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


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


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
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


  • 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


  • 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.


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 tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2020 at 10:32 am


    • Reply
      May 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      If you dry them off with a towel, season and then bake them they make amazing crunchy salad or pasta toppers! 🙂

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 12, 2021 at 7:51 am

      Use them in salads, or to make hummus!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2020 at 6:10 am

    5 stars
    Thank you! I adore falafel and have never got them right until today following your recipe. They held together when I fried them and were a gorgeous green inside.

  • Reply
    Maria Wendy
    February 25, 2020 at 11:19 am

    5 stars
    Por fin! Siiiiiii, una receta bastante fiel a receta original. Estoy casada con un Saudí y no puedo ver esas recetas con los garbanzos cocidos de lata. Lo siento, cada uno en su casa hace lo que quiere, pero entonces no le llames falafel. Gracias por compartir. Besitos

    • Reply
      February 25, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Gracias Maria 🙂

  • Reply
    February 9, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    5 stars
    Brilliant and so easy. Very tasty too

  • Reply
    February 4, 2020 at 3:11 am

    5 stars
    Awesome recipes. Awesome pics

  • Reply
    February 1, 2020 at 7:37 am

    What temp/time would you recommend if I wanted to bake them instead?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      February 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

      I would say 375F, and the time would depend on how large they are, but maybe 15 minutes. You can also pan fry them with much less oil of that appeals to you.

  • Reply
    Majida Nasrawi
    October 31, 2019 at 2:57 am

    It melts when I put it in the oil why???

    • Reply
      Harry David
      March 16, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      The recipe says to *not* compact the mix. But you say here you *should* compact it. Which is it? And by “compact”, do you mean I should pack it down?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 12, 2021 at 6:43 am

      I’ve found that when you use cooked or canned chickpeas they tend to fall apart in the oil. Start with dried beans that have been soaked and they should held together fine.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2019 at 8:08 am

    These turned out fantastic! Two questions…do you ever add fresh mint? It came to mind because the photo had it as a garnish and I thought it might be good. Also I cooked some right away and then I rolled some balls and kept covered in the fridge overnight. When I cooked them the next day the texture was not near as tender and delicious. I’m wondering if I made it the day before but left it in a covered bowl and rolled them just before cooking if that would work better?

    • Reply
      October 15, 2019 at 9:17 am

      Fresh mint would be wonderful in these. It’s funny because I remember liking these even better the next day! I’m not sure not rolling them would make a difference but it’s worth a try.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2019 at 8:03 am

    5 stars
    I’ve been making these ever since I found your recipe. They are AWESOME and my whole family loves them! Thank you for a delicious recipe that is better than restaurant falafel!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    These sound great. I’d be inclined to use corn or potato starch instead of flour, too keep them gluten-free, for the gluten-phobes and celiacs in my life. Thoughts?

    • Reply
      August 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      You can make falafel with chickpea flour, which is gluten free, and that gives nice flavor, too.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

      I use chick pea flour

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