus paste, warm chickpeas and tahini.

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

Hummus is a common part of everyday meals in Israel.[17] 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. Few other foods can be combined with a wide variety of meals consistently with the dietary laws.[18] It is seen as almost equally popular among Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.[18] As a result of its popularity, Israelis elevated hummus to become a "national food symbol" and consume more than twice as much hummus as neighboring Arab countries.[19] Many restaurants run by Mizrahi Jews and Arab citizens of Israel are dedicated to hot hummus, 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 hummus masabacha, made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chick peas, a sprinkling of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.[20] Hummus is sold in restaurants, supermarkets and hummus-only shops (known in Hebrew as humusiot).[21]

For Palestinians and Jordanians, hummus has long been a staple food, often served warm, with bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner.[22] 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 Palestinian areas, hummus is usually garnished, with olive oil, "nana" mint leaves, paprika, parsley or cumin.[23] A related dish popular in the region of 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.[22]

One author calls hummus, "One of the most popular and best-known of all Syrian dishes" and a "must on any mezzeh table."[24] Syrians in Canada's Arab diaspora prepare and consume hummus along with other dishes like falafel, kibbe and tabouleh, even among the third- and fourth-generation offspring of the original immigrants.[25]

In Cyprus, hummus is part of the local cuisine in both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities where it is called "humoi" (Greek: χούμοι).[26][27] In Turkey, hummus is considered as a meze 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.[28]

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.[29][30]

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.[29][30]

Packaged product

United States

In 2006, hummus was present in 12 percent of American households, rising to 17 percent by early 2009.[31] One commentator attributed the growth of hummus to America’s embrace of ethnic and exotic foods.[31]

In 2008, more than 15 million Americans consumed hummus on a regular basis,[32] becoming a popular staple in American restaurants with the Armenian migration from Lebanon to Southern California and the East Coast after the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990).[33] It was further popularized in the United States by Jews returning from visits in Israel and by Israeli expatriates.[32]


Lebanese-produced hummus in a can, sold in Sweden

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.[34][35][36]

Fadi Abboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, stated that "Israelis have usurped several Lebanese and oriental products", claiming that Lebanon exported the first hummus dish in 1959.[37]

In response, food critic Janna Gur wrote: "The success of certain brands of Israeli hummus abroad may have been what brought about Abboud's anger", leading him to claim that Israel has been "stealing" their country's national dishes, like hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, and baba ghanouj.[38] Shooky Galili, an Israeli journalist specialising in food and who writes a blog dedicated to hummus, said that "trying to make a copyright claim over hummus is like claiming for the rights to bread or wine. [...] Hummus is a centuries old Arab dish — nobody owns it, it belongs to the region".[39]

As of late 2009, the Lebanese Industrialists Association was still "collecting documents and proof" to support its claim.[40]

In 2012, Australian filmmaker Trevor Graham released a documentary, Make Hummus Not War, on the political and gastronomic aspects of hummus.[41]

Subsequent attention has focused on the competition as to which country can hold the world record in preparing the largest batch of hummus (see next section).

World record

In May 2010, the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus in the world returned to Lebanon.[39][42] The winning dish, cooked by 300 cooks in the village of al-Fanar, near Beirut, weighed approximately 10450 kg (roughly 23000 lb), more than double the previous record set by 50 Israeli Arabs and Jews who cooked approximately 4100 kg (roughly 9000 lb) in January 2010 in the Arab-Israeli village of Abu Ghosh.[43][44][45] According to local media, the recipe included eight tons of boiled chick peas, two tons of tahini, two tons of lemon juice and 70 kg (154 lb) of olive oil.[39]

In 2015, Israeli filmmaker Oren Rosenfeld reported that Guinness World Record officials had refused to send a judge to Israel for his attempt to break the record, citing safety concerns, despite their having recently sent judges to other Middle Eastern countries. Fifteen tons of hummus would have been produced and shared as part of publicity for Rosenfeld's new film, Hummus the Movie.[46][47]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hummus.


  1. 1 2 3 American Heritage Dictionary
  2. 1 2 3 Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  3. 1 2 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. Claire S. Cabot, A Short History of Ingredients, Xlibris, p. 29
  10. 1 2 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
  11. Perry et al., p. 383
  12. Tannahill p. 25, 61
  13. Brothwell & Brothwell passim
  14. e.g. a "simple dish" of meat, pulses and spices described by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in the 13th century, Tannahill p. 174
  15. 1 2 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. Even mentioned by the Israel Defense Forces Cookbook, see Houston Chronicle "Diversity in the dining room helps ring in Israel's new year"
  18. 1 2 Middle East, 2006, Lonely Planet, page 282
  19. Hummus brings Israelis, Palestinians to the table, The Christian Science Monitor, by Joshua Mitnick, July 25, 2007
  20. Food & Wine, May 2008; On the Hummus Hunt in Israel by Jen Murphy, p. 66,
  21. Yotam Ottolenghi (29 June 2010). "The perfect hummus debate". The Guardian.
  22. 1 2 Salloum and Peters, 1996, p. 204.
  23. Ibrahim, Lailie, Institute for Middle East Understanding, Hummus, a Palestinian staple, 31 March 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  24. Arto der Hartoiunian Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, London 1983, p.33.
  25. Paul R. Magocsi (1999), Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, University of Toronto Press, p. 1244, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8
  26. "Traditional food of Cyprus". D.E.L.A.C. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  27. "Cyprus foods, traditional dishes and recipes". Life in Cyprus, a view from the inside. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  28. "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.
  29. 1 2 "Hummus, commercial per 100 grams". from Conde Nast; republished from the USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  30. 1 2 "Hummus, homemade per 100 grams". from Conde Nast; republished from the USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  31. 1 2 There’s Hummus Among Us By Elena Ferretti, Fox News, April 05, 2010
  32. 1 2 Marks, Gil (2010), Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 269-271
  33. John Powell, "Encyclopedia of North American Immigration", Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-4381-1012-X, 9781438110127, p. 176.
  34. Karam, Zeina, "Hummus war looms between Lebanon and Israel", Associated Press, 7 October 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  35. Carolynne Wheeler (11 October 2008), "Hummus food fight between Lebanon and Israel", The Daily Telegraph
  36. "Whose hummus is it anyway?", The Times of South Africa, November 9, 2008
  37. "Hummus war between Lebanon, Israel escalates". YaLIBNAN. January 9, 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  38. Gur, Janna (cited as 'Jana'), Santa Fe New Mexican, "Hummus History: Tales of a Wandering Chickpea", 21 October 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  39. 1 2 3 Lebanon claims latest title in 'Hummus War' (CNN)
  40. "Lebanese to Israel: Hands Off Our Hummus!". Haaretz. Associated Press. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  41. Rutledge, David (11 March 2015). "Make hummus not war". ABC Australia. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  42. "Lebanon breaks Israel's hummus world record". Yahoo. AP. 8 May 2010.
  43. "Abu Gosh mashes up world's largest hummus". YNet. AFP. 8 January 2010.
  44. "Abu Ghosh secures Guinness world record for largest dish of hummus". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  45. Jack Brockbank (12 January 2010). "The largest serving of hummus". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  46. Somfalvi, Attila (26 July 2015). "'Security' prevents Guinness Book of Records from weighing in on hummus war". Yedioth Internet. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  47. Miller, Aaron Jeremy (27 July 2015). "15-ton hummus record bid 'foiled' by Guinness security jitters". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
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