Does hummus contain any dairy?

Quick Answer

No, traditional hummus does not contain any dairy ingredients. The main ingredients in hummus are chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. None of these ingredients are derived from dairy. However, some modern recipes may add ingredients like Greek yogurt which would introduce dairy. But in its original, traditional form, hummus is completely dairy-free.

What is Hummus?

Hummus is a thick, creamy spread or dip made primarily from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. It’s a popular food throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean regions. The key ingredients that give hummus its distinctively smooth, rich texture are:

– Chickpeas – Cooked and mashed chickpeas are the base of hummus, providing substance and nutrients like protein, fiber, and iron.

– Tahini – Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It adds nutty flavor and healthy fats.

– Olive oil – Olive oil contributes additional fats and a fruity, peppery taste.

– Lemon juice – Lemon juice provides brightness and balances the richness of the other ingredients.

– Garlic – Garlic adds a savory kick and aroma.

– Salt – A touch of salt brings out all the flavors.

So as you can see, none of the main, traditional hummus ingredients contain any dairy products like milk, yogurt, butter, cream, or cheese.

Why is Hummus Dairy-Free?

Hummus originated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions hundreds of years ago. Milk and dairy products were not staple foods in these cuisines at the time. Instead, hummus was created using shelf-stable ingredients like chickpeas, sesame, oil, and lemons.

Being dairy-free made hummus:

– Nutritious – Hummus provided protein, fiber, and healthy fats even without dairy.

– Shelf-stable – Without dairy, hummus could be stored safely at room temperature for relatively long periods.

– Accessible – The core hummus ingredients were readily available in these regions, unlike dairy products which required keeping livestock.

So while contemporary versions of hummus sometimes add dairy for creaminess, the original recipe emerged dairy-free by necessity – and it continues to be prepared traditionally without any milk products today.

Are Any Dairy Products Sometimes Added to Hummus?

Although dairy is not an original or essential hummus ingredient, some modern recipes do incorporate dairy products like:

– Greek yogurt – Adds creaminess and tang

– Sour cream – Contributes richness

– Butter – Provides smooth, fatty texture

– Cheese – Introduces cheesy flavor

– Milk – Makes the hummus softer and lighter

These dairy ingredients may be added by manufacturers or home cooks looking to put a new spin on hummus. Greek yogurt in particular has become a popular addition to provide extra moisture and richness.

However, these dairy ingredients are not necessary to achieve a classic hummus texture and flavor. The essential ingredients like tahini and olive oil already provide plenty of velvety smoothness and richness on their own.

Nutrition Profile of Dairy-Free Hummus

Even without any dairy products, traditional hummus made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, and seasonings is highly nutritious:


Chickpeas provide substantial amounts of plant-based protein. A 1/2 cup serving of homemade hummus may contain around 7-10 grams of protein.


Chickpeas are also rich in dietary fiber, with about 5-7 grams per 1/2 cup serving. Fiber supports digestive and heart health.


The iron in hummus helps transport oxygen in the blood and aids metabolism and immune function. A 1/2 cup provides around 1.5-2mg iron.

Healthy Fats

Olive oil and tahini provide mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial for cholesterol levels and overall health.

So while hummus lacks the calcium and vitamin D found in dairy products, its stellar combination of plant-based protein, fiber, essential fats, and micronutrients like iron make it extremely nutritious even without any dairy.

Can You Substitute Anything for the Dairy?

If you want to maintain the dairy-free integrity of hummus but increase the creaminess, you can experiment by substituting the olive oil and tahini with higher fat plant-based ingredients like:

– Avocado – For smooth, rich texture

– Silken tofu – To add body

– Cashew cream – For a creamy mouthfeel

– Coconut milk – For a subtle sweet flavor

– White beans – Using larger amounts provides a fluffier consistency

The higher fat and protein content in these plant-based substitutes can help mimic the richness and mouthfeel of dairy products in hummus. But in the end, a well-made traditional hummus really doesn’t need any replacement for dairy’s contributions.

Tips for Identifying Dairy-Free Hummus

When buying pre-made hummus or dining out, here are some tips for checking if a hummus is guaranteed dairy-free:

– **Check the ingredients list** – Scan for milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese or any other clearly dairy-derived ingredient.

– **Look for “vegan”** – Hummus labeled as vegan will always be dairy-free.

– **Inquire about homemade hummus** – Ask restaurants and deli counters if their homemade hummus contains yogurt or other dairy products.

– **Seek dairy-free certifications** – Symbols like “dairy-free” and “certified plant-based” indicate third-party vetting.

– **Note allergen warnings** – Hummus containing dairy may declare “Contains: Milk” somewhere on the packaging per allergen labeling regulations.

– **Look for substitutes** – Ingredients like coconut oil instead of butter suggest a dairy-free formula.

By checking labels, asking questions, and investigating ingredients, you can easily find or make your own delicious dairy-free hummus to enjoy!

Health Benefits of Dairy-Free Hummus

Dairy-free hummus made traditionally with chickpeas, oils, and seasonings offers many nutritional perks:

High in Plant-Based Protein

The protein in hummus comes from chickpeas. A half-cup serving contains around 7-10 grams of protein, providing all essential amino acids. Protein supports muscle growth, satisfying meals, and sustained energy.

Excellent Source of Fiber

A half cup of hummus can provide up to 6 grams of fiber, over 20% of the recommended daily value. Fiber aids digestion, heart health, blood sugar control, and weight management.

Rich in Iron

Hummus provides non-heme iron, the form of iron found in plant foods. Iron assists in transporting oxygen in the blood and supports an active metabolism.

Contains Healthy Fats

The olive oil and tahini in hummus provide mainly monounsaturated fatty acids which are linked to lower cholesterol and overall good health.

No Saturated Fat or Cholesterol

Unlike dairy products, hummus contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, as all its fats come from plant sources. This makes it much better for heart health.

Naturally Gluten-Free

For those avoiding gluten, chickpeas and tahini make hummus a tasty, protein-packed gluten-free dip. Always check labels though for gluten-containing add-ins.

So for a nutritious, dairy-free snack or sandwich topping, nutrient-dense hummus is a smart choice!

Potential Drawbacks of Dairy-Free Hummus

Despite its many benefits, there are a couple potential downsides to dairy-free hummus to keep in mind:

Lower Calcium Content

One of the main assets of dairy products is their high calcium content, which hummus lacks since it contains no milk ingredients. This may be a concern for those not meeting calcium needs from other sources.

Higher in Fat and Calories

Traditional hummus is relatively high in fat and calories compared to other bean dips, thanks to olive oil and tahini. Eating large servings could contribute to excess calories.

Higher Sodium

Some pre-made hummus options are quite high in added sodium. Making your own allows control over the salt content.

Legume Sensitivity

Chickpeas are legumes. Some people have sensitivities to legumes and may experience gas or bloating from hummus.

Sesame Allergies

Hummus contains tahini, made from sesame seeds. Those with sesame allergies should avoid hummus due to potential reactions.

So just keep an eye on portion sizes, sodium content, and any personal sensitivities. But for most people, the upsides to dairy-free hummus far outweigh the downsides!

Recipes for Dairy-Free Hummus

Here are a few tasty dairy-free hummus recipes to try:

Classic Hummus


– 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
– 1/4 cup tahini
– 3 to 5 cloves garlic
– 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
– 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
– 1 tsp salt
– Dash of paprika or cayenne pepper


1. In a food processor, blend the drained chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt until smooth.

2. Slowly add the reserved chickpea liquid until the hummus reaches the desired consistency.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with paprika or cayenne pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


– 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
– 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
– 3 cloves garlic
– 3 tbsp tahini
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– Salt to taste


1. In a food processor, blend the drained chickpeas, roasted peppers, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, paprika and salt until smooth.

2. Slowly add the reserved chickpea liquid to reach the desired consistency.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with a sprinkle of paprika.

White Bean Hummus


– 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained with liquid reserved
– 1/4 cup tahini
– 2 cloves garlic
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper


1. In a food processor, blend the drained cannellini beans, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.

2. Slowly add the reserved bean liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.

3. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with pepper.

So get creative and give some dairy-free hummus options a try! The variations are truly endless.

Is Hummus Healthier Without Dairy?

Overall, dairy-free hummus does offer some health advantages over versions containing dairy:

Lower in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

Hummus made without dairy products is free of the saturated fat and cholesterol found in ingredients like cheese, butter, and cream. This may promote better heart health.

Non-Dairy Calcium Sources

Chickpeas provide small amounts of calcium. And hummus is often paired with veggies like carrots and celery which boost non-dairy calcium intake.

No Lactose

The lactose sugar in dairy can cause digestive issues for those with lactose intolerance. Traditional dairy-free hummus avoids this problem.

Higher in Phytonutrients

Hummus gets antioxidants like beta carotene from its chickpea and olive oil base, while dairy lacks these beneficial phytonutrients.

May Lower Cancer and Inflammation Risk

Research shows chickpeas and olive oil contain properties that may help lower inflammation and reduce cancer cell growth.

So for most people, dairy-free hummus made traditionally with plant-based ingredients is likely the healthier choice overall. But always consider your own individual needs and diet.

How Does Dairy-Free Hummus Compare Nutritionally?

Hummus made without dairy has some different nutritional pros and cons compared to dairy-based hummus:

Nutrient Dairy-Free With Dairy
Fat Higher in plant-based fats like olive oil Higher in saturated fat from ingredients like cheese and butter
Sodium No inherent sodium; amount depends on added salt No inherent sodium; amount depends on added salt
Calcium Around 20-80mg from chickpeas 100-300 mg from dairy products like yogurt
Vitamin D None unless vitamin D-fortified Contains vitamin D from dairy ingredients
Protein Around 7-12g from chickpeas per serving Similar or slightly higher protein
Carbs Around 15-30g carbs per serving Usually similar or slightly fewer carbs

So traditional dairy-free hummus is higher in plant-based fats and micronutrients, while dairy-containing hummus provides more calcium and vitamin D. But both make for an overall balanced, protein-rich snack or sandwich topping!


Traditional hummus made from chickpeas, sesame, olive oil, and spices contains no dairy ingredients. Some contemporary recipes incorporate small amounts of yogurt, cheese, or butter to create a richer texture. However, the original dairy-free preparation is still widely enjoyed today for its smooth, creamy taste and stellar nutrition. With plenty of protein and fiber, benefits like improved digestion and heart health, and no concerns about lactose intolerance, egg allergies or saturated fat, dairy-free hummus remains a beloved and healthy plant-based staple enjoyed around the world.

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