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Hummus with olive oil, herbs, and spices
Course Meze
Place of origin Egypt, Levant
Serving temperature room temperature or warm
Main ingredients Chickpeas, tahini
Cookbook: Hummus 

Hummus or houmous (, , or ; Arabic: حُمُّص‎) is a Levantine and Egyptian food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.[1] Today, it is popular throughout the Middle East (including Turkey), North Africa (including Morocco), and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Nutritional information 3
  • Serving methods 4
  • Packaged product 5
    • United States 5.1
  • Controversy 6
  • World record 7
  • Hummus Day 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • Further reading 12


Hummus is an Arabic word (حمّص ḥummuṣ) meaning "chickpeas," and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is حمّص بطحينة ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna, which means "chickpeas with tahini".[2][3] Spellings of the word in English can be inconsistent.[4] "Hummus" is the standard spelling in American English, while "houmous" is common in British English. Among other spellings are hummous, hommos, humos, hommus and hoummos.



Many cuisine-related sources describe hummus as an ancient food,[5][6][7] or connect it to famous historical figures such as Saladin.[8] Indeed, its basic ingredients—chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic—have been eaten in the region for millennia.[9][10]

But in fact, there is no specific evidence for this purported ancient history of hummus bi tahina.[11] Though chickpeas were widely eaten in the region, and they were often cooked in stews and other hot dishes,[12] puréed chickpeas eaten cold with tahini do not appear before the Abbasid period in Egypt and the Levant.[13]

The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahina are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th century.[14] A cold purée of chickpeas with vinegar and pickled lemons with herbs, spices, and oil, but no tahini or garlic, appears in the Kitāb al-Wusla ilā l-habīb fī wasf al-tayyibāt wa-l-tīb;[13] 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,[15] which presumably gives it a very different texture from hummus bi tahina.

Nutritional information

Hummus, home prepared
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 741 kJ (177 kcal)
20.1 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Dietary fiber 4 g
8.6 g
Saturated 1.1 g
Monounsaturated 4.9 g
Polyunsaturated 2.1 g
4.9 g
Vitamin A equiv.
5 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.089 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.052 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.4 mg
0.3 mg
Vitamin B6
0.4 mg
Folate (B9)
59 μg
Vitamin C
8 mg
Vitamin E
0.75 mg
Vitamin K
3 μg
49 mg
1.56 mg
29 mg
0.6 mg
110 mg
173 mg
242 mg
1.1 mg
Other constituents
Water 64.9 g

link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

In a 100-gram serving, home-prepared hummus provides 177 calories and is an excellent source (20% and higher of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin B6, manganese and dietary fiber (table). It is a good source (10-19% DV) of protein, vitamin C, folate, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and sodium (table).[16]

Serving methods

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 ) 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,[17] and frequently flavored with cumin [18] or other spices.[17]

Hummus is a common part of everyday meals in Israel.[19] 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.[20] It is seen as almost equally popular amongst Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] Hummus is sold in restaurants, supermarkets and hummus-only shops (known in Hebrew as humusiot).[23]

For Palestinians and Jordanians, hummus has long been a staple food, often served warm, with bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner.[24] 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.[25] 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.[24]

One author calls hummus, "One of the most popular and best-known of all Syrian dishes" and a "must on any mezzeh table."[26] 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.[27]

In Turkey, hummus is considered as a meze and usually oven-dried with pastırma which differs from the traditional serving.

Packaged product

United States

By the end of the 20th century, hummus had emerged as part of the American culinary fabric.[28] In 2008, more than 15 million Americans consumed hummus on a regular basis.[28] Hummus became 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).[29] It was further popularized in the United States by Jews returning from visits in Israel and by Israeli expatriates.[28]

According to a 2010 market research study, hummus consumption in the United States has increased by 35 percent over a period of 21 months, with sales reaching nearly $300 million. In 2006, hummus was present in 12 percent of American households, rising to 17 percent by early 2009.[30] One commentator attributed the growth of hummus to America’s embrace of ethnic foods, and to experimentation with exotic foods.[30]

In November 2009, Gadi Lesin, president and CEO of the Israeli Strauss group food manufacturer said that market share of co-owned Sabra Dipping Company in the USA makes it the largest packaged hummus dip manufacturer in the world.[31]


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.[32][33][34]

Fadi Abboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, stated that "Israelis have usurped several Lebanese and oriental products".[35] According to Abboud, Lebanon exported the first hummus dish in 1959.[36]

As a 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.[37]

Also in response to Abboud's statement, Shooky Galili, an Israeli journalist specialising in food and who writes a blog dedicated to hummus,[38] 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 "preparing documents and proof" to support its claim.[40]

World record

In May 2010, the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus in the world returned to Lebanon.[39][41] 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.[42][43][44] 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]

Hummus Day

Hummus Day is an annual event celebrated on the third Thursday in May. The holiday started in 2012.

See also


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Maan Z. Madina, Arabic-English Dictionary of the Modern Literary Language, 1973, s.v. ح م ص
  3. ^ Newman, Joni Marie (2007), Cozy Inside,, p. 67,  
  4. ^ Pam Peters (2007), The Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage, Cambridge University Press, p. 370,  
  5. ^, Hummus 101. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  6. ^, More about hummus, "Hummus has existed for thousands of years.". Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  7. ^ Food - Hummus, " is evident that it’s been a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean favorite, and sometimes staple, for thousands of years.". Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  8. ^ Percival, Jenny, Lebanon to sue Israel for marketing hummus as its own,, 7 October 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  9. ^ Tannahill p. 25, 61
  10. ^ Brothwell & Brothwell passim
  11. ^ Who invented hummus?, 21 March 2001, "Hummus has been around for too long, in too many forms, and the origin is lost in antiquity... There's no way of knowing where it started...". Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  12. ^ e.g. a "simple dish" of meat, pulses and spices described by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in the 13th century, Tannahill p. 174
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, By Gil Marks, page 270
  15. ^ Perry et al., p. 383
  16. ^ "Nutrition facts for hummus, home prepared per 100 grams". Conde Nast, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Pateman, Robert; El-Hamamsy, Salwa (2003) [1993]. Egypt. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. p. 123.  
  18. ^  
  19. ^ Even mentioned by the Israel Defense Forces Cookbook, see Houston Chronicle "Diversity in the dining room helps ring in Israel's new year"
  20. ^ a b Middle East, 2006, Lonely Planet, page 282
  21. ^ Hummus brings Israelis, Palestinians to the table, The Christian Science Monitor, by Joshua Mitnick, July 25, 2007
  22. ^ Food & Wine, May 2008; On the Hummus Hunt in Israel by Jen Murphy, p. 66,
  23. ^ Yotam Ottolenghi (29 June 2010). "The perfect hummus debate". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ a b Salloum and Peters, 1996, p. 204.
  25. ^ Ibrahim, Lailie, Institute for Middle East Understanding, Hummus, a Palestinian staple, 31 March 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
  26. ^ Arto der Hartoiunian Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, London 1983, p.33.
  27. ^  
  28. ^ a b c Marks, Gil (2010), Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 269-271
  29. ^ John Powell, "Encyclopedia of North American Immigration", Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-4381-1012-X, 9781438110127, p. 176.
  30. ^ a b There’s Hummus Among Us By Elena Ferretti, Fox News, April 05, 2010
  31. ^ Aviv Levy (25 November 2009), זינוק במכירות חומוס שטראוס בארה"ב: כבשה 40% מהשוק,  . (Hebrew)
  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",  
  34. ^ "Whose hummus is it anyway?", The Times of South Africa, November 9, 2008 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Hummus war between Lebanon, Israel escalates". YaLIBNAN. January 9, 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  37. ^ Gur, Janna (cited as 'Jana'), Santa Fe New Mexican, "Hummus History: Tales of a Wandering Chickpea", 21 October 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  38. ^
  39. ^ a b c Lebanon claims latest title in 'Hummus War' (CNN)
  40. ^ "Lebanese score in hummus war with Israel", Associated Press, 24 October 2009
  41. ^ "Lebanon breaks Israel's hummus world record". Yahoo. AP. 8 May 2010. 
  42. ^ "Abu Gosh mashes up world's largest hummus". YNet. AFP. 8 January 2010. 
  43. ^ "Abu Ghosh secures Guinness world record for largest dish of hummus". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  44. ^ Jack Brockbank (12 January 2010). "The largest serving of hummus". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 


  • Afzal-Khan, Fawzia; Seshadri-Crooks, Kalpana (2000), Edited by Fawzia Afzal-Khan and Kalpana Seshadri-Crooks, ed., The Pre-occupation of Postcolonial Studies,  
  • Amster, Linda; Sheraton, Mimi (2003), Edited by Linda Amster; introduction by Mimi Sheraton, ed., The New York Times Jewish Cookbook: More Than 825 Traditional and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World, St. Martin's Press,  
  • Bricklin, Mark (1994), Prevention Magazine's Nutrition Advisor: The Ultimate Guide to the Health-Boosting and Health-Harming Factors in Your Diet, Rodale,  
  • Don Brothwell and Patricia Brothwell (1998), Food in Antiquity: A survey of the Diet of Early Peoples, Expanded Edition, Johns Hopkins University,  
  • Marks, Gil (2010), Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 269–271 
  • Habeeb Salloum and James Peters ; drawings by Lynn Peterfreund ; photographs by Neal Cassidy. (1996), From the Lands of Figs and Olives: Over 300 Delicious and Unusual Recipes, I.B.Tauris,  
  • Tannahill, Reay (1973), Food in History, Stein and Day,  

Further reading

  • McKenna, Alix. "Lebanon vs. Israel: A Delicious Culinary War" (Archive), Moment, March/April 2011. Vol. 36 Issue 2, p72. Accession # 59669661. Available at EBSCOHost.
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