I grew up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is in the Middle East. As a result, hummus is a part of my blood. I ate hummus almost every day and it is now a part of my daily diet. When I moved to Los Angeles, California for university, there was a humus shaped void in my heart. 

I was used to freshly made hummus in store and at home, but in LA many in-store foods are made for a busy lifestyle. Therefore, they have longer shelf lives than is conventional for foods. For example, back home hummus typically lasted 3 days in the fridge, but the average shelf life of store-bought hummus here is 3 months. Thus I wanted to find out which store-bought hummus was my favorite and tasted closest to home. 

But, What is Hummus?

hummus, bread, vegetable, cream, cheese, parsley
Rae Steinbach

Hummus translates to chickpeas in Arabic, so naturally, that is the main ingredient of this delectable dish. Hummus is a quintessential Arabic food, which is made mainly of chickpeas, tahini (a sesame paste), salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil as a garnish (not an ingredient).

If you have tried it, I highly recommend it as a healthy snack paired with carrots, celery, chips or pita bread. It is important to know that Arabic food is different in different countries/regions and the hummus I grew up with isn't universal and is just what I prefer.

The Battle

I bought the 4 hummus brands (all original flavored) that I see regularly see in stores and had a price point that validated buying it in-store and not from an actual restaurant. This resulted in Trader Joe's, Simplicity Truth Organic, Boar's Head and Sabra as the brands. I also tested out the organic Boar's Head hummus for reference to the other organic hummus. 

Trader Joe's Hummus

Anusha Goyal

This hummus has the thickest consistency, which is due to a lack of liquids, along with a smooth texture. This brand had the strongest non-hummus flavor of cumin and a pungent tartness.

This is due to the additives other than traditional hummus ingredients such as citric acid, cultured dextrose (which is fermented and adds to the tartness), and malic acids which enhance the sharpness of the tartness. Lastly, this hummus was pricey, yet included more chemical ingredients than the others.

Simple Truth Organic Hummus

Anusha Goyal

This hummus has the shortest and simplest ingredient list which was promising. However, this hummus had a sesame taste, which was too overwhelming and is likely due to too much tahini. This is also the reason for the powdery texture of the hummus. This texture was very unconventional for hummus. It also has an after-taste which lingered after eating. 

Boar's Head Hummus

Anusha Goyal

This hummus is also quite thick in consistency, again probably due to the guar gum in it. Guar Gum is a thickening agent and stabilizer often added to food.

This hummus was flavored with cumin as well (which is an odd theme throughout store-bought hummus). However, in this brand, the cumin flavor adds to the hummus and acts as a flavored hummus as opposed to original flavored hummus. 

Organic Boar's Head Hummus

Anusha Goyal

This hummus has almost the exact same ingredient list as the hummus above but every ingredient is organic. The exceptions are the addition of avocado oil and flax seeds. Therefore, this hummus wasn't too different except that it was a little more bitter due to the additions, which would be expected. 

Sabra Hummus

Anusha Goyal

Sabra has a grainy texture as it processes the chickpeas the least and thus there were still chunks of chickpeas in the hummus. This hummus was more sour and vinegary than the other brands, but it wasn't too tart for the palette. This hummus had a short list of ingredients but the inclusion of soybean oil is unconventional. However, it shouldn't alter the taste of the hummus. 

Recommendations And Conclusions

Personally I only liked Sabra and Boar's Head (non-Organic) hummus. Even then, I don't think any of these brands had hummus that I'd purchase again purely on the facts that hummus is cheap and easy to make even in my dorm. Thus it seems like a better option to just make it for myself to my taste.

One of my main concerns with the hummus in-store is that they often add spices, such as too much lemon juice or some other ingredient. This changes the hummus to have a pungent flavor other than that of the hummus itself. Therefore, I often opt for hummus that has an intentional flavor, such as cilantro and jalapeño. However, I do understand that many people like these brands and love this hummus, but it just isn't for me.