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Falafel

Falafel are delicious balls of chickpea and herb goodness that you find in Middle Eastern cooking. Naturally vegan and vegetarian, falafel are great in wraps, pitas, sandwiches and salads. Today, I’ll share how to make both fried falafel and baked falafel. You choose your favorite!

Plate of falafel drizzled in tahini sauce.

Are you ready for the best falafel you’ve ever tasted? I’ve had my fair share of falafel on travels through Egypt, Israel and Jordan. I’ve had them in restaurants and on street corners (about as authentic as they come). I’ve had them stuffed in gluten-free pita and on salads. And I’ve had them with slight variations and tweaks, though the recipe itself is fairly simple.

But after eating my way through Tel Aviv last year, I realized what makes the best falafel. And here’s the answer: tons of herbs (double the normal amount) and a small amount of green pepper. This makes for an addictive flavor that’s “a little something extra” but not spicy. Just insanely delicious.

What is Falafel?

Traditional falafel is made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, herbs and spices. The mixture is then formed into balls or patties and deep fried for a texture that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, sort of like a fritter. It’s a classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipe that’s enjoyed as street food and often served up as part of mezze (a group of small meals).

Several falafel on a plate with tahini sauce.

Falafel Recipe Video

While it’s easy to make falafel once you get the hang of it, make sure to watch my tutorial video to ensure success. I’ll walk you through the process of forming the falafel and show you three different cooking methods. Give it a watch!

Falafel Ingredients

Falafel are naturally gluten-free and made from a few simple ingredients. Here’s what’s in my recipe:

  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): Only use dried and soaked chickpeas, not canned chickpeas in this recipe. Canned chickpeas will be too soft and wet and your falafel will not form properly.
  • Onion: I use yellow onion for a slightly stronger flavor, but you could use white or red onion as well.
  • Parsley and Cilantro: These two delicious herbs inject heaps of flavor into your falafel and turn the inside a beautiful, vibrant green.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves rather than garlic powder for the most robust flavor.
  • Green Chile Pepper (Serrano Pepper): A small pepper adds a kick of flavor and spice without over-powering the falafel. You can adjust this to more or less, but don’t omit it without trying it first – trust me.
  • Cumin, Cardamom, Salt and Black Pepper: These aromatic spices are used often in Middle Eastern cooking and have an earthy, spicy, assertive flavor you’ll love.
  • Chickpea Flour: This helps to bind the mixture together and retain the shape while frying. I prefer chickpea flour, but you could also use a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Baking Soda: A key ingredient for helping to provide the fluffy inside texture of the falafel.
  • Oil for Frying: I use avocado oil as it’s high-heat stable and my preferred cooking oil. But you could use vegetable oil as well.

*Note: While this recipe is gluten-free and all falafel I’ve had overseas have been made with gluten-free ingredients, always double check the flour used and if there’s cross-contamination with the oil. 

How to make falafel in a food processor.

Making the falafel recipe and scooping balls of falafel dough.

How to Make the Best Falafel (at Home!)

Are you ready to make homemade falafel? Great! Let’s break this into two parts – making the dough and then cooking (so you can choose your preferred cooking method).

How to Make the Falafel Dough Mixture

  1. Soak your dried chickpeas. Overnight or for at least 8-12 hours. Note that the chickpeas will triple in size, so cover them with plenty of water. Then drain and rinse them.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Add the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, green pepper and spices to a food processor. I recommend roughly chopping up the onion, herbs and pepper before adding. Pulse the food processor but do not blend completely. The final mixture should resemble coarse sand.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Then add the chickpea flour and baking soda, stir it together until it’s fully combined and cover with plastic wrap or a lid.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge. Chill the falafel mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Shape your falafel. You can do this by hand, with a cookie scoop (which is what I use) or a falafel scoop. Decide if you’d like round balls or flatter patty shapes. The flatter shapes are better if you plan to pan fry or bake. Any shape can be used for deep frying. Form all your falafel and place on a plate.

A plate of falafel balls.

How to Cook Falafel – 3 Different Ways

How to Deep Fry Falafel: Heat about 3 inches of oil (I use avocado oil) in a pot on medium heat to 350F. Once the oil has reached temperature, gently drop 6-8 balls into the oil at a time. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden on the outside. Use a skimmer to the remove the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate.

How to Pan Fry Falafel: Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan (I prefer cast iron) on medium-high heat. Gently place the falafel in the pan and cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

How to Bake Falafel: Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Lightly spray or brush a baking sheet with oil. Place the falafel on the baking sheet, lightly spray or brush the top side with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also bake them on parchment paper or a silicone mat without any oil. They’ll just be slightly less crispy and golden.

You’ll notice in the photo below that no matter which method you choose, they look pretty similar once cooked. A perfectly golden outside and bright green inside!

Want to know the method I use most often? If it’s just for me, I’ll pan fry. It uses less oil but is still super crispy on the outside. If it’s for a party or guests, I love the balls. They’re the perfect finger food!

How to cook falafel three different ways, deep fried, pan fried and baked.

How to Serve Falafel

Falafel are best served immediately after cooking, so they’re warm and crispy. They’re delicious served in gluten-free pita, wrapped in lettuce or collard greens or topped on a simple green salad (my preferred method). But however you serve them, don’t forget to drizzle them with Tahini Sauce. It’s a creamy and flavorful requirement!

A plate of falafel served up with tahini sauce, hummus and tabbouleh.

More Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Love

Want to turn this falafel recipe into a slice of bread? Try my Falafel Flatbread recipe – it’s incredibly unique and so versatile. You’ll love it!

5 from 137 votes

Most Delicious Falafel Recipe (Fried or Baked)

Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 18 falafel balls
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
The best authentic falafel recipe you can make at home! A simple combination of chickpeas, herbs and spices that's blended together and fried (or baked). They're crispy, soft and delicious! Watch the video above to see how I make them!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (don't use canned chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
  • 1 small green chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • avocado oil for frying

Instructions

  • The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they'll triple in size.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor. 
  • Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper to the food processor and pulse several times until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.
  • Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. Stir together, then cover or add a lid.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Use your hands, an ice cream scoop or falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it's too dry and crumbly, you can add a teaspoon or two of water or lemon juice.
  • Once the falafel are formed, you can cook them by your preferred method mentioned above.
  • To deep fry the falafel, add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat. Heat the oil to 350F.
  • Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to check the color of the falafel and make sure they don't over cook. Then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside.

Lisa's Tips

  • Falafel are best golden on the outside, not charred. Make sure your oil doesn't get too hot. If it does, the outside will cook too fast before the inside can warm up. 
  • The falafel should not break apart while cooking. They're slightly fragile, but should certainly hold together and retain their shape. If they don't, see my tip above about adding more flour or water. 
  • Can you meal prep falafel? YES! Make the dough mixture and then freeze it for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the mixture in the fridge, stir it, then form in balls or patties and cook. Cooked falafel don't store well as the outside becomes soft. 
  • 1 cup of dried chickpeas = 3 cups of soaked chickpeas

Nutrition

Calories: 62kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 138mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 350IU, Vitamin C: 5.6mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: Falafel, Falafel Recipe, How to Make Falafel
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405 comments on “Falafel”

  1. Hello Lisa! I have tried a few of your recipes and they always turnout great! One of my favourites is your fabulous chocolate cake!!! Just had to add that:)!
    I saw this falafel recipe and would like to make it this afternoon but do not have chickpea flour. I do have rice and tapioca flour do you have a recommendation as to which one might work better? Just not sure which one to use. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Francine – so happy you’re loving all of my recipes! :) I don’t use rice flour a lot so I’m more familiar with tapioca flour. But either of those flours should work just fine!

  2. Just on time! I’m planning to make this tomorrow, my daughter’s request! I always fail with deep frying as they always fall apart and crumbles! I was looking for a baked recipe and this is looking perfect! Thank you! Zx

  3. My falafels turned out absolutely perfect with this recipe. I added more salt to my taste and fried them. I feel like baked falafels just do not have the same crispiness as fried and definitely would be drier. Absolutely amazing! Me and my mother were happy dancing up and down the kitchen when we had our first bite haha

  4. I love this recipe! This will be my fifth time making it. I don’t really want to try other sites!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe and for offering all your tips. Very helpful

  5. I made these for my first try at falafel and they are wonderful!  My husband said they are the best falafel he’s ever eaten. 😊  I didn’t have chickpea flour so I used a rice flour all purpose blend. It worked fine. I pan fried them in olive oil and served them with the Tahini sauce linked on this page. This recipe is being saved and will be used again!  

  6. It is one of the yummiest falafel recipes (my neighbours love them so much they ask me to make them even during the heat wave..!!) Made 10cups of chickpeas yesterday, baked with no oil and they came out crispy on the ourside and fluffy on the inside 😊
    Thank you for sharing with us 🤗💞

  7. This recipe makes it so easy to understand how to make falafel. For a long time I was squeezing out the water from my mixture. Such a mistake! Thank you!!  I use easy beansy spice mix from a local woman owned company here in ny and all cilantro instead of parsley and cilantro. So delicious!! 

  8. I can’t remember the last time I had such a recipe failure. Way too wet, completely fell apart in the frying pan. I added more flour, a little better. Will try a different recipe in the future.

    • Hi Tisha – I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. It sounds like something was off on your ingredients/ratios. I suspect you may have used canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas. That’s usually where people go wrong in making the recipe, when it ends up way too wet. This is a reader favorite recipe with tons of 5-star reviews, so I do hope you give it another try!

  9. Thank you for sharing this recipe!! It was delicious. I baked mine and served them with your Tahini Sauce and it was a hit!! 👏👏

  10. These are SO good!! I baked them in a tart muffin pan….3 actually.  I eat falafel in a Greek salad and my store doesn’t carry it anymore, so I decided to try this recipe. Seasonings are perfect, easy to put together and yummy!! Thank you for a keeper recipe!!

  11. Hello. I am following this recipe on falafels. My falafel mixture came out a bit wet. What can I do to make the mixture drier like coarse sand?

  12. I finally made these last night. The flavor was very nice, though we thought it needed a bit more salt. I didn’t watch your video before making them and ended up including about 8-10 seeds from the pepper. The “dough” was quite spicy and I was concerned, but with a lemony tahini it was not a problem and was really good. I used the baking method and they turned out a little “tough,” although they were just about the same golden-ness as yours. I’m wondering if that’s because I used whole grain oat flour? I think I’ll get some chickpea flour and try them with one of the frying methods next time.

  13. This is the go-to recipe in our household! We make 3-4 times the recipe and freeze the uncooked balls – when we want to eat some we pop the frozen balls in the airfryer for 24 mins on 190 degrees and they are delicious! We add some coriander (about a teaspoon) and double the cumin… we omit the oil as we cook in the air fryer… we serve it with lettuce or spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and a sauce made of tahini, lemon, water and salt… yum yum yum yum yum. Thank you!! 😊🌈

  14. Hello! Making these next week. I saw someone asked about all purpose oat flour. Can I use “whole grain oat flour?” I’m looking forward to making this. Oh, and by the way, what is that delicious looking quinoa (?) salad you have in your photo? Recipe?

    • Hi Kate – yes, that should work. And unfortunately, I don’t have that salad recipe on my website, but check out my cauliflower rice tabbouleh. That’s great as well!

  15. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I tried it today and they were so yummy. I however did use cooked chickpeas (soaked myself then cooked), because I happened to have them, and the falafel turned out so well. My mom and I really enjoyed them!
    I have a question though. I noticed while cooking the falafel (we used option 2), they were ‘eating’ a lot of oil. Is that normal? Or how can I prevent that next time?
    Thanks so much again!!

    • Hi Krista – I’m happy you loved the falafel recipe! It is normal for the falafel to soak up some oil. If you’d like to use less oil, then I’d recommend baking them next time. :)

    • We cook these without oil in the airfryer and they are delicious. Fresh mix about 20 mins at 190 degrees celcius… from frozen about 24 mins at 190 degrees celcius :)

  16. The best !! Thank you for sharing your easy and tasty recipe!!! Made a several times !!! Always a hit!!! 

  17. Can’t wait to try this! Can I use a homemade chickpea flour? I really want to use a chickpea flour (not some other flour like almond or all-purpose) because I think it will taste best.

    • Hi there! I haven’t tried using homemade flour, but I’m sure it could work! Do let me know how it turns out though!

      • Love this recipe! I’ve made it a number of times already. Homemade flour works just as well too!

  18. I’ve made this recipe twice and it’s a HIT with everyone. If you can somehow not eat all 12 pieces at one time, they are even better the next day. This is going to be a weekly dish. I’ve both baked and fried. Here is my suggestion for baking. Use ice cream scooper and flatten in hand a little. First brush falafel with olive oil and place oil side down on parchment lined cookie sheet, then brush tops with olive oil. I baked at 450, flipped them half way trough and baked about 30 minutes total. Completely crunchy outside, soft inside.

    • Hi Alexa- So happy to hear everyone has enjoyed this recipe! Great idea to brush oil on top too for a slight crisp :)

  19. Would there be an issue if we leave these soaking longer? For 24 hours for instance.
    Thanks!

  20. I have made this recipe 3 times now because it’s so good! Perfect to pair with Israeli salad and hummus!

  21. Definitely going to try this recipe!😍 can I substitute the chickpea flour with all purpose or oat flour?

  22. Hi- I wanting to prep a day ahead is it ok in the fridge for 24hours or should I freeze.?

  23. I tried this recipe and was amazed that it’s super easy and delicious. My husband loved it too.
    Thank you 

  24. I made it today with a bit of modifications . I couldn’t find Cilantro here in Italy so I used Basil and also didn’t have Chickpea flour so I used Oat flour and it came out super delicious I didn’t think My 21M old toddler would eat this because of Parsley it has some bitterness which I love, but he loved it so much and kept asking for more and more, I plan to make your salmon patties  & Tuna patties tomorrow and will let you know how they  will turn out! I am so happy to find your blog that I make delicious food that I can share with my toddler!
     Todah Lisa  ;) 

    • Hi Hyemi- So glad you and your family enjoyed these falafels! Can’t wait for you two to try the salmon patties next :)

  25. These are amazing! I was skeptical as even after soaking my chickpeas for 24 hours they were very hard. I resisted the urge to pressure cook them and followed the recipe as instructed. So happy I did because they turned out great.

    • Hi Alex- The chickpeas should still be generally harder and not super soft. That way you’ll get that gritty texture of a traditional falafel :)

  26. Hi! Made it before and its amazing! But am out of cilantro, can i double the parsley instead?

  27. This was really easy to make and absolutely delicious. I’m so glad I tried your recipe. Can you store the mixture in the fridge for a few days? Will it get to wet?

  28. Hi Lisa, 2 questions.. 1. Whats the max time to soak the chickpeas, ie I want to prepare them for dinner tomorrow and started to soak them tonight already?

    2. Can I freeze the Falafel at any stage?

    tx

    • Hi Michael- I usually just soak my chickpeas overnight so you are all good to go :) As for freezing, you can freeze the dough, but it might be easier to freeze after it’s been cooked.

    • Wooooooowwwww!!!!! These falafel balls are incredible and a staple in our kitchen. Ive been told i need to open up my food truck because of these:)

  29. Is the 1 cup of beans before or after they are soaked? Thanks in advance.

  30. I am currently trying to make this recipe, I followed the recipe exactly, then put the batter in the freezer. I took it out today and it’s thawed, but I cannot form balls, they fall apart. It’s wet, not dry, so I’m not sure what to do. Suggestions?

  31. Unbelievably delicious! I didn’t have any chili peppers, so skipped it and didn’t miss it. Baked them in the air fryer 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees and they came out perfectly. I just put them directly on the rack without parchment and once they were done, they did not stick. I paired these with your tahini sauce recipe (also DELICIOUS!!) and made up a bowl with some greens, rice, tomato and cucumber and I was in heaven. I’m obsessed and can’t wait to eat them again!

  32. They just came out of the oven. They are amazing!!!! Moist, and flavourful . Your instructions were detailed and accurate. Even my daughter loves them.  A def remake and I think I’m gonna make them a little bit bigger… bake them and that will be our veggie night burger …..thanks for the recipe .  Mari from Toronto

    • Hi Mari- So glad you and your family enjoyed this falafel recipe! Sounds great as a substitute veggie burger :)

  33. This is by far the best falafel recipe that I have ever tried. It was crispy, flavorful, delicious and moist.

  34. Do you think almond flour or coconut flour could work instead of chickpea flour? Also, cna i used canned chickpeas?

  35. Where can I find chickpea flour?

  36. So I made this recipe and it turned out awful – tasted like soap. Then realized, I put wayyyyyyy too much baking soda. I see someone else made that mistake below.
    Anyway, i threw it all and started a new batch. I’m so glad i did. Amazing falafels!!!. I did a batch on the stove and a batch on my toaster oven. Both turned out great!. I have to say i prefer the stove as they’re crispier on the outside and not too dry inside – but not a big difference.
    Best falafels i’ve ever had. I can’t believe the recipe is that easy. I wonder if they can be made with lentils?

    I’m currently working from home full time and looking after a 2 and a 1 year old. Fast simple healthy recipes like this is what i need. Success with both toddlers are hubby :) Thank you!

    • I’m so glad this turned out great! I’m sorry you had to create a whole new batch, but it seems like that quick fix was well worth it :)

  37. I’ve really leaned into dried beans during this time. I was so happy with how my baked falafel turned out. I made a second batch the same week. I bragged to several friends I made falafel and they were so impressed. But it was pretty easy. And gave me a chance to pull out my much neglected food processor. Thanks, Lisa!

  38. Turned awful for me… I think it’s because of the baking soda, and the salt, I know you guys love baking soda in the US. But really, we could barely eat them, it was all baking soda and salt !!! We could not taste anything else but this. Even when they were cooking, there was a very bad smell in all the kitchen.
    In the traditional recipes there is no baking soda and 6 to 8 times less salt !!
    Sorry, but I don’t understand the other comments

    • Hi Lea – there’s only 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt in this recipe. That’s not much at all. Are you sure you didn’t accidentally use a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon? This is a traditional recipe from the Middle East (I worked with several chefs in both Israel and Jordan), and they use the exact same amounts. Of course, everyone has different tastes, but I’d double check you used the right measurements, because as you can see it’s a much loved recipe by most. :)

    • Made this for the first time today, and they turned out awesome with no changes to the recipe. Baked 8 at a time in my air fryer at 375dg for 11 minutes (balls). Crispy on the outside, fluffy and tender on the inside. I didn’t turn them at all because it’s too hard to reach down into the fryer, so not browned except in the bottom, but still crispy. Made a double batch and froze them (already shaped into balls). My new favorite recipe!

  39. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! My family loved it. It was better than most of the falafel we had in Israel and that’s saying a lot! :)

    • Oh wonderful! I’m so happy you loved the recipe Amanda. I tried to keep the recipe as authentic as possible. :)

      • Just made them for breakfast for my pita wraps and they turned out pretty tasty! the texture was moist and perfect. thanks alot for sharing a great recipe Lisa.

      • Hi Meena- Love how you incorporated these in a pita wrap :)

  40. Absolutely love this recipe and it’s already a true staple in my kitchen! Just one quick question, is the nutritional information per 100g or the full batch?

    Thanks so much x