How to make baba ganoush (baba ghanouj) – a creamy, silky, smoky eggplant dip made with just 6 ingredients. It’s perfect for serving with pita, veggies, and mezze dishes.
To me as a Lebanese woman, baba ganoush is the father of all eggplant dips. I frequently make and enjoy several types of eggplant dips. These include Ajvar (eggplant and red pepper), Kashke bademjan (Persian kashke eggplant dip), Baigan Choka (a spicy eggplant dip), and Zaalouk (eggplant tomato dip). Still, it’s this healthy recipe for baba ganoush that I return to repeatedly.
With just 6 simple ingredients and a low-effort method, this homemade baba ganoush recipe is something I happily whip up weekly. Simply char the eggplant until smoky and tender, then mash it in a bowl along with the remaining ingredients. The results are creamy, smoky, slightly luxurious, and fully moreish. Perfect to enjoy as an appetizer, snack, or side with other mezze dishes, pita bread, and veggies!
Table of contents
What Is Baba Ganoush
The answer to this question depends on the source you turn to. For as many spellings as there are for baba ganoush (baba ghanoush, baba ghanouj, and then all the incorrect spellings I’ve seen like baba ganush, babaganoush, babaganoosh, babaganush, etc.), there are baba ghanoush recipes. So many versions of this Lebanese eggplant salad/dip exist.
It is widely regarded as a creamy, smoky eggplant dip consisting of eggplant (cooked over an open flame or broiled until charred and smoky), tahini, and several other ingredients. Often these include lemon juice, olive oil, and various seasonings.
However, the method for this smoky eggplant tahini dip differs between regions, households, cookbooks, and more. For my roasted eggplant baba ganoush recipe, I’ve made this smoky eggplant dip the way my mother in Lebanon does, with a simple ingredients list meant to allow the favor of the smoky eggplant flesh to shine.
Where Is Baba Ganoush from
I’m happy that this is easier to answer than the above. Baba ganoush is a Levantine dish that originated in Lebanon. It is associated with the Middle East and countries like Syria, Palestine, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Libya, and Jordan.
Baba Ganoush Vs Hummus
These two dips look and taste entirely different. However, they contain many of the same ingredients – tahini, lemon, olive oil, garlic, etc. The main difference is that hummus is a chickpea-based dip, whereas the baba ghanoush recipe is eggplant based. Thus this eggplant dip is softer, creamier, and more custardy.
Baba Ganoush Ingredients
In my opinion, the BEST baba ganoush recipe relies on just a few simple ingredients to let the flavors sing!
- Eggplant: Use an eggplant that’s heavy for its size with smooth, shiny skin. In general, smaller eggplants contain fewer seeds and are less bitter. However, use what is available to you.
- Tahini: Tahini helps to add a wonderfully rich and creamy depth. I like to use homemade sesame seeds paste.
- Garlic: (optional) It’s best to use fresh garlic cloves and adjust the amount to taste. Use garlic powder only in a pinch.
- Lemon juice: Will add brightness and depth to the babaganoush recipe. You could add a small amount of lemon zest for extra zing.
- Olive oil: Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best results.
- Salt: Season to taste.
- Garnish: I love using lots of fresh parsley (mint works too) and pomegranate seeds to garnish the baba ganoush dip. You can also add a sprinkle of smoked paprika when serving.
How to Make Baba Ganoush
Step 1: Prepare the eggplant
First, rinse and pat dry the eggplants. Then pierce them several times with a skewer or knife (DON’T skip this step!).
Then, char the eggplant over an open flame (around 5 minutes per side) until the entire outside has blackened and is collapsing in on itself, with very tender flesh (tested with a skewer or knife).
What if I don’t have a gas stove?
If you don’t have an open flame (gas stove), you can broil or roast the eggplant instead. Refer to this guide on how to cook eggplant for baked, broiled, and air fryer methods. Check the Recipe Card below for how to broil/grill the eggplants on a baking sheet for around 20 minutes.
Once ready, immediately transfer the eggplant to a closed container – either a bowl topped with a plate or a large glass jar with the lid on and leave them to steam for 10-15 minutes until they cool slightly and you’re able to handle it comfortably.
This step will enhance the eggplant’s smoky flavor and make them easier to peel.
Then, either peel the eggplant or use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the peel and discard the skins.
Step 2: Mash the Baba Ganoush
Meanwhile, as the eggplant cooks, mince the garlic and juice the lemon.
In a large bowl, gently mash the eggplant with a fork. Then add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt, and mix well.
Taste the eggplant mixture and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. Then, finally, top the baba ganoush with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh parsley, and pomegranate seeds, and enjoy!
How to Store Baba Ganoush
Make ahead: This smoky eggplant dip tastes even better on day two. So making it a day in advance is highly recommended.
Store: Store any leftover baba ghanouj in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Freeze: Allow it to cool then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag (leaving some headspace for expansion). Freeze for 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before you garnish and enjoy it!
What to Eat with Baba Ganoush
You can enjoy this creamy dip as an appetizer, side, or snack with
- Bread: Like pita bread (and pita chips) and other flatbreads like Cheese Manakish or a crusty loaf.
- Protein: This eggplant dip pairs well with many dishes like Middle Eastern chicken shish tawook, lamb kofta, mushroom shawarma, etc. Or even with dishes like Mujadara.
- Crudites: With carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, blanched broccoli, and other fresh veggies.
I have never salted the eggplant for this baba ganoush recipe. And I never felt like it needs it when using smaller low-seed eggplants. However, if you want a more concentrated flavor, you can remove excess liquid from the cooked eggplant by draining it in a fine-mesh strainer for 30 minutes or using a salad spinner gently (for instant results).
You may be able to use sunflower seed butter instead, though the flavor will differ. Some versions of baba ghanouj use mayonnaise in place of tahini. You may prefer simply omitting it entirely.
Traditionally, eggplant is chunky and mashed lightly with a fork (which is also the way I prefer it). It is usually not pureed entirely in a food processor or blender. However, you can adjust the consistency to your preference.
If you don’t pierce the eggplant, steam can build up within it, eventually leading to a big mess (and possible burns). To avoid this, always pierce the eggplant several times.
More Delicious Eggplant Recipes
- Berenjenas con Miel (eggplant chips and honey)
- Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce
- Crispy baked eggplant fries
- Lebanese stuffed eggplant (+ other veggies)
If you try this easy baba ganoush recipe (baba ghanouj recipe), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Easy Baba Ganoush (Better Than Store-Bought)
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate seeds optional
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
Step 1: Prepare the Eggplant
- Rinse and pat dry the eggplant, then pierce it several times with a skewer or knife (DON’T skip this step!).
- Char the eggplant over an open flame (around 5 minutes per side) until the entire outside has blackened and is collapsing in on itself, with very tender flesh (tested with a skewer or knife).Check the Recipe Notes section below for broiled and baked methods.
- Once ready, immediately transfer the eggplant to a closed container – either a bowl topped with a plate or a large glass jar with the lid on and leave them to steam for 10-15 minutes until they cool slightly and you're able to handle it comfortably.This step will enhance the eggplant’s smoky flavor and make them easier to peel.
- Either peel the eggplant or use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the peel.
- Meanwhile, as the eggplant cooks, mince the garlic and juice the lemon.
Step 2: Mash the Baba Ganoush
- In a serving bowl, gently mash the eggplant with a fork, add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and salt, and mix well.
- Taste the dip and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. Then, finally, top the baba ganoush with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh parsley, and pomegranate seeds, and enjoy!
How to Store Baba Ganoush
- Make ahead: This smoky eggplant dip tastes even better on day two, so making it a day in advance is highly recommended.Store: Store any leftover baba ghanouj in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.Freeze: Allow it to cool, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag (leaving some headspace for expansion), and freeze for 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before you garnish and enjoy it!
- Yogurt: If you want a creamier baba ghanouj recipe, add a small amount of natural/Greek yogurt or labneh. For vegan baba ganoush, use a dairy-free yogurt. A small amount of yogurt is also a great addition if you find the dip too bitter from the tahini or garlic. It helps to cut through the harsh flavors and adds creaminess.
- Cumin: Add a small amount of cumin to taste.
- Red pepper flakes: To add some spice.
- Pomegranate molasses: To add to or drizzle over the dip.
- Smoked paprika: Add into or sprinkle over the baba ghanouj when serving. Add to taste and boost the smokiness of the dip.
- Tomatoes: Some people swear by adding halved cherry tomatoes.
- Za’atar: This classic Lebanese spice mix works wonderfully as a garnish. Sumac also tastes nice with eggplant.
- Walnuts: Add crushed and lightly toasted walnuts for crunch.
- Pine nuts: Toasted pine nuts make for a delicious textural addition with slight crunchiness and buttery consistency.
- Adjust the texture: Traditional baba ganoush has a slightly chunky yet custardy texture. However, many modern recipes use a food processor to process until completely smooth. So adjust the texture to your liking.
- Adjust ingredient ratios to taste: Some people prefer it extra lemony, others want more or less garlic, people prefer to adjust the amount of salt, etc. It’s very simple to tweak this recipe to your liking.
- Use good quality tahini: Some can be overly bitter, which you don’t want. I always use homemade tahini for the best flavor.
- For mellow garlic: Soak the minced garlic in the lemon juice while cooking the eggplant.
- Pierce the eggplants before cooking: ALWAYS pierce them several times with a skewer/knife before cooking. Otherwise, you may end up with an explosive mess (and burns!).
- For a lighter dip: You could slightly reduce the amount of olive oil.