Raise your hand if you love falafel! I’ve gone back into the archives to highlight my all-time favorite homemade falafel recipe. Making falafel at home can be tricky, but this recipe is easy.
Six reasons to love this healthy falafel recipe:
- These falafels are golden brown and crispy on the outside. The insides are tender, delicious, and full of fresh herbs.
- They’re baked instead of fried, so they contain significantly less fat than fried falafel. And your house won’t smell like fried food for days. Winning!
- Once your chickpeas are sufficiently soaked, the falafel mixture comes together in no time. If you have someone to help shape the patties, they’ll come together even faster.
- These falafels are gluten free and vegan, so they’re a great party appetizer.
- These falafels freeze well, so they’re a fantastic protein-rich option to keep on hand for future salads and pita sandwiches.
- On that note, this recipe is easily doubled! See recipe notes.
Are you convinced yet? Let’s make some falafel!
How to Make the Best Homemade Falafel
Bake it, don’t fry it. I say this because frying requires a lot of sizzling hot oil, and that scares me. I also don’t have a good vent over my oven to take the fried food smell far, far away. Plus, you can use a reasonably amount of heart-healthy olive oil in the baked version.
Coat your rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. That way, you get a fried effect in the oven, and you don’t have to brush the little falafels individually with olive oil. Winning!
Use dried chickpeas, not canned. Canned chickpeas do not work for falafel. They’re far too wet. If you try to use canned chickpeas instead of dried and soaked chickpeas, you’ll end up with sad falafel pancakes. Some recipes try to counteract the wetness by adding flour, which significantly dulls the flavor and makes the texture more doughy.
Soak the dried chickpeas for at least four hours. If your chickpeas aren’t sufficiently softened, you’ll have unpalatably tough pieces of chickpea in your falafel. There’s just no workaround here.
Choose your dried chickpeas wisely. Try to buy your dried chickpeas from a store with high turnover, because old chickpeas need longer to soften. If you have options, pick the chickpeas that are the smallest, since they’ll soften faster.
Falafel Salad or Pita Sandwich Components
Falafel goes great with any of the following ingredients!
- Pita bread, warmed or toasted
- Fresh greens (such as spring greens or chopped romaine)
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Baked falafel
- Sauce: Something creamy like tzatziki, hummus, or tahini sauce, and maybe a spicy sauce like zhoug or shatta, too
Here’s a tahini dressing recipe that goes great with this falafel, too:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/3 cup water
In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend well. You can also whisk the ingredients together by hand in a small bowl, just note that you’ll need to chop the fresh herbs and zest more finely than you would if you were using a food processor.
Please let me know how you like these falafel in the comments! I hope you love them as much as I do. ♥
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes (plus 4-hour soaking time)
- Yield: 12 falafels
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
This homemade falafel recipe is absolutely delicious, and remarkably crispy! Be sure to allow 4 hours soaking time for the chickpeas, preferably overnight. Then, the falafel mixture is super easy to make in a food processor. Recipe yields 12 to 13 falafels (see notes on how to double).
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dried (uncooked/raw) chickpeas, rinsed, picked over and soaked for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator
- ½ cup roughly chopped red onion (about ½ small red onion)
- ½ cup packed fresh parsley (mostly leaves but small stems are ok)
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro (mostly leaves but small stems are ok)
- 4 cloves garlic, quartered
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon (about 25 twists) freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- With an oven rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into a large, rimmed baking sheet and turn until the pan is evenly coated.
- In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Using your hands, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Shape the falafel into small patties, about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place each falafel on your oiled pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping the falafels halfway through baking, until the falafels are deeply golden on both sides. These falafels keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for several months.
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
Make-ahead option: I haven’t tried this, but the original recipe notes that the uncooked falafel patties can be refrigerated on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours before baking.
How to double this recipe: Preheat the oven with two oven racks near the center of the oven. Double all of the ingredients. If you have a large food processor (guessing 11+ cup capacity), you can mix all of the ingredients at once. Use two baking sheets, and swap their positions (top to bottom, bottom to top) when you flip the falafel halfway through baking.
Recommended equipment: I love my 11-cup food processor (affiliate link).