There is no doubt that hummus is one of the most amazingly simple yet versatile dips out there. The pureed chickpea- and tahini-based spread is traditionally flavored with fresh lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Although many forms of hummus imposters—made by replacing the classic chickpeas with other vegetables/legumes and layering on alternative flavor profiles—have emerged in recent years, given that “hummus” literally translates to chickpeas in Arabic, I felt it best to remain a purist for the purposes of this taste test. In the search for the best prepared hummus on the market, I went to three major grocery store chains, collecting 8 brands of hummus for the MyRecipes team to sample. As noted above, I kept it classic and gathered the original “plain” version of each brand.
MyRecipes’ assistant editor, Sara Tane, also whipped up a batch of her famous homemade hummus to serve as the control sample for the group. Little side note while we’re on the subject of homemade, if you decide to make your own hummus, you’re going to need to purchase a jar of tahini, and we’ve already determined that the best tahini paste available is made by Soom. And, I’ll let you in on a secret—serving your hummus with raw onions is the one of the best hummus hacks you should to know about. Now I’m going to be honest with you, the homemade control batch was truly the standout star of the entire tasting. Point being, whenever you have a can of chickpeas on-hand at home, my recommendation is to go ahead and make it yourself. However, if it’s one of those weeks when even five minutes saved with a grocery store convenience purchase can make a huge difference… no shame at all, but it’s best to shop knowledgeably. So without further adieu, here’s a review of the hummus brands we tasted, kicking off with our top pick.
Roots ($3.99/ 8-ounce container)
Roots hummus was, by far, the group favorite. While this brand’s original hummus is not perfectly smooth in texture, the detectable pieces of chickpeas give the spread a homemade quality we really enjoyed. Beyond that, in terms of texture, this is a full-bodied hummus that’s whipped into a delightfully fluffy product. The tahini flavoring is fully present in this brand’s hummus, but not overpowering or bitter. Neither is this hummus overly tangy; that said, some editors felt that it could use just a touch more acidity. Aside from producing the as-close-to-homemade-as-you’re-ever-gonna-buy hummus, bonus points to Roots brand for their modern, well-designed packaging that’s easy to spot in the myriad of other dip options in the chilled, prepared food section of the grocery store. All of the spread’s ingredients are labeled front and center on the lid of the container for a transparent view of everything that’s inside.
Cedar’s ($3.00/ 8-ounce container)
The Cedar’s brand “hommus” was our panel’s next favorite choice. Although the silky-smooth, light texture was a something of a contrast to the Root’s brand, it was truly delightful. In addition to the creamy hummus’ great consistency, it delivers a very well balanced flavor of toasty, savory richness and acidic brightness. As a brand, Cedar’s prides themselves on making hummus the “traditional” way, and they also source non-GMO and vine-dried garbanzo beans.
Hope ($4.99/ 8-ounce container)
Hope brand hummus, was a “like it, but don’t love it” situation for our team. The consistency was on the thin/watery side, which didn’t leave use terribly hopeful about the flavor. However, this brand’s original hummus did offer a very fresh, well-seasoned flavor with a strong garlicky presence that other brands couldn’t match. Another good thing going for this hummus is the brand’s packaging is highly eye-catching. I could 100% see myself choosing this hummus solely based on its bright yellow color scheme match with clean, bold fonts.
Trader Joe’s ($3.49/ 16-ounce container)
I had high hopes for the Trader Joe’s version of hummus largely because most products from Trader Joe’s are typically amazing, but we found that their hummus was also fairly runny. While on the thin side, TJ’s hummus did offer the more textured, homemade consistency that we liked in the Roots brand. Alas, the flavor was relatively bland and left us wanting for more tahini, more garlic and more overall seasoning. That said, of all the brands we tasted, you will get the most bang for your buck in purchasing your hummus from Trader Joe’s given that their 16-ounce container gives you the largest amount of hummus for the average price of $3.50.
Sabra ($2.99/ 10-ounce container)
Sabra is certainly one of the most well-known brands when it comes to hummus. It was first of its kind on the U.S market and is a highly popular pick among consumers. However, given all of the relative newcomers on the hummus scene, especially after this tasting, I’d say the brand may have to watch its back with the new flux of competition in the market. We found Sabra to be just OK, and not exactly idea in the flavor department. It had a very creamy texture that everyone agreed was noteworthy, but the hummus was lacking any depth of flavor. We found ourselves wanting for a fresher lemon flavor as well as any inkling of rich nuttiness as we tasted this somewhat diluted tasting spread.
Engine 2 ($2.99/ 8-ounce container)
The Engine 2 brand was created by a former firefighter that focuses on a variety of plant-based products; and this backstory detail might be the most interesting thing about the hummus. It was, in short, not memorable. It lacked acidity and was bordering on too salt. In reviewing the tasting notes, it seems we generally enjoyed Engine 2’s texture.
Lantana ($4.99/ 10-ounce container)
Lantana is the only brand in this lineup that does not make their “hummus” from chickpeas. This wild card brand uses alt ingredients such as carrots, black beans, and edamame to create their creamy spreads. I grabbed a container of the original white bean hummus out of curiosity, just to see how it would compare to the traditional versions. In summation, we would not purchase this brand over real-deal hummus. The flavor was overly tangy and it needed a punch more tahini; plus, the texture was less than desirable. If this was product was touted as a “bean dip,” rather than hummus, it might be a decent contender compared to other such dips.
Simply Balanced ($2.99/ 8-ounce container)
Simply Balanced is a line of branded food products at Target, many of which I’ve found to be great; I happened to notice that they have their own hummus when I was shopping, so I grabbed a container… I regret doing so. This was unquestionably the least favorite of the bunch; in fact, it was the only hummus that every tester adamantly disliked. The hummus had a weird lingering metallic aftertaste, but it was also strangely sweet. If you happen to find yourself shopping for hummus at Target, in this case, I recommend you bypass the store brand.