Lacto-fermented (or regular) Hummus


Let’s talk beans. They’re super nutritious, filling (largely due to their balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), grow robustly in a variety of climates and areas, and are thus also usually quite affordable. For these reasons, they have been staple foods for the “masses” since ancient times. The chickpea is the paramount example of this in the Middle East. Depending on who you ask, they can absolutely be classified as a “superfood.”

It may be true that if you’re using this site for improved gut health and already have a gut disorder or inflammation, beans are best to avoid, at least at certain phases of a healing plan. Some strict forms of diets like Paleo, AIP, or Keto are simply going to rule them out because they’re too high in carbs or aren’t believed to be a food we’ve properly evolved to eat (similar to dairy).

On the other hand, by soaking and cooking them thoroughly, a vast majority of lectins and antinutrients that research describes is broken down and neutralized. This point is often missing when “evidence” of beans’ harmfulness is discussed. Also, like other fermented foods, the fermentation process itself further breaks these compounds down and makes it more digestible. So, whether you eat beans all the time, just once in a while, or are figuring things out, I think this process is worth you trying.

It’s also legit delicious; so if you’re skeptical but interested, stay with me and let’s do this!

Unfermented: If you don’t want to ferment your hummus, guess what? You are banished from this site forever. Just kidding. My recipe is still awesome and you can go ahead and follow all the steps below minus the fermentation procedure. Follow the same steps but don’t include the 1/3 cup water or ferment brine blended into your chickpeas, and you can reduce the level of salt too as desired. If you find you need more liquid at blending, just add more water as desired during Step 7 below.

This recipe makes about 2 lbs. prepared hummus; serves 6-8

You will need:

Note: You will need 1/2 cup brine from an active ferment as a starter culture since the chickpeas are cooked and won’t have any lactobacillus present on them already. You are recommended to use brine from a complementary flavor such as a garlic or hot pepper lacto-ferment. I’ve heard that brine from an unseasoned cucumber ferment works well as it imparts little to no flavor of its own. You’re not recommended to use brine from a ferment that tastes very pungent or different from hummus, such as sauerkraut brine (unless sauerkraut flavored hummus is your thing!)


  • 1/2 lb. dry chickpeas (or 1.25 lbs. canned chickpeas); if you have some extra chickpeas, you can reserve them and add some whole when serving
  • 1 TBSP salt (or add 4.5% salt of the weight of the complete mash, which includes the ferment brine)
  • 1/2 cup active ferment brine (see notes above)
  • 1/3 cup filtered or distilled water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar (evenly sprinkle on top of ferment)

After the ferment:

  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil + more to garnish finished hummus when serving
  • 1/2 cup sesame tahini
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic to taste (or 1-2 tsp garlic powder); hint: if preferred this can be added to the chickpea ferment
  • 1 TBSP cold water
  • Optional: Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 TBSP lemon juice); You may find fermented hummus is already sour enough for your taste but I personally just have to have that lemon flavor in there; you can substitute with up to 2 TBSP cold water as needed to soften the tahini
  • When serving: you can sprinkle the top of the hummus with more olive oil, paprika, sumac, za’atar, chopped parsley, whole chickpeas, pine nuts, chopped pickles, minced pickled hot peppers, marinated mushrooms, schug or harissa (hot condiments), or whatever you like!


1.) Soak and cook the chickpeas as directed on the package, then drain. (If using canned chickpeas, drain most of the juice or reserve it to substitute for some of the water.) Allow to cool to room temperature. (If you have a food mill, now is the time to run the chickpeas through.)

2.) Combine the chickpeas in the blender or processor with the sugar, water, ferment brine, and salt. Blend into a paste (doesn’t need to be completely smooth but there should be no whole chickpeas).

3.) Transfer the mash to your quart jar and smooth out the top. Once you get to the jar shoulder, stop adding paste (shown below). The ferment will rise and you don’t want fermenting hummus clogging up your airlock. Then spread the thin layer of vinegar on top (~1 tsp).

4.) Seal the jar tightly and apply the airlock. Allow to ferment 5-6 days. (You may notice some air pockets or separation forms; it is normal.)

The ferment after 5-6 days

After fermenting:

5.) After the allotted ferment time, begin preparing the hummus starting with the tahini. (This will make a creamier finished product.) Place the tahini in the blender or processor along with the lemon juice. (If you taste the blended chickpeas and don’t want it any more sour, you can decide to substitute the lemon juice with cold water.) Blend for one minute. Then push down anything along the sides and blend for another 30 seconds.

6.) Now add 1 TBSP olive oil, garlic, and cumin powder to the whipped tahini. Process for 30 seconds, scrape and push down the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

7.) Keeping the tahini blend in the blender/processor, add half of the chickpeas and remaining 1 TBSP olive oil and process for one minute. Then add the remaining chickpeas and the 1 TBSP cold water and process for another 2 minutes.

The hummus might be perfectly whipped and creamy at this point. Bear in mind it will firm back up some once kept overnight in the fridge. If you feel it should be smoother and/or creamier, you may blend/process for a couple more minutes on low while slowly adding up to another TBSP cold water. Due to the previous salting for fermentation, it should be salty enough but you can salt to taste further if desired, while blending.

Serving the hummus: To me there is no falafel, schwarma, kabob, and numerous other Middle Eastern dishes without hummus. But it’s also delicious as a dip for pita bread, veggies and more. When you serve it, you can add some olive oil and toppings that you like. You can sprinkle the top of the hummus with more olive oil, paprika, sumac, za’atar, chopped parsley, diced onion, whole chickpeas, pine nuts, chopped pickles, minced pickled hot peppers, marinated mushrooms, schug or harissa (hot condiments), or whatever you like!

Notes: The featured photo shows my fermented hummus with ful in the middle – cooked seasoned fava beans (which you can also ferment with the same process), along with my sweet pickled jalapenos, schug (a hot condiment – I used fermented peppers and will post a recipe one day!), and some of my garlic oregano ferment pickles with a splash of its brine. Quite the insane ferment feast!

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  1. If you don’t happen to have any active brine at the moment, could a vegetable starter culture be used. Thanks.

  2. Yum, this looks incredible! Do you notice a difference in taste if you ferment it for a whole week? Or would that be too long? Either way, this looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try it with my pickles and pita bread as well! Thanks for sharing!

    • Daniel Berke

      I have fermented all the way up to three weeks (well, more like two weeks and another week in the fridge) and always liked the results; however, I would start with something around a week or less just to make sure you like it. It gets more sour as time passes, so if you’re feeling adventurous, go longer. Keep me posted!

  3. Can you use whey as the liquid to ferment with?


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