Falafel are cute and tasty chickpea patties with a crispy outer crust and a soft, compact, and tasty interior.

They are packed with flavor from nutty chickpeas, fresh herbs, and fragrant spices.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to make falafel at home and cook them in an oven, air fryer, or deep fryer.

falafel ball on a white plate with fresh parsley and pita bread on the side

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO RECIPE HERE!

What are falafel?

Falafel on a plate of hummus
Homemade falafel served on a plate of hummus and topped with tahini sauce.

Falafels are mouthwatering chickpea patties with a crunchy outer shell and a beautifully soft but compact inside.

They are gracefully flavored with lovely fresh herbs such as parsley and mint and fragrant spices such as cumin and coriander.

hand holding a falafel dipped in tahini sauce
Louise is dipping one falafel in creamy tahini sauce.

Due to their immense popularity, falafel can be dubbed the hamburger of the Middle East.

There are many variations of falafel, from Egyptian Ta’amia, made with a base of fava beans, to Syrian and Lebanese Falaafil, prepared with a combination of chickpeas and fava beans, to Yemeni-style falafel with chickpeas and eggs.

Serve falafel as a snack, appetizer, or main course with hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli or shirazi salad, tahini sauce, and warm pita bread.

Ingredients for falafel

falafel ingredients on a marble table

Dried chickpeas

You’ll need dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans to make falafel.

Before making falafel, soak the chickpeas in water for 24 hours. Optionally, add a teaspoon of baking soda to soften the chickpea skin.

Canned chickpeas are not ideal for this recipe, but you can make chickpea fritters instead.

Spices

Falafel is flavored with ground cumin and coriander.

Fresh herbs

Use flat-leaf Italian parsley as the main flavoring herb. Optionally, you can add fresh mint and fresh coriander (cilantro).

Onion

White or yellow onion.

Garlic

Fresh 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.

Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or chili powder for spiciness.

Baking powder

Baking powder lightens the falafel balls, making them less compact, airier, and lighter.

Oil

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

Falafel in a pita bread with hummus

How to make falafel

1. Soak the chickpeas

The day before making falafel, soak the dried chickpeas in a large bowl with plenty of water for 24 hours.

The day after, drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas under running water.

Tip: You can soak the chickpeas for up to 48 hours. In this case, soak them in the refrigerator.

soaked and drained chickpeas in a white sift

2. Blend the ingredients

To a food processor, add the onion chopped into 4 pieces, peeled garlic cloves, fresh parsley and mint, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.

Blend until finely chopped.

Tip: It’s easier to blend the herbs first and add the chickpeas later.

fresh herbs and spices in a food processor

Add the soaked chickpeas and baking powder and blend until finely coarse, scraping down the sides of the food processor often.

It should take you about 2 minutes.

blended chickpeas and herbs in a food processor

Here’s what the texture should look like. It’s finely coarse but not pureed.

falafel batter in a glass container

3. Shape the falafel

You can shape the falafel by hand or use a falafel scoop, ice cream scoop, or cookie dough scoop.

Grab some mixture into the scoop and press it with your hand to form a small ball.

hands shaping falafel balls

Take the ball out of the scoop and gently press it between your hands to flatten it slightly.

hands holding a falafel ball after shaping and flattening it

The balls should be compact but not overly so; otherwise, the falafel will be too dense. The mixture should stick well together and easily keep its shape.

If it doesn’t, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour or chickpea flour to the mixture to help it stick together.

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

Arrange the falafel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or brushed with olive oil.

falafel balls on a baking tray

4. How to cook falafel in an air fryer

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

cooking the falafel in an air fryer, before and after picture

Brush the bottom of your air fryer with olive oil. Arrange the falafels in the air fryer on a single layer.

Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

cooked in air fryer

5. How to cook falafel in the oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. If you have a convection oven (with a fan), use that.

Arrange the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or brushed with oil.

Oven-baking dries out the falafels, so we recommend brushing them with olive oil to accelerate cooking and make them tastier.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

cooking falafel in the oven

6. How to deep-fry the falafel

Deep-frying is the most traditional and tastiest method. You’ll need a saucepan or a small pot and about 4 cups of frying oil (or more if your pot is larger).

It’s essential to use enough oil to cover the falafel fully. If they are fully submerged, they will absorb less oil.

Open your windows or make sure you have enough ventilation in your kitchen.

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

Second, warm up the oil to 340°F or 170°C. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the oil temperature.

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 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Move the falafels around as they cook to ensure even frying.

Make sure the oil temperature stays constant at around 340°F or 170°C.

fried falafel and wooden spoon

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

Repeat this until you run out of falafel.

Deep-fried falafel is unbeatable. They taste delicious, have a gorgeous crunchy shell, and have a lovely, soft, moist, aromatic interior.

Falafel with bite on a plate

Serving suggestions

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

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

Falafel and hummus

Make a meze platter with a selection of small dishes from Mediterranean and Middle-Easter cuisine. You can add:

falafel balls on a platter with baba ganoush and halloumi

You can also make a Mediterranean bowl with similar ingredients.

Mediterranean bowl with tahini sauce

Or smash them into a decadent wrap for a quick lunch. We recommend stuffing it with hummus, shirazi salad, tahini sauce, and something pickled.

Falafel in a wrap with tahini sauce

Or use the same ingredients to make a crunchy and creamy falafel sandwich with warm pita bread.

Falafel in a pita bread with hummus

Storage

Refrigerator: Falafels are excellent for meal prep. You can store the mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cooked falafels keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Freezer: If you have leftover falafel, let them 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.

falafel batter meal prep and storage

Similar recipes

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Falafel balls in a bowl with fresh parsley

Falafel

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 18 votes
Falafel are cute and tasty chickpea patties with a crispy outer crust and a soft, compact, and tasty interior.
They are packed with flavor from nutty chickpeas, fresh herbs, and fragrant spices.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soaking Time: 1 day
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24 falafels
Course: Appetizer, Main
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Ice cream scoop, cookie dough scoop or falafel scoop optional, to shape the falafel.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas measured before soaking
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup mint leaves or coriander, optional
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons coriander ground
  • teaspoons cumin ground
  • teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for air frying, or 4 to 6 cups frying oil for deep-frying

Instructions 

1. SOAK THE CHICKPEAS

  • Soak 2 cups dried chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water for 24 hours.
    soaked and drained chickpeas in a white sift

2. BLEND INGREDIENTS

  • To a food processor, add 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup mint leaves, 1 yellow onion, 6 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons coriander, 1½ teaspoons cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
    Blend until finely chopped.
    fresh herbs and spices in a food processor
  • Add the soaked chickpeas and 2 teaspoons baking powder.
    Blend until finely coarse, scrape down the side of the food processor once or twice.
    blended chickpeas and herbs in a food processor

3. SHAPE THE FALAFEL

  • Shape the falafel by hand or use a falafel scoop, ice cream scoop, or cookie dough scoop.
    Grab some mixture into the scoop and press it with your hand to form a small ball then gently press it between your hands to flatten it slightly.
    hands holding a falafel ball after shaping and flattening it
  • The balls should be compact but not overly so; otherwise, the falafel will be too dense. The mixture should stick well together and easily keep its shape.
    If it doesn’t, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour or chickpea flour to the mixture to help it stick together.
    Rinse the scoop with water after every 3 falafels.
    Arrange the falafel on a baking sheet.
    falafel balls on a baking tray

4. COOK THE FALAFEL

  • AIR FRYER: Brush the bottom of your air fryer with olive oil. Arrange the falafels in the air fryer on a single layer.
    Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.
    air fryer falafel
  • OVEN-BAKED: Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. If you have a convection oven (with a fan), use that.
    Arrange falafel on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or brushed with oil.
    Oven-baking dries out the falafels, so we recommend brushing them with olive oil to accelerate cooking and make them tastier.
    Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
    cooking falafel in the oven
  • DEEP-FRY: Deep fry in hot frying oil at 340°F or 170°C for 3 to 4 minutes. For more details on deep-frying, read notes below.
    Falafel with bite on a plate
  • Serve falafel with pita bread on a bed of hummus and with a drizzle of tahini sauce.
    For more ideas, check out our "serving suggestions" chapter.
    hummus with falafel and tahini sauce

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 air-fried falafel out of 24.
STORAGE
Refrigerator: Falafels are excellent for meal prep. You can store the mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cooked falafels keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Freezer: If you have leftover falafel, let them 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.
DEEP FRYING NOTES
You’ll need a saucepan or a small pot with tall edges and about 4 cups of frying oil (or more if your pot is larger).
It’s essential to use enough oil to cover the falafel fully. If they are fully submerged, they will absorb less oil.
Open your windows or make sure you have enough ventilation in your kitchen.
First, add the oil to the pot. Ensure you fill the pot to only half its height because the oil will expand as it warms up and as you add the falafel.
Second, warm up the oil to 340°F or 170°C. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the oil temperature.
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 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Move the falafels around as they cook to ensure even frying.
Make sure the oil temperature stays constant at around 340°F or 170°C.
Take the falafels out of the oil and arrange them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Deep-fried falafel is most authentic. They taste delicious, have a gorgeous crunchy shell, and have a lovely, soft, moist, aromatic interior.

Nutrition

Calories: 64kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 151mg, Potassium: 195mg, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 136IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 3mg, Vitamin E: 0.2mg, Vitamin K: 19µg, Calcium: 38mg, Folate: 95µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 0.4mg, Magnesium: 21mg, 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.

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26 Comments

    1. Fanastic, Surya – I’m super happy you enjoyed the falafel 🎉

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here – and have a great Friday. Best,
      Louise