Falafel Burger Recipe (copycat McFalafel)

falafel burger with the works

My falafel burger is two crispy chickpea patties, tzatziki sauce, cheese, tomatoes, cukes, onions, sprouts, and hummus on a brioche bun. It’s a delicious meatless mouthful that’s so much healthier than a fast food burger.

holding a falafel burger

a falafel burger is the perfect veggie burger

Did you know that McDonald’s sells different varieties of vegan and vegetarian burgers in many countries? The McFalafel has been available in various locations worldwide for years, but not here in the States. Since I can’t drive through and grab a McFalafel I thought I’d make my own, which is usually a much better idea, anyway. My burger is better, anyway, since everything is fresh and I’ve perfected the falafel patty to maximize crispness and minimize the dreaded gummy texture so many veggie burgers suffer from (see details below.)

falafel burger on a brioche bun

what you’ll need

  • a batch of falafel mix ~ You can make your own falafel, or buy the mix already prepared in some stores.
  • olive oil ~ just a smidge for frying your burgers.
  • tomato ~ thinly sliced.
  • red onion ~ thinly sliced.
  • cucumber ~ thin slices.
  • hummus ~ I smear the top bun with it. Make your own hummus or use store bought.
  • tzatziki sauce ~ it’s a refreshing yogurt and cucumber sauce that I slather on the bottom bun. Make your own tzatziki or use store bought.
  • cheese ~ leave off for vegan, I used pepper jack.
  • burger bun ~ a soft not-too-ginormous bun that won’t overwhelm your crispy falafel patties. Mine is a soft brioche. Could you use a pita pocket? Sure!
the layers of a falafel burger

what makes my falafel burger the best

Google ‘falafel burger’ and 9 times out of 10 what you’ll see are big fat burger patties trying to emulate a big juicy beef burger. But guess what? That’s exactly what you don’t want with most veggie burgers! A big fat veggie burger will tend to be dry, crumbly, and unappetizing.

I purposely make my burger patties nice and thin, almost like a smash burger. That means there’s proportionately more surface area to crisp up which means a better ‘burger’ experience. I like to layer 2 patties together.

  • Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion out your falafel mix for extra thin patties. You can use a 1/2 cup measure for slightly thicker burgers. Roll the mix into a ball gently with your hands.
  • Place the ball between 2 sheets of parchment or waxed paper and flatten slightly, then, with with a heavy flat object like a cast iron skillet (or you can even use a tortilla press) flatten the burger into a thin round.
  • Keep the patties chilled until you’re ready to fry, and be extra careful when handling them, they will be delicate!
  • Coat the bottom of a non stick skillet with olive oil and heat to hot. Carefully place the patties in the hot pan and fry until brown and crisp on the first side.
  • Very carefully flip the burgers to crisp on the second side.
  • Have all your toppings ready to go so you can serve the burgers hot.
scooping falafel mix for burgers

falafel faqs

what is falafel?

Falafel is a Middle Eastern street food often served in pita bread. It’s made with soaked chickepeas that are ground with spices and herbs, then deep fried in balls or patties.

what does falafel taste like?

Falafel, when made right, has a mildly spiced herbal flavor. Coriander and cumin are the dominant spices, with the brightness of cilantro. The texture is crispy on the outside, and crumbly inside.

what’s the difference between falafel and hummus?

Falafel and hummus are both made with chickpeas, but falafel is made by grinding soaked uncooked beans with spices and herbs, them deep frying into crisp balls or patties. Hummus is cooked or canned chickpeas that have been pureed with tahini, garlic, and lemon and used as a dip.

can you make falafel with canned chickpeas?

I don’t recommend making falafel with canned or cooked chickpeas. The mixture tends to fall apart when you fry it. Traditional falafel is made with raw chickpeas that have been soaked so they are tender.

can you bake falafel

Yes you can bake it instead of frying, but the texture won’t be quite as good. When you bake falafel you’ll want to form it into patties rather than balls. Bake on an olive oil coated baking pan at 375F until crisp on one side, then carefully flip to cook the other side. Depending on the size of your patties this might take 20 minutes or so.

can you make falafel in an air fryer?

Yes, but again the texture won’t match the fried version. I recommend shaping falafel into patties for the air fryer and spray both the air fryer basket and the patties with olive oil. Air fry at 350F for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

making a falafel burger with sprouts and hummus

what to serve with falafel burgers

These were great! Restaurant quality! My first attempt making falafel, and I’m glad I found this recipe.

~ Meredith
falafel burger with the works
Print
5 from 3 votes

Falafel Burgers

My falafel burger is two crispy chickpea patties tzatziki sauce, cheese, tomatoes, cukes, onions, sprouts, and hummus on a brioche bun. It's a delicious meatless mouthful that's so much healthier than a fast food burger.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 2 cups falafel mix find recipe here
  • olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp hummus make it homemade here
  • 4 Tbsp tzatziki sauce make it homemade here
  • 4 slices cheese (omit for vegan)
  • 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced
  • 8 very thin slices of red onion
  • 8 very thin slices of tomato
  • 1/2 cup sprouts (you can use lettuce if you prefer)

Instructions

  • Divide the falafel mix into 4 1/2 cup portions and gently roll into balls. Place the balls between sheets of waxed or parchment paper and flatten. You can use a heavy cast iron skillet, or even a tortilla press! Keep chilled until ready to fry.
    making falafel burgers
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with oil. Heat until hot and then, working in batches if necessary, fry the burgers until crispy and browned on the first side. Then flip (gently!) and cook until browned and crisp on the second side.
  • Spread a layer of tzatziki on the bottom of four buns.
    tzatziki sauce on burger bun
  • Top with your falafel burger patties.
    building a falafel burger on a brioche bun
  • Add your cheese ~ I like to use 2 slices of extra thin pepper jack.
    cheese on top of falafel burger
  • Top the cheese with your cucumber slices.
    thinly sliced cucumbers on a falafel veggie burger
  • Follow with your red onions.
    thinly sliced red onion on a meatless burger
  • add tomato slices.
    tomato slices on a falafel burger
  • Finish the stack with your sprouts or lettuce.
    fresh sprouts on a vegetarian burger
  • Spread a layer of hummus on the upper bun.
    making a falafel burger with sprouts and hummus
  • Serve the burgers asap while still hot.
    falafel burger on a plate with salad

Cook’s notes

 
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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6 Comments

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  • Reply
    Marsha
    May 17, 2021 at 6:38 am

    OMG!!. These look amazing. I live in Winnipeg which is now the hot spot for Covid-19 and I want to make a special package that I can deliver to my granddaughter since we can’t get together. Is it possible after frying and cooling to freeze the patties for later use. How would you reheat them? Would you defrost first and then put in a frying pan until heated through ? Or just put in the pan frozen? I am looking forward to your response.

    All the recipes that I have made from your site have turned out great and my family has loved them.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 17, 2021 at 6:45 am

      These can be frozen either cooked or uncooked. If you freeze them after cooking, then I would reheat on a baking sheet in a low-medium (325-350F) oven until hot. You can do this right from frozen. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    May 17, 2021 at 5:43 am

    This looks wonderful! Can you please recommend a good prepackaged falafel mix?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 17, 2021 at 6:08 am

      I don’t often use the boxed mixes, but Casbah brand is pretty good. When I do use a box, I always augment it with fresh herbs.

  • Reply
    Colleen
    May 17, 2021 at 4:47 am

    This looks so great, can’t wait to try. I think the recipe is missing the first step? I’ll add the falafel mix to the hummus for that and then follow the rest. Love your endless creativity!`

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 17, 2021 at 6:11 am

      The first step is correct, the hummus was a typo, sorry about that!

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