Here’s a MiddleEastern classic with dried chickpeas and aromatic and nutty flavors: homemade chickpea falafel.

Falafel is an easy appetizer and main dish that you can make with simple and affordable ingredients. The best way to cook them? Deep-fried or air-fried!

Falafel on a plate with parsley

Check out our Easy Meatless Meals

Falafels are deep-fried balls (we also do them in the air fryer) made out of soaked chickpeas, broad beans, or a combination of both.

They come from Middle-Eastern cuisine and are especially popular in Lebanon and Egypt.

Here we’ll show you how easy it is to prepare falafel and cook it in oil or an air fryer.

You can serve falafel as a main course or as an appetizer as part of a meze platter.

Traditional ways of serving it are with hummus, in a sandwich with pita bread, wrapped in flatbread, or in a falafel bowl with salads, pickles, hummus, and more.

Falafel is a delicious recipe that is also naturally vegetarian and vegan.

It’s one of our favorite foods in the world, and we are delighted to share this recipe with you.

air fryer falafel in a bowl with greens

Ingredients

Falafel ingredients

Dry chickpeas

You’ll need dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).

The chickpeas must be soaked in water with a teaspoon of baking soda for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours before making falafel.

Canned chickpeas won’t work for this recipe as they don’t have the right texture.

Chickpea flour

Chickpea flour helps bind the falafel together.

We recommend it so your falafel won’t fall apart when cooking them.

Cumin & Coriander

Cumin is the queen of spices in Middle-Eastern cooking, and it’s an essential ingredient in homemade falafel.

Ground coriander is another excellent spice to add to the mix.

Parsley

Parsley is the main fresh herb in falafel, specifically flat-leaf parsley.

Mint

Fresh mint is optional, and the falafel will still be delicious with parsley alone.

Onion

White or yellow onion.

Garlic

Garlic and chickpeas are excellent together, and this is an essential ingredient.

Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

Season with sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To add a touch of spiciness, we recommend some cayenne pepper.

You can substitute red pepper flakes or chili powder for cayenne pepper.

Baking powder

Just a teaspoon of baking powder lightens up the falafel balls, making them less compact airier, and lighter.

Oil

If you deep-fry them, you’ll need frying oil. If you air-fry them you’ll need extra virgin olive oil.

Falafel in a pita bread with hummus

Instructions

1. Soak the Chickpeas

The day or night before making falafel, put the dry chickpeas in a large pot or bowl with plenty of water and a teaspoon of baking soda.

Soak dried chickpeas

Let them soak for 12 to 24 hours, then drain and rinse them under running water.

Note: you’ll notice the chickpeas will double or triple in volume as they soak.

chickpeas in a sift

2. Blend all ingredients

To a food processor, add soaked chickpeas, chickpea flour, peeled and chopped onion, chopped garlic cloves, chopped parsley and mint, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and baking powder.

Falafel ingredients in a food processor

Blend until you reach a fine texture, scraping down the sides of the food processor often.

It should take you about 1 to 2 minutes max.

falafel mix in a food processor

3. Shape the falafel

Unless you have a falafel scoop, the easiest way to shape the falafel is with an ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop.

shaping the falafel into scoops

Scoop the falafel mixture into a ball, and press it with your left hand into the ice cream scoop to make it stick together.

Rinse the scoop with water after every 3 falafels or when they start sticking to the scoop.

shaping the falafel with ice cream scooper

Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Falafel balls on a baking tray

4. Deep-fry the falafel

For air frying, see the “variations” chapter below.

Deep-frying is a lot simpler than you think. All you need is a saucepan or a small pot and about 4 cups of frying oil (you’ll need more oil if your pot is larger).

What’s important is to have enough oil to cover the falafel.

We show you how to do it in small batches in a small pot so that it’s easier for you to control.

First, add the oil to a small pot with tall edges. Ensure you only fill up the pot to half its edges because the oil will expand as it warms up and as you dip in the falafel.

Second, warm up the oil to 320°F or 160°C. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the oil temperature. Oil temperature should be between 300°F / 150°C and 340°F / 170°C.

frying oil and falafel ball

Dip the falafel in the oil gently, one by one. We recommend frying 3 or 4 at a time.

Cook them in the oil for about 3.5 – 4 minutes or until golden brown all around. Move the falafel around as they cook to ensure even frying. You can use a wooden spoon.

Make sure the oil temperature stays constant between 300°F / 150°C and 340°F / 170°C.

fried falafel and wooden spoon

Take the falafel out of the oil and arrange them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Repeat this until your run out of falafel.

Falafel on a kitchen cloth

Deep-fried falafel is unbeatable. They taste delicious, have a golden and crunchy shell, and a deliciously moist and aromatic inside.

Falafel with bite on a plate

Variations

Air fryer falafel

You can make this recipe in a standard oven, ideally ventilated; however, the air fryer yields a much better result.

The falafels turn out crisp on the outside and delicious! Air frying falafels is THE BEST alternative to deep-frying them.

Brush the bottom of your air fryer with extra virgin olive oil. Then, place the falafels in the air fryer leaving enough space from one falafel to the next.

Drizzle the falafels with extra virgin olive oil.

Air fryer falafel before cooking

Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

air fryer falafel after cooking

Serving Suggestions

Serve falafel as an appetizer with warm pita bread on a bed of homemade hummus and with a drizzle of tahini sauce.

You can sprinkle it with fresh parsley, sesame seeds, and sumac.

Falafel and hummus

Or serve as part of a meze platter with a selection of small dishes from the Mediterranean and Middle-Easter cuisine:

mezze platter with tabbouleh and hummus

Serve as a main meal in a homemade wrap (or storebought) with shirazi salad and pickled vegetables (beets are particularly delicious with falafel), jalapeños, and tahini sauce.

Tip: smash the falafel with a fork as you put them in the wrap.

Falafel in a wrap with tahini sauce

Eat for lunch or dinner in a pita bread sandwich with chickpea hummus or lentil hummus, fresh greens, and tahini sauce.

Falafel in a pita bread with hummus

Make a nutritious, filling, and delicious falafel bowl or falafel salad with leafy salad greens, roasted bell pepper, warm pita bread, and a generous drizzle of tahini sauce.

For extra deliciousness, add kalamata olives, jalapeños, pickled beets, crumbled feta, tabbouleh, and lemon wedges.

Falafel bowl with veggies and dressing

Make Ahead and Storage

Make ahead: soak the chickpeas ahead of time for at least 12 to 24 hours. Falafel is best when freshly cooked. However, you can cook them ahead of time and store them ready to be warmed up.

Refrigerator: they keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days before losing most of their crunch.

Freezer: let the falafel cool down completely, transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw: defrost in the microwave.

Reheat: we recommend warming the falafel in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes max.

More Chickpea Recipes

Get more chickpea ideas with these easy and delicious chickpea meals:

More Middle-Eastern-Inspired Recipes

Find authentic and aromatic dinner ideas with these Middle-Eastern-inspired mains and side dishes:

  • Dukkah (hazelnuts, pine nuts, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried oregano, etc.)
  • Mujaddara (lentil, rice, caramelized onions, turmeric, cinnamon, spring onion, etc.)
  • Lentil tabbouleh (canned lentils, tomato, parsley, mint, scallions, etc.)
  • Cauliflower lentil salad (canned lentils, maple syrup, lemon, mustard, parsley, cumin, etc.)
  • Whole roasted cauliflower (harissa sauce, tahini sauce, tomato, shaved almonds, etc.)

For many more dinner ideas, check out our mains category page.

Falafel opened on a plate

Falafel

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 10 votes
Here's a Middle-Eastern classic with dried chickpeas and aromatic and nutty flavors: homemade chickpea falafel.
Falafel is an easy appetizer and main dish that you can make with simple and affordable ingredients. The best way to cook them? Deep-fried or air-fried!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20 – 25 falafels
Course: Appetizer, Main
Cuisine: Middle-Eastern

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop or falafel scoop

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas measured before soaking + 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup mint leaves optional
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • teaspoons cumin ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander ground
  • teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 – 6 cups frying oil for frying, or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for air-frying.

Instructions 

1. SOAK THE CHICKPEAS

  • The day or night before, put 2 cups dried chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water and a teaspoon of baking soda.
    Soak dried chickpeas
  • Soak them for 12 to 24 hours, then drain and rinse them under running water.
    chickpeas in a sift

2. BLEND ALL INGREDIENTS

  • To a food processor, add soaked chickpeas, 2 tablespoons chickpea flour, 1 yellow onion (peeled and chopped), 6 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 cup flat-leaf parsley (chopped), ½ cup mint leaves (chopped), 1½ teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons baking powder.
    Falafel ingredients in a food processor
  • Blend until you reach a fine texture, scraping down the sides of the food processor often.
    It should take you about 1 to 2 minutes max.
    falafel mix in a food processor

3. SHAPE THE FALAFEL

  • The easiest way to shape the falafel is with an ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop.
    shaping the falafel into scoops
  • Scoop the falafel mixture into a ball, and press it with your left hand into the ice cream scoop to make it stick together.
    Rinse the scoop with water after every 3 falafels or when they start sticking to the scoop.
    shaping the falafel with ice cream scooper
  • Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    Falafel balls on a baking tray

DEEP-FRIED FALAFEL

  • Warm up the frying oil to 320°F or 160°C in a small pot or saucepan with tall edges.
    Ensure you only fill up the pot to half its edges because the oil will expand as it warms up and as you dip in the falafel.
    Use a kitchen thermometer to check the oil temperature. Oil temperature should be between 300°F / 150°C and 340°F / 170°C.
    frying oil and falafel ball
  • Dip the falafel in the oil gently, one by one. We recommend frying 3 or 4 at a time.
    Cook them in the oil for about 3.5 – 4 minutes or until golden brown all around.
    Move the falafel around as they cook to ensure even frying. You can use a wooden spoon.
    fried falafel and wooden spoon
  • Take the falafel out of the oil and arrange them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
    Repeat this until your run out of falafel.
    Falafel with bite on a plate

AIR FRYER FALAFEL

  • Brush the bottom of your air fryer with extra virgin olive oil. Then, place the falafels in the air fryer leaving enough space from one falafel to the next.
    Drizzle the falafels with extra virgin olive oil.
    Air fryer falafel before cooking
  • Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.
    You can turn them around once for even browning.
    air fryer falafel after cooking
  • Serve on a platter with homemade hummus and warm pita bread or check out our serving suggestions chapter above.
    Falafel and hummus

Video

Falafel (deep-fried and air-fried)

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large deep-fried falafel ball out of 20 falafels.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Check out the serving suggestions chapter above for many ideas on how to serve falafel, from wraps to sandwich, from hummus to falafel bowls.
MAKE AHEAD & STORAGE
– Make ahead: soak the chickpeas ahead of time for at least 12 to 24 hours. Falafel is best when freshly cooked. However, you can cook them ahead of time and store them ready to be warmed up.
– Refrigerator: they keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days before losing most of their crunch.
– Freezer: let the falafel cool down completely, transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
– Thaw: defrost in the microwave.
– Reheat: we recommend warming the falafel in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes max.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1large ball, Calories: 93kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 235mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 327IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 5mg, Vitamin E: 0.3mg, Vitamin K: 54µg, Calcium: 40mg, Folate: 122µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 28mg, Zinc: 1mg
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If you liked this falafel recipe, you might also enjoy the following:


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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16 Comments

  1. Hi from Ontario, Canada! I have trouble digesting chick peas when cooked but love falafel. Can I use cooked chick peas for this recipe, and if so what adjustments would i need!?

    Love your videos

    Karen

    1. Hi Karen,

      thank you so much for your message 🙂 Happy you like the videos!

      We just published a recipe for chickpea fritters, made with canned or cooked chickpeas. It’s very similar to falafel in flavor. Here’s the link to chickpea fritters.

      You can add some coriander and mint to the chickpea fritters if you want, to make them taste even more like falafel.

      I hope this helps 🙂
      Nico

    1. Hi Donna,
      Thanks for your message, Unfortunately, we are not able to provide this information since our calculator does not provide accurate sodium amounts.
      Kindest, Louise

  2. I have made them before and they were absolutely delicious and came out even better when I deep-fried them. I was just wondering if the falafel dough could be made days prior and left in the fridge or freezer. I plan on making a bulk batch, taking them out, and deep frying them as i need. Would this be okay to do?

    1. Hi Emily,
      YES you can – this is also how we prepare/eat falafel, and we leave the batter in the fridge for up to 7 days. The batter is even tastier after day 3/4!
      As for the freezer, we haven’t tested this method yet. Please let us know if you give it a try.
      All the best, Louise

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve been trying for years to make the best falafel…..THIS a is it! OMG so easy and so very delicious!

    I had a problem with it sticking but by above advice see that the chickpeas were not soaked enough…only 12 hrs. I added some chickpea flour and the rest was wonderful!

    I will be making these forever! YUMMMMMMMMMMM 🥰🥰🥰

    1. Hi Romi,
      I’m very happy you liked the falafel, and that you felt like a success in the kitchen after making it.
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here.
      Kindest,
      Louise

    1. Hi Bree,

      not sure what could have gone wrong. Did you soak the dry chickpeas long enough? They need at least 12 hours, but better if soaked for 24 hours.

      If you did that, then I would say try pressing them a little more with your hands, against an ice cream or cookie scoop.

      Hope this helps 🙂
      Nico

        1. Hi Anna,
          We haven’t tested with other flours yet, but we plan on trying almond flour and wheat flour.
          If you give one of those a try, do let us know what you think 🙂
          /Louise

  4. Hye ! When you wrote down 2 cups of dried Chickpea, you talk about 2 cup of dry Chickpeas already soaked or 2 cups of dry Chickpeas before soaking ?
    Thanks for your answer ☺️

    1. Hi Emilie,
      Sure, that’s 2 cups before soaking. Good point, I will revise the recipe to be even more specific.
      Thank you for your comment 🙂
      Kindest,
      Louise