The Best Falafel Recipe

serving falafel with tahini sauce

The best falafel near you? It’s right in your own kitchen! This recipe is crispy on the outside, a moist emerald green on the inside, garlicky, with lots of warm spices like cumin and coriander, and has the perfect fluffy texture.

homemade falafel with salad and lemon

falafel is the original veggie burger!

Falafel, or Middle Eastern chickpea fritters, are deep dried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. They’re eaten wrapped in pita bread, on top of salads, or just as a snack. Drenched in the requisite thick, lemony tahini sauce, it’s simply divine.

Falafel is sold on streets all over the middle east, and in restaurants worldwide. McDonald’s Egypt even sells a McFalafel sandwich (I’m so jealous.) And over many years of enjoying falafel in different parts of the globe, I’m confident that this homemade version is the very best, outside of maybe that secret little shop in Beirut or Tel Aviv. You’re going to love the flavor and the fluffy texture, so let’s get going.

soaking dried chickpeas

THE FOUR SECRETS TO GREAT FALAFEL

I adore falafel, but like many delicious foods, it can be tricky. It can be tough, or dry, under or over cooked, lacing in flavor…the list goes on. But once you know the ropes, you’ll never be without the best falafel in the world.

  • start with dried chickpeas that are soaked tender but not cooked

This is the number one secret to authentic falafel. Don’t be tempted by the convenience of canned chickpeas, they will make a mushy fritter. Cooked chickpeas make a falafel that can fall apart in the oil, and they will not have the correct texture. And luckily, actually, soaking chickpeas overnight is much easier than cooking them, so it’s a win win.

  • I personally feel that great falafel needs lots of fresh herbs

That means fresh parsley and cilantro. You’ll get the beautiful surprise of a bright emerald green when you cut through the mahogany brown crust, and the herbs add tons of moisture and flavor. Falafel must be green.

  • a bit of flour helps bind the mixture so the falafel don’t fall apart as they fry

This is controversial, some say there should be no flour in falafel, but I’ve found it necessary. You can use all purpose flour, or chickpea flour to keep it gluten free.

  •  a little baking powder

You’ll blend it into the falafel mixture and when the falafel cooks, the baking powder will release carbon dioxide gas to create a lighter, fluffier, result.

making falafel in a food processoringredients for falafel

  • dried chickpeas that have been soaked but not cooked.
  • baking soda, for adding to the soaking liquid.
  • parsley and cilantro ~ these must be fresh. Lop the tops of 2 bunches and add them right to the processor.
  • garlic ~ fresh garlic adds a wonderful kick.
  • red onion ~ you can also use green onions but I love red onion best.
  • cumin and coriander ~ these dried spices are traditional.
  • lemon zest and juice
  • hot pepper, optional, but I love it. I use 1/2 a jalapeño pepper but you could also add some red pepper flakes.
  • flour ~ helps bind the mixture. You can use garbanzo flour for a gluten free choice.
  • baking powder ~ this will create a lighter, fluffier texture.
  • salt

method

Whiz the whole lot in your food processor. If you don’t have a full sized machine you’ll need to do it in batches.  Process until everything is finely ground but not so far that it becomes a paste. You want to see a little texture in the falafel mixture. It should hold together when you squeeze it in your hand, but will fall apart easily as well, like wet sand.

forming falafel balls and patties

which is best, falafel balls or patties?

The shape of your falafel is up to you, and depends on how you like to eat them and how you want to fry them.

  • round ballsportioned with a small scoop and rolled gently in your palms are best for snacking, or as part of a salad or appetizer plate. They also are best when you are able to deep fry them, so they stay nice and round. They aren’t a good choice for shallow pan frying because of their round shape.

  • patties are great when you want to stuff pita pockets for sandwiches. They can be deep fried, but can also be shallow fried in a pan because of their flatter shape.

To shape the balls I use a small cookie scoop and for the patties I use a larger cookie scoop and then roll or shape with my hands.

a falafel plate with salad, pita bread, and tahini sauce

how to serve falafel

Falafel can be served warm or at room temperature.

Serve them as is as a snack, an appetizer, or as part of a bigger mezze selection.  Serve tahini sauce or yogurt based tzatziki sauce on the side for dipping; never serve without some sort of dip.

A classic way to enjoy falafel is stuffed inside a pita bread pocket. I like to fill the bottom of the pita with hummus, them some greens, topped with the falafel and some tahini sauce. You can also stuff the pita with chopped tomatoes and cucumber, or even some Israeli salad, chopped finely.

You can top a plate of freshly made hummus with falafel balls.

Probably my favorite way to use falafel is in salads, check out my Falafel Salad Bowl, it makes a main course out of these delicious fritters.

Once you’ve fried up your very own falafel, you’re going to need some of my Homemade Pita Bread to go with it!

green falafel on a plate with salad, lemons, and tahini sauce

falafel faqs

can you make falafel ahead

Your falafel mix will keep beautifully in the fridge for a day or two so you can do the work one day, and then scoop it out and fry fresh falafel when you want it. This is my best meal prep secret!

is falafel healthy

Falafel is deep fried in oil, so to that extent it is not considered a particularly healthy food. But the ingredients that make it up are very nutritious and it is an excellent replacement for less healthy meat in the diet. Eaten in moderation, falafel is part of a prudent diet. And it’s delicious 🙂

is falafel vegan

Definitely. So is the pita bread, salad,  and tahini sauce that it’s normally eaten with.

can you bake falafel

Baked falafel is frankly not nearly as good. If you really can’t stand deep frying, you can shape your falafel into patties and shallow fry them on the stove. If you want to bake, do it at 375F, and brush your patties generously on both sides with oil. Bake until crispy, flipping once. It should take about 25 minutes, but watch carefully for over browning.

can you make falafel in the air fryer

Yes, you can, although I haven’t tried it personally. Again, it won’t be nearly as good as frying the traditional way, but it can be done. Set the machine to 350F and spray both the basket and the falafel patties with oil. Cook in a single layer for 8 minutes. Then flip the patties and let them fry for another 5 or 6 minutes.

can you freeze falafel

Yes. You can freeze it raw or cooked. To freeze raw falafel, form it into balls or patties, arrange them on a lined baking sheet and put into the freezer until solid. Then transfer to a freezer safe container or a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag. Use within 6 months. Thaw the frozen falafel in the refrigerator overnight, then cook as usual.

To freeze cooked falafel freeze in a freezer safe container or heavy duty zip lock bags. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and reheat wrapped loosely in foil in a low oven until hot.

falafel in pita with lettuce, tomato, and tahini sauce

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


*This recipe has been updated 4/21

The Best Falafel EVER! 6
Print
3.55 from 337 votes

The Best Falafel I’ve Ever Made!

The Best Falafel recipe is crispy on the outside, a brilliant emerald green on the inside, with tons of flavor and a great fluffy texture! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 572kcal
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (500 grams) soaked chickpeas Note: use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight, but do not cook them. See instructions for soaking chickpeas below.
  • 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small hot chile pepper, sliced I used a Serrano
  • a large handful of parsley, tender stems are ok, this will be about a packed cup.
  • a large handful of cilantro, tender stems are ok. This will be about a 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 powder
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour, or chickpea flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

tahini sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch salt
  • water for thinning

Instructions

  • Measure out 3 cups (500 grams) of soaked and drained chickpeas. Note: you are starting with dried chickpeas that have been soaked, but not cooked.
    soaked chickpeas
  • Put the soaked beans, fresh herbs, onion, garlic cloves, hot pepper, lemon zest and juice, spices, salt, baking powder, and flour in the bowl of a full sized food processor. Your machine will be full. Note: if your machine is smaller, do this in batches.
    ingredients for falafel in a food processor
  • Pulse the machine repeatedly to break everything down.
    coarsely ground falafel mixture in food processor
  • Stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Run again until the mixture is evenly blended but still has some texture, like coarse sand. It should hold together when you squeeze it between your fingers, but also fall apart easily. It should have a texture similar to wet sand. Note: you can refrigerate the mixture at this point for up to 2 days ahead of time.
    falafel mixture in a food processor
  • Using your hands or a small cookie scoop portion out the mixture and roll into balls or form patties. The mixture will be delicate, so use a gentle touch.
    forming balls or patties of falafel
  • If you are using a deep fryier or a deep pot for frying, heat your oil to about 340F. Use a thermometor to check the temperature. Your oil should be at least 3 inches deep. Note: You can also shallow fry patties in a pan on the stove.
  • When the oil is hot, gently lower the balls or patties into the oil with a slotted spoon. Work in batches so you don't crowd your pan. Fry the falafel for about 2 to 3 minutes, until they are a nice deep brown on the outside and fluffy inside. If they are getting too dark, lower the temperature of your oil. If they are not turning golden within a minute, turn up the temperature a bit.
    Fried falafel on a plate
  • Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with tahini sauce.
    serving falafel with tahini sauce
  • Make the tahini sauce by mixing the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and enough cold water to make a sauce. Taste to adjust the lemon and salt. Note: be sure to stir your jar of tahini thoroughly before measuring, as it separates.

Cook’s notes

 
To soak dried chickpeas:
Rinse 3 cups dried chickpeas and put in a large bowl. Add cold water to cover by several inches. Stir in 1 tsp of baking soda. 
Let sit on the counter overnight, then drain. 
Measure out 3 cups or 500 grams of beans for this recipe. You will have extra beans which you can use in salads or to make hummus.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 1149mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1135IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 10mg
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.
free ebook

You Might Also Like

173 Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!




  • 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
    [email protected] 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!

1 2 3 9

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

I'M SPILLING ALL MY SECRETS!

Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking

WANT TO BE A BETTER BAKER?

logo png