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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)

4.97 from 411 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. wow, so you do not cook the garbanzo beans? just use raw soaked ones? I have never tried that, I usually cook them then make the falafel.  did I read the recipe wrong?

  2. Stop everything you’re doing and just make them falafels. !!! I’ve tried many recipes before but this one is truly a game changer. The trick to do this with the soaked only chickpeas is genius. I tried them for the first time today and amazing. I had no chickpea flour so I replaced with half cornstarch and half AP flour and it went perfect. Cooked them in the pan with little oil. 5 stars

  3. It is not easy finding a place that makes good falafels, but now I don’t have to worry about that. This recipe is amazing. I added a little water to the mix, when in the food processor and the mix turned out perfect. I fried them and they held together really well.
    Just wondering how long can i store the leftovers in the fridge for?
    Thank you.5 stars

  4. I have been searching for a recipe for a mock falafal recipe. I can no longer eat any beans. What can i use in place of the chickpeas? All the other ingredients are perfect for me.5 stars

  5. Wow!! I had almost given up on making these at home. I am so fussy with falafel. This is so close to my favorite restaurant version. My mixture was a bit too wet. It seemed too dry when I put it in the fridge. I quick soaked my chickpeas with a bit of baking soda so maybe it was a mistake to put more in before cooling it. Not perfect in texture (due to my own technical issues), but the taste was amazing. Only one broke apart in the oil so I popped them in the airfryer to finish. Definitely will try again to make it perfect because it’s pretty damn close!! Thanks so much – I’ve tried a few recipes that were disasters, this is remarkably close to what I’m after.5 stars

  6. I have always loved eating ice cream and whenever I get a chance I never miss eating ice cream and your ice cream taste and recipe is really amazing I hope you will give us more delicious ice cream information in future.5 stars

  7. wow!! it is so yummy. I tried this recipe and everyone liked this.
    I just want to suggest you that you can make this dish without using ouch packets.
    Can we make this dish without using avocado?4 stars

  8. This recipe works perfectly with canned chickpeas as well. You just need to quadruple the amount of flour in the recipe. I also rolled the balls in panko crumbs before I air fried them at 400F for 12-15 minutes. I have done the recipe now with both canned and dried chickpeas and I prefer with the canned chickpeas. I find it has a more moist texture. Overall the recipes flavours are wonderful!

  9. Delicious flavour but the mixture was so dry.  I did add a little extra water as suggested and the mixture seemed to hold together ok when I made the patties but when I started to cook them (I pan fried the first batch) they ended up disintegrating into the oil.  I oven baked the remainder of the mix and that was slightly better but still too dry.
    Perhaps you could be a little more explicit with what the texture of the mix should be like for those of us who haven’t made these before so we know what we’re aiming for?
    The crumble was delicious!4 stars

  10. I cant wait trying this one!
    Can you please tell me if you are using dried chickpeas with their skin or without it?
    And if its better to drain them before adding them to the food processor?
    Thank you!

  11. I didn’t see the directions for baking them such as what temperature and for how long also can I substitute regular flour for chickpea flour if I don’t have it

    1. You can find directions for other baking methods written in the post! But, for baking specifically, here are the instructions: Pre-heat your oven to 425°F. 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.

  12. My family loves this recipe. I has only made it deep fried until yesterday when I baked them. They were still amazing. A real keeper recipe.5 stars

  13. It was good! With some slight modifications. I fried in olive oil. Also, i added some sesame seeds to the mixture (post food processor)5 stars

    1. You can still pin all my recipes! If you’re having issues, please send an email to us so we can fix the issue.

  14. These were delicious ! I’ve been wanting to try making my own falafel for so long . The recipe and instruction video made it super easy :)  I agree with all the comments – the texture was just perfect. I will be doubling the recipe to make more for the week . Thank you :)5 stars

  15. Hello! I read through your directions several times, but did not see the option on how to bake them. What is the time & temperature for that? 

    1. 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.

  16. These were great. I did have to add about 1/4 cup of chickpea flour as the mixture was too moist. I also added about 1/3 cup of bread crumbs and a big pinch of cayenne pepper to jazz it up a bit. I pan fried them in , small thick patty form until they were a deep golden brown on both sides. The dried/soaked chickpeas make a big difference! My usual go-to falafel recipe uses canned chickpeas and although they are quite good, they don’t have the same texture and “nutty” flavor as this recipe, I will definitely make these again.5 stars

  17. Hello, 
    Are the chickpeas cooked at all after draining and rinsing?

    Thank you, looking forwards to making this.


  18. Really look forward to making these. Might be missing it in the directions; but what would you recommend for baking them instead of frying?

  19. Made per recipe. Hands down best felafels I’ve made and eaten! When balling I was convinced (professional chef) they would fall apart when they hit the oil. Nope. My five year old boy had four over two wraps!! Glad I made 1.5 times recipe – lunches this week! Aus.5 stars

  20. these turned out superb. i used green onion instead of white and no cilantro because 2 family members don’t like it. it made 8 patties which were surprisingly filling for the four of us. i baked mine – will add to the list of things we like – thanks so much!5 stars

  21. My oldest son, now 26, became vegetarian at 4 and vegan at 12. We were not a vegan family. My youngest, now 18, followed in his brother’s footsteps, and became vegetarian at 16, and vegan at 17. My daughter, age 22, myself and my fiancé eat vegan frequently, as I have always supported my children’s decision, even if at first I was frustrated by the culinary demands on me and concerned abut them getting adequate nutrition. At this point, I consider myself fairly good at making delicious vegan food. I have ventured into alternative meats and cheese making, and can pull off a fully vegan holiday meal that even non-vegans enjoy. For some reason, I kept using falafel mix, instead of making the real thing, because it seemed that like with so much vegan cooking, there’s just so many more steps and things to do, and I thought falafel would be annoying, mostly because of the need to use dried beans. I tried canned ones, and that was one of my few royal failures. Well, I am glad your recipe pushed me to the final frontier, because these falafel balls are among the best I have ever had, and possibly better. I feel silly that I didn’t make them myself earlier, as it really is no big deal at all to soak the beans overnight. I’m not going to bother looking at other falafel recipes, because yours hit all the right notes, in terms of flavors and texture. Thanks so much for this perfect recipe. I wouldn’t change a thing.5 stars

    1. A shift to vegetarian and vegan is a big change, but kudos to you for doing it for your family! Amazing to hear you can now cook up a vegan holiday dinner as well. But, I’m glad you found a winning falafel recipe (instead of the pre-made mixes). Hope you and your family continue to enjoy this recipe to come!

    1. I have made this recipe several times now… I love it. The only issue is that my dough is extremely wet… Like when I try to make a ball, I squeeze the dough in my hand and I get some water out of it. None of my ingredients are wet when I combine them.
      I have tried to add flour but stopped after I realized how much I had to add, to not even make it work… It’s very frustrating, I don’t know what’s wrong.
      I feel like I want to even skip the flour part since as soon as I try to add more flour, everything sticks to my hand and it gets impossible to form a ball. It’s very frustrating, I don’t know what to do.
      Is it normal that I get some water when I squeeze them?

  22. Absolutely incredible!! Definitely suggest trying these as a first time falafel maker! They held their shape, came out crisp yet light and fluffy on the inside. Thanks!5 stars

  23. Thank you Lisa, this is SO GOOD. …didn’t have to adjust a thing. Sorry no photos b/c usually never bother to post..I shall be making again next week and looking at your other offers…😊5 stars

    1. Hi Cecilia – I mention it in the post, but here’s the instructions! 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.

      1. Thank you for your time answering this. The baking directions don’t appear on the print version. I’ll admit I was one who did not read the post, just jumped to the recipe and printed it instead. I came to the comments looking for the baking directions too :)

  24. AMAZING! We used the air fryer and they were so delicious. I was sceptical about trying this but this is a MUST-try recipe.5 stars

    1. Happy to hear this worked out in the air fryer Peggy! How long did you air fry it for by chance?

      1. i dont see them in the post either?
        I guess i should look in the video for baking instructions.

      2. Hi Nadia – there’s a section called “How To Cook Falafel – 3 Different Ways!”. You’ll find the baked instructions there. But for convenience, here’s what it says:

        Pre-heat your oven to 425°F. 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.

        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!

    1. These turned out beautifully! I rolled in some oil and cooked in the airfryer. It was so easy and no fuss this way! So cruchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Delightful! The flavour is a little milder than I’ve bought at the kebab shop- i preferred this as sometimes that intense flavour is a bit full on for a regular lunch. I’m glad i doubled the batch to freeze. I froze the mixture rolled, as i feel they should hold up fine in the airfryer (fingers crossed). Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  25. I’m so glad I found your website!! I’m making some lifestyle changes and have been looking for delicious, healthy recipes. Just made this recipe with tahini sauce, yum!5 stars

  26. I have tried making falafel countless times over the last 20 years. Results are usually dry and boring, or fall apart when cooking so you end up with a chickpea/cooking oil swamp…
    These are fabulous. Everyone loved them, and three different people want the recipe. They were crispy and light, juicy, tasty… and even delicious cold the next day, although the crispiness was lost, no-one minded at all. The only thing I’d say is it’s worth making 1.5 or 2x the recipe because everyone hoovers them up. And if they don’t, leftovers are NOT a problem, believe me!
    Thanks so much5 stars

  27. I’ve made this recipe 2 times before and it was delicious! I love all the parsley & cilantro used in the recipe. I cooked the Falafel in an air fryer. Just sprayed with oil. Making it again as part of a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean Mezze. 5 stars

  28. This recipe was very tasty, BUT my falafel needed something to bind it as some fell apart while frying.  LOVED the flavors, but next time I’ll add an egg and maybe some shredded cheese to help bind the falafel.4 stars