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Hummus in Perspective: Chickpea Varieties

Part of the secret of perfect hummus is to use the right of chickpeas. But which ones to use? The correct answer is #2.

I’ve been asked more than once already what kind of chickpeas is best for hummus, msabbha and other hummus-based dishes. The short answer is: the smallest you can find. This is the longer, more useful answer.

A few people said here us would be very helpful is I actually showed how propper chickpeas should look like. So there you are (better late etc.): a collection of my favorite legumes (tips: the one you want for your hummus is no. 2).


Chickpeas, ful and friends.


[1] Mexican Chickpea. a.k.a Grabanzo Bean or Spanish Chickpea. This variety isn’t very good for hummus. It’s good other dishes, though, such as Greek chickpea soup, rice with chickpeas and other recipes I’ll share with you in the future.

[2] Middle-Eastern Chickpea. as you can see, this one is much smaller and has a darker complex. These chickpeas are the best for your hummus. Specifically, the bean in the picture is Hadas chickpea, an original Israeli variety (Hadas is the Hebrew name for myrtle). We also have a few “Baladi” (endemic) varieties, which have no formal names. The best in my opinion is the one called “the Bulgarian chickpea”, which is very similar only even smaller.

[3] Ful Masri (Egyptian Ful). a.k.a Fava Bean. This is the one you’d use for Hummus Ful, Ful Medames, and other dishes that originates from Egypt and possibly Yemen.

[4] Ful. a.k.a Broad Bean. A more familar variety of the Vicia faba family of legumes – the latters cousin. It is common in southern Europe and you can find it in Israel and most Middle-Eastern countries too, dried or raw, with or without the pods. Absolutely delicious, relatively easy to handle, but not suitable for hummus-ful.

Now, the objects on the left are not legumes. They are only there for perspective purposes. These are, in case you wondered: a Euro cent, Israeli NIS and Quarter coins; an AAA battery; a standard match and an AMD Phenom X3 CPU. Just a few things I had on my desk…

On the bottom there’s a closeup on both the Mexican Garbanzo bean and the Middle-Eastern Chickpea (on the left). You can click on both images to enlarge, BTW.


Chickpeas: Middle-eastern and Mexican

10 Comments on Hummus in Perspective: Chickpea Varieties

  1. I never knew there were so many kinds of chickpeas. Thanks.

  2. Where can I find dried Middle-Eastern Chickpeas?

  3. Hi everyone!!!!
    Middle eastern chickpeas can be found i new york at :
    Atlantic ave {george malko. sahadi…..
    Whole foods.
    Trader joes.
    Commodities health food store.
    Good food co op

    BE WELL!!!!!!
    rainer. susan. kim

  4. where can i find bulgarian garbanzo beans in usa(NJ/NY)

  5. It is true that traditional Spanish cultivar “Blanco lechoso= Spanish white” similar to the Mexican, but not exactly the same are not good for hummus. However, there are Spanish cultivars with small size (Pedrosillano type) very good for hummus because they are very soft and creamy.

  6. I’d like to know how you get hummus smooth. Whenever I’ve tried to make it, there’s always, albeit slightly, a granular texture. I’ve tried rubbing them together to remove the skins first, and given up!

    • Learned this from The Food Lab at
      Hot chickpeas in blender: Chickpeas will need to be hot in order for the blender to be able to mash them. Blenders make smoother hummus than do food processors.
      No Acid or Salt: thesel prevent chickpeas from softening as they cook.
      Make the hummus with the chickpeas hot off the stove when finished cooking. If using canned chickpeas, rinse very well and place in a pot on the stove with enough water to almost cover. SAFETY: When heated, carefully drain and carefully put the beans in a blender and use a FOLDED TOWEL to hold the top as you blend, just in case the heated air expands enough to pop the top off of the blender.
      Or: use a mortar and pestle

  7. I was wondering if you know where can I find these Bulgarian chickpeas for hummus in the LA area ?

  8. Can anyone share the name of a bulgarian chickpea brand sold in the US? I would love to find these.

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