Caramelized Shallot Hummus

This tasty dip is creamy, sweet, and earthy. Whether you want to spread it on a sandwich or serve it as a snack or appetizer, the addition of caramelized shallots to a typical hummus recipe means adding an extra layer of complex flavour that appeals to all taste buds!

Since shallots are pretty much my favourite member of the allium family, we got a big container of them from Costco and I’ve been trying to come up with new ways to use them. Once they’re in season in Nova Scotia, I’ll try hunting down some local ones to see if they’re even better.

Okay, so, I’ll admit that I’m not any sort of expert at caramelizing onions. I think I’m just too impatient, or else I’m often missing some sort of secret ingredient which helps the process along.

This recipe does include one such secret ingredient. Although it’s not that much of a secret. It’s brown sugar!

Now, you could totally go the sugar-free route and use balsamic vinegar instead. I think that works just fine and adds a different kind of sweetness in addition to the natural sweetness of the shallots. But I decided to use brown sugar because it seemed interesting and slightly more mellow.

My greatest concern in making this hummus was that it would taste too onion-y. I left the one clove of garlic raw in order to get that punchy garlic flavour, because had I cooked it in with the onions, it would have disappeared, flavour-wise. But the onions clearly needed to be cooked, so I sliced them super thin, and cooked them for a long time over low heat.

Using a NOT non-stick pan is critical to getting a good caramelization on. You need those little burned bits to add flavour. I’ve made this mistake a few times, don’t you worry.

After the hummus is done in the food processor, take a little bit of time to make it pretty on the plate. I topped mine with various spices and reserved chickpeas and onions (all in the recipe), but you can do whatever you like. Make it art!

5 from 1 vote

Caramelized Shallot Hummus

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 cups


  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

For toppings:

  • olive oil
  • zaatar
  • paprika


  1. Remove the skin from the shallots and slice them thinly. 

  2. Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, add the sliced shallots and stir to distribute evenly.

  3. Allow the shallots to cook over medium-low heat until they become soft and start to caramelize. Add the tsp of brown sugar into the pan and mix to allow it to melt in with the shallots. Cook until they reach a dark honey brown colour - the time will depend on your pan and temperature.

  4. Set the shallots aside to cool. Rinse the chickpeas and put them in a food processor. Reserve some cooked shallots and some chickpeas for decorating later.

  5. Add the tahini, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil to the food processor. Add the shallots when they are cooled. Process on high.

  6. As the hummus begins to break down, add in some of the water while processing. Start with a small amount, and pause the processor to check the texture as you go. Don't add all the water at once, or else you risk making it too soupy. You may not need the entire 1/3 cup to reach your desired consistency. 

  7. To serve, spread out the hummus in a dish. Arrange the reserved shallots and chickpeas on top, along with some zaatar and paprika. Drizzle olive oil over the whole thing and serve with crackers, pita, or vegetables. 


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I'm Rebecca, a Nova Scotian writer, designer, and entrepreneur. This website is my personal blog and creative hub. I hope you find something cool and inspiring here!

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