Falafel

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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.

STORAGE TIPS

  • 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)

4.96 from 426 votes
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 18 falafel balls
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

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!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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

Nutrition

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




1,154 Comments

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I made it yesterday and I simply loved it!!!
    I’m not sure how the inside should feel like, It was mushy but really good.
    I can’t wait to make it again!!!!5 stars

  2. Absolutely amazing! First time making falafel at home, won’t be the last. Only thing I changed was added a bit more kosher salt, and doubled the cumin (omitted the cardamom, as well), and my mixture was a bit wet so I added extra flour to get to the right consistency to ensure they didn’t break up in the oil. Made the tahini sauce (so good as well) and grabbed some Lebanese picked turnips from the grocery store to give it that authentic restaurant flavor. Best lunch I have had in years. 😃5 stars

    1. Wonderful! Happy to hear your first try at making homemade falafels was a success with this recipe Chris :)

  3. These are amazing, thank you so much. I cooked them in the air fryer and they came out great. Crispy on the outside despite no oil. So easy to make, will be a staple in our house from now on as are one of my favourite foods. No more buying falafels again! 5 stars

  4. I’ve made these falafels numerous times for my family and friends and they are a win every single time!  Thank you so much for sharing❤️5 stars

  5. This is the best falafel recipe we have ever tried. 
    I used regular flour as couldn’t find chickpea flour. I used the pattie method of cooking. It was delicious. Crisp on the outside and warm and tender on the inside. Thank you so much! 5 stars

  6. This recipe is a winner! I keep coming back to it. I usually add one egg to help them stick together.5 stars

  7. Easy to follow this recipe. texture was great with pan frying. But too bland tasting. I will increase all spices salt and pepper next time.

  8. I don’t know what went wrong but the ones I tried pan frying just turned to mush.  Now trying the rest in the oven and hoping for the best. 

    1. Hi Patsy – it sounds like your falafel mixture may have been a bit too soft. If that happens again next time, just add a little bit more flour.

  9. This was a great recipe and easy for a first time falafel maker. I was too cheap to buy the cardamon (it was like $10 at my local store), so I stuck with coriander which I had on hand. We spread some humus in pita bread and placed our falafel in that and ate it like a sandwich. It is an inexpensive, filling meal and tasted just like the falafel I have eaten for years at one of my favorite lunch establishments.5 stars

    1. Happy to hear this recipe brought back some good memories of falafels you’ve eaten before :)

  10. Absolutely love them!!! I have to choose a diet low in cholesterol and sodium. This recipe is easy and addictive! You were right. Don’t skip the Serrano pepper (although I used 1/2 of one. The ” kick” was just right for me.
    I also cooked them in my air fryer. Turned out awesome. Just coat them ( lightly) with a little olive oil…a new favorite! 👍5 stars

    1. Glad these turned out great in your air fryer! Will keep that in mind for anyone else using an air fryer :)

  11. This is a great falafel recipe with great directions.  I’ve made it numerous times and tried most of the cooking variations-pan fried, baked, 6 month old frozen “dough” thawed then shaped and baked.  Every time my falafel are delicious, tender, crispy, and perfect.  I have even subbed other leafy greens (spinach, kale, turnip greens, radish greens, Swiss chard) for one of the herbs and had excellent results.  

    Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

    1. Thrilled to hear this falafel recipe was easy to follow along to Cybele! Also, great idea on adding other leafy greens into the mix.

  12. Thanks for this recipe; hands down the best falafel recipe that we’ve tried! Using dried chick peas and lots of herbs do the trick; we even used fresh dill which added a nice touch. Pan frying made them nice and crisp. Kudos!!!!5 stars

  13. I usually don’t write reviews, but this recipe is the best! Everything went perfectly, easy for a beginner. As I didn’t have the flour that was required, I used all-purpose flour.5 stars

  14. This falafel recipe is OUTSTANDING! It is FULL of flavor and easy to make. It was so delicious, crunchy on the outside but warm and tender on the inside. This is now my go to recipe for falafel. Thank you!5 stars

  15. Looks great! Any tips for making this without a food processor? I have a small blender but I’m not sure it would hold all the ingredients

    1. You can use a high powered blender, just make sure to scrape down the sides as you pulse.

  16. My husband and I just made this for dinner tonight, and it was great! We used the pan-frying method, and it was so simple. We paired it with your hummus and tzatziki recipes to have in a pita! We’ll definitely be making it again, thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

    1. Happy to hear both you and your husband enjoyed this falafel recipe! You can never go wrong the infamous hummus and tzatziki pairing :)

      1. Have made these now a number of times and they turn out fantastic. As I have plenty of parsley and mint growing in the backyard use these instead of parsley/cilantro. Still works out a treat. After frying we serve them over a fresh salad of mixed lettuce leaves, mini tomatoes and cucumber (drizzled with natural yogurt if we have any). What a fresh and healthy meal!5 stars

  17. Could not get these to hold together to save my life, absolute fail on my part :( I followed the directions to a T. 

    1. I’d make sure you blended the mixture fine enough. If the mixture is a little bit too chunky, they won’t hold together as well. Hope your next try turns out better!

  18. I am so excited to try this recipe and I will definitely let you know how it turns out. But first, I need to know if it is okay to leave the mixture in the fridge for more than an hour? Thanks, Lisa!

  19. I just made your falafel recipe and am so excited. So much yummm!!!  Better than I’ve had an any restaurant. Ever. Maybe reminiscent of my memory of street vender falafel in Egypt, but since my memory is foggy, I’m going to say your recipe is even better. These are going to be a staple in my family. So good!!!5 stars

  20. My paste was wet and could not stick together even after adding flour .

    Maybe the herbs need to be dried?

    1. Hi Anne – I’d recommend watching the video to see if you can pinpoint where your version may have differed. :)

    1. Hi Rebecca – The nutritional information will always be per serving. In this case, yes, it’s for each ball!

  21. Dear Lisa,
    I’am from Germany and occasionally tripped over your videos on YouTube. 
    I already prepared your falafel recipe twice. I put some guacamole on tortillas, added lettuce, the falafel and some yogurt mint sauce. Delicious!!!

    And I nearly can’t believe it: Even my husband said it was delicious. Normally he is not so much into healthy food.

    Thank you for your recipe!

    Jessica 5 stars

  22. I’ve made this three times (so far) and it has come out perfect every time. Thank you for the perfect falafel recipe!5 stars

  23. This is truly the worlds best falafel recipe. I made them last night and can’t stop thinking about them! They are insane when freshly cooked and almost as delicious cold from the fridge. Please make these!!!5 stars

  24. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I am a really big Falafel fan but could never been bothered to make them myself.
    This recipe is the best. Easy and super delicious. Tastes as good as the ones I had in Beirut.

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us.5 stars

  25. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I was able to make the most delicious falafels I have ever tasted, thanks to you!

    I followed all the instructions, and the falafels turned out wonderfully. I added about an extra 1-2 tsps of chickpea flour to the mixture after letting it sit in the fridge since the mixture was not forming into a ball, and this worked well.

    I used the pan frying method which was fast, efficient, and the resulting falafels had a yummy crunch and a soft centre. It was honestly the perfect falafel.

    I highly recommend anyone who is contemplating whether they should make this recipe.. to go on and make this recipe!! I made some homemade hummus and used dollops of it while eating each falafel bite and it was heavenly :D.

    <35 stars

    1. Happy to hear this recipe was easy to follow along to Nomi! Sounds great with homemade hummus :)

  26. Wish someone would come up with a quick recipe using chickpea flour instead of the soaking method and dry herbs. Would make a nice gift to family members hou will not bother with fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley. Then all they need do is add the wet ingredients.

  27. Want to try this because of all the good reviews but uncooked chickpeas… is that really ok to eat? My mum gets gassy even with cooked chickpeas, so would these be worse or the same? Would you recommend I prepare them differently? 

    1. The chickpeas are cooked after you process the ingredients into a batter. You are not eating the raw batter.

      If chickpeas are precooked then you would be over cooking.

  28. Delicious flavor! I did have some trouble with the consistency of the dough and as a result frying became quite a challenge. I did follow the tips but I really had trouble trying to figure out if it needed more liquid or chickpea flour. Next time I think I need to go beyond the “coarse sand” I texture. Thoughts?4 stars

    1. Hi Rory – when you say you had trouble with the consistency, I’m not sure if you meant it was too dry or too wet? But yes, sometimes pulsing to a finer texture helps it all stay together better. Glad you enjoyed the flavor!

  29. Made these yesterday and my daughter is still raving about then. Said they were better than any she had out.
    We had the leftovers for lunch today and they were just as good.
    Thanks a mil!5 stars

    1. Hi could you please give a temperature and a time for baking instead of frying?  Thank you ☺️  

      1. Hi Sharon – For baking, you can find the full instructions written in the post. But, they’re baked at 425F!

  30. Looks amazing! I’ve never tried making falafel myself, but this looks so appetizing and easy I just might! – Gustavo Woltmann5 stars

  31. I never had falafel, but after watching the tempting video of the recipe, I will definitely give this recipe a try. 5 Star to this.5 stars

  32. Most delicious and so easy to prepare.
    I used the measurements according to the recipe and it was so good!
    Thank you5 stars

  33. Have you seen if anyone has tried this with sprouting the chickpeas, rather than just soaking them? I love falafel, and chickpeas too, but uncooked chickpeas I fear would totally tear up my stomach, so I’m trying to think how I could make this recipe gentler without cooking the peas. TIA!

  34. Thank you for this recipe! I’ve never made falafel before. You mentioned we could freeze this mixture, but is it ok if I just store it in the fridge for about a week and bake it in portions throughout the week?

    1. Hi, is it possible to make this with a different flour like almond/gluten-free/coconut ? Just don’t have chickpea flour in the cupboard.

  35. i have just made this recipe but I had to add one extra cup of chickpea flour in order to make the little patties firm. Otherwise they would become all crumps. Do you have any other suggetion to make the mixture glue together?

    1. Hi Maria – you could always add a little bit more water with the flour as well. The two together sort of make the glue.

  36. OMG ! This recipe is awesome. I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect! I made the isreali salad also, and it was so good with the falafel.5 stars

  37. I made this recipe last night and they turned out very well! Super tasty and I was pleased with the crunch/crust that formed when pan frying them. I’m glad to learn the mixture freezes well as I likely will not use the entire batch this week. 5 stars

  38. Even though I didn’t have peppers or the cumin, this recipe was perfect.  It went over so well with the family so I just did a double batch for the freezer!  Thank you!  5 stars