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Homemade Falafel


A prep-ahead recipe of our homemade falafel (air fryer method included). This protein-packed Arabic recipe is a popular naturally-vegan dish across the globe. They are crispy patties with green fluffy insides – using tons of herbs and earthy spices. It’s a simple 4-step process, made with wholesome plant-based ingredients.

Platter of homemade falafel patties.
Plate of crunchy homemade falafel

About The Recipe

  • High in protein
  • Wholesome plant-based ingredients
  • Can be made oil-free
  • Naturally-vegan
  • Prep-ahead friendly
  • Can be air-fried
A bowl of homemade falafel with couscous, tabbouleh, hummus, and pickles.
Lebanese Falafel Bowl

What Is Falafel?

Originating in Egypt, and making their way around the Middle East (and beyond), Falafel is a popular food that’s typically served for breakfast or lunch – sometimes even dinner.

They’re deep-fried patties made of legumes – mostly chickpeas or fava beans – mixed with tons of herbs, onion, garlic, and earthy spices. Crunchy outside layer with soft and fluffy insides. It has a bit of a spicy kick to it, with a super fun and herby texture.

Platter of homemade falafel patties.
Crispy Homemade Falafel

This recipe of our homemade falafel can also be made in the air fryer. Check out the notes section to learn how to air fry leftover frozen falafel.

My favourite thing about falafel is their versatility in use. You can add them to many meal types.
From pita wraps, to falafel bowls and salads, or as a shareable Mezze for a classic Arabic breakfast spread.
Check out how to serve your falafel in the sections to come.

Falafel pita sandwich.
Falafel pita sandwich

They’re also great to prep a big batch of falafel dough, and freeze for later use. You can even pre-make the falafel patties ahead of time, and cook/fry them later.
Keep reading to find out how to reheat frozen falafel.


Ingredients

The ingredients for the falafel dough consists of 3 main parts: chickpeas, herbs & vegetables, and a spice mix. Once combined, the dough is ready to be used for forming the falafel patties. Which can then be fried (or air-fried), or stored in the freezer to make later. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

For The Chickpeas:

  1. Dry chickpeas – Do not use canned or cooked chickpeas, as the their softness will ruin the texture of authentic falafel. Only use dry chickpeas.

  2. Water – At room temperature. To soak the dry chickpeas.

  3. Baking soda – Allows for faster time to soften the chickpeas.

Herbs & Vegetables:

  1. Curly parsley – Rougher texture for better falafel.

  2. Fresh cilantro – Stems included.

  3. Fresh dill – Stems included.

  4. Onions – Any type works. White or red.

  5. Garlic

Spice Mix:

  1. Coriander – Use fresh ground seeds, if available.

  2. Cumin

  3. Black pepper

  4. Cayenne pepper (optional)

  5. Salt

You’ll also need a few more ingredients to finish it off. Like baking powder and sesame seeds, and oil (if frying).


Step-by-Step Falafel Tutorial

There are 4 parts to making this falafel recipe.

  1. Preparing The Chickpeas – It takes a day to soak.

  2. Making The Falafel Dough – Requires a food processor or high-speed blender.

  3. Forming The Chickpeas – Using a falafel patty maker or by hand.

  4. Cooking The Falafel – Traditional deep frying, or air fry instead.

Here’s the complete guide for our homemade falafel recipe:


Preparing The Chickpeas

  • Add the dry chickpeas to a large bowl with just enough water to cover.
  • Stir in the baking soda. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let it soak for at least 18 hours. They should double in size.
  • Next day, drain the chickpeas from the water, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Making The Falafel Dough

  • Into a food processor (or high-speed blender), add the drained chickpeas, along with the herbs (parsley, cilantro, and dill – stems included), onion, garlic, and spices.
  • Pulse a few times to break everything down. Then process on high until everything is well-combined – leaving you with a nice rough texture that can somewhat hold to itself. It may take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your food processor. Stop every few minutes and scrape down the sides to help with processing.
  • Turn it off, remove the blades, and empty out the falafel dough into a large bowl. Cover and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour – to overnight. The longer the better.
Homemade Falafel dough bowl.
Falafel dough/mix

Forming The Patties

  • Just before making the patties, fold in the baking powder and sesame seeds. Gently mix to combine (don’t over do it).
  • Using a falafel patty maker, pull down on the lever to make room for the dough. Scoop out the falafel dough from the bowl using a spoon. Pack it inside the space you made in the patty maker. Repeat scooping and packing the dough – tightly packed – until you fill it to the top. Release to let go of the formed falafel patty (if frying, you would release directly into the hot oil).

    Check out this quick video to see how we make our falafel using the patty maker:

If you don’t have a falafel patty maker – Slightly wet your hands. Scoop out a bit of the dough (about 1 1/2 tbsp). Gently squeeze, then roll into a ball – watch the video below to see how. Set aside on a flat plate/oven pan with parchment paper.


Cooking The Falafel

You have 3 ways to cook the falafel patties. The traditional deep-frying in oil, air-frying for an oil-free option, or oven-baked (oil-spray for colour).

Frying in oil:

  • In a large pot with hot oil (325 F / 165 C). Carefully drop the falafel patties – in batches. Test a small batch first to make sure it’s hot enough to maintain temperature – don’t overcrowd.
  • Fry for 5 to 7 minutes – until they’re crispy and golden on the outside, with fluffy green insides.
  • Strain from oil using a colander, then place them on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Air-Frying:

  • It’s best to chill the falafel patties ahead of time before air frying. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Place the patties in an air fryer basket – untouched. Air fry at 350F for 5 minutes.
  • Flip each patty then continue air frying at 325F for 5 more minutes.
Homemade Falafel patties in air fryer basket.
Falafel patties in air fryer basket

Oven-Baked:

  • Place the falafel patties on a baking sheet lined with tin foil/parchment paper – spaced out to avoid touching.
  • Bake at 325F for 8 to 10 minutes, until brown on the outside, with green fluffy insides.
Homemade Falafel patties laid on a baking sheet.
Falafel patties on baking sheet

How-To Make Falafel Video

Here’s a quick video for our homemade falafel. Slide through the clips to watch each step.


How To Serve Falafel

Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy falafel:

  • Falafel Pita – In a halved pita, spread some Hummus, then squish 2-3 falafel patties using a fork. Top it off with your favourite vegetables. I like to keep it simple with tomatoes, pickled cucumber/carrots, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. Sprinkled with a garnish of parsley.
Falafel pita sandwich.
Falafel pita sandwich
  • Falafel Bowl – On a bed of pearl couscous (recipe below), with TabboulehHummus, pickles, and tahini sauce. Sprinkled with sumac and parsley.
A bowl of homemade falafel with couscous, tabbouleh, hummus, and pickles.
Lebanese falafel bowl
  • Pearl Couscous – Bring 3 cups water (or vegetable broth) to a boil in a medium pot, with a generous pinch of salt. Add 1 cup of pearl couscous (also known as Lebanese couscous) and 1 tbsp olive oil (optional). Stir and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Mezze – Serve the falafel as part of a Mezze (Arabic spread). Pair it up with Hummus, Fuul, Tabbouleh, Muhammara, Yalanji, and many more!
Platter of homemade falafel patties.
Plate of crispy fluffy falafel patties
  • Tahini Sauce – Regardless of how you choose to eat your falafel, a good tahini sauce is essential. I simply dip the falafel in it, and munch on them as is. Simply mix together: 2 tbsp tahini paste, 1/8 cup water, 2 lemons (squeezed), 2 minced garlic cloves (or garlic paste/sauce), pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Storing & Reheating Falafel

This homemade falafel (air fryer friendly) recipe makes about 40 small falafel patties. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to make a smaller batch. Or prepare the entire batch of falafel dough, then freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months.

You can freeze the dough as is, in freezer bags, releasing air and locking tightly. Alternatively, form into uncooked patties first, then place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours, then transfer to freezer bags for up to 3 months.

For thawing – Defrost the frozen dough in the fridge the night before you want to use it. If you have frozen uncooked patties, defrost for 30 minutes before cooking.


You can reheat falafel in two ways:

1. Air Fryer

Frozen: Place frozen uncooked falafel patties in an air fryer basket at 375 F (or 190 C) for 5 minutes. Flip then continue air frying at 350 F (or 175 C) for 5 more minutes.

Refrigerated: You can air fry refrigerated falafel patties (2 days max) at 300 F (or 150 C) for 2-3 minutes.

Homemade Falafel patties in air fryer basket.
Air-fried falafel patties

2. Oven

Frozen: Line up a baking sheet with parchment paper/tin foil – lightly cover in oil spray. Place the frozen falafel patties – untouched. Bake at 325 F (or 165 C) for 8-10 mins, until crispy and fluffy.

Refrigerated: Since it would take longer to preheat the oven than to reheat the falafel, I don’t use the oven to reheat. I usually air-fry leftover refrigerated falafel patties instead.

Homemade Falafel patties laid on a baking sheet.
Falafel Patties on a baking sheet

I don’t recommend microwaving falafel, as that will lead to moisture buildup. Avoid using the microwave for reheating falafel, but if you must – reheat refrigerated patties for 15 to 20 seconds, or frozen patties (defrost option) at 30-second intervals.

Plate of homemade falafel patties.
Plate of falafel patties

Pro Tips For Best Falafel

Important tips to know for making the best falafel at home:

  1. Only use dry chickpeas – It’s essential that you use dry chickpeas for the best authentic falafel texture. Using canned or cooked chickpeas will result in a mushy texture instead, where the dough might fall apart during frying.

  2. Use a falafel patty maker – If available, a falafel patty maker makes it easier to form the falafel patties. Simply pull down on the lever and hold, then pack it tightly with the falafel dough, and release directly into the hot oil to fry (or prep a big batch to freeze for later).

  3. Make falafel dough ahead of time – The falafel dough will freeze well for up to 3 months. It’s easy to thaw and use for breakfast any day. You can also prepare the falafel patties before freezing, for ease of defrosting/reheating.
A falafel bowl with couscous, tabbouleh, hummus, and pickles.
Lebanese Falafel Bowl

FAQs

How do you make falafel?
Making falafel is a simple process. First, soak the dry chickpeas overnight. Then blend in a food processor with the herbs & spices to make the falafel dough. Scoop out and form into falafel patties using a falafel maker, or by hand. Finally, cook the falafel and serve hot.

What is the falafel mix made of?
The falafel mix is made of a few wholesome plant-based ingredients: Dry chickpeas, Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Onions, Garlic, and Spice Mix.

Can I use canned chickpeas to make falafel?
Absolutely not. Canned chickpeas are wet and much softer in texture than dry chickpeas. As a result, the falafel will turn out mushy, and might break apart during frying. Only use dry chickpeas to make falafel.

Why does my falafel fall apart when frying?
Falafel patties might fall apart during frying because the falafel dough is too moist. This may happen when you use canned chickpeas instead of dry. The soft wet texture of canned chickpeas will result in mushy falafel that could fall apart when frying. Always make sure to use dry chickpeas when making falafel.

Can I air fry falafel?
Absolutely! Using an air fryer for homemade falafel is not only easier, but healthier. It’s an oil-free option, that results in the same crispiness of falafel, with fluffy green insides. While traditionally deep-fried, you can air fry falafel at 350 F for 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking at 325 F for another 5 minutes.

What do you eat with falafel?
Falafel is typically served in warm pita with toppings like: hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. You can also serve falafel as part of a Mezze (Arabic breakfast spread) – which includes a variety of shareable appetizers.


Related Recipes

These homemade falafel make a great appetizer to serve as part of a classic Arabic Mezze. Pair it up with a creamy Hummus, fresh Tabbouleh salad, or these stuffed grape leaves (called Yalanji).


Homemade Falafel (Air fryer) Recipe

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Homemade Falafel (Air Fryer)

Recipe by Waseem HijaziCourse: Breakfast, Mezze, AppetizersCuisine: Arab, Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy
Servings

40

falafel
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Soaking Time

1

minute


A prep-ahead friendly recipe of our homemade falafel (air fryer method included). This protein-packed Arabic recipe is a popular naturally-vegan dish across the globe. They are crispy patties with green fluffy insides – using tons of herbs and earthy spices. It’s a simple 4-step process, made with wholesome plant-based ingredients.

Equipment:
– Large bowl
Food processor or high-speed blender
Falafel patty maker (optional)
Air Fryer (optional for oil-free Falafel)
– Baking sheet

Ingredients

  • For The Chickpeas:
  • 2 1/4 cups dry chickpeas – See Notes (1)

  • Water – enough to cover the chickpeas – room temperature

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • Herbs & Vegetables:
  • 1 1/2 cups parsley – See Notes (2)

  • 1 cup cilantro

  • 1/2 cup fresh dill

  • 1 large white onion – peeled, halved, then quartered

  • 8-10 garlic cloves – peeled

  • Spice Mix:
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp coriander

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper – optional

  • Pinch of salt

  • The Rest:
  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

  • Corn oil (if frying) – enough to cover half a medium pot

Directions

  • Preparing The Chickpeas:
  • Add the dry chickpeas to a large bowl with just enough water to cover.
  • Stir in the baking soda. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let it soak for 24 hours – See Notes (3).
  • Next day, drain the chickpeas from the water, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Making The Falafel Dough:
  • Into a food processor (or high-speed blender), add the drained chickpeas, along with the herbs (parsley, cilantro, and dill – stems included), onion, garlic, and spices.
  • Pulse a few times to break everything down. Then process on high until everything is well-combined – leaving you with a nice rough texture that can somewhat hold to itself. It may take anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your food processor. Stop every few minutes and scrape down the sides to help with processing.
  • Turn it off, remove the blades, and empty out the falafel dough into a large bowl. Cover and let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour – to overnight. The longer the better.
  • Forming The Falafel Patties:
  • Fold in the baking powder and sesame seeds. Gently mix to combine (don’t over do it).
  • Using a falafel patty maker, pull down on the lever to make room for the dough. Scoop out the falafel dough from the bowl using a spoon. Pack it inside the space you made in the patty maker. Repeat scooping and packing the dough – tightly packed – until you fill it to the top. Release to let go of the formed falafel patty (if frying, you would release directly into the hot oil).

    If you don’t have a falafel patty maker – Slightly wet your hands. Scoop out a bit of the dough (about 1 1/2 tbsp). Gently squeeze, then roll into a ball – watch the video below to see how. Set aside on a flat plate/oven pan with parchment paper.
  • Cooking The Falafel:
  • Traditionally, they’re deep fried in a large pot with hot oil (325 F / 165 C). Carefully drop the falafel patties – in batches. Test a small batch first to make sure it’s hot enough to maintain temperature – don’t overcrowd.

    Fry for 5 to 7 minutes – until they’re crispy and golden on the outside, with fluffy green insides. Strain from oil using a colander, then place them on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • To Air Fry – It’s best to chill the falafel patties ahead of time before air frying. Chill in the fridge for an hour. Place the patties in an air fryer basket – untouched. Air fry at 350 F for 5 minutes. Flip each patty then continue air frying at 325 F for 5 more minutes.
  • Serving The Falafel:
  • Falafel Pita – In a halved pita, spread some Hummus, then squish 2-3 falafel patties using a fork. Top it off with your favourite vegetables. I like to keep it simple with tomatoes, pickled cucumber/carrots, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. Sprinkled with a garnish of parsley.
  • Falafel Bowl – On a bed of pearl couscous (recipe below), with Tabbouleh, Hummus, pickles, and tahini sauce. Sprinkled with sumac and parsley.
  • Pearl Couscous – Bring 3 cups water (or vegetable broth) to a boil in a medium pot, with a generous pinch of salt. Add 1 cup of pearl couscous (also known as Lebanese couscous) and 1 tbsp olive oil (optional). Stir and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  • Mezze – Serve the falafel as part of a Mezze (Arabic spread). Pair it up with Hummus, Fuul, Tabbouleh, Muhammara, Yalanji, and many more!
  • Tahini Sauce – Regardless of how you choose to eat your falafel, a good tahini sauce is essential. Mix together: 2 tbsp tahini paste, 1/8 cup water, 2 lemons (squeezed), 2 minced garlic cloves (or garlic paste/sauce), pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • (1) Chickpeas – For best results, only use dry chickpeas. Not canned, or cooked. Soaked overnight to soften.
  • (2) Parsley – Curly parsley has a rougher texture than flat parsley. It helps to use curly parsley in this recipe for best falafel texture.
  • (3) Soaking – Soak the chickpeas for at least 18 hours (up to 24). This improves the overall quality and texture of the falafel in this recipe. Each bean should be soft enough to be processed.
  • (4) Storing extra dough – Make a big batch of this falafel recipe, and store the extra dough in freezer bags. To do so, prepare the dough as per the above steps (including the baking powder and sesame seeds). Once mixed and ready, you can store in 2 ways:

    a) Pack the falafel dough tightly using a spatula inside large freezer bags. Releasing all air, securely lock it up. Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in fridge the night before you want to use.

    b) Form the falafel patties first (using your preferred method: falafel maker, or by hand). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours. Then move the patties to a freezer bag, releasing air, and securely locking it up. This helps keep the patties separated, and easy to defrost later.
  • (5) Reheating leftovers – Reheat leftover *cooked* falafel patties in the air-fryer for 2 minutes at 300F.

    You can also reheat *uncooked* leftover dough/patties. Defrost the dough in the fridge the night before you want to use them. Or at room temperature until you are able to scoop it out and form into patties. If you have pre-made *uncooked* falafel patties, defrost for 30 minuets before reheating/cooking. To do so, you have 2 ways:

    a) Air-fry – Place defrosted falafel patties in air fryer basket – spaced out to avoid touching. Set to 375F and air fry for 5 minutes. Flip then continue air frying at 350F for 5 minuets.

    b) Oven-baked – Place defrosted falafel patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – spaced out to avoid touching. Bake at 325F for 8 to 10 minutes, until brown on the outside, with green fluffy insides.
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