Subscribe to get a free eCookbook with my top 10 recipes + new weekly recipes!

Falafel

5 stars based on 13 votes

Falafel-Mezze

A popular vegetarian dish eaten throughout the Middle East and one of my all-time favorite street foods, falafel are deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. They’re traditionally stuffed in a pita or served as part of a mezze platter (an assortment of appetizers) with hummus, tahini sauce, and yogurt sauce. Falafel is one of those dishes that most people don’t bother to make at home because it seems exotic and difficult. But that’s not the case at all! Making falafel is as easy as making meatballs, and you don’t even have to deep-fry. The key is follow one rule: never, ever use canned chickpeas. Trust me, I tried it once and it was a mushy disaster. You have to use dried chickpeas that have been soaked but not cooked.

ingredients

Begin by soaking the chickpeas overnight. Don’t worry if you’re short on time, you can use the quick-soak method: place the beans in a pot and cover with water by about three inches; bring to a boil and cook for two minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let stand for one hour.

soaking-chickpeas

Drain the chickpeas and add to a food processor along with the scallions, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and spices.

ready-to-blitz

Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

falafel-dough

Form the mixture into patties. I prefer this shape as opposed to balls since I’m pan-frying (not deep-frying).

ready-to-fry

Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Pan fry half of the falafel, moving them around a bit so they don’t stick and flipping once, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes total.

frying-falafel

Drain on paper towels.

ready-to-eat

Serve warm with tahini or yogurt sauce.

Falafel-Mezze-1

Falafel

Servings: 16-20 falafel
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus at least 1 hour to quick-soak the chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed and picked over
  • 8 scallions, from 1 bunch, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by about 4 inches. Soak overnight, adding more water if necessary to keep the chickpeas covered. (Alternatively, if you're short on time, you can use the quick-soak method: place the chickpeas in a pot and cover with water by about three inches; bring to a boil and cook for two minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let stand for one hour.)
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add all of the other ingredients except for the oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Form heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 1-1/2 inches wide.
  4. Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add half of the falafel to the pan (the falafel should sizzle immediately when you drop it in the oil; if it doesn't, wait another minute or two for the oil to heat up.) Nudge the falafel with a metal spatula occasionally so it doesn't stick. When the first side is golden, flip and cook a few minutes more until golden all over. The total cook time should be about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Cook the second batch, then serve warm or room temperature with tahini or yogurt sauce.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 falafel
  • Calories: 228
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 307 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0

Reviews & Comments

  • I plan on doubling the recipe. Can I make the mix the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight?

    - Naz Sicherman on March 9, 2017 Reply
    • Yes, Naz, I think that would work. Please let me know how they turn out!

      - Jenn on March 10, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        They turned out great and the falafel party was big hit! Served with your bulgar salad and homemade pita along with the regular fixings!
        Thank you! Love all your recipes!

        - Naz Sicherman on March 22, 2017 Reply
  • So my falafels fell apart in the pan, they disintegrated into the oil. Would love to know how to keep them together?

    - Amanda Mc Kinley on March 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Amanda, Sorry to hear that these didn’t hold their shape! I’m wondering if perhaps you measured something incorrectly? Did you soak the chickpeas?

      - Jenn on March 5, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jenn, second attempt went much better. We soaked the chickpeas for longer, but also added just a little pinch of flour.
        They taste great the next day also!
        I found your website a few months ago and I’m really enjoying trying your recipes.

        - Amanda Mc Kinley on March 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My go-to falafel recipe. I make a big batch, freeze it, and reheat it when I want it.

    - Elly on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • Where can I find dried chickpeas?

    - Anais Kahermanes on February 22, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Anais, Most large grocery stores will carry them. If not, you may want to try an ethnic market or a store with a bulk bin section. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on February 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was great! I soaked my beans for about 24 hours and had no issue with the falafel patties falling apart while cooking. Very tasty and my family thought they tasted better than our local Greek restaurant!

    - Tracy on January 4, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We love falafels but the only “homemade” ones I’ve made came from a box. Easy but not the best tasting or texture. This recipe is great. The secret is starting with dried garbanzos. They came together nicely, held up to cooking and tasted REALLY wonderful and authentic. The cilantro and spice combo are right on target!

    - Mary Cusack on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I’ve tried the falafel recipe twice now and the parties keep falling apart in the oil while cooking. Any suggestions? It still tastes really good!

    - Steve on November 3, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Steve, I’m sorry to hear you had a hard time with the falafel– they should hold together without a problem. is there a chance you measured something incorrectly? Did you soak the chickpeas?

      - Jenn on November 3, 2016 Reply
      • 4 stars

        I also made this recipe twice and had same problem. The patties are falling apart.I add one tablespoon flour to the mixture and it helped. My family like the taste of these falafels a lot!

        - Zdenka on January 10, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious! I was concerned because the chickpeas were a bit crunchy, even after soaking for 20 hours. I had to squeeze a bit to form the balls (patties), but it worked and they stayed together and have a very nice texture.

    - Laura on September 14, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So good! These were the best falafel I’ve ever had, hands down.

    - Julie on August 26, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I’m so excited to make these tonight for dinner. I am just wondering about the beans I have soaked, which have doubled in volume. Do I use the full amount of soaked beans in this recipe?

    - Angie on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, Angie — the measurement is for dried beans so use all of them. Please come back and lmk how it turns out!

      - Jenn on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Do you know the calories for this recipe?
    Thanks,
    Carol

    - Carol on August 18, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Carol, Basing the serving being falafel, the calories come out to 228. If you’d like to see all of the nutritional stats, scroll down beneath the recipe. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious. Mine crumbled and fell apart first time around – did some research and reformed the patties after adding some baking soda to the recipe – worked like magic. Can’t wait to make again.

    - PB on August 13, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    In a pinch can these be made with canned chick peas? -Would love to make them tonight for lunches during the week!
    Love, love,love every recipe of yours I’ve tried. My 9 yr. old daughter is mastering muffins this summer with your strawberry recipe and our fresh picked stawberries!
    Thanks for sharing your expertise and recipes,
    Jenn McG

    - Jenn McGuinness on July 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jenn, So glad to hear you’re enjoying the recipes (and that your daughter is in on it too)! For the best results, I strongly recommend dried chickpeas here. I’ve tried preparing these with canned and they were kind of a mushy mess!

      - Jenn on July 25, 2016 Reply
  • This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it! I was wondering if this would be a freezer-friendly recipe? Would it work to either make the mixture ahead of time and freeze (or refrigerate) before cooking, or could you fry up the falafel patties and then freeze/refrigerate them before reheating and serving?

    - Kelly on July 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kelly, I do think you could get away with refrigerating either the uncooked or cooked falafel, but I’ve never frozen these (either cooked or uncooked) so I can’t say for sure. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful!

      - Jenn on July 25, 2016 Reply
  • How well do these keep and reheat? Can you freeze? Thanks!

    - Stacy on July 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Stacy, I’ve only eaten this fresh, so I can’t say for sure, but I think they would reheat nicely. And regarding freezing, unfortunately I don’t know because I’ve never frozen them! If you do freeze them, I’d love to know how they turn out when reheated.

      - Jenn on July 25, 2016 Reply
      • we in Egypt freeze it before frying and it’s as fresh, but we also make it with fava bean (dried chopped in halves then soaked in water) just like what you did to the chickpeas.
        try it, it’s much better than using chickpeas.

        - Alaa' hazem on July 27, 2016 Reply
        • almost forgot to tell you we also add dill,coriander and leek to recipe the above.

          - Alaa' hazem on July 27, 2016 Reply
          • the best falafel I have ever eaten were at Carnival restaurant in Los Angeles. I had never heard of them being made with fava beans until then–absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for helping with the substitution, am going shopping now…

            - Lauri on August 30, 2016
  • I’ve never made falafel at home but that looks really yummy and easy. What would you recommend as a substitute for the cilantro?

    - Mim on July 24, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Mim, you can double the parsley in the recipe or use an equivalent amount of fresh dill. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on July 24, 2016 Reply
  • Not to harp on the no frying question but what about an air fryer?

    - Tamera on July 20, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Tamera, I’ve never used an air fryer, so it’s hard to say how they’ll turn out. If you do prepare them this way, I’d love to hear about the results!

      - Jenn on July 20, 2016 Reply
  • Thanks for the recipe!!
    Simple instructions and lovely photos..tempts me to try it soon

    - Deepa Suresh on July 20, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Felafel – long time eater, first time making! The result was delicious, the recipe easy to follow and robust enough to cope easily with a few adjustments. I didn’t have cilantro or spring onions in the garden just now but an abundance of parsley, chives, and garlic scapes (instead of garlic), substitutions that worked fine. I cooked in grapeseed oil. This is the second recipe of yours that I’ve tried and both have been wonderful – thank you!

    - Sarah on July 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful flavour and texture, straight-forward to make, and simply delicious! I made it with your hummus on the side and the mid-east chicken kabobs – a great meal! Can’t thank you enough for this collection of great recipes.

    - Nick on July 16, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jen – is it possible to bake them rather than pan fry them? Thanks!

    - Allison on July 15, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Allison, I think you’ll get the best result by frying them, but if you’d like to bake them, coat a baking sheet with a few Tbsp. of oil and bake them in a 375 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes per side, or until golden.

      - Jenn on July 15, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    The recipe sounds great but I was wondering how you would recommend cooking it without frying. I try to make things as healthy as possible. :).
    Thank you!
    Geri

    - Geri on July 14, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Geri, These really are best fried, but if you’d like to bake them, coat a baking sheet with a few Tbsp of oil and bake them in a 375 degree oven for 10 -15 minutes per side, or until golden. I’d love to know how the baked version turns out!

      - Jenn on July 15, 2016 Reply
      • Hi there! I just tried this recipe as I love falafel and so does my husband who is a strict vegetarian. I was hoping this recipe would work for me but I did everything as you instructed but when it came to me forming my patties they didn’t shape well and basically fell apart when I attempted to fry them. Do you know why that may have happened? Could it maybe be altitude that did this? They became too dry and crumbled apart? I’m so confused and really want to make this recipe work. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

        Sharmila

        - Sharmila on August 1, 2016 Reply
        • Hi Sharmila, I’m sorry to hear you had a hard time with the falafel! The patties should be moist enough hold together without a problem. The altitude shouldn’t affect them- I’m wondering if perhaps you measured something incorrectly? Did you soak the chickpeas?

          - Jenn on August 2, 2016 Reply
          • I did soak the chickpeas per the instructions but I do that on a regular basis and then freeze them. I used some of my presoaked chickpeas and thawed them out so perhaps the problem was that they were pre-frozen? Your opinion on that would be greatly appreciated.

            It wasn’t a total loss though because even the crumbled falafel was tasty which I paired with my own home made babaganoush. I ate them both with whole wheat pita break and it still made for a very tasty lunch. I will keep trying and see if it will work the next time.

            Is altitude only something of concern for baking?

            Thanks for your response. I really like your website. I think you have fantastic recipes. I made your rum cake and it was such a hit. Being in Calgary, Canada we are at higher altitude and so your instructions on the bake times to accommodate were very helpful. Keep up the good work Jenn on this fabulous site you have.

            - Sharmila on August 2, 2016
          • I’m glad you were able to salvage the pieces and enjoy your lunch! I can’t imagine freezing/thawing the chickpeas would make a big difference but, if that’s the only thing that you did differently, perhaps it’s worth trying again with fresh. And, correct, altitude not an issue for anything but baking.

            - Jenn on August 3, 2016
  • Hi Jenn,

    Love eating falafel! These looks so yummy.
    Thanks for the detailed photos & instructions! Saving the recipe for later. :)

    Amy

    - Amy @ Pressure Cook Recipes on July 14, 2016 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.