I've been experimenting with making my own hummus from both canned and dried beans that I soak and cook myself, and the canned ones inevitably come out creamier and blend more smoothly. Does anyone know what the "magic" is that makes the difference? Thanks!

  • 4
    I don’t know how significant it is, but large scale canneries can measure the moisture content and adjust the cooking if needed. And there’s little chance of them trying to cook that bag of beans that’s been in the back of the pantry for 3+ years
    – Joe
    Sep 8, 2022 at 20:01
  • 1
    The key to really smooth, creamy hummus isn't really the softness of the beans, it's removing the skins. Sep 9, 2022 at 10:28
  • I have found refrigerating the beans after cooking makes a significant improvement to the creaminess as well. I learned this from Alton Brown's Good Eats.
    – hodale
    Sep 9, 2022 at 13:15
  • Small trick that might help. Heat up the water you are going to use to soak them.
    – FluidCode
    Sep 11, 2022 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


Since it sounds like your goal is just to make creamy/smooth hummus, not necessarily to exactly duplicate canned beans, I'd suggest soaking with salt and baking soda (15g salt and 5g baking soda per liter of water is a good starting point; be sure to rinse before cooking). Baking soda alone will improve texture, but if you're going to be adding salt at any point during cooking, this is a good time to do it, since it helps with texture as well. It may take a bit of experimentation to match your preferred saltiness, but the point is, get the baking soda and any salt in there during the soak, not just during actual cooking.

I picked this up from Serious Eats, and my experience is consistent with that article: with every type of bean I've tried, I've gotten really wonderfully creamy beans, and they cook quickly too!

One other factor might be the liquid from the canned beans, if you haven't been rinsing them. In that case I'd try to cook your own without a ton of excess water, so that you'll have more substantial liquid, more similar to canned beans.

  • And, indeed, another difference of canned beans .vs. my homecooked beans is the higher sodium content. For me, that favors the homecooked, and I'll get creamy by slow-food methods, but if sodium makes for creamier, faster, and you either want it or don't mind it, should work.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 8, 2022 at 12:58
  • @Ecnerwal on the other hand canned chickpeas here are rarely salted at all (a few brands are but supermarket own aren't). And they'll certainly make good hummus. I use dried, soaked with baking soda and slow cooked, if I add any salt it's at the end, to taste. That turns out pretty good unless I discard too much cooking water
    – Chris H
    Sep 8, 2022 at 13:31
  • @Ecnerwal I'm not really sure what you're suggesting changing, but I've clarified why the salt is there, and what your options are. In particular, this isn't an either-or thing; if you prefer lower-but-non-zero sodium, adding it during soaking is still relevant.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 8, 2022 at 14:17
  • ...I'm suggesting your answer appears to be valid? The fact that I have a different answer does not mean I'm attacking your answer if I comment on it. Heck, I upvoted it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 8, 2022 at 14:20
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    The higher pH allows hemicelluloses to dissolve away quicker. The sodium displaces calcium/magnesium and their reinforcing effects. Hard ward contains more calcium.
    – Confused
    Sep 9, 2022 at 1:51

Canned beans are pressure cooked for quite a while.

A fairly stock bit of advice on boiling beans for hummus is to go longer than a typical time you might find on the bag as a recommendation for cooking time - 1.5 to 2 times longer (with adequate water.) That is what I actually do, and it works.

If you really want them like canned beans, use a pressure cooker at 15 lbs/ 1 bar probably also a bit longer than the "recommended" time which tends to be for cooked, but firm. Take sensible steps to avoid "stupid things people do with pressure cookers and beans" like not allowing room for expansion and plugging the vents. Or actually put them in canning jars and pressure can them.

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