White Bean Dip


I love hummus. But I love my white bean dip more. It’s similar to hummus, but without the tahini and lemon juice. Okay, it’s not really similar after all, except for the fact that there are beans in both dips.

White beans are preferable to me than garbanzos, which tend to be a little mealy – even with plenty of olive oil blended in. I’ve heard that you can peel the garbanzo beans, but that just not something I’m willing to do. I’d just rather reach for canned white beans – navy beans or Great Northerns are what I can get at my local grocery store.

I would use cannellini beans, but they’re just so much more expensive. After many years of being frugal, some habits are hard to break. And I doubt I could tell a difference between cannellini and great northern…


Just make sure to rinse and drain canned beans well before using.


This recipe was actually published in Gourmet magazine. I just submitted it, and they printed it. So I felt pretty special. But it’s really that good.

Another reason I prefer a white bean dip is that it can be flavored in so many ways. (Many more variations of white bean dip to come in future posts!) Hummus is more limiting, because you need to taste the tahini and lemon juice. Also, this dip is good any time of the year.

Try this version of my white bean dip and see what you think!

White Bean Dip

2 cans white beans, well drained
1/4 cup or so really good olive oil
4 cloves garlic*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Ground cayenne pepper to taste
Pinch of salt

Place the drained beans in a jar of a food processor. Add the olive oil and garlic and process until the garlic has completely puréed with the beans.


Scrape down the beans, then add the seasoning and pulse to combine.


I like my white bean dip soft, but of course not runny. I don’t like bean dips that are dry and chalky. If yours is, add some more olive oil.

Serve this white bean dip with good crackers or bread. And watch it disappear!!!


* If you don’t like the hotness of fresh garlic, either use less, or boil the garlic cloves first for about five minutes. Or, you can use freshly roasted garlic, but that introduces a completely different flavor to the dip.

note: I sprinkled some sweet paprika on the top of the dip just for color, in case you’re wondering…

If any of you are interested, here is the link to my original white bean recipe, published in Gourmet in September of 1998. It’s funny that 100% of the people who tried my bean dip said they’d make it again, but most all of them added lemon juice to my recipe. Maybe I just don’t like my recipes scrutinized, but I think they’re missing the point. This dip is NOT hummus!!!!! Give the white beans and spices the chance to shine!!!

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28 thoughts on “White Bean Dip

  1. I am a big fan of white beans… out of the can onto the stove.. then direct onto a piece of toast with butter and marmite… delicious… not a big fan of dips , but the more parties we go to that’s all that seems to be dished up these days.. so I’ll pass this on to the family, they can make it for their next party.. it certainly sound delicious…


  2. Mimi, I still make your white bean dip quite often. Reminds me of the good ol’ days….white bean dip sandwiches on mimi bread on the way to Kerrville. Miss you.


  3. This bean dip sounds (and looks) amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I share your discomfort regarding people who just can’t stop squeezing lemon juice all over the place! I love lemons and lemon juice, but there is a place for them and this ain’t it! Congratulations for your Gourmet Magazine inclusion!


  4. Totally agree with you about peeling the skins of chickpeas/garbanzos! Tried to do that once and got about a third of the way through before giving up due to the sheer exasperation of doing something so tedious! Must try this as I can easily get cannellini beans here quite cheaply. Love the inclusion of the spices. And, seriously? Lemon and cumin together don’t work for me.


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