Peanut Buttery Hummus (No Tahini) Recipe

Just because you're out of sesame paste doesn't mean you're out of luck.

A bowl of hummus made with peanut butter instead of tahini.

Serious Eats / Jamie Silver

Why It Works

  • Peanut butter offers a slightly different take on tahini's savory, nutty flavor profile while still providing the oil that gives hummus its silky texture.
  • While natural peanut butter is preferable, both unsweetened and sweetened versions work.

Hummus is a delicious meatless, protein-packed Middle Eastern dip that's perfect to snack on with pita (or other flatbreads) or a wide range of vegetables. It's simple to make: Just toss a can of drained chickpeas into a food processor, add a clove of garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, some lemon juice, some salt, some pepper, and—wait, don't forget the tahini!

Tahini, a thin paste or spread made from ground sesame seeds, is very tasty and lends an extra nutty quality that transforms chickpeas into hummus. But what if you don't have tahini on hand? Try some peanut butter instead!

No, this is not just another American simplification of a foreign dish. Peanuts and sesame seeds appear regularly in many cuisines and they are often used interchangeably by savvy chefs depending on what's on hand. Nigella Lawson has stated that she actually prefers hummus made with peanut butter over tahini (her recipe also includes Greek yogurt), and a few years ago chef Anita Lo famously misidentified peanut butter as tahini during a blindfolded tasting challenge on Top Chef Masters.

Cans of tahini aren't too hard to find, particularly at stores like Whole Foods or at many Middle Eastern supermarkets. The problem is the jars are usually so large that if you do go ahead and splurge, the contents may be stale by the time you get around to using them a second or third time.

So the next time you're in the mood for some mezze, perhaps you can save yourself an extra trip to the store (and perhaps some money, too) by substituting peanut butter for tahini in your next batch of hummus.

Have you ever made hummus using peanut butter? Ever use peanut butter in place of tahini in another recipe (or vice versa)?

May 2012

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 can (19-ounce) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (preferably unsweetened, but conventional is fine too)

  • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts (optional, for serving)

  • Pinch of smoked, hot paprika (optional, for serving)


  1. Place chickpeas, garlic, peanut butter, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil with processor running. If necessary, add water by the tablespoon in between pulses until the desired texture is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. Transfer hummus to a serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped peanuts and then the paprika on top, if desired. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired. Serve with warm flatbread and vegetables.

Special Equipment

Food processor

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
356 Calories
16g Fat
40g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 356
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 859mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 5mg 25%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 477mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)