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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138 comments on “Falafel”

  1. What a fun weekend with your sister! These look perfect–I need to try this one soon.  

  2. Hmm I’ve (somehow) haven’t ever had a falafel yet! They look so easy and delicious, I would love some in a warm toasty pita bread with fresh tzatziki sauce! Gotta try this one, great recipe!

  3. These look so delicious! I LOVE that they’re so green. I can almost taste that freshness from here. And what a fabulous weekend with your sister! I never knew much about Kansas City before, but from all the places you guys visited, it looks like a really fun city. Adding it to my bucket list :) 

    • Thanks Michelle! Definitely visit Kansas City sometime (I may be a little biased), but it’s a fantastic place. : ) And I hope you enjoy the falafel!

  4. I *love* the green in your falafels (yes, such a fun word).  It’s the fresh herbs that really make a good falafel; it’s just not the same without them.

  5. I’m with you – the greener the better when it comes to falafel! Fun fact: I pronounced falafel completely wrong for many years until I visited a friend in NYC, said what I thought to be the correct pronunciation out loud when walking by a food cart [fal (like pal)-a-fell], and then found my friend to be laughing uncontrollably at how I said it. I’ve said it correctly now for maybe 7 years or so? :) Regardless, it’s delicious and this recipe looks wonderfully simple. 

  6. Yes! I’ll take falafel with lots of tangy tzatziki, crunchy romaine,  and soft pita, please! 

  7. Yum! This sounds amazing! I always have a hard time controlling how much oil I use when sauteing, so I’m glad to hear this recipe takes care of that for me. I’ll definitely be trying this one out!

  8. Sounds like a perfect KC weekend? That new pizza place is on my list to try and I love El Patron – esp the patio!

    If you haven’t been to a 3rd Thursday at the Nelson – I highly recommend it! Cheers!

  9. In the immortal words of Kermit…it’s good to be GREEN!

  10. Mmmm!!!! Never made it at home but now I will! Can’t wait to have it on its own with a healthy dipping of tzatziki – PINNED!

  11. Falafel is one of my favourite foods ever, and I cook it the same way as you….but always seem to manage to burn the outside and leave the inside undercooked….workin on it ;)

  12. I’v only had falafel once and it was a from the store frozen kind that didn’t impress me. These however, look rather tasty I think I need to give them a second try.

  13. Aaaaa! I love that you posted this! Just this past weekend I was saying how much I loved falafels! I even went and ordered a falafel salad… Yum!

  14. Ali, Your recipes and photos always are amazing. This recipe looks simple and delish.  I love falafel, haven’t had it in years! Pinning this recipe right now :)

  15. I love that you got to cook with your sister…how fun! I just made falafel a few weeks ago, and it’s by far one of my favorite things to make! I just made mine into balls and fried them, but next time I’ll definitely try making them into little patties and just sauteing them.

  16. This is such an awesome recipe!! Perfect in every way…I saw this recipe yesterday and made them last night and they are incredible!! My hubs was flippin’ out at how good they were! Do you have any idea how they would freeze? I would love to have these handy lol….

  17. Made this tonight and all I can say is AMAZING!  The garlic, onion and herbs made this recipe. I have to admit that I didn’t even know how to say falafel (until I looked it up) and have definitely never had it before.  It was so good, I’ll definitely be making this again!

  18. This looks awesome, except for the cilantro. I’m one of THOSE people. Could I substitute with spinach, or even omit it altogether?

    • Thanks Sheri! And of course, you can use parsley (although you might feel similarly about it), or spinach, or just leave it out entirely. Hope that helps!

  19. Ive never had falafel but this recipe was very good.  Ive been looking for tasty meatless meals and this one is a keeper.  

  20. I have the mixture chilling in my fridge now but last minute plans to go out to dinner so I’m wondering it possible to mix a day ahead and fry 24 hrs later? Also, do they reheat well? Thank you, can’t wait to taste them!

    • Hey Rachel, I haven’t tried that, but I would think the mix would hold up a day ahead. I think the best way to reheat them is to put them in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or until they are heated through. Hope that helps — enjoy!

  21. can you substitute the white flower..for any kind of other flower? 

    • Hey Jasmine! Sure, you could use a gluten-free flour blend, wheat flour, or just forgo the flour entirely. I hope you enjoy!

  22. hmmmm, looks absolutely delicious!

  23. What flour would you sub for a gluten-free option?

    • Hey Krissandra! You could try either a gluten-free flour blend (such as this one), but you could also leave it out. There are quite a few gf falafel recipes on the web, that don’t even use gf flour. I hope this was helpful!

  24. I just love falafel and yours look super yummy!! I’ll definitely try your recipe! :-)

  25. I’m swooning!! Just made some falafels and they were alright… certainly not like these! I am trying this next week, girl! Gorgeous job.

  26. I love FALAFEL

  27. Hi! It looks soooo delish I think I’ll give it a shot tomorrow! But is it necessary to refrigerate falafels or can I fry them straight out of a food processor?? 

    • Hi Agata! Yes, they need to firm up in the refrigerator for awhile before cooking, or else they could fall apart. Hope you enjoy!

  28. I think I over mixed the falafel mixture.  It was much smoother than what I associate with falafel… fantastic taste though!   Will definitely try again and maybe pulse the herbs and garlic before adding the chickpeas. 

    • Oh no, what a bummer! Glad they tasted good though! I think if you pulse the herbs and garlic before adding the chickpeas, that should definitely help over-mixing. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

  29. Have you ever tried using a paninni press to get the outside crispy? Just curious, because that’s how we make grilled cheese sandwiches without using butter and thought it might work for these. Can’t wait to try either way, though.

    • Hey Nicole, we haven’t, but that sounds like an interesting idea! Definitely worth trying!

  30. This is a great recipe! Thank you for sharing it. I’ve tried it twice and it’s a hit. The herbs make it taste so fresh.

  31. How far in advance can these be made before cooking them?

    • We’d say you could probably make them a day ahead of time (just make sure to cover well and store in the refrigerator.) We hope you enjoy!

  32. Love your recipe.  Just a tip to change the prep time as it does not reflect the 1-2 hour refrigeration

    • We’re glad you like the recipe, Wayne! Unfortunately, we can only enter a number of hours/minutes, so there’s no place to say (it actually takes an extra 1-2 hours of chill time). However, we did just edit that note into the text, so that’s more clear.

  33. This falafel recipe looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it. Do you think they could be frozen? If so, would it be better to freeze them before or after cooking? I’m trying to stock my freezer up with healthy prepped food. Thanks!

    • Thanks Brittany! And yes, these can be frozen, either way in fact. And they thaw out great in the fridge. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy!

  34. I think there must be a typo. 11/2tsp of salt was way too salty. I had to toss it.

    • Sorry that it tasted too salty! Everyone’s salt preferences definitely differ, and sometimes cans of chickpeas also have extra salt added.

  35. Great recipe. Very different to ours. We’ve just written a post about the history of Falafel and it’s recent surge in popularity!

  36. I have to tell you, I made this recipe last night and it was AMAZING! My husband couldn’t stop talking about it all night. Can’t wait to make it again! I love your blog! Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Bethany, we’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing with us! :)

  37. Made tonight.  So so good.  Omitted the cilantro as the husband isn’t a fan.  Topped with fresh peppers, spinach, green onions, olives, feta cheese & tomatoes wrapped up in a whole wheat pita.  Delish!  Will definitely make again.

  38. Great recipe! Am looking forward to trying it out. 

    Soo…. I have a comment on your site. The only way I can view your page without being annoyingly redirected to the App Store or some other link is by using content blockers in Safari (God bless you Apple!).

    I found your site on Pinterest and if I try to read your blog within the app, I am redirected within seconds. It’s super annoying!!! 

    • Hi Courtney, Ali and I are so incredibly sorry that this is happening. We’ve been experiencing some major technical difficulties with ads this month and are working quickly to try and fix thing, but in the meantime, our complete apologies for any frustrations that they are causing. We hope to resolve the issue asap. But in the meantime, a million thanks for your patience!

  39. I’ve made falafel before and I felt like the insides were undercooked, but the outsides were fully cooked. Any ideas?

    • Hmmmm, we’re not sure why – maybe you need to take a spatula and press down on the middle when you’re cooking on one side, and repeat on the other? You can always finish them off in the oven, to guarantee the middle will be fully cooked. We hope this helps!

  40. Hi!!  These look amazing!!   Could you make extra and freeze them for future meals??

    • Thanks Christina, we hope you like them! And yes, you can definitely make extra and freeze them! :)

  41. I made this today and it tasted delicious even before I cooked them. I think I must have done something wrong, though. I substituted coconut flour and they are very dry and want to break apart. Your pictures look like your batter is a little wetter. Other than the flour substitution, I followed the recipe to the letter. Any advice?

    • Hi Tia! We’re glad you enjoyed how these taste, but are sorry they came out dry. We think that’s definitely a result of the coconut flour. We haven’t tried using coconut flour in these, but we suspect the substitution is not equal, plus, coconut flour is VERY absorbent, so it likely zapped up all the moisture that otherwise would have been in the falafel. Did you use the coconut flour because of a gluten intolerance, or just for taste? If it was because of a gluten intolerance, we’d suggest you try a gluten-free oat flour (or just grind up some gluten-free oats in a clean spice/coffee grinder, or a blender. We’d advise you to add it gradually, maybe by the teaspoon or tablespoon, since we aren’t sure how much you would need, and you can always add more if necessary. We’d guess that you probably wouldn’t need as much as 1/3 cup. Please give this a try and let us know what you think, we hope it was helpful!

  42. Years ago, I lived in NYC for quite some time, and falafel were my favorite street treat.  When I found this recipe in Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.  I did tonight, and they were way beyond my expectations.  Absolutely delicious.  I also mixed up your tzatziki recipe and stuffed pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and the falafel and the sauce, and I am currently in heaven.  Thanks so much for the great recipe!!!

    • Awww thank you for sharing Barbara, we’re thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe, and the tzatziki too! Thanks for giving them both a try! :)

  43. This recipe was very easy to follow. They turned out very good, but a little too salty for my taste. I’m also using less garlic next time and less flour. But other than that I will be making these again for sure. 

  44. These were delicious! I’ve made other recipes in the past but they were always bland and tasteless.  The parsley and cilantro really separate these from all of the rest!

  45. I went ahead and add more flour and made it thicker to be able to make discs. Next time I will check the salt amount on the can of beans and put the beans after I crush the other ingridients and add maybe little more flour. But it is delicious it has generous amount of garlic which I love! Thank you for the recipe and made me discover more about homemade falafel. 

    • Thanks for sharing with us Dee. We’re happy you enjoyed it, and we appreciate your feedback! :)

  46. This was delicious. We did not refrigerate the 1-2 hours or form patties rather just plopped it in the oil. I would recommend updating the cook/prep/total to reflect the time in the fridge. This was a last minute dinner selection based on the prep and cook time. A little freak out midway through! But we are ok now and satisfied!

  47. These were excellent! I froze them before cooking, then thawed and cooked in the pan. My pan got a little too hot on med-high heat, and the falafels turned out slightly blackened. So I think I’ll try med heat next time. But overall they are delicious!

  48. I love  falafel ! great and easy recip!  Thank You  !

  49. Olá  tenho uma dúvida do Falafel, vocês tiram a pele do grão de bico ?
    Obrigada,
    Martha 
    Sâo Paulo , Brasil

    • Olá Martha! Não, você não têm a pele o grão. Espero que você aproveite a receita! :)

  50. Made these today and they were AMAZING! I live in Costa Rica and don’t have a food processor unfortunately, so I made them in the blender. I wasn’t sure it would work but I’m so happy it did. My go-to falafel recipe for sure. Gracias! :)