Butter bean dip is a great alternative to the traditional chickpea-based hummus. Mixed with lemon, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil, it's a deliciously creamy appetiser or snack that's healthy, nutritious, vegan, and gluten-free.
This simple recipe provides roughly four servings, but you can easily scale up the amounts for a larger quantity. You can also add in other ingredients for a bit of a twist – see the section on variations and tips below.
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Can you make hummus with butter beans?
Although traditionally based on chickpeas, hummus can technically be made with most bean varieties. Butter beans have a creamy texture that makes them ideal in a dip like this.
Are canned beans cooked?
Tinned or canned beans have already been pressure-cooked in advance and are good to go in any recipe that calls for them. The packaging will often carry cooking instructions, but this is simply to warm the beans through before eating.
Dried beans, on the other hand, need to be soaked and/or pre-cooked before using in a recipe like this. For more information, take a look at my beginner's guide to pulses.
What you'll need
This butter bean dip uses a short and simple list of ingredients:
- Butter beans for the base
- Lemon zest and juice for fragrance and zing
- Extra-virgin olive oil to add delicious flavour
- Garlic for its distinctive taste
How to make butter bean dip
Optional step: To mellow the flavour of the raw garlic, you can chop it and add to a bowl with the lemon juice for a few minutes (1). Otherwise, continue with the next steps.
To a food processor, add the drained butter beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper (2). Blend for a minute or two until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
Add two tablespoons of cold water and blend again until light and fluffy (3). The cold water helps with this, so keep adding small amounts until you have the desired consistency.
Adjust the seasoning, adding extra salt, pepper, or lemon, and serve.
I like to keep it simple with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander. You could add other toppings such as toasted nuts, roasted seeds, or sprinkle with a little paprika, ground cumin, or sumac.
Next, choose your vessel for dipping or spreading:
- Carrot or celery sticks
- Tortilla chips
This recipe will work best with creamy white varieties such as butter beans, cannellini beans (white kidney beans), haricot beans (navy beans), or Great Northern beans. You'll want to make sure these are canned or pre-cooked.
If using dried beans, these will need to be cooked in advance. See my beginner's guide to pulses for more info.
Yes, this recipe is 100% gluten-free. If necessary, you'll want to serve it with GF sides.
If you want to make this dip oil-free, simply replace the oil with a few extra tablespoons of water.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four days.
You can store this dip in the freezer for 4-6 months. Defrost thoroughly before serving and don't re-freeze.
Variations and tips for butter bean dip
Using a food processor means it's easy to blend in any extra ingredients you like:
- Caramelised onions
- Pickled jalapeños
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted garlic
- Vegan pesto
- Other fresh herbs
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More vegan recipe ideas
If you liked this recipe, you may also enjoy:
Lemony Butter Bean Dip (Lima Bean Hummus)
- 1x 14 oz (400 g) tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 lemon, zest and juice (plus more to taste)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cold water (plus more if necessary)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional step: To mellow the flavour of the raw garlic, you can chop it and add to a bowl with the lemon juice for a few minutes. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
- To a food processor, add the drained butter beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend for a minute or two until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
- Add two tablespoons of cold water and blend again until light and fluffy. The cold water helps with this, so keep adding small amounts until you have the desired consistency.
- Adjust the seasoning, adding extra salt, pepper, or lemon to taste. Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander (see post above for more suggestions).
- Kidney Bean Dip (Mexican-Inspired)
- Easy Chickpea Hummus
- Smoky Mushroom & Red Lentil Pâté
- Lemony Butter Bean Stew
- Crispy Baked Falafel
- Guacamole with Chunky Tomatoes
- Rainbow Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing
- Crispy Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
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