Falafel

Learn how to make falafel with this easy classic falafel recipe.  It’s full of great flavor, and perfect for falafel sandwiches, salads, appetizers and more.

The Best Falafel Recipe

Guess who happened to be visiting Kansas City this weekend on National Siblings Day?

This beautiful sister of mine, that’s who!

Yep, as is her tradition each year during spring break, she flew from Chicago down to Wichita to spend a few days with our ‘rents, followed by a few sister days together here with me in Kansas City.   And I must say, we had a very KC-y weekend together.  We (of course) went next door for some pour-over first thing in the morning, met up with some friends at our new neighborhood pizza place that I wanted her to try, took Henry for a long walk along the Missouri River, stopped by a local film festival, happy hour-ed at my favorite spot with bottomless chips and salsa and margs, and spent a lazy Saturday morning at my favorite local art museum checking out a new exhibit on Spanish chef Ferran Adria (the perfect exhibit for an art teacher and food blogger, we decided).  Oh, and then we reverted to 10-year-old selves and totally spent an evening playing with each other’s hair while watching old episodes of Chopped.

Ah…sisters.  :)

Still, one of our favorite things to do together is cook.  So for lunch one day, we decided to crack open a few cans of chickpeas and make a big batch of falafel together.  And oh my goodness, guys, this falafel recipe easily rivaled all of my other favorite Kansas City meals that we had all weekend.  I had forgotten how easy it is to make falafel homemade!  We kicked up the flavor in ours with tons of fresh herbs, garlic, cumin and lemon juice, and then served them up in some easy pita falafel sandwiches (followed by leftovers in a falafel salad), and agreed this will be our go-to falafel recipe for years to come.

Let’s make some!

The BEST Falafel Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Falafel Sandwich

What Is Falafel?

So what exactly is this delicious food that people around the world love so much?  (And Rachel’s sister is convinced that Ross was selling in Friends?)  In a nutshell — or more accurately, a chickpea shell 😉– falafel is traditionally a fried (or baked) patty made from pureed chickpeas, herbs and seasonings.  It can be served plain, in pita sandwiches, in salads, or any number of dishes.  And while it originated in the Middle East, it is now a popular street food all over the world.  And…it is delicious.

What Is Falafel

Falafel Ingredients:

There are endless variations you can make with your falafel ingredients.  But for my classic recipe, you will need:

  • Chickpeas: I use canned chickpeas to save a step, rinsed and drained.
  • Fresh herbs: I love my falafel with lots and lots of fresh cilantro and parsley!  It freshens them up, and also gives them that lovely green hue.
  • Garlic: The more, the merrier, in my opinion.
  • Onion: White, red or yellow will work.
  • Flour: I use white whole wheat, but feel free to use your preferred kind of flour.
  • Oil: Any mild high-heat oil will work here, such as grapeseed, avocado or vegetable oil.
  • Baking Powder: To help give these a little extra volume.
  • Seasonings: Equal parts sea salt, black pepper and cumin.
  • Lemon Juice: To brighten the flavor up a bit.

Falafel Ingredients

How To Make Falafel:

Trust me, it’s surprisingly easy to make falafel!  Just follow these steps:

  1. Purée your ingredients. You can either do this in a food processor (my recommendation), blender, or stand mixer.  Pulse until smooth.
  2. Chill. Then transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (so that the plastic is directly touching the mixture, to avoid having it dry out), and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.
  3. Form into patties.  Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to scoop out 2 tablespoons of the mixture, and then use your hands to shape it into a ball.  Lay it on a parchment-covered sheet, then gently flatten the ball slightly with your hand so that it is a little under 1/2-inch thick.  Repeat with the remaining dough mixture.
  4. Pan-fry the falafel.  Traditionally, falafel is deep-fried.  But to cut down on oil, I like to just pan fry the falafel in a cast-iron pan for about 2-3 minutes per side until browned.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper-towels to soak up any extra oil.
  5. Serve! Then…enjoy!!

How To Make Falafel

How To Serve Falafel:

There are countless delicious ways to serve falafel!  Some classics include:

  • Falafel sandwiches: Typically made with pita, lettuce, tomatoes, veggies and some sort of creamy sauce (tzatziki, baba ganoush or hummus)
  • Falafel salads: Any sort of Mediterranean salad pairs beautifully with falafel
  • Falafel bowls: Any bowls made with a base of salad, rice or orzo, veggies, you name it.
  • Dippers: My favorite use for falafel…served as a simple appetizer dipper along with your favorite sauce!  I’m especially partial to this hummus and tzatziki sauce.

How To Make Homemade Falafel

Falafel FAQ:

Can you freeze falafel? I recommend freezing the patties before baking.  Then when you’re ready to enjoy them, let them thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then pan-fry immediately before serving.

Can you use gluten-free flour for falafel: I have made these with Bob’s Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Powder, and they turned out great.

Easy Falafel Sandwich with Pita and Tzatziki

Enjoy, everyone!

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Falafel

This falafel recipe is easy to make, pan-fried on the stovetop instead of in the deep-fryer, and totally delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves, tightly-packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, tightly-packed
  • 1/2 cup diced white or red onion
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-5 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or another high-heat oil, such as canola or vegetable)
  • for serving: pita bread, chopped Romaine lettuce, thinly-sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and/or hummus

Directions:

  1. Add garlic, chickpeas, cilantro, parsley, onion, flour, lemon juice, baking powder, salt, cumin and black pepper to a food processor.  Pulse until smooth and evenly mixed, stopping partway through to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is directly touching the top of the mixture (so that no air can enter.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until chilled.  (If the mixture feels too gooey still after it has been chilled, and is difficult to form into disks, stir in a few more tablespoons of flour.)
  2. Lay a large sheet of parchment paper out on a work surface.  Remove the bowl with the chilled falafel mixture.  Then measure out 2 tablespoons of the mixture, and roll the mixture into a ball with your hands.  Place the ball on the parchment paper, and gently flatten the ball slightly with your hand so that it is a little under 1/2-inch thick.  Repeat with the remaining mixture until all of the falafel disks are prepared.
  3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.  (If you add a drop of water to the oil, it should sizzle.)  Carefully transfer 4 or 5 falafel disks to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides of the disk are browned.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.  Then repeat with the remaining falafel disks, adding extra oil to the pan if need be.
  4. When all of the falafels are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.  Then serve the falafel warm however you’d like.  (You can eat the falafels plain, served with hummus or tzatziki, in a salad, in a gyro, or in a simple pita sandwich as pictured above.  To make the pita sandwich, fill half a pita with chopped lettuce, red onions, diced tomatoes, a few falafel, and then top with tzatziki sauce or hummus.)

Note: This recipe requires 10 minutes prep time, plus 1-2 hours time to chill the falafel before cooking.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Homemade Falafel

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137 comments on “Falafel”

  1. Where does the flour come in? I could be easily reading over the ingredient but do I mix it in or roll the dough in it before placing in oil? Thanks! :) can’t wait to try these!! 

    • Hi Logan! You add it to the food processor, with your garlic, chickpeas, etc. We hope you enjoy!

  2. the green colour looks so amazing an refreshing of falafel….

  3. I made these tonight and they were wonderful! I followed the recipe exactly (including 3 hours in the fridge) but my mixture came out a little too wet so I couldn’t form the little discs before cooking. I ended up just plopping the mixture into the pan by spoonfuls and flattening each one out with a spatula – the mix was too sticky to use my fingers. Maybe I mixed too long in the food processor? I might add a bit more flour next time but either way, the flavor was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Thanks for sharing Juliette! We’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Yes, it sounds like you might have over-processed it a bit (but you can always add a little more flour if this happens). We’re glad they still turned out okay! :)

  4. Are the chickpeas cooked? I would like to make it with fresh chickpeas from the market

    • Hi Karla! We use canned chickpeas, but you can definitely use fresh (just cook them first). We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  5. Would it be possible to use almond flour or GF all purpose instead of wheat flour?

    • Hi Kristy! We haven’t tried making this with GF flour, but we think a GF all-purpose blend would probably work. If you try it, let us know!

  6. These are easy, beautiful and delicious!  I did overmix and had to add in some extra flour to make up for that, but they came together quite nicely.  I love how simple they came together.  Paired them with hummus.  This was the first time trying my hand at falafel and won’t be my last. 

    (also, your recipes are starting to become a go to.  In addition to this one, I’ve made your tacos al pastor, Mediterranean farro salad used some leftover pulled pork in place of chicken in your BBQ chicken quinoa casserole.  Each one is a hit and all have been painless for me to make.  THANK YOU!!!)

    • Thanks Chris — we’re happy you enjoyed them! And we’re so glad you’ve enjoyed the other recipes you’ve tried too! Thanks for giving them a try, and for taking the time to comment. :D

  7. Nice recipe. How come you don’t provide the nutritional information? It would be so helpful to know calorie count and weight watchers point count. 

    • Hi Shelly! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  8. Would it be possible to bake these instead of fry?

    • Hi Robin! We actually didn’t fry these, we sautéed them (an entire batch with only 4 TBS of oil)! However, you can definitely bake them at 375 for 30-40 min. We hope you enjoy! :)

  9. Hi! I’m keen to try these but don’t always have fresh herbs on hand (MUST start my own herb garden… and keep it alive!). Can I omit them, or substitute dry herbs? Will taking the fresh herbs out change the consistency too much?

    • Hi Amy — you definitely want to use fresh herbs for this, they make a huge difference (plus, they’re what gives falafel that wonderful green shade)! :) We hope you enjoy!

  10. Hey there! I have loved all of the recipes I’ve tried of yours! Quick question..how do you think these would hold up if I froze them? Should I freeze before or after cooking?

    Thanks!!

    • Hi Emily — we’re so glad to hear that! And for freezing these, honestly you could do it either way. You could portion the raw falafel mixture into balls, then freeze. Or, you could bake them (cool completely), and then freeze. We hope you enjoy!

  11. I made these for my parents and fiancé tonight and they all said they were so good. I can’t believe my super picky fiancé liked them! They were so good! I’m super glad I found your recipe. Thank you so much!

  12. Never comment but had to here. I’ve tried so many falafel recipes and this is *the one* — I don’t need to try any more! Better than any restaurant. Thank you!

  13.  These were good. However they had a bitter taste at the end. Any idea what that could be? Do you think it’s overripe garlic? 

    • Hmmm, that’s strange! We wonder if it could be overripe garlic, or maybe the onion?

  14. Made these today anD they were delicious. Really fulfilled my falafel craving
    I put the beans in the oven for 10 min at 350 degrees flipping occasionally to get rid of the extra water before blender
    I didn’t have to chill mix because it wasn’t too wet so I rolled them and cooked them right away.
    I paired them with my homemade sun dried tomato hummus and it was amazing
    Thanks for the recipe

    • Thanks for sharing with us Pamela! We’re happy you enjoyed the recipe, and we think that homemade sun dried tomato hummus sounds incredible (must be a fantastic combo)! :)

  15. Made yesterday, exactly as I expected.
    One question by the way, didn’t you confound baking powder and baking soda ?
    It’s seem’s like baking soda is used in every other receipe in found instead of baking power…

    Un français.

    • Hello Zief! We’re happy you enjoyed the falafel! As far as your question goes, we’ve only tried this with baking powder. However, you could probably use a mixture (maybe half and half) if you like.

  16. Wondering if you’ve ever tried making these several days in advance and then frying on the day of? I think that would be great if they could be prepped ahead of time

    • Hi Amanda! Yes, you can definitely prepare these ahead of time. We would suggest portioning the falafel mixture into balls, then freezing them. Then let them sit out for a couple of hours or so to defrost before you cook them. We hope you enjoy!

  17. If we don’t eat them right away, how long do they last in the fridge? Can they be frozen?

    • Hi Jen! These should probably last in the fridge for a few days or so, but you can also freeze them and they freeze really well. You can either portion the raw falafel mixture into balls, then freeze. Or, you could bake them (cool completely), and then freeze. We hope you enjoy!

  18. Have made these 3 times with success. Last night’s batch was with the tsaziki, tomatoes, red onion for garnish and pita pockets. They are DELICIOUS. Even my kids (teenagers) love ’em. Just one hiccup…batter is a tad wetter than expecting, making forming the patties a little challenging. I made sure I wasn’t putting the greens into the food processor wet this time, but had the same experience. Doesn’t interfere with the taste! But just makes the patties a little flatter than yours in the photo. Any suggestions?

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Sheila! We’re so glad you and your kids enjoy them! As for the wet batter, you could try popping it in the fridge to firm it up a bit — we think that should help!

  19. Wonderful falafels …and so easy!! I have tried several different recipes and must say that this recipe is simple, quick and does not require deep frying. I used less garlic and ground cumin but other than that a very forgiving recipe. Thank you for a great recipe Ali!

  20. I have never made falafel before. This was so easy and delicious! I made the pitas with tomatoes, cucumbers, and the tzatziki sauce.
    Next time I will double it and freeze the rest. My boyfriend also loved it :) 

    • We’re so happy you gave the recipe a try and that you and your boyfriend enjoyed these, Samantha! :)

  21. These were awesome! I decided on a whim to make them because I had all the ingredients oddly enough. I have had fafafels a few times but never this good! I used a cookie scoop to portion them before shaped and flattened them. I also just dumped the whole thing into cling wrap and made a ball when I put it in the fridge so I didn’t have to wash another bowl. Thanks for another awesome recipe!! 

  22. I tried this recipe last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have any parsley so I used arugula instead, and it worked ok. I’m wanting to figure out how to bake them instead of fry? Thanks ladies!! 

    • We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Claire, and we bet it was yummy with the arugula! :) If baking these, you could try 375 for 25-30 minutes or so (flip them halfway through). We hope this helps!

  23. My husband and I tried these, the only thing we would change is they were so incredibly salty! Instead of 1 1/2 tsp of salt I would cut it down to 1/2tsp -3/4tsp. The other spices were spot on and we enjoyed the herbiness. I think my food processor was too small for the job and turned the mixture into a paste before it was all combined. next time I might pulse a few ingredients at a time and then combine them all together.

    • Hi Katelyn! We appreciate your feedback and we’re sorry you and your husband found these to be too salty! Definitely feel free to cut back on the salt next time if you like, as everyone’s palate is different. :) We hope you can give these another try!

  24. I made these (or I should say my husband made these and I ate all of them… hehe) and they were WONDERFUL!! Beautifully crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and VERY tasty. Thanks for the recipe! I will definitely be making these yumyums often! They’re like small soft green healthy potato chips!

  25. hello if I do not have a food processor can use my Ninja

  26. I’m a big fan of the falafel at a restaurant near my home and have always wanted to make them myself. Found your recipe and made a batch for dinner tonight. Received rave reviews from the family and they’ve made it clear that these need to be a regular at our table. I will definitely double the recipe next time, though – too good not to have extra! Thank you!!

  27. My husband doesn’t like cilantro. Should I use all parsley, or is there another herb that you think would work well with the parsley?

  28. Hi, Ali –
    I follow your blog and have made a number of recipes.
    Favorites: black bean burger, fried rice/quiona (yummy!) and today, falafel.
    I followed the recipe exactly, which is my habit first go round.
    The only thing I didn’t have was grapeseed oil. No canola either so I used olive oil.
    And while they browned and heated through, they didn’t look firm up, if you know what I mean.
    Does the oil make that big of a difference? I’m thinking yes…..
    TGIF!
    Sheri

    Rating: 5