Baba ganoush is an eggplant-based Levantine spread and dip with a pleasant smoky flavor and creamy-dreamy texture.

Enjoy this traditional eggplant dip with warm pita bread, falafel, hummus, or fresh veggies.

baba ganoush in a bowl

You’ll love this baba ganoush recipe because it’s easy to make with simple healthy ingredients; it has a pleasant smoky taste, a mellow eggplant flavor, and an irresistible creamy texture with a silky mouthfeel.

In the original recipe, the eggplant is often broiled or charred over an open flame to make it tender and infuse it with a pleasant smoky flavor.

We’ll show you how to do that here, but we’ll also give you options for cooking the eggplant in the oven or in an air fryer.

We suggest serving this delicious eggplant dip with other Middle-Eastern recipes such as hummus, falafel, tabouli salad, and warm pita bread.

Baba ganoush is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.

baba ganoush spread out on a serving platter with olive oil and smoked paprika

Ingredients & Substitutions

Eggplant dip ingredients

Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Eggplant

Use Italian eggplant or globe eggplant (aubergine). They have a dark-purple peel; you can find them in most grocery stores.

In the original Baba ganoush recipe, the eggplant is broiled on an open flame to infuse it with a natural smokey flavor.

If you can’t broil or grill the eggplant and prefer to bake it in the oven or air fryer, we recommend adding a few drops of liquid smoke or some smoked paprika on top to have that delicious smokey flavor.

Tahini

Thaini is an essential ingredient in baba ganoush. We recommend tahini made from 100% hulled sesame seeds, preferably imported from a middle eastern or Levantine country like Lebanon or Palestine.

The tahini should be light in color and pourable. Avoid dark sesame pastes made with whole (skin-on) sesame seeds and other ingredients.

They are often bitter and unpleasant, and the eggplant dip won’t be as delicious.

We cannot stress this enough; the wrong tahini will ruin your eggplant dip recipe.

Lemon

Fresh lemon juice adds a pleasant tangy flavor and freshness that cuts through the smoky eggplant and the creamy tahini.

Garlic

Garlic should not be the dominant flavor in baba ganoush, so we recommend starting with half garlic clove only to add more later if you like the dip more garlicky.

Make sure to chop the garlic before adding it to the food processor for the best results. We don’t recommend garlic powder.

Salt and Pepper

Sea salt and kosher salt are both excellent options. Black pepper is optional.

Toppings (pick one or more)

  • Fresh parsley: sprinkle your baba ganoush with a pinch of fresh flat-leaf parsley. Substitute other fresh herbs like mint or coriander for parsley, or use both.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: drizzle with plenty of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Avoid using cheap refined vegetable oils for this recipe.
  • Pine nuts: optionally, add some toasted pine nuts on top.
  • Pomegranate seeds: also optional if you like to add some color and a tangy, sweet, and sour flavor.
  • Smoked paprika: you can sprinkle it on top for a burst of color and smokey flavor.
  • Cumin: ground cumin is totally optional and only added to some local variations of baba ghanoush.
Baba ghanoush and hand

How to make baba ganoush

1. Cook the eggplant

There are several ways to cook the eggplant. Below are the most common.

Tip: when we make baba ganoush, we do it with one broiled eggplant on an open flame for a smoky flavor and two air-fried or oven-baked eggplants.

OPTION 1: Broil on an open flame or grill

Pierce the eggplant with a fork, then place it on an open flame or a hot grill – we use our gas stove – and cook it until soft and charred on all sides. Turn eggplant often.

broiling an eggplant on the gas stove

Let it cool down for a few minutes, then remove all charred skin scraping it off with a paring knife and add flesh to a food processor. Discard the stem and the skin.

charred eggplant without skin

Important: cooking on an open flame can be dangerous, so be cautious. If you don’t feel comfortable with this step, use the oven-roasted method below.

Your kitchen is going to get smokey, so open windows and ensure there’s enough ventilation. Also, your stovetop will get messy as the juices from the eggplant will come out. But flavorwise, this method is unbeatable!

OPTION 2: Broil in the oven

Turn on the oven with the broiling function (grill/heat from the top) and set it to max temperature.

If your oven doesn’t have a broiler, then set it to 430°F or 220°C.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, score the flesh of the eggplant with a knife, and season with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

eggplant boats on a baking tray

Arrange the eggplants cut side down on a baking tray and broil or bake them for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender.

Let them cool down for 10 minutes, then scoop the flesh out with a spoon, and transfer it into a food processor. Discard the stem and the skin.

scooping out the flesh of roasted eggplants

Tip: roasting the eggplant cut in half, as opposed to roasting the whole eggplant, allows for the extra moisture to evaporate, and you won’t have to drain the excess liquid in a colander. Also, cut this way; the flesh is easier to scoop out.

OPTION 3: Cook in the air fryer

Cut eggplants in half, score their flesh with a knife, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange them cut side down in an air fryer basket.

Cook them at 400°F or 200°C for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Scoop the flesh out with a spoon and add it to a food processor.

air fryer eggplant

Note: this method is the easiest, but it won’t give you a smokey flavor. You can add some liquid smoke or combine air fryer eggplants with one gas stove top eggplant.

2. Blend the ingredients

Add tahini, peeled and chopped garlic, fresh lemon juice, and salt to the food processor with the eggplant.

Pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency.

eggplant flesh in food processor

Baba ganoush should be creamy, with some texture, and not completely smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and lemon juice.

eggplant dip in food processor

Transfer mixture to a serving bowl or platter and spread it out with a spoon, and garnish with finely chopped parsley and mint, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and optionally some smoked paprika.

Eggplant dip on a plate with parsley

Serving suggestions

Baba ganoush is served as a spread or dip. Try it with warm pita bread, pita chips, crackers, in a wrap, or raw vegetable sticks like red peppers, carrot sticks, or cherry tomatoes and cucumber discs.

Make a Middle-Eastern feast

Mezze platter with eggplant and falafel

Better yet, serve it with other delicious Middle-Eastern dishes such as:

  • Homemade pita bread (warm, soft, and crunchy)
  • Hummus (a chickpea spread with tahini, garlic, and lemon juice)
  • Falafel (middle-eastern chickpea balls with spices and herbs)
  • Tabouli salad (Lebanese parsley salad with tomatoes)
  • Shirazi salad (Iranian salad with cucumbers and tomatoes)
  • Muhammara (Syrian spread with roasted tomatoes and bell peppers)
  • Zaalouk (Moroccan eggplant dip with tomatoes)
  • Fattoush (Levantine salad with crunchy pita bread)
  • Fatteh (Levantine chickpea and yogurt plate with crunchy pita)

You can pick one or more of these dishes, arrange them on a large platter with olives, feta cheese, and lemon wedges, and make an excellent mezze (appetizer) platter.

Upgrade your grain bowls

Add a dollop of baba ganoush to one of our grain bowls for a beautiful meal with a creamy and smokey twist. Try it with:

Variations

Mutabal

Mutabal with spoon and hand

Mutabal is a delicious Levantine eggplant and yogurt dip similar to baba ganoush but with a richer and creamier texture thanks to the yogurt.

Check out our mutabal recipe.

Chipotle Eggplant Dip

eggplant dip with chipotle peppers in adobo

If you love stronger smokey, and spicy flavors, you will love this variation of baba ganoush with hot chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

We had some chipotle peppers left over from our chipotle sauce, and we thought, why not try them in baba ganoush?

After all, eggplant is delicious with some extra spice and smokiness. It was one of the best improv recipes we’ve ever put together.

You’ll need one to three chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, depending on your spice tolerance.

Add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until creamy. It’s hot, smokey, earthy, and a must-try for Chipotle lovers.

Chickpea Eggplant Dip

eggplant dip with chickpea

This one is a kind of hummus with roasted eggplant. What we like about this variation is that the chickpeas add nutrition (protein and healthy carbs) and make the dip more satiating.

Add one 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, to the other ingredients in the food processor.

Double the lemon juice and salt, and add an extra tablespoon or two of tahini. Blend until creamy and smooth.

Melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip)

Melitzanosalata is a Greek eggplant dip that shares many similarities to the original baba ganoush recipe.

We make this when we run out of tahini or don’t want to use our food processor.

To make it, roast the eggplant as described in our recipe. Then, scoop the flesh out with a spoon and add it to a bowl.

Next, Add:

  • 1/4 finely chopped red onion
  • 4 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Mash with a fork to reduce the eggplant flesh into smaller pieces, stir, then rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.

It should resemble a mix between a dip and a Mediterranean eggplant salad.

Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley, mint, onion, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with olives, on pita, flatbread, or other warm bread.

Storage

Make ahead: baba ganoush is an excellent recipe to make ahead as the flavors get better if the ingredients sit together for a while. We recommend making it a few hours and up to a day before serving it.

Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container or covered with foil in the fridge for two to three days. Stir in some fresh lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil before serving it.

Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.

Questions

What does Baba mean in Baba ganoush?

It is not sure what Baba means in Baba ganoush. Baba is an Arabic word that translates to “dad” affectionately, but some suggest the term could refer to eggplant.

What is the difference between baba ganoush and hummus?

The main difference between baba ganoush and hummus is that the main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, while the main ingredient in baba ganoush is eggplant.

Both recipes contain tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and, depending on the local variations, can include cumin. They are also eaten in the same Eastern Mediterranean, Levantine, and Middle-Eastern regions.

More eggplant recipes

Eggplant is versatile when cooked. It works in so many different recipes; here are some of our favorites:

Or try any of these 35 ideas to cook with eggplant.

More dip recipes

In need of ideas for more dips? These are perfect for guests and game nights:

  • White bean dip (white beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, etc.)
  • Romesco sauce (almonds, hazelnut, garlic, sundried tomatoes, vinegar, etc.)
  • Guacamole (red onion, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, tomato, etc.)
  • Tzatziki (cucumber, mint garlic, dill, Greek-style yogurt, etc.)
  • Hummus (chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, etc.)
  • Avocado spread (tahini, garlic, lemon juice, etc.)

For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Baba Ganoush Recipe

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
Baba ganoush is an eggplant-based Levantine spread and dip with a pleasant smoky flavor and creamy-dreamy texture.
Enjoy this traditional eggplant dip with warm pita breadfalafelhummus, or fresh veggies.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Course: Appetizer, Side dish
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants about 3 pounds or 1.3 kilograms
  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice or more to taste
  • ½ clove garlic or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Garnish

  • 1 pinch flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 pinch mint finely chopped, optional
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika optional

Instructions 

COOK THE EGGPLANT

  • OPTION 1: GAS STOVE OR GRILL (best smoky flavor)
    Pierce the eggplant with a fork, then place it on an open flame or a hot grill – we use our gas stove – and cook it until soft and charred on all sides. Turn eggplant often.
    broiling an eggplant on the gas stove
  • Scrape skin off with a paring knife and add the flesh to a food processor.
    charred eggplant without skin
  • OPTION 2: BROIL IN THE OVEN
    Turn on the oven with the broiling function (grill/heat from the top) and set it to max temperature.
    If your oven doesn't have a broiler, then set it to 430°F or 220°C.
    eggplant boats on a baking tray
  • Cut eggplants in half, score their flesh with a knife, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    Arrange the eggplants cut side down on a baking tray and broil or bake them for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender.
    Scoop the flesh out with a spoon, and transfer it into a food processor.
    scooping out the flesh of roasted eggplants
  • OPTION 3: AIR FRYER
    Cut eggplants in half, score their flesh with a knife, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and arrange them cut side down in an air fryer basket.
    Cook them at 400°F or 200°C for about 20 minutes or until tender.
    Scoop the flesh out with a spoon and add it to a food processor.
    air fried eggplant boats

BLEND THE INGREDIENTS

  • Add 5 tablespoons tahini, ½ clove garlic 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt to the food processor with the eggplant.
    Pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency.
    eggplant flesh in food processor
  • Baba ganoush should be creamy, with some texture, and not completely smooth. Taste and adjust for salt and lemon juice.
    eggplant dip in food processor
  • Spread mixture on a plate, and garnish with chopped parsley and mint, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and optionally smoked paprika.
    baba ganoush spread out on a serving platter with olive oil and smoked paprika

Video

Baba Ganoush (creamy eggplant dip)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for one portion of Baba ganoush out of six.
STORAGE
Make ahead: baba ganoush is an excellent recipe to make ahead as the flavors get better if the ingredients sit together for a while. We recommend making it a few hours and up to a day before serving it.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container or covered with foil in the fridge for two to three days. Stir in some fresh lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil before serving it.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 566mg, Dietary Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 116IU, Vitamin B6: 0.2mg, Vitamin C: 9mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 20µg, Calcium: 39mg, Folate: 62µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 43mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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