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Falafel are delicious balls of chickpea and herb goodness 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!

Falafel on a plate 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 pita and on salads. And I’ve had them with slight variations and tweaks, though the recipe itself is fairly simple.

So after eating my way through Tel Aviv several years ago, 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).

Falafel ingredients in a food processor.

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 (as it’s more authentic), but you could use almost any flour you prefer.
  • Baking Soda: This is a key ingredient for helping to provide the fluffy inside texture of the falafel.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

*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. 

Pulsing falafel dough in a food processor.

How to Make the Best Falafel

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 to 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.
Rolling balls of falafel.

How to Cook Falafel – 3 Different Ways

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!

How to Deep Fry Falafel: Heat about 3 inches of oil (I use avocado oil) in a pot on medium heat to 350°F (175°C). Once the oil has reached temperature, gently drop 6 to 8 balls into the oil at a time. Let them cook for 1 to 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 to 3 minutes or until golden, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

How to Bake Falafel: Pre-heat your oven to 425°F (220°C). 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 to 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.

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’ll deep fry a batch or two and make falafel balls. They’re the perfect finger food!

Showing how to cook falafel three ways.

How to Serve Falafel

Falafel are best served immediately after cooking, so they’re warm and crispy. They’re delicious served in 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 my lemony garlic tahini sauce (made from homemade tahini). It’s a creamy and flavorful requirement!

Falafel on a plate with tahini drizzled on top.


  • To store for the week: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freeze for later: You can freeze raw balls of falafel for up to 3 months, then cook individual portions on demand using the methods listed above. No need to thaw beforehand!
  • To reheat: While you can easily reheat cooked falafel in the microwave, they’ll be crispier on the outside if you reheat them in a 400° (200°C) oven for about 10 minutes.

More Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Love

  • Hummus – The original and best hummus recipe!
  • Baba Ganoush – This roasted eggplant dip is smoky delicious.
  • Israeli Salad – A simple vegetable salad is always a welcome addition.
  • Shakshuka – The #1 breakfast recipe on this website – it’s a reader favorite.
  • Lentil Salad – A delicious mix of lentils, cucumber, red onion, dates, and parsley.
  • Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh – My veggie-heavy spin on tabbouleh.
  • Falafel Flatbread – Want to turn this falafel recipe into a slice of bread? Try this flatbread – it’s incredibly unique and so versatile. You’ll love it!

I hope you enjoy this falafel recipe as much as I do! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers!

Falafel on a plate.

Most Delicious Falafel Recipe (Fried or Baked)

4.98 from 356 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 below to see how I make them in my kitchen!




  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (don't use canned chickpeas)
  • ½ cup roughly chopped onion
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley, about a one large bunch
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, about a one large bunch
  • 1 small green chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour (or other flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • oil for frying


  • The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2 to 3 inches, as they'll triple in size.
    Chickpeas 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.
    Falafel ingredients in a food processor.
  • Pulse the food processor several times until the mixture resembles the texture of coarse sand.
    Pulsing falafel dough in food processor.
  • 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.
    Mixing falafel dough in a 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.
    Rolling balls of falafel.
  • 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 350°F (175°C). Cook the falafel in batches (about 6 to 8 at a time) for 1 to 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.
    Falafel on a plate with tahini drizzled on top.

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 3 months. Thaw the mixture in the fridge, stir it, then form in balls or patties and cook. Alternatively, you can freeze pre-shaped raw falafel and fry or bake straight from frozen! 
  • 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 for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Lisa! Hoping to try your recipe this week but have a few questions. Can I use all-purpose flour instead of chickpea or gluten-free flour if that’s all I have on hand? Thinking it should be fine but just wanted to check. Also, I’m very sensitive to anything spicy and know you said not to omit the serrano pepper without giving it a try so I would like to but any recommendation on the smallest amount I could get away with? Thank you!

    1. Hi Alyssa – yes, that should be fine on the flour. And if you’re concerned about the pepper, just start with half a pepper. Hope you enjoy!

  2. They look delicious.
    What sauce would you suggest with them ?
    Can you share a good recipe for a sauce ?
    Thank you in advance,

  3. I made falafel for the first time ever and I’m really glad I decided to go with your recipe. It was a big hit with my family! To be honest with you I’m not even a huge falafel fan but this was delicious! I’ll definitely check out more of your recipes.5 stars

  4. Amazing recipe, Lisa! I prefer the baker version of your recipe since it’s even healthier. Falafel is quite rich in several micronutrients and serves as a good source of fiber and protein.5 stars

  5. I can only get them to work if I bake them.  When I try to deep fry they fall apart in the oil and they do the same in the frying pan at 2-3 minutes.  What am I doing wrong 

    1. Hi Mary – it sounds like they may be either a bit too dry, or not processed to a fine enough texture to hold together. Try tweaking those two things and see if they hold together better next time!

  6. Simply delicious! I was glad I made a double batch (for 5 people) since there was a bit of trial and error in the process. At first they disintegrated in the oil because it was too cold. There should be moderate to vigorous bubbling when you place them in the oil (I shallow fried).
    Anyway, I loved making these and actually found they held up well in the fridge. Reheating in the toaster oven worked great, as I’m sure air fryer would too. The only thing I would change next time is seeding the peppers, because I skipped that step and they came out a little spicy for me. My fault of course.
    If you’re scared of this recipe, don’t be! It’s simple, just takes a few steps. Once you have these in a fresh pita with tzatziki, it will all be worth it. :)5 stars

  7. I know it says to use dried chickpeas but my local store has been out and I do have canned chickpeas, which I use for my hummus. Are they ok to use?

  8. Thank you for the gorgeous recipe, I am so looking forward to trying it! 
    Could I just ask whether they can be frozen before cooking?  I’m going back to work full time and looking for things I can pop in the freezer for our busy (crazy) days 😅

  9. Awesome recipe! Thank you so much! I’ve made it twice, baking both times, using a little olive oil on the outside of the patties. They come out crisp on the outside, soft in the middle with great flavor. Works great with my silpat in my toaster oven. I don’t like cilantro, so made mine without. The dough is a little bit wet, so I added a little more garbanzo flour, which worked great. Thanks again!5 stars

  10. These are so amazing! I like to add a bit of extra cilantro, and make sure to use a large serano pepper! I struggle to find food that my partner enjoys, which is also vegetarian! We both love this recipe in a pita with some tziki, kalamata olives, grilled mushrooms and red bell peppers, fresh cut cucumbers, and homemade salsa fresca! We eat these baked but drizzled with generous vegetable oil!5 stars

    1. That sounds like the perfect Mediterranean meal! Glad you found a recipe both you and your partner can enjoy Amber :)

  11.  Been making these every week. Love them. Healthy, easy., great flavor. We have to travel a lot for my healthcare so they are great for the car ride,  breakfast at the hotel, whatever. I sometimes add Graham masala or other spices I have around. My husband eats Mac Donald’s. Bleh. Thank you for what you do. 5 stars

  12. I made these twice, the first to a T and the second time was 100% perfection, as delicious as a restaurant. The change I made was I soaked the beans overnight as stated but then pressure cooked them for 10 mins prior to mixing with the other ingredients which made them softer and I far preferred that version. I air-fried them at 390° for 15 mins flipping once.  I will never use another recipe! Thank you!5 stars

  13. Looks like a delicious recipe, Lisa! I feel you can serve falafel with some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled onions as well. Or you can enhance the flavor with hummus and/or spicy sauces.

    1. Yes! All are great options to round out your falafel meal. You can even make my greek salad or Israeli salad to go with it.

  14. This our new favorite meal. Excellent!!! Flavors are amazing!! I love this falafel ❤️
    My first time making falafel so I looked and compared a lot of internet recipes. This one stood out and I was very happy that I picked this one. No need to look any further. 
    Thanks for posting it! 5 stars

  15. Thank you for showing us wonderful and delicious meals recipes. I enjoy trying those food.
    Would you please let us (whose who are allergic to chickpeas) know the alternative to chickpeas?
    Thank you very much


  16. This comes out perfectly every time! I always forget to measure a cup of dried chickpeas and dump the whole bag in to soak overnight. I’ve found three cups of soaked chickpeas is the perfect equivalent. Then I make the hummus recipe with the leftover chickpeas!! Thank you so much :)5 stars

    1. For baking, you will bake at 425 for about 25-30 minutes! The detailed instructions are written within the post under the section: HOW TO COOK FALAFEL – 3 DIFFERENT WAYS

  17. LOL! I didn’t fully follow the recipe because I just assumed that I was supposed to cook the chick peas first and when I had trouble getting them to break down in the processor, I took some out and did a smaller batch. I grow my own parsley in a small greenhouse so used a lot of it along with some Cilantro paste because I didn’t have fresh. The results were fantastic. I actually cooked them in my panini press with just a quick spray of oil and they came out great. Can’t wait to make them again without cooking the chick peas….5 stars

    1. Wow! I’m glad to hear these came together well in a panini press. But yes, this recipe traditionally uses uncooked chickpeas :)

      1. I tried making this in a blender and it was nearly impossible.  I put it all in the blender but it would only blend one inch and then I couldn’t get it to fully blend everything. I ended up grinding it by hand with a mortar and pestle.  Next time I’ll borrow a legit food processor. Flavor was great although I needed to add more cumin. 

      2. Hi Brian – yes, a blender is not good for this recipe as it does what you found…it blends the bottom portion but not the top. Blenders are best for more liquid ingredients and food processors are best for more thick and chunky ingredients. Hope you next try comes out better!

  18. The freshest falafel we’ve ever made. So much goodness! My husband is very sensitive to oil so we really appreciated the baked option! Thank you!5 stars

  19. Hey – If I wanted to make this two nights in a row. Could I keep the raw batter in the fridge overnight or even for a few days in the fridge?

  20. I’m a pretty good cook but hadn’t found a falafel recipe until this one. Perfect results for the first time. Awesome!5 stars

  21. So good! And really easy to make. I can’t recommend enough, you have to try these, but be warned they are addictive ;0)5 stars

  22. This is the first downshiftology recipe I made. These are the absolute best falafel ever! Even better than our local Greek restaurant! Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  23. Hi, I was wondering if the nutritional info is for the fried version!! I’m planning on baking my falafels and wanted to know :^) Thanks in advance

  24. I just made these and they are the bomb!!!  Love, love, love….Lisa, your website is my go-to for recipes now!  Thank you for all these amazing recipes!!!  From one celiac/dairy-free to another.  I love you!5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m happy you loved this falafel recipe, Charity! I appreciate the kind words and hope you continue to enjoy!

  25. Incredible! My family said best falafel I’ve made so far. Used red onions, just a preference, and topped with tzaziki sauce, yummo! 5 stars

  26. I am eating falafel and tahini sauce made from your recipes and DAMN IS THIS GOOD! I added a little lettuce and tomato and wrapped it up in a lavash and I am one happy camper.5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m so happy you love it Kathleen! And I haven’t tried them yet in an air fryer, but hopefully someone else will comment with tips.

    2. Hi Kathleen,
      I tried them in the Airfryer today. 350F for 20 minutes worked perfectly for me. I just turned them halfway through. Compared to the fried version, they do turn out a bit dryer though.
      Hope that helps!

  27. This falafel recipe is so easy to follow and everytime I make it its delicious! My favorite way is stuffed in pita pockets wjth garlic tahini and chopped Cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. So so good, as every other recipe I have tried from Downshiftology! Great job Lisa!5 stars

      1. Hi Faye- I haven’t tried using almond flour yet, but if you do try it – let me know how it goes!

  28. This recipe is in line with what I saw on a travel video.  So I made it and shared it with meat eating spouse and he loved it!  The only change I made was that I was able to successfully cook it in my air fryer.  This is a first rate recipe and the love and care that it was made is evident in the video.  From a fellow autoimmune disease person, a genuine thanks to Lisa, for making this recipe and this website.  It is much needed. 5 stars

    1. Thrilled to hear this recipe was a success in your air fryer! I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes Cheryl :)

    2. OH! I am SO happy to hear that when my NEW air fryer arrives in the mail I can MAKE these. Any details you can share about HOW LONG, HOW HOT… etc I would really appreciate it!!! I am a NEWBIE with an air fryer! Thanks! :)

  29. I just made this recipe yesterday and loved it so much. I made a whole batch and froze half of the falafel mix to use later.
    I love your blog and all the recipes you post. I used your recipe for regular hummus and modified it to make a Roasted red pepper hummus. It would be nice if you could post some other hummus recipes as well.5 stars

    1. Thanks so much Sunita and I’m glad you enjoyed this falafel recipe! I will be sure to keep in mind to create more hummus flavors soon :)

    1. Hi Onidne – you’ll find the recipe instructions if you scroll down to the recipe card (just above the comments).

  30. My first time making falafel and they were delicious.  Also made the tahini sauce and cauliflower tabouleh, what a fest! Thanks you5 stars

  31. Wonderful recipe but I ended up making a modification that I love and want to share. The first time I followed this recipe, I had also seen a recipe using collard greens instead of the herbs and since that is what I had on hand, I made it that way (but followed this recipe in every other way). They came out amazingly delicious! Never imagined that collard greens could be so tasty! Next, I tried it with the herbs but found that the spices did not come through as well as they did with the collard greens (full disclosure: I am not a fan of cilantro. but can tolerate it when it is cooked). My husband, however, loves cilantro but liked it either way. Therefore, I’ve used collard greens from that point forward and make it often.
    I’ve been a lover of felafel for over 35 years but shied away from trying to make them thinking it would be difficult and time consuming -but I was wrong! They’re so quick and easy! Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

    1. Thanks for sharing your variation Kristin! Great substitution idea as well. Might have to try that sometime!

  32. Ive always been intimidated by felafels, so never made them. Now we are in lockdown, our fave middle eastern joint is closed so I had to try. THESE ARE THE BEST!!!! So easy and just as good as the traditional ones. No changes needed. PERFECT!
    Thankyou so much for sharing this recipe. I’m making it every week now!5 stars

  33. I make your recipe regularly over the past few months during this COVID lockdown. My SO and I have stomach issues, and these baked in the oven with a dab of olive oil spread on top and fresh pita and hummus is divine! It has never upset our stomachs which is soooo rare!! Thank you for this recipe, we love it and I’m making it for my Mom and Grandparents this evening.5 stars

  34. I made this today and it was disappointing- it was too dry and i just couldn’t make a ball Shape, and what I could get to stick together just disintegrated in the oil. I’ve checked the ingredients, all correct. Not sure if I should have blitzed it in the food processor for a bit longer. Can anyone help. Can u clarify how much chickpeas you use once they have been soaked. One cup or the three cups. 

    1. Hi Lillian – sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you. If your texture was too thick, that would definitely prevent the falafel from sticking together. Next time time processing it for a little bit longer. And it’s one cup of dried chickpeas which equals three cups once soaked, as they expand.