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!

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)

4.99 from 239 votes
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
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!

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.
    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

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
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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Originally published July 2019, but updated to include new information. 

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737 comments on “Falafel”

  1. That’s a very nice recipe. Finally I found one that takes the term “a lot of parsley” seriously.
    I however did not soak the chickpeas overnight. In other recipes ive tried, they just soaked it in boiling water (cooling down) for one hour before the blend. The results are pretty much the same.4 stars

  2. My falafels turned out to be so yummy.Great recipe5 stars

  3. Is it possible to air fry them instead of deep frying ?

  4. Just made the mixture and waiting for the result.

    But can I ask why it needs to add the baking soda in the recipe? If I omit it, will it taste different?

    Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.

  5. Nutrition information for your recipes, is that for a serve, if so how much is a serve?

  6. Best falafel recipe I’ve ever made, definitely taste authentic,  I will alway use this recipe for falafel from now on. 
    Thank you for easy authentic recipe 🤗5 stars

  7. Lisa, this was an excellent recipe! I’ve been making falafels for a long time, but this one is by far the best. It is now one of my favorite vegan foods, and it makes a delicious breakfast. It’s delicious and simple to make the recipe. Thank you so much!

  8. Do I need to boil the soaked chick peas before blitzing them?
    Instructions on dried chickpea pack says boil for 90 mins

  9. Followed the recipe, but then cooked them on my waffle iron. I used the waffle falafel base for an open faced sandwich that I topped with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, hummus, tahini sauce… Delicious!4 stars

  10. simply excellent! just made them and we are all thrilled. the non-vegetarians are impressed. easy to follow directions – made as-is and the taste and consistency is excellent. we shaped patties and fried in skillet. used the njnja instead of food processor and it worked just fine. thank you! 

  11. Loved these..I improvised slightly with nut flour which added nice hints of cashew walnut and almond and made super garlic pickles so cut some of the ingredients and added that brine…great to have a wonderful template/recipe5 stars

  12. Can I use my Vitamix instead of food processor for this?

  13. Just made my first ever falafels. So flavourful, so delicious!! Thank you so much!! I am so happy right now.5 stars

  14. Great recipe! My first time making falafel and i followed the recipe exactly. I’ll be making this again very soon. Thank you!5 stars

  15. I’ve been wanting to make falafel for a long time but was scared they wouldn’t turn out the way I like them. These came out perfect! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. I’m so happy. I added ground coriander in place of the cardamon and used AP flour instead of chickpea flour. I’m definitely making again.5 stars

  16. Recipe says fried or baked. How should they be baked? Temp etc?

  17. Great I m gonna try it! I dont know if i can find all the ingredients here but i will do my best5 stars

  18. Awesome. Can these be frozen..5 stars

    • Yes! Make the dough mixture and then freeze it for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to use, thaw the mixture in the fridge, stir it, then form in balls or patties and cook.

  19. How soft should the chickpeas be? I soaked them overnight but the seem a little hard still. I can break them with my fingers but they are no where near as soft as canned chickpeas.

    • They are not meant to be super soft, as you still need them to have some structure for the gritty falafel texture :)

  20. I am sorry, I just wanted to double-check for an error…this recipe calls for cardamom but I found another one falafel recipe with coriander—cardamom seems like the wrong spice for this. Could you have miswritten by mistake?
    Thank you so much.

  21. Hello there from Canada! I would like to make this for a potluck, but I know it says they are best served immediately. I am thinking of doing the oven method. I have about a 15 minute drive to the potluck. Do you have any suggestions on keeping them warm during travel or if I should just not do this for a potlcuck lol
    Thanks :)
    Karen

  22. Love the recipe! Can I double the recipe as is and make 1 batch? 5 stars

  23. These were truly amazing! We won’t be changing it or looking for any other recipe to try. Thank you for sharing this. 5 stars

  24. You should also include the recipe for the sauce that they are garnished with.

  25. I made this for dinner last night and it was truly amazing! Loved by all at the dinner table. I served it on the Baba Ganoush, Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh and Tahini Sauce (all made from the recipes on this site. Leftovers for lunch in wraps. Will definitely be being made again.5 stars

  26. Made this today and it is the BEST falafel I have ever had! And the tahini sauce recipe was also amazing! Thank you!5 stars

  27. DELICIOUS! Was so Easy and Totally Scrumptious. Merci ;-)

  28. I am trying to make this today. I soaked the chickpeas last night, this morning they were still a little hard. I thought it would be way softer. I could cut through with a knife with some effort. I was wondering does this matter much? how hard or soft should they be after soaking? 

  29. Excellente recette! Merci beaucoup!
    I, too, use gluten free all purpose flour, which produces a fine result.
    :)5 stars

  30. Thank you for this excellent presentation! Now for the first time I’ve made proper falafel! And it is delicious!!5 stars

  31. Hey Lisa, i made these, first time, they were excellent. Thanks very much. I didnt know you were a Kiwi.

    Im in Melbourne, just across the ditch..:-)5 stars

  32. This was the first time I made this recipe also, and it came out wonderfully and so authentic. I also did not find chickpea flour easily so I made my own as you can as well. Take some chickpeas, dry of course, put them in your food processor and blend them until they become powder. Shazam, you have chickpea flour. 5 stars

  33. This recipe misses one crucial element: use meat grinder to blitz the chickpeas, not the stick blender. Texture will be so much better. Everything else seems spot on, I add 1tsp of ground coriander.

  34. I followed the recipe exactly except for the chickpea flour as we didn’t have that on hand. Used gluten free all purpose instead and it worked out well! I air fried it at 390 for 10 minutes and it was perfection! This was so good! We really enjoyed this recipe! Thank you! I 5 stars

  35. Lisa, this was an excellent recipe! One of my favourite vegan foods, falafel made with various herbs and spices, is a wonderful breakfast meal when paired with sauce and lettuce. However, I’ve never eaten baked falafels before, only deep-fried ones, so this is a much healthier option for me to try now.5 stars

    • Hi Lucy – Happy to hear you found a winning falafel recipe! Sounds great wrapped with lettuce and drizzled with a sauce :)

  36. I have been making falafels for decades, but this one is by far a cut above the rest. the added cardamon and baking powder changes everything. Well done folks, thanks for sharing.5 stars

  37. HI. I was wondering what temperature to bake these in the oven. When I attempted to fry them they just dissolved.

    • Hi Laurie – You can find oven instructions written in the post. But you will need to bake them at 425F for 25-30 minutes.

  38. Easy and so delicious! I used rye flour as I didn’t have chickpea flour, and it was perfect.5 stars

  39. I made this recipe and it turned out great! I didn’t have chickpea flour on hand, but I did have plain all-purpose flour, which seemed to work pretty well.

    Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  40. have you tried freezing the dough for later cooking?

    • 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.

      • In the recipe, you say the dough can be frozen for 2-3 months and that the cooked falafel doesn’t store well because the outside becomes soft. But here you say it’s better to freeze after cooking. Can you clarify? Thanks!

      • Thanks for catching that Shari! Yes, it’s best to freeze the dough instead of the cooked falafels.

  41. Hi,
    I really want to try making these on Thursday evening to take away for the weekend. They won’t be eaten until Saturday. Do you think they will last 24hours? (In the fridge!) I can reheat when it comes to eating?
    Thank you!!
    Cara

  42. These really are delicious. I made them for a crowd (35) and baked in a convection oven. They were crispy and delicious. I also made them for a smaller group and pan fried them. Both methods were crispy and delicious. Served on a bed of lettuce with tahini sauce, tabouli, hummus and a carrot salad, flatbread on side. I am making them again next week (for 30) and wondering about making the batter and freezing it, then thawing it and cooking it day of. Do you think this will change the end result much? Recommend or not? 5 stars

  43. Made these twice already this week! I used canned chickpeas and the batter is a little more wet. I rolled them in flour before dropping them in the oil and they kept their shape nicely. They came out delicious! Next time I want to make enough to freeze. Thank you for this delish recipe! 5 stars

  44. Absolutely DELICIOUS!! My boyfriend and I have made these several times. I make it without onion and garlic for him, since he can’t have those, and just add extra lemon and cumin. Still unbelievable!! We also bake instead of fry. One of our favorite recipes to make during the week! Thank you for this! 5 stars

  45. Mine didnt turn green. I added the parsley and cilantro after measuring 1 cup each prior to chopping. Should i have chopped then measurrd?

  46. No instructions about baking them. Is it ok to make them iinto balls then freeze uncoiked?

    • Hi Jojo – you can find baking instructions written in the post under the section “How To Cook Falafel-3 Ways”. As for freezing, I would suggest to freeze it after it’s been made.

  47. I’ve now made this recipe 3 times this summer! They are fail proof and delicious!  I make up the balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet then put into a container in the freezer, thank you for sharing! Love them with tahini sauce and in a Buddha bowl.5 stars

  48. Made it tonight. Came out better than restaurants!5 stars

  49. Just finished cooking them!! OMG they are wonderful. Had to add chick pea flour. Added all ingredients except hot peppers. Thanks so much for this recipe!!!5 stars

    • Glad you enjoyed this recipe Karen :)

    • Just reading through the recipe and it looks like you are using raw uncooked chick peas….I obviously didn’t read the recipe fully beforehand and have cooked mine. Not sure if it will work as well?

  50. Oh, YUM!!! These are ah-mazing! I followed the recipe exactly but did need to add several more Tbsp of the garbanzo flour. I air-fried at 400 for about 12 minutes, spraying lightly with olive oil. Served with a white bean-based tzatziki sauce and lots of tomato/cuke/romaine in pita halves. So thankful there are leftovers!!!5 stars

    • Glad your falafels turned out perfectly in your air fryer Cindy! Love the way you served it up as well for the ultimate Mediterranean meal :)

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