Taste Test: Store-Bought Hummus

[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Hummus is basically just a fancy word for smooshed chickpea puree in a tub. While grocery shopping, they can all start to look the same after a while. How different could the camel-colored stuff be? Very, very different. There are so many nuances when it comes to hummus: the sesame tahini, the garlic, the lemon juice, the salt, the oil—all of which must work in a state of equilibrium. Some are as silky as whipped butter, while others are gritty (not so yummus).

The perfect hummus is the kind that ruins your intentions of having dinner after. Oh, just a swipe here, and let me smooth off the top—oops, yeah, there goes 24 baby carrots-worth of hummus.

We were in search of the best store-bought brands of hummus—here are our five favorites. The results, after the jump.

The Winners

The Richest, Most Decadent (Basically Chickpea Butter)
Sonny & Joe's

The Most Straightforward Chickpea Flavor

Best Sans Tahini
Trader Joe's Tahini-Free

One of Our Favorites: Sonny & Joe's


Judging by the old-timey photos of Brooklyn on the label, Sonny and Joe just seemed like they knew a thing or two about hummus. The company started back in 1918, selling pickles from a pushcart in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but actually just got into the packaged hummus business two years ago. (No wonder most of us didn't recognize it.)

The tubs look like the Sabra tubs—the same bigger-than-normal 16-ounce size. And hey, it kind of tastes like Sabra too. The smoothness (almost to a mayo degree), the drizzle of oil on top, the tahini richness. But the difference is Sonny & Joe's still makes theirs in small batches in a Brooklyn factory, so the flavor is brighter and fresher-tasting. They're easiest to find in New York (Zabars, Fairway, and select other markets), but distribution is starting to spread—Krogers in Atlanta, ShopRite stores in New Jersey, and Carmine's in West Palm Beach, Florida, with plans for California too.

More photos and tasting notes in the slideshow above »

Robyn Lee's Doodles


Beware of levitating anthropomorphic hummus blobs chasing you!


Hummus piles find each other.

Possessed by mass quantities of hummus, staff doodler Robyn Lee inked up these scenes in between bites.

Homemade Hummus Recipes

Classic Hummus »
Bobby Flay's Spicy Hummus »
White Bean and Roasted Garlic Hummus »
Green Pea Hummus »
Hummus with Cajun Spices »

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