This is the BEST falafel I've ever eaten! Light and airy yet crispy falafel balls filled with herby garlic flavour made easily at home! Naturally gluten free and dairy free these homemade falafel.
As a person who has spent many years of her life as a vegetarian, I have eaten a LOT of falafel. Falafel shops were always a favourite of mine for a quick lunch on the run because it was one of the best vegetarian options available and also because it was something I never thought I could make at home. Turns out I was wrong!
If you are already a falafel fan, you are going to love this one, and if it is something you haven't tried yet I hope this recipe inspires you to!
These falafel balls are just as they should be - a nice crispy exterior, a fluffy and flavourful inside, not too moist and not too dry.
If you loved these falafel, you might want to check out our falafel burgers! They are all the flavour and goodness of these falafel shaped into a patty and served up burger style!
Start with dried chickpeas not canned for the best falafel
The first thing that you need to do is start with dried chickpeas. I know that there are a bunch of recipes out there that suggest you can you canned, but I've got to tell you if you want the most authentic flavour with the best chickpeas you are going to need to start with dry uncooked chickpeas.
Besides the fact that there is something about the flavour of canned chickpeas that I just don't like for dishes like this where the chickpea is the star, it also comes down to the texture. Canned chickpeas are already cooked and so when processing it doesn't breakdown the same way that a soaked uncooked bean does and it will make your falafel mushy and dense.
If you are sceptical, or just want some more in-depth research on this post by Serious Eats breaks down falafel secrets - it was a great read!
Because of this, you need to plan ahead for this one because the chickpeas take 24 hours to soak, but after that, it comes together pretty quickly.
How to make homemade falafel:
Put the dried chickpeas in a medium sized bowl and add water to make sure they are covered by at least a couple of inches. Leave on the counter to soak for 24 hours before you plan to cook the falafel.
For the dough:
To make the falafel dough, place all the ingredients except the flour and baking powder into the food processor with a blade attachment. I like to give the onions and garlic a bit of a quick chop before putting them in so that they mix into the dough better.
Process the ingredients on high for about 3-4 minutes stopping every now at then to open the top and push the mixture that creeps up the sides back down into the middle of the processor to make sure everything blends well.
The texture you are looking for is grainy but not overly processed. You are not trying to make hummus, just breaking down the soaked chickpeas into large grain side pieces.
When you have processed the mixture, transfer it to a bowl, sprinkle with the flour and baking powder and mix well using a spatula.
For the balls:
Line a medium sized baking sheet or tray with parchment paper for storing the formed balls until they are to be cooked.
Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of falafel dough from the bowl and roll into a ball with the palms of your hand. Flatten it slightly until it has more of a wheel shape, then lay it on the parchment lined tray.
Continue making falafel balls until all the dough is gone. You should have enough dough for 24 falafel.
When I am done making the balls, I like to let them sit in the fridge for an hour or two to let them rest and help them firm up. If you don't want to wait, you can go ahead and fry them but I would suggest being extra careful as you lower the ball into the oil to help ensure it doesn't fall apart.
To cook the falafel balls:
Fill a deep sided skillet with a couple of inches of vegetable oil and heat the burner to medium. It should take about 10 minutes for the oil to heat up. I test to see if the oil is ready by wetting my finger and flicking a tiny drop of water into the oil - if it sizzles, it is ready. Be careful to not put too much water into the oil or it will go nuts - you don't want a full drop, just a tiny bit.
When the oil is nice and hot, begin cooking the falafel by lowering them gently into the hot oil using a spatula. The falafel balls are fairly delicate while raw so you will want to be careful here.
Place as many falafel balls in the skillet as you can without overcrowding it. You want to be sure there is ample space around each ball so that it can cook properly. Too many balls in the skillet can also lower the temperature of the oil.
Let the balls cook without disturbing them for 30-60 seconds on the first side. You will know they are ready to flip when sides of the falafel have started to turn a nice golden colour. Flip the falafels over and cook for 30 seconds more before removing from the pan and placing them onto a paper towel lined tray to absorb any excess oil.
What to serve it with:
Falafel is great in a pita wrap with lettuce, tomato and onions. Middle Eastern restaurants often serve it up on a platter with rice and potato and salad sides.
Another great suggestion would be to try it with our fattoush salad, or as part of a meze platter with other Middle Eastern apps like hummus.
Tips for homemade falafel:
- If you like to spice it up, add some cayenne or red pepper flakes to the dough
- Presoaked chickpeas can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days before you plan to make the falafel
- Cooked falafel will last at least 5 days stored in a fridge in an airtight container
- To freeze: lay the falafel out flat on a tray and flash freeze in your freezer for 30 minutes or so before transferring to a storage container so they don't stick together
- To reheat: Thaw the falafel in the fridge the day before, then warm in a 350℉ oven for 15-20 minutes
Dietary Considerations and Accommodations
This recipe for homemade falafel is suitable for the following diets:
- vegan and vegetarian
- gluten free, dairy free, and allergy friendly
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- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1⁄2 large onion, roughly chopped - about 1 cup
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 Tablespoons chickpea flour - or flour
- Soak the chickpeas for 24 hours in a large bowl. covered by at least a couple of inches of water.
- Drain the chickpeas and place them in a food processor along with the onions, parsley, cilantro, salt, garlic, ground coriander and cumin.
- Process until the mixture is blended and chopped but not pureed then transfer the mixture to a bowl, sprinkle with the chickpea flour and baking powder then mix with a spatula.
- Form the falafel mixture into little balls about the size of one heaping tablespoon. Flatten slightly and place on a parchment lined tray. Continue until all the falafel balls are formed.
- Place the tray in the fridge for about an hour to let the mixture set.
- Fill a large skillet with tall sides with a couple of inches of oil and then heat over medium heat.
- When the oil is heated, add the falafel balls to the skillet by lowering them gently into the hot oil. Leave ample space between the balls - I fit about 6 in my skillet.
- Cook the falafel on the first side for about 30-60 seconds without disturbing it so it does not fall apart. The falafel is ready to be flipped when the sides have turned a golden colour.
- Flip the falafel and cook on the second side for 30 seconds before removing them from the skillet to a paper towel lined tray.
- Continue until all the falafel are cooked.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.
Looks so delicious! I love falafel, it's one of my favorite snacks for dinner with some tahini and vegetable salad 🙂
Jenni LeBaron says
I love the flavors that you've packed into these falafel. We love using cumin in so many dishes at my house so I'm positive I would love your recipe!
I've never tried making falafel at home before. I'm going to try your recipe!
These are SO delicious!! Thank you for sharing this recipe - beats the heck out of the box mix!!!😂
Sara Welch says
These were so light yet filling at the same time! Love that they are gluten free, too!
I can make the best falafel and amazing Tahini Sauce. But never I would tell anyone about the recepe
Matt @ Plating Pixels says
I’ve never made homemade falafels and I feel like I’m missing out! Can’t wait to try these.
I was under the impression that all dried beans need to be cooked even after soaking otherwise they are toxic. Can I cook the chickpeas first?
I have actually never heard that myself.
The chickpeas can't be cooked first - it makes them too watery. But they will be fully cooked after the frying step. I hope that helps.
Michelle Fioretti says
Would these work cooking them any other way then frying .
I haven’t tried doing them any other way, but if I was going to what I would do is place the falafel balls on a parchment lined baking sheet then spray the falafel with a cooking spray to help them crisp up and bake them at 425. I would check them at 15-20 minutes and then go from there.
I think that the cooked falafel would also be more delicate if cooked this way.
Hope that helps!! I’d love to hear from you about how they turned out if you try it!
L.R. Glosson says
Might this suggestion also work in an air fryer?
Oh! My! Word! I love falafel and I just can’t say enough good things about this recipe It is beyond delicious!
Since I am gf, I serve these over rice with cucumber tzatziki, tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
Also want to say, don’t make the mistake of using canned chickpeas. It doesn’t work. Your falafel will fall apart when you fry it and it will be a huge disappointment.
Love this! Thank you!!
I'm so happy you loved them Joni! You are welcome 🙂
Colette Dineen says
I don't have chickpea flour. What can I use instead? Thanks.
Hi Colette! Just use regular flour 🙂
Excited to make this! Did you use cabbed chickpeas that you drained and soaked over night or something else?
Whoops, meant canned* chickpeas.
Hi there! This recipe uses dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight. I hope that helps!
Great dish we loved them. What is 24k cal? We wanted to know the calorie counter per falafel. Thank you for recipe.
Hi Thomas! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the falafel! 24k is the approximate calorie count for 1 falafel BEFORE it is fried. Unfortunately, I can't account for the oil that is absorbed while cooking, only the ingedients used to make the falafel. Sorry for the confusion, I hope that helps.
Excellent recipe. I tried it and they were perfect. Iam so please. I did not have any parsley but still tasted just as good. Thank you very much !
You're so welcome Wendy! I am so glad that you enjoyed them 🙂
Simran Chelani says
Hey, I wanna try this out but at the moment I don’t have parsley or cilantro at home and I can’t go to buy it because of the lockdown. What would you suggest I do? Thank you
The parsley and cilantro add a nice flavour to the falafel, but if you need to make it without them you can - the falafel just won't have as much flavour. I hope that helps!
Thank you Lindsey! I was able to find cilantro and parsley!
Another question, I ran out of baking powder. Is it necessary for this recipe!
Baking powder helps to make the falafel light and fluffy.
I haven't tested the recipe without baking powder, but my thought on it is that you could make it without it, the balls will just be more dense, and not as good. I hope that helps, and I'd be happy to hear how they turn out if you try them that way.
When you hydrate the chickpeas the yield is over 2 cups. Is this the amount you use, or is it 1 cup of the hydrated chickpeas? Thanks for the clarification!
The measurement is for dried chickpeas. When they have been soaked they will yield a higher volume. You use all the soaked chickpeas to continue with the recipe.
Stephanie Rewis says
I have made this recipe several times. It's wonderful. I find everyone talks about dried vs canned chickpeas. But there is the option of fresh check peas where I live. When I compare the size of the dried vs fresh, it seems to be about double. Someone here said their chick peas basically doubled from 1C to 2C. I would say that 2C is correct if you were using fresh (that's what I've been doing).
Pam Crocker says
To keep the presoaked chick peas in the fridge for a couple of days, do they need to be kept in the water or should you drain the water? Thanks.
I would just drain the water from them after they have soaked and then store them in the fridge for later.
Help!! So I made this and the falafel completely fell apart in the oil. The oil was hot. I fridged them first for a couple hours. The oil boiled over like boiling milk does and the falafel balls had like dissolved into soppy ingredients in the bottom.
Thoughts?? What am I doing wrong?
Kelly, did you start with dried chickpeas??? If you did not, and used canned, the falafel would easily fall apart from being too wet.
I started with dry chickpeas, I'll try again and maybe add more flour....
Any other tips?
I made once and they were amazing so I'm hooked. But the next two times they fell apart. So crazy. Will they also fall apart if they are too dry?
I could see them coming apart if they are too dry also. The mixture should be a bit sticky when you form the balls, so don't add any more flour - maybe add less or not at all if the mixture feels too dry? Also, when I cook the falafel, I very gently place them into the oil and then allow them time to fully cook on the first side before flipping carefully. This forms a nice crust first and keeps them from falling apart. Hope this helps!
This was an excellent recipe! My family says the falafel are better than restaurant quality. They asked me to make a second batch tomorrow, which I'll likely freeze some. I did add some regular and smoked paprika, because I like all those flavors together. BUT...I don't think it changed anything. I seriously doubted whether they'd fry up without falling apart, but they did! Total keeper recipe! Thank you.
You are so welcome! I am happy to hear you all enjoyed them so much 🙂
HELP! I have everything mixed up and ready to form into balls. But my mixture is too wet! Maybe I didn't drain the chickpeas well enough? (Used dried) Can I just add more flour? Do I just need to try and squeeze out the excess liquid? Oh no! It smells SO good! I don't want to mess them up!
If it's too wet, just add some more flour.
If you drained the chickpeas, you did enough there.
The end result mixture will be a bit with though, so don't worry if it's not 'doughy'.
Hey Courtney, I’ve lived in Israel, so use to eating this street snack.
Love this recipe. Super easy and really delicious..
Happy to add this to my collection
Hearing this makes my heart so happy. Thank you, and I am so happy you enjoyed them 🙂
Can the falafel balls be baked instead of fried?
I have never baked them myself because I know that there would be a difference in texture compared to frying and I really love my falafel crispy :). If you try, I would love to hear about the results.
Joyce duma says
These were the best tasting falafel balls ever! My first five were perfectly crisped and in form. The rest were a hot mess, appearance is everything.. They fell apart,
Why would that be? Perhaps the oil cooled down? I will make again and again, practice makes perfect.
Thx for a keeper recipe 😊
I'm so happy to hear you loved them! It could be perhaps that they oil did cool down - how crowded was your pan? My first thought is that you didn't let them cook enough before flipping. The crust should be nice and golden brown and solid before you flip to keep them from falling apart.
Can you use canned chick peas?
Unfortunately, no. The water content in canned chickpeas is just too high. You have to start with dried chickpeas and soak them.
This is a fantastic recipe! I doubled the recipe and used AP flour because I did not have CP flour. The falafel was fluffy and soft in the inside and crisp on the outside. I was so glad it didn't fall apart! I have used boxed mix and canned peas to try to make falafel and this recipe is exactly what I needed. It was even kid approved in my house. Thanks for sharing!
You are SO welcome! I'm so glad it was enjoyed by all. These are a big hit in our house too!
Deborah Norton says
I have not tried the recipe yet. I don't have a food processor is there another way to get the right size of chick pea? Chopping round peas might be hard. Could I use a place to smash and then chop? Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
I have not tried making this without a food processor, but I'm sure it can be done. I agree, chopping round peas would be hard, so smashing them down with a plate first would be helpful. You will need to get the final product to look like the consistency in the photo of the food processor, so quite a bit of chopping will be necessary to achieve the right consistency. You could also try mashing them with a pestle and mortar if you have it, otherwise maybe a potato masher?? Either way, if you try, I'd love to hear the results and how you did it.
These were fantastic! Just like a restaurant! I see in an earlier comment that the measurement was for dried chick peas, not after soaking...which might explain why it only yielded 15 falafel for me. But I hope to replicate it. Delicious!
Fantastic blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?
I'd really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate it!
These sound awesome and make a perfect snack!
I haven't had falafel since college! Such a good dish.
You need to change that! It's so good!
This looks good, I love falafels!
I LOVED this recipe!! This is the first time I have tried to make them from scratch that it actually worked. I did have to cook mine a little longer than directed, but that is a matter of personal preference. Will be making this again soon!
I made them today. I made some mistakes (putting in baking powder and flour (I used corn flour)) in the blender and… well, I only have a Blender, no food processor. I had quite a hard time because of that and the consistency was more like hummus where you forgot oil and tahin. BUT they were delicious anyway. Nice and crisp on the outside and soft and moist in the inside. Will definitely make these again (and try to avoid mistakes).
Dinner was served with veggie Bulgur and garlic-cucumber-mint-soy yoghurt ☺️
Lyn Berry says
I'd never tried falafels before, never had the desire to. Then I ran across this recipe and wanted to make it for my 16 yo daughter that's been vegan for a couple of years now. Well, now I'm HOOKED! These are amazing! I'm pretty sure I ate like, half of them as they were draining on the paper towel. Almost forgot to add the flour and baking powder at the end, but figured it out when making the balls and they were SO wet. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I'll be making it again soon!
Just made these, forgot to add soda and chickpea flour and they’re still so delicious!
Since I found this recipe several years ago I make it at least once a month. I always do a big batch, freeze half, and keep the other half in the fridge to eat that week. Then it's easy just to form the balls/discs straight from the container and into the frying pan they go! It's really such an simple, delicious recipe I cannot recommend enough!
See Oakes chickpeas for 24 hours. Drained them. They aren’t mushy by any means but they have a toughness to them still. I’m afraid they are not soaked enough. How do i know they soaked enough?
I never thought I liked falafels. I tried them when I was young and for years called them "awful falafels". These are OUTSTANDING! We love them! I followed your recipe and they came out great! Even my picky-meat-eating husband loved them. I'm soaking more chickpeas for my next batch! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!
I have to say, when mixing and patting these out, my level of doubt was through the roof. I had such a hard time getting them to stay together. But WOW, once they were in the oil and holding shape, the doubt disappeared. Let me tell you, these things are killer! Topped with a little vegan tzatziki from Trader Joe’s and homemade tabouleh and dinner was a success, even for my family who had never had falafel. Thanks for a great recipe, will definitely be in constant rotation here!
AHmazing - thank you for sharing.
I only had olive oil to fry in so that was kind of a bummer, but they turned out great! I wanted to try them in the air fryer also, so I cooked 3 in the air fryer at 425 for 25 minutes and they are almost the same (minus the flavor the oil adds).
Thank you for this recipe. It is delicious. I actually used canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained well. I had arrowroot flour on hand but used only 2 tablespoons and the texture was good there for rolling. I sprayed them with olive oil and cooked them in the air fryer. They are delicate so turning during air frying needs to be done gently. This makes me understand the troubles some may have had when using canned and frying in oil. These do turn out very delicate when eating but don’t fall apart when removing from the air fryer.
These are absolutely amazing!!! They’re super flavorful, delicious, and crispy. This recipe reliably makes excellent falafel every single time. I usually make a double recipe and freeze some for later 🙂
Everyone I’ve made these for has swooned over them and begged for the recipe. Thanks so much!