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 285 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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888 comments on “Falafel”

  1. SO good! I used parsley and chives because that’s what I had ready in my garden. As far as a fried food I feel like these are worth the effort, they aren’t overly fussy like foods that need a breading or careful turning and timing. I also enjoyed them pan fried as a little patty. My mixture needed a little extra moisture and I used lemon juice as mentioned in the notes, but it noticeably lightened the lovely green color from the herbs! It didn’t effect the flavor in any other way, but I would stick to water to not lose the color next time. I’ll be making these again for a BBQ and am so pleased the recipe worked out perfectly on the trial run!5 stars

  2. Such good falafel recipe. I’m just trying to make my own falafels. This recipe is easy to follow. Thanks. 
    Kim

  3. Fantastic recipe, Lisa! It’s wonderful to see how creative cooks like you reinvent this Middle Eastern meal. Using a variety of herbs is a fantastic idea, and I followed your advice in the letter. The only difference was that instead of avocado oil, I used olive oil. However, the dish turned out perfectly.5 stars

  4. So good! I tried this recipe maybe 4 years ago when I was 17. I guess I didn’t follow the recipe right that’s why it didn’t turn out so well. Now that I’m older and more experienced, I tried your recipe once again and followed your recipe to the T and wow, it’s amazing!! Definitely a keeper. I air-fried mine at 375 F for 15 minutes.5 stars

  5. Thanks for sharing with us delicious recipe5 stars

  6. Oh my this is the best recipe had to use all purpose flour because where does one get bean flour lol. Do not forget the cardamom. It’s expensive, but I think that’s what makes it

  7. I’ve been soaking the chickpeas for almost 8 hours and they’re still hard, should I keep waiting or boil and then soak again until they’re softer?

    • They still will be a bit hard after soaking. This will help give them a gritty texture once blended in the food processor.

    • Rachel, the beans never get soft. But when processed that will yeild a good, bitey crunch!

  8. This is a great recipe. Just a comment about the 1 cup of dried chickpea equals 3 soaked could be added to the recipe. I nearly missed that one :]5 stars

  9. My family has been craving falafel from a favorite restaurant in Brooklyn and when I saw the recipe picture of these I was hopeful they would be similar. This is by far the best falafel we’ve ever had, maybe better than the restaurant or at least just as delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and went for the deep fry method (highly recommend). It was easy to make. I wound up letting the mixture sit in the fridge overnight because we ran out of time to make them when we had planned but it still worked perfectly. Can’t wait to make it for friends!  5 stars

  10. Do you use whole coriander seeds or ground?

  11. Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Thansk you!

  12. Is there another oil that would be okay for frying in? 

  13. The post is really superb. It’s varied accessory information that consists during a basic and necessary method. Thanks for sharing this text. The substance is genuinely composed. This web do my paper for me log is frequently sharing useful actualities. Keep sharing a lot of posts

  14. Fantastic Falafel Recipe! Thank you for sharing your perfected recipe! Best falafel I’ve ever eaten. 5 stars

  15. My housemate and I had never made falafel before and were a bit nervous going in, but it came out great! We used ground flax instead of chickpea flour since that’s what we had, and baked them in the oven so it was easier, since we tripled the recipe to have enough for our whole house. The falafel was great, and I’m hoping to make it again (with this recipe again!) sometime soon:)5 stars

  16. First time trying a falafel 😳 I used two cups chickpeas since I soaked the whole bag and it made like 6 cups lol The “dough” turned out Supreme, held together well and easy to shape, just used a bit of gf flour on my hands so it wouldn’t stick. I thought it just tasted like fried cilantro,which I’m not complaining, I LOVE cilantro! Next time I’ll flatten them more like a tortilla and try with some sort of meat and hot sauce to dip! I’m hooked on this concoction!5 stars

  17. This lived up to its title of Most Delicious Falafel Recipe. It does require planning to soak the chickpeas overnight but it is worth the effort. I followed the recipe exactly and the falafel were full of flavor, with crisp, golden exteriors and tender, fluffy insides. I also made the Tahini Sauce from this site, which was top notch. Served them with whole grain pita, crunchy lettuce, cucumber and onion and sweet cherry tomatoes. Fantastic dinner, raved about by my husband and son. Thank you!5 stars

  18. These were brilliant, followed the recipe apart from the flour as I didn’t have chickpea flour and they were so delicious, thank you!5 stars

  19. This is my go-to falafel recipe… I’ve made this 3 times now and always delicious. I keep forgetting to put a pepper in it, but still so tasty! Thanks! 5 stars

  20. Can you make the balls, without cooking them, and freeze them?5 stars

    • You can 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.

  21. This recipe sounds amazing! My boyfriend and I both hate HATE the tast of cilantro, and seem to always taste it in everything. Could I substitute with more parsley, or perhaps some dill?

  22. Hi, I Really want to make this recipe but I cannot find chickpea flour what else can I substitute?

  23. These were delicious. I doubled the spices and added a little extra salt, other than that I followed the recipe as written and baked them in the oven.  They have incredible flavor and a perfect kick from the pepper. The only issue I had with these is they turned out very dense and chewy. I did not add any extra flour or water. Maybe used too much or too little of something? They were still incredible, and I will be making these again! Thanks!5 stars

  24. your falafel recipe and tahini sauce recipe is delish!!! Love it.5 stars

  25. Could I do these in my air fryer?

  26. This was my first time making felafel from scratch, it it is delicious!!! This recipe is a keeper! I made lemon tahini with it, and served it with flatbread and melon.

    I wish I could post a picture so you can see how good it looks!

  27. Made these yesterday for a dinner party.  They were amazing and everybody loved them.  I wish.I had doubled the recipe as they were gone so quick.  Took some bought ones out the freezer, everyone said they were nothing on the ones I made.  I made the tahini sauce also.  I baked the falafels as per the video instructions and you couldn’t tell that they had. not been fried.
    I also.made your hummus and it was so tasty, topped with chilli oil, paprika and some toasted pine nuts.  Amazing!!!5 stars

  28. How many servings does this recipe make? Trying to figure out the calorie information. It says 48 cal, but for what fraction of the overall recipe is that? Thanks for any more info you can give 

    • You can always find the serving information in the recipe card :) But, this recipe makes 18 falafel balls and the nutritional information is for one falafel.

  29. Can I ask what the chickpea flour does and whether regular flour can be used / what the best flour substitute is?

  30. So good!!!!!!!5 stars

  31. Just made this for dinner (baked) and it was so delicious! I was afraid it was going to fall apart but it baked really really well <35 stars

  32. I’ve been using Mark Bittman’s baked falafel recipe for several years, and I was never happy with the results. The mixture never seems to hold together without a lot of added water, and if one adds too much, you end up with dense, weird results. The game changing part of this recipe wasn’t the chili peppers and larger quantities of fresh herbs (although both are phenomenal additions), but the CHICKPEA FLOUR. The falafel were supremely easy to form, and they came out wonderfully in the oven. This is my go-to recipe from now on, with the small tweak of adding lemon juice to the mixture before forming. Thanks!5 stars

  33. Oh my goodness! This makes AMAZING falafel!! I have never made it before and this recipe turned out absolutely delicious on the first try. My new favorite food! My husband also agrees that they are delicious. Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

  34. Wow these are the best falafels I’ve ever made. I cooked them in the air fryer to make them lower in calories. I also made the tahini dressing and my husband has asked me to make them for his morning teas.5 stars

  35. Love the recipe, I am absolutely obsessed! I made wraps with pita, and spread some hummus and garlic yogurt on the bread before placing the falafels and some greens. I wanted to ask if the calorie measurement is per falafel?

  36. Can I use chickpea flour instead of dried chickpeas? If so, what is the conversion I should use? I have a lot of flour on hand and I’d like to use it up if possible.

  37. I made these falafel not sure what happened. I followed the recipe to T. When I started to fry them they disintegrated. They smelled amazing I would like to try again. What did I do wrong? Thank you

  38. If I don’t have time to soak the dries chick peas for 8-12 hours, is there a “quick” method of soaking? I know using canned or cooked will make the falafels too soft.

  39. How long should you bake them and at what temperature? I couldn’t find it in the recipe.

  40. I’m assuming you mean add 3 cups of soaked (1cup dry) chickpeas/garbanzo beans? 

  41. Have you ever used raw sprouted chickpeas?

  42. Hi! I’m excited to try this recipe. I’m making it ahead of time and was wondering if I can form the balls for frying and let them sit in fridge overnight? Or should I freeze then thaw? Thanks!

    • It’s best to freeze the dough first instead of the balls as the outside will become soft. Then thaw the mixture in the fridge, stir it, then form in balls or patties and cook.

  43. Hi dont you have to steam cook the chicke peas before mixing it in the dough?

    • Traditionally, falafels don’t use cooked chickpeas to keep it’s grainy texture.

      • They’re supposed to have a grainy texture? I’ve only had them once, and I didn’t like them because of the texture, but I just assumed they were poorly made. Do you think they can be made with cooked chickpeas if one prefers a softer texture?

      • Canned or cooked chickpeas will be too soft and your falafel will not form properly unfortunately.

  44. Can I make these in an air fryer?

  45. Loved it! This was my first time making falafel and I’m thrilled with this recipe. I did make a few adjustments because of the ingredients I had on hand — I went heavy on the parsley and light on the cilantro, and used regular flour instead of chickpea. I pan fried them as patties and served with a turmeric tahini sauce. It was SO GOOD. I don’t often order falafel in restaurants because it usually tastes kind of meh, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with these. My boyfriend and I both found them filling, flavorful, and slightly addictive. They have a very “green” flavor that is refreshing and light, while the chickpeas provide the satisfaction of a hearty main dish. Sidenote, I typically HATE cilantro (and so does boyfriend), but the cooking process really mellows it out. We were not bothered by it at all. I also only used half of a serrano instead of a full one because the raw pepper was quite spicy, but again, the cooking process seemed to make it much more mild. Don’t be afraid to try a whole one! I look forward to making this again!5 stars

    • Thrilled to hear you and your boyfriend were pleased with this falafel recipe Alma! Sounds great with a turmeric tahini sauce as well. As for the herbs, the cilantro really does add to this the overall delicious taste :)

  46. These are probably the best falafels I have ever had. I served them with your Cauliflower Tabbouleh and Tahini sauce recipes. I thought I had traveled to the Middle East for an evening. I am definitely making those again. Thanks for sharing!

  47. These falafels were amazing, thank you for the recipe!! They were so easy to make and they cooked really well on the stovetop – just had to make sure the plan was covered in oil to not stick.5 stars

  48. These work a treat when baked, and so tasty! Thanks so much for the recipie!5 stars

  49. Hello, if we don’t have the time to soak chickpeas what is the downside of using canned chickpeas? Does it affect the flavor or just the consistency?

  50. I’ve tried many recipes and this is by far the best one. It’s packed with flavour..
    Thank you ❣️5 stars

    • So happy you loved the recipe!

      • I really do like it when you said that physical therapy allows the body to heal better because the injury, as well as the incorrect pain management, will be fixed. This is the reason why my friend has been eyeing physical therapy. She has been inflicted with a pain in the hips that she can’t get rid of. Anyway, she mentioned something like an aquatic physical therapy. I wonder if those two are the same. Anyway, I will just support her.

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