The Best Falafel Recipe




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The Best Falafel EVER! 7

The Best Falafel is crispy on the outside, a brilliant emerald green on the inside, with tons of flavor and a great fluffy texture!  This classic vegan snack is one of my all time favorites!

A small plate with a stack of The Best Falafel


Reader Rave ~

I am SO glad I found this recipe. These were by far the best falafel I have ever made, and quite possibly the best I have ever had! Thank you, Sue! I’m new to your site… this recipe has made a devoted follower out of me !!!!!”  ~Robin


It’s been a great lineup of recipes so far this week at TVFGI.  I’m not much of a meal planner, and so what we eat on any given day is always a bit of an adventure, and I’m never quite sure how it will play out, blogging wise.   Sometimes I’ll let the larder go almost completely bare and I have to get creative with what I’ve got, (ripe bananas) and other times I’ll pass something amazing at the farmer’s market or the grocery store (gorgeous artichokes) that determines  the menu for the day.  I found the inspiration for the best falafel ever as I flipped through a new cookbook late last night in bed,  I’m so glad I didn’t nod off before I came across this new method for making one of my favorite treats.

A plate of The Best Falafel ready to be fried

I’ve always loved falafel.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, falafel are delicately spiced Middle Eastern fritters made with chick peas.  The round or patty shaped mixture is deep fried and there are lots of ways to eat it… on the street it’s sold wrapped up in pita or Middle Eastern flatbread.  I like it on top of a salad.  You can also serve it as part of an appetizer platter, but however you choose to enjoy it it’s always accompanied by a thick, lemony tahini sauce.  The best is crunchy on the outside, fluffy and well seasoned inside.   It should be garlicky, with lots of warm spices like cumin and coriander.

The Best Falafel on a yellow plate, with one cut open to reveal a bright emerald green

I add TONS of fresh herbs like parsley and coriander to mine because it gives it a wonderful fresh flavor and you get the beautiful surprise of a bright emerald green when you cut through the mahogany brown crust.  There is even some hot chile pepper in there which gives a little bit of heat.  I’ve experimented with various recipes over the years, and I’ve eaten falafel in countless restaurants, so trust me when I tell you, I’ve hit on one amazing recipe this time.  We ate these over the course of two nights with salad, hummus, and flatbread.  I fried the falafel fresh each night, and they were even better the second time around.

The Best Falafel just out of the frying oil, draining on a rack

If you love falafel, check out my FALAFEL SALAD BOWL, it makes a main course out of these delicious fritters.

a small plate with The Best Falafel, fresh mint, and tahini sauce

Once you’ve fried up your falafel, you’re going to need some of my HOMEMADE PITA BREAD to go with it!

an overhead photo of a piece of pita bread ~ How to make pita bread


Reader Rave ~

I am SO glad I found this recipe. These were by far the best falafel I have ever made, and quite possibly the best I have ever had.  Thank you, Sue! I’m new to your site… this recipe has made a devoted follower out of me !!”  ~Robin


The Best Falafel I’ve Ever Made!
Rate this recipe
77 ratings

Yield: approximately 2 dozen small falafel (serves 4-6)

The Best Falafel I’ve Ever Made!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small hot chile pepper (I used a Serrano)
  • a large handful of parsley, large stems removed (1 packed cup)
  • a large handful of cilantro, large stems removed (1 packed cup)
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour, or you can use any alternative flour you like
  • vegetable oil for frying
    tahini sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch salt
  • water for thinning

Instructions

  1. To soak dried chickpeas, rinse them and then put them in a large bowl. Cover with lots of cold water and soak for 12 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse them, and then measure out 3 cups, which should be about 1 lb. Note, you will have some leftover chickpeas.
  2. Cut the half onion into quarters and drop into the food processor as the machine is running. Follow with the garlic cloves. Cut the pepper in half and drop that in too.
  3. Stop the machine and add in the fresh parsley and cilantro. Use lots of herbs, if you need a way to measure, use a firmly packed cup of each. The herbs filled my processor to the top before I processed them. Process the herbs until finely minced. Stop and scrape down the bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas to the machine and pulse until they start to break down. Scrape down the sides of the machine, and process until the mixture is even and finely ground, but not pasty. It is ready when a bit of the mixture holds together when you press it between your fingers.
  5. Remove the mixture to a bowl and lightly mix in the salt, baking soda, flour, cumin, ground coriander, lemon zest and juice. Make sure it is well combined, but don't compact the mixture.
  6. Heat your oil to 340- 350F, using a clip on thermometer to check the temperature. Your oil should be at least 3 inches deep.
  7. Using a 1 1/2 inch scoop, scoop out the mixture and roll between your palms to form into round balls. They will be about the size of large walnuts. Set on a plate.
  8. When the oil is hot, gently lower the balls into the oil with a slotted spoon. Work in batches so you don't crowd your pan. Fry the falafel for about 4 to 5 minutes, until they are a nice deep brown.
  9. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Serve hot with tahini sauce. Make the tahini sauce by mixing the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and enough water to make a pourable sauce. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

Notes

This recipe is slightly adapted from Olives, Lemons & Za'atar

 

 

Don’t forget to pin The Best Falafel!

The Best Falafel is crispy on the outside, a brilliant emerald green on the inside, with tons of flavor and a great fluffy texture! This classic vegan snack is one of my all time favorites! #meatlessmonday #vegan #vegetarian #recipe #Mediterraneandiet #middleeastern #healthyappetizer #healthydinner #chickpeas #veggieburgers

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113 Comments

  • Reply
    J
    May 1, 2015 at 5:59 am

    My family is from West Bank (Jordan), and we don’t use any binder – No egg, No flour, No bread crumbs, etc. The key is using dried beans soaked and uncooked, and baking powder. I can’t ever imagine adding flour; seems like they would be dense.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 1, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Thanks for your input J! My original recipe had no flour, but I got so many comments from people who had trouble with the falafel falling apart that I added it in later.

      • Reply
        HAkeem
        July 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        HEy J,

        what happens then with the dried beans (soaked and uncooked)? How you add them to rest? and when?

        • Reply
          HAkeem
          July 14, 2015 at 4:12 pm

          HEy Sue, your recipe sounds delicious and I will test it in the next few days! Thanks!

        • Reply
          Sue
          July 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

          They go into the processor after the onion, garlic and herbs, HAkeem.

  • Reply
    Brenna
    March 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Didn’t work at all. I used canned chick peas and although they formed well and were refrigerated before cooking, they melted apart in the oil. The same happened in a shallow fry.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      That’s too bad, Brenna…it’s a common problem with falafel. I can give you a couple of suggestions for next time. First, make sure you have soaked your chickpeas for the entire time, and make sure they are well drained, you don’t want excess water. And when you grind the chickpea mixture, test it with your fingers to make sure it holds together. Press firmly when you form the balls, and you can refrigerate the falafel to firm it up before frying. Make sure your oil is up to temperature, and gently lower them into the oil. They should hold together fine. Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Emily T.
        April 20, 2015 at 5:52 pm

        Sue,

        Am I understanding correctly that the chickpeas you are using are not cooked? They are only soaked to soften them? Like Brenna, I planned to use canned chickpeas which are already cooked.

        • Reply
          Sue
          April 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

          This particular recipe uses them uncooked, Emily, I’ve made them with cooked and canned chickpeas, too. You can use canned but you may want to look up another recipe so that you aren’t disappointed with the texture. Falafel is kind of a delicate balance when it comes to the batter, and you don’t want it too dry or too wet.

  • Reply
    Blumpkin Pie
    February 19, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I have been searching for a falafel recipe like this for years. I must admit that I was skeptical at first, as the balls really seemed too delicate to hold their shape during the frying process (I pan fried). However, I made sure to stick to a four piece batch size and left them alone to develop a nice crispy crust that held them together nicely. I gently flipped them once during the process. They have a beautiful flavor and texture. My search is finally over!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

      I’m so glad! Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and I love it when it’s bright green and fluffy — you’ve made me want to make a batch for myself!

  • Reply
    Christina
    January 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Another “want” on my homemade list! Your recipe sounds fab, Sue…I’d just omit the cilantro, since I’m one of “those” people ;) Can’t help it, I’ve read…supposedly in our DNA!

  • Reply
    Chai
    January 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    These have a great flavor, however there is no binder to hold these together. My fell apart in the pan, I ended up just baking them. Still good but not the same.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Chai. I have recently updated the recipe to include 2 tablespoons of flour to help with that, thanks!

      • Reply
        Chai
        January 18, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        That’s awesome, thank you.

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 18, 2015 at 4:35 pm

          Thanks for calling it to my attention!

  • Reply
    Monika
    July 6, 2014 at 3:24 am

    I just tried to make these, & boy oh boy. They seriously just melted/fell apart in the oil. Then I tried to pan fry as someone suggested above, & they also feel apart. I do not know what went wrong!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 6, 2014 at 8:04 am

      All I can think of is that you may have not processed the mixture quite enough so that it can stick together? Did you leave anything out? It also helps to refrigerate the balls before frying. But I’ve made these lots of times and never had that happen. I hope you give it another try, and let me know!

  • Reply
    Yosef {This American Bite}
    June 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I need these! It’s a “stop everything I am doing and cook them right now” desire.

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  • Reply
    CakePants
    March 14, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    These look delicious!! Even though they’re not a part of Irish cuisine, they could be a great St. Patrick’s day meal, with their naturally green coloring!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 15, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I agree!

  • Reply
    Kari@Loaves n Dishes
    March 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Falafel is one of my favorite foods! I love that there are tons of bright, fresh herbs in this falafel!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

      It’s such a fun surprise to cut into them and see the color. But the more important thing is that all those herbs really add flavor…sometimes falafel can be a little boring without something to liven it up. In this case it has the hint of heat from the hot pepper, too.

  • Reply
    grace
    March 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    so much herbage, i can see how these would taste outstanding! the texture inside looks perfect and they’re crispy too–bravo!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      They brown up and crisp in just minutes in the oil, and I know it’s probably wishful thinking, but they don’t seem to absorb hardly ANY oil!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    March 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

    These look so amazing – I shared on Facebook. I need to make these! Yum – hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  • Reply
    cheri
    March 14, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I’m a big fan of falafel as well, and these look delicious. I have never made anything like this before, but it certainly seems like it is worth it.

  • Reply
    Velva
    March 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I love falafel. It has never occurred to me to make it myself. I suddenly feel inspired. Thanks for shaing it with us.

    Velva

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      I think you’ll love how much lighter and fresher it is when you make it yourself, Velva.

  • Reply
    Kathy
    March 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Oh your falafel looks so tasty! I have never tried making them but every time I see them on a menu I have to have some! Love the vibrant color of yours!

  • Reply
    Eileen
    March 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Such a classic meal, and so good! I’ve never made my own falafel at home–clearly this needs to go on the list. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      This is one of the easier recipes I’ve made, in addition to being the best. You don’t have to pre-cook the chickpeas so the process is pretty simple.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife
    March 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Before I even opened up my feed reader this morning, I put falafel on my meal plan for next week. I love the idea of the fresh herbs in the mixture.

    My husband is a purist when it comes to falafel since his deployment in Iraq but I’m going to try the herbs on him and if he doesn’t like there will be more for me. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I’d love to get his take on this recipe, Jennifer…let me know!

  • Reply
    annie @ chase that i love
    March 13, 2014 at 9:48 am

    True story: One time my guy and I were driving home from a very long run at a local trail. I had gone longer than he did and was starving. This was right around the time that he’d been begging for my permission to buy a new bike. I was dying for some falafel and he refused to stop until I agreed to the bike. Later, when my belly was full and happy, I regretted the decision made in hunger.
    Anyways, I bet that won’t be happening again. This falafel looks AMAZING. It looks amazing enough for me to get over my deep fear of deep frying. I can’t wait to try these. YUM.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Great story! I got over my fear of deep frying a while ago :) But actually, I meant to include that you can definitely fry these in a skillet with just a small amount of oil, too. As long as they get crispy and cook through, it’s all good!

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