Is Hummus Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Plant-Based Hummus

is hummus vegan chickpeas with oil illustration

Treehugger / Joshua Seong

Yes, traditional hummus is vegan and there are only a few exceptions when additional ingredients render this delicious food non-vegan.

Hummus is a dip or spread made from blending or mashing cooked chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, spices, and tahini—a simple Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. Traditional hummus generally contains all vegan ingredients and does not include any animal products; however, different flavor combinations may introduce dairy or other non-vegan ingredients.

As hummus continues to grow in popularity in the Western world, it’s becoming more common to find other varieties, especially those including red bell pepper, white bean, roasted garlic, black olive, and other plant-based ingredients. Even better, the dip goes great with vegan-friendly snacks and meals, such as raw veggies, wraps, sandwiches, and even added on top of salads.

While hummus is almost always vegan on its own, there are a few things to look out for when it comes to non-traditional variations.

Treehugger Tip

Both tahini and chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are favorites among vegan and vegetarians thanks to their high amounts of plant-based protein and nutrients.

Studies show that consumers of chickpeas and/or hummus have higher nutrient intakes of dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron when compared to non-consumers.

Why Hummus Is Usually Vegan

The standard ingredients used to make hummus—chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and sometimes garlic—are all plant-based and naturally vegan. However, with the rise of the popularity of hummus in grocery stores and restaurant menus, some brands and chefs are beginning to experiment with more unique variations on classic hummus (though most of these are also vegan).

Some popular brands like Hope Hummus make a point to ensure that all of their products are vegan and haven’t been processed with any animal products. A quick scan of the ingredients list will be all you need to ensure that your hummus is indeed vegan.

When Is Hummus Not Vegan?

Whether homemade or store-bought, a handful of hummus brands may contain dairy products like cheese or yogurt—though it’s definitely rare. For example, some brands may sneak parmesan cheese into their pesto-flavored hummus.

Sugar is another common ingredient that might make an appearance in commercial hummus recipes. Cane sugar is often refined using a bone char filtration process, which many vegans find incompatible with their food preferences.

Another factor to look out for is hummus with natural flavors listed as an ingredient, which may indicate products that aren’t vegan or vegetarian friendly, such as egg, dairy, meat, seafood, or poultry-based flavors. Look for the "vegan" label on your hummus in this case.

Sabra, for example, is one of the more common brands of hummus found in grocery stores. The company lists some of its hummus flavors as vegan and some as simply vegetarian, making it easy for consumers to check the package and find out if the specific variety is vegan. Some popular Sabra flavors that are vegan include classic, jalapeno, lemon twist, olive tapenade, and organic simply roasted garlic, while non-vegan flavors include Greek-inspired and taco-inspired (both include natural flavors and non-organic sugar).

Did You Know?

Hummus may be just as good for the earth as it is for your health. Along with lentils, peas, and other beans, chickpeas are pulses, or an edible seed that grows in a pod as part of the legume family. Pulses have been shown to play a significant role in crop rotation by fixing their own nitrogen from the atmosphere and adding nutrient value to soil.

How to Be Sure Your Hummus Is Vegan?

Although hummus is usually vegan and most companies advertise it as such, a few go a step further and follow the process to become certified by an official organization such as Vegan Action.

The entire line of Cedar's foods hummus flavors, for example, is certified vegan. Likewise, Prommus offers only vegan-certified hummus varieties, as does Delighted By (dessert hummus kits). Additional brands can be found searching Vegan.org's database.

If the hummus you're interested in tasting contains sugar, one sure way to guarantee the sweet ingredient is not processed using bone char is to look for the "certified organic" label. According to USDA regulations, sugar certified as organic must not be filtered using bone char.

Most popular hummus brands offer an organic variety or boast an entire line of organic products, such as Sabra, Boar's Head, Hope, and Cava.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Does hummus go bad?

    Most hummus will last for about a week in the fridge after it's been opened, however it’s always safe to check the label to see the exact recommendations.

  • Is hummus glutten free?

    Hummus using traditional ingredients should be naturally gluten free, though some store-bought hummus may be cross contaminated or use preservatives/filler ingredients that aren’t considered gluten free.

  • Is chocolate hummus vegan?

    A popular variety of hummus that’s popped up in the last few years is chocolate hummus, most of which uses the classic hummus ingredients (cooked chickpeas, oil, tahini, salt) complemented with sugar and cocoa.

    The big thing to look out for here is whether or not these varieties add dairy and whether or not the sugar is processed using bone char.

  • How to make your own tahini?

    Hummus is relatively simple to make, and since it doesn’t need to be preserved or incorporated into plastic containers like the store-bought varieties, it’s often better for the environment to make your own.

    If you don’t have tahini or can’t find it at your local store, you can try making it yourself by grinding sesame seeds in a food processor with a bit of oil until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.