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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!

A plate of falafel drizzled with 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 balls on a plate garnished with parsley and tahini sauce.

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.

Scooped falafel mixture ready to be cooked.

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 with one cut open in half.

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 next to hummus, tahini sauce, and salad.

Falafel Recipe Video

I’ll walk you through the process of forming the falafel and show you three different cooking methods. Give it a watch below!

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!

Several falafel on a serving plate.

Most Delicious Falafel Recipe (Fried or Baked)

4.98 from 339 votes
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 18 falafel balls
Author: Lisa Bryan


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!



  • 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


  • 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.
    Dried chickpeas soaking in a bowl of water.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor, along with the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper.
  • Pulse the food processor several times until the mixture 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 and refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.
    Falafel ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • 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.
    Scooping balls of falafel from the raw mixture.
  • 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.
    Cooking the falafel in a pan of oil on the stove.
  • 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.
    Removing the falafel from the pan once they're cooked and golden.
  • Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside. They're delicious served with tahini sauce as well.
    A plate of falafel drizzled with tahini sauce.

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


Calories: 48kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 141mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Keyword: Falafel, Falafel Recipe, How to Make Falafel
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally published July 2019, but updated to include new information. 

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Recipe Rating


  1. Mmm-mmm I love love falafels! I didn’t know that they could be baked (not fried). I cannot tell you how happy I am to have this recipe!5 stars

  2. So far I’ve loved every recipe that I made from this website, but these falafels were superb. Hands down the best I’ve ever made/eaten. I baked them in the oven and was really happy with the result.5 stars

  3. OMG! These are so good! I pan fried mine.  You really need to take her advice and DON”T use the canned chickpeas (just saying). These take some thought since you have to soak the dried chickpeas overnight, but it is so worth it!! I made her Israeli salad to go with it. Super yummy!5 stars

  4. I loved these! And best part for me is there we’re cooking options! I fried as per instructions and it was so easy having full instructions, they were perfect! Thank you!!!! Denise :) 5 stars

    1. Hi Denise – So many ways to make these falafels, but all work :) I’m glad you loved this recipe! Do stay tuned for a special falafel recipe coming hopefully by the end of the year!

  5. I made these recently to go with a Mediterranean smorgasbord. The recipe is as easy as it is flavorful. The soaked chickpeas were a bit hard after soaking, so I added a 1/2 can of canned garbanzos. It helped bring the mixture together. I achieved the course sand texture, but decided to add some of the aquafaba to make the mixture more moist.

    I was concerned with the cohesion of the batter because this was my 2nd attempt. The 1st attempt, I tried making patties and pan frying. The mixture was too dry/course and they patties crumbled in the pan. In retrospect, I didn’t process the mixture long enough to achieve the sand-like texture. With the 2nd attempt, I made sure the batter would stick together as balls and deep fried them.

    They reheat okay in the microwave, but I would definitely recommend toaster oven/oven to maintain the crispy exterior. I’m going to make these again soon and bake them to compare.

    Just add this to my favorite, go-to Downshiftology recipes. Thanks Lisa! -Your favorite Atlanta follower5 stars

    1. Hi Kelly – I’m so glad you loved this falafel recipe! The different ways of making them will vary among everyone, so definitely try baking them and see how it turns out! :)

  6. I love the way the falafels came out but they were really lacking in flavour. For those who appreciate a robust flavour maybe increase the amount of spices used according to taste.

  7. This recipe is perfection! My daughter and I cannot get enough. I recently went vegan, and this is the first recipe that makes me feel like I’m not missing a thing. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Sarah – I’m so happy to hear that! This is also one of my favorite recipes to make and meal prep! I hope you two continue to enjoy my recipes and videos, as I have tons of great ideas coming in 2020!

  8. I tried to make this using my ninja blender and it just couldn’t get the ingredients blended and chopped down to the right size. That said, it was still delish. Can you recommend a food processor that would be better to render the mix?

    1. Hi Star – Yes, a food processor is better for mixing these ingredients to get the right consistency. As for food processors, you can head on over to the Shop Page on my website to see which food processor I use :)

  9. This recipe was wonderful!!! Thank you for posting it! I baked most of the recipe, but also dropped about a half dozen of them into an air fryer, which made for a crispier outside (oil-free). This is the best falafel recipe! Thank you again!5 stars

  10. Lisa, my name is Danielle and I just wanted to thank you!! 
    I learned around 6 months ago I was dairy sensitive. I have spend thousands of dollars on doctors who just put you on medication! I finally found a great doctor who found the problem! At that point  I felt defeated on learning a lifestyle change and then I found you! I have been following you and learning how to how to cook as well as make a lifestyle change! I also recommend you to the Dental Hygienist Society for healthier cooking, as well as education tips on cooking! Always, thanks for being AWESOMESAUSE and keep up the great work!! 5 stars

    1. Hi Danielle – Learning that your either dairy or gluten sensitive can always be a bit difficult at first, but know that that doesn’t mean you have to compromise flavor when it comes to cooking! I’m so glad that you found Downshiftology and I hope you continue to enjoy my healthy recipes and video tutorials :)

  11. Third recipe I try from Downshiftology and I couldn’t be more happy about it!
    Everything is well tested so if you follow instructions it can’t go wrong.
    Congrats for the great work!5 stars

    1. Hi Thais – Thanks so much for following along and I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes along the way :)

  12. admittedly I am using canned garbanzo. So this may be the issue. And, I don’t have a thermometer to know if the oil reached 350 degrees. But, when I added the balls, they sizzled, then completely dissolved into the oil. Now I just have a pot of very hot herbed avocado oil. Total bummer. Now I am baking the remainder of the batch, which I am sure will be fine. But, I was wondering if you have tips as to why my balls fell apart in the frying oil.
    Thanks!5 stars

    1. Hi Julie – yes, as I mention on the post I do not recommend using canned garbanzo beans in this recipe. That would definitely cause the issues you’re experiencing.

  13. Thank you for the wonderful recipe and thorough directions. This was my first time making falafel from scratch and with your instructions, they turned out delicious! The recommended oil temp was spot on. Oil at 350 degrees really made the difference in getting the falafel cook time right. The serrano pepper added just the right amount of heat without overpowering any of the flavors. I made a slight variation, adding a pinch of coriander to accompany the cumin and cardamon. The falafel was a huge hit with my family, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike! Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Dan – Congrats making your first batch of falafels! I’m so happy to hear that you and your family loved this recipe :)

  14. Hi, Lisa – 

    Do you think I could grind some dried chickpeas in my spice grinder to get the two tablespoons of chickpea flour, or will I need to buy a bag of besan or chickpea flour?  I’m trying to avoid having a pantry of items I rarely use (unless you have more chickpea flour recipes!)



    1. Hi Denise – I’d recommend buying chickpea flour for this. You could also make my socca recipe with chickpea flour – it’s delish!

  15. These are the best falafels I have made ever, so yummy. I have made them twice now.  I fried some and put some in my air fryer and we preferred how they came out in the air fryer, very crunchy and quick to cook. Great for a snack too. These will be a regular in our house. Thankyou 😊5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m so happy you loved the falafel recipe Sian! And that’s great that you used your air fryer to make them. I’m sure other readers will be pleased to hear that they work in the air fryer. :)

  16.  Oh my gosh, this is the most amazing falafel I’ve ever had! Note to self, wear gloves when handling Serano peppers…
    I will definitely be making these again!5 stars

    1. Hi Jenny – I’m so excited that you loved the falafel recipe! It is probably one of my favorites also :)

  17. Hi!

    Is there some other herb i can use instead of the cilantro?
    My boyfriend really can not stand the taste of cilantro so I can not put it in, but i don’t want to miss out on a lot of flavour! I want to replace it with something else!

    1. Hi Anouk – because there is so much parsley in this recipe, I would just leave the cilantro out :)

  18. These are delicious! Recipe is easy to follow and I’m delighted with the results. Crunchy exterior and fluffy interior. Perfection in every bite. 5 stars

  19. I cant believe I had not discovered your blog!! Subscribed to your mail list and followed you on Instagram right away. Love making falafel at home. This looks so yummy.

    1. Hi Sheenam – I’m so glad you discovered my blog and excited for you to follow along my journey! Hope you enjoy all my recipes :)

    1. I know some have made it in their Vitamix. It’s not quite as easy as a food processor as you have to stop it more frequently and scrape down the sides, but it’s doable!

  20. This recipe is great, especially because they’ll still taste good even if your dough does is not the right consistency! My dough came out really wet due to not allowing the herbs to dry after rinsing and I used chick peas I had frozen after cooking in the pressure cooker. I was able to soak up a lot of the moisture with paper towels. I pan fried, served immediately with your tahini sauce, and the family approved.5 stars

    1. I’m glad you were still able to make them work Lisa! As long as the flavor is spot on, I think everything else is tweak-able. :)

  21. Delicious!  I have tried making falafel so many times. It just didn’t satisfy. This recipe is soooo good. I’ve opted for frying and do not regret! 5 stars

    1. Hi Mary – the falafels are best eaten right away while they’re crispy. You could certainly save and re-heat them, just be aware that they won’t be crispy the next day.

  22. I made falafel for supper tonight – delicious!! I served them with your recipe for tahini sauce (I could eat this with a spoon!), tossed salad and your lentil salad with cucumber and lemon vinaigrette. Everything was easy to make and very tasty. Thanks for sharing these wonderful recipes!

    PS – I cooked my falafel in a toaster oven.5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m happy you loved the falafel Sue (along with the lentil salad and vinaigrette) – sounds like a perfect dinner! And thanks for sharing that you cooked the falafel in the toaster oven. Another great option!

    1. OMG, I can’t accurately describe how delicious this recipe is. I have been craving gyro for a few weeks. The flavors from the falafel are very similar to a gyro. I know the recipe is not meant to be a substitute for gyro meat but how great that it satisfied that craving.5 stars

      1. Hi Baida – This is definitely a great vegan replacement if you’re craving for a gyro! So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe as it definitely took some time to perfect this one :)

  23. I made this falafel last night and had them on a salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion & a tahini salad dressing. It was amazing. First falafel that my husband has actually liked! It took a bit of time to make, but it wasn’t hard. Totally worth it. I froze half the mix to cook and eat later. 5 stars

    1. Yay! I’m happy you both loved the recipe Theresa. And that sounds delish on top of a salad (how I prefer to eat falafel as well). Smart move to freeze half the mixture. Now you’ve got falafel nearly ready to go when the craving strikes. :) Enjoy!

  24. I made this recipe for launch today and really like it. It is truely  Authentic recipe. Easy to make and delicious. The only thing I would left out when I make it  next time is Baking soda. I tasted the strong baking soda flavor in every bite. This is of course my personal choice. It didn’t stop me from eating this deliciousness of course.  Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with us. 5 stars

  25. Your Falafel recipe is too good……
    Mouth watering…..often i eat….
    If can offer me in 2 time meal or in the breakfast even…
    Yummy.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m happy you loved the recipe. And yes, it’s great for any meal of the day. Enjoy!

  26. Falafel are so healthy and so delicious. I absolutely love this easy recipe. Love the addition of cardamom. Need to give it a try.5 stars

  27. Dear Lisa,
    Wonderful recipe!
    Q: Can I substitute chickpea flour with another flour, e.g., buckwheat, coconut?
    Thank you as always for high quality content, the effort you make is admirable!

      1. Hi Baiba – so glad you loved the Falafel recipe with the mix of buckwheat flour! Great alternative :)

  28. Could you give specifics on the serving size and prep method relating to the nutrition facts? How many falafel balls, and deep fried, pan fried, or baked?

    1. Hi Margery – the nutrition info listed is per falafel ball (assuming you make 18), using the pan fried method.

  29. I love that I can make these at home and not have to go out to get them. You have really hit upon the wonderful flavors I enjoy in falafel.5 stars

    1. Yes! And when you make them at home you can tweak the flavors to suit your taste. Let me know how the recipe turns out for you!

  30. These are gorgeous and love how you provided different cooking options! Think I’d try them baked.5 stars

    1. Baked falafel are a great option, especially if you’d like to use less oil. I hope you enjoy the recipe Matt!

  31. This Recipe is a keeper, I last had A falafel back in the early 70’s had them in a pita pocket a fresh fine chopped veggies and Cuke sauce, I love this sandwich yours look great,
    Chef Ernie

    1. Thanks so much Ernie! Falafel are great in sandwiches and I think now is a good time to whip them up and remind you of the last time you had them. :)

  32. The chickpeas are soaking. I have everything I need to make these except one. But I don’t have a serrano pepper but I do have a jalapeno. Would that be an OK substitute? If not, would a pinch of dried peppers do?

    1. Hi Ann – yes, the jalapeno is a perfect substitute. It’s a little less spicy than a serrano, but certainly fine for this recipe. Let me know how they turn out!

  33. I love falafels! I admit I have never attempted to make them from scratch. You’ve made it look so do-able. I can’t wait to try your recipe!5 stars

    1. I hadn’t until recently either. Though I always love to order them in restaurants when I’m traveling in the Middle East. You should definitely try making them at home, they’re easier than you think! :)

    1. Yes! Falafel are a great meat-free (but still very filling) meal. So glad you enjoyed the recipe Amy!

  34. I can’t wait to try! Have you ever tried freezing them? If so, would you freeze them cooked or raw?