Falafel Recipe (2 Ways)

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Crispy, crunchy falafel are a savory vegan snack that everyone loves. They are terrific to eat by themselves, to serve with sauces to dip, or enjoy in pitas, wraps or between slices of bread for a tasty plant-based sandwich. Here I share two foolproof and equally delicious recipes with step-by-step photos for making the best traditional falafel and a herb green falafel.

falafel served in a chip and dip platter with muhammara

What is Falafel

Falafel is a plant-based fried snack that is made with chickpeas (or fava beans), plus some vibrant aromatics and a touch of all-purpose flour. It’s a popular street food in the middle east and Mediterranean and is enjoyed throughout much of the world.

Tasty, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside falafel are often eaten as a snack or side dish with any number of dips, sauces, or chutneys. They are also commonly enjoyed stuffed in pita pockets or between slices of bread with fresh veggies. You can even prepare them as meatless “burgers” and serve on buns.

To make falafel, you simply grind chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients, form into balls or patties, and deep fry to perfection.

Below you’ll find two different but delicious falafel recipes:

  • The first one is for making traditional “plain” falafel.
  • While the second recipe includes some extra herbs for a bright tasting (and slightly green colored) falafel.

3 Steps to make falafel

  1. Soaking: As noted I use dried chickpeas to make this traditional falafel recipe. The dried chickpeas need to be soaked in water for a minimum of 8 hours, or can even be soaked overnight. Although this does take a bit more effort than using canned chickpeas, I promise the taste is very worth it.
  2. Grinding: Once soaked, the chickpeas are ground with seasonings, herbs, and additional aromatics to form a semi-coarse dough-like mixture. You can use a blender, mixer-grinder, or a food processor to grind everything together. Just be careful to not over-process the ingredients and accidentally create a paste.
  3. Frying: The semi-coarse chickpea mixture is then shaped into balls or patties and deep-fried in your preferred oil. While deep frying is the classic cooking method, you also can shallow fry, air fry, or even bake the falafel until crispy.
Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Traditional Falafel

Traditional falafel is very easy to make, so skilled and novice chefs alike can perfect this foolproof recipe.

I’ve been making these at home for decades as a favorite snack and dinner. They are terrific to enjoy with flavorful sauces and tangy chutneys – or even just a side of tomato ketchup!

When I’m preparing them as snacks I tend to make falafel in fun dip-able balls shapes. However, if I make falafel to serve in a pita or on bread, I find it’s best to prepare as slightly flat patties.

Whichever form of falafel you choose to cook, you’ll love this simple recipe with instructions, photos and tips to make the best traditional falafel from scratch.

Soak Chickpeas

1. Rinse 1 cup dried chickpeas a couple of times in fresh water. Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Cover the bowl while soaking.

The next day, drain all the water. Rinse the soaked chickpeas in running water. Drain again the water very well.

soaked chickpeas in a bowl

2. Then add the chickpeas in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.

soaked chickpeas added in a grinder jar

Blend Falafel Ingredients

3. Add the following spices, seasonings and herbs:

  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Also, add salt as per taste
spices and herbs added to soaked chickpeas in the grinder jar

4. Add ½ teaspoon lemon juice.

lemon juice added

5. Blend or process the mixture in small intervals of time. Scrape the sides of the mixture and add it back in the jar. You can also use the pulse option which is there in the mixer-grinder or blender machine.

roughly ground falafel mixture

6. You should get a semi coarse mixture. Don’t make it too pasty and too smooth. Avoid adding water while blending. If you are unable to blend without water, then you can add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water.

If the mixture is too coarse, you won’t be able to shape them into balls. The consistency should be semi coarse, so that you are able to shape them in balls or patties. You can even refrigerate the mixture for some hours or a couple of days.

ground falafel mixture

7. Take the falafel mixture in a bowl. Check the taste and add more salt or spice powders if required. Mix again very well.

ground falafel mixture taken in a bowl

Test Before Frying

8. First let’s test. Heat oil for shallow frying or deep frying in a pan or wok. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.

testing a tiny piece of ground mixture in hot oil

9. If the falafel ball does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tablespoon more of the all-purpose flour to the falafel mixture.

The oil temperature is also very important. Because if the oil is not hot enough, the falafel can burst or fall apart. When you place the falafel in the oil, it should come up quickly but gradually on top.

If it does not come on the top or sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough. If it comes up too quickly and starts browning fast, the oil is too hot.

perfectly fried tiny falafel ball

Deep Fry

10. Make medium sized balls from the ground mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the pan or wok. Do not crowd the pan.

medium sized balls of falafel mixture placed in hot oil

11. When the bases get light golden and firms up, then gently turn over with a slotted spoon.

lightly fried falafel being turned over in hot oil

12.  Now fry the other side.

falafel being deep fried

13. Fry till they become crisp and are golden turning over a few times as needed for an even golden color and cooking.

frying falafel till crisp and golden

13. Place fried falafels on kitchen paper towels so that they absorb extra oil.

falafels placed on kitchen paper towels

14. Repeat the process to make more falafel with the rest of the ground chickpea mixture.

many fried falafel balls placed on kitchen paper towel

15. Serve falafel as a side snack with a tahini dip or hummus. They also tastes good with cilantro chutney and even tomato sauce. You can also stuff them in pita breads or make a falafel wrap. I served them with muhammara (roasted red bell pepper dip).

falafel served in a chip and dip platter with muhammara
Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Green Falafel

This is a delicious green falafel variation made with fresh parsley, chickpeas and spices.

Here I have used fresh fragrant parsley as the main herb. You can also use a mix of parsley or cilantro (coriander leaves) or only cilantro. If you prefer add some mint leaves together with cilantro or parsley.

1. Rinse and soak 1 cup dried white chickpeas in enough water overnight for 7 to 8 hours. Later drain them well. Rinse them in running water. Drain the water very well again.

chickpeas for herb falafel recipe

2. Then add the soaked and drained chickpeas in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.

chickpeas for herb falafel recipe

3. Add all of these following listed ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh parsley or cilantro (coriander leaves) or half-half of both
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped onions
  • 3 to 4 small to medium garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (coriander powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder or crushed black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or paprika or red chili powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (turmeric powder) – optional
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • salt as required.
  • You can also add ½ teaspoon lemon juice, if you prefer.
spices and herbs added to blender jar

4. Grind the mixture in small intervals of time. Scrape the sides of the mixture and add back in the jar. You can also use the pulse option which is there in the mixer-grinder or blender machine. 

Aim to process or blend to a semi coarse mixture. Don’t make it too pasty and smooth. Avoid adding water while blending. If you are unable to blend without water, then consider adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of water or as needed.

coarse falafel mixture in blender

5. Take the mixture in a bowl. Check the taste and add more salt or spices if required. Mix again very well. If the mixture is too coarse, it will be difficult to shape them into balls.

The consistency should be semi coarse, so that you are able to shape them in balls or patties. You can even refrigerate the mixture for some hours before frying.

coarse falafel mixture in bowl

6. Make medium to large sized balls from the mixture.

making falafel balls from mixture

7. First lets test the oil temperature. Heat oil for shallow frying or deep frying in a pan or wok. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.

frying falafel in wok

8. If the falafel does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tablespoon more of the all purpose flour and then mix again.

frying falafel in wok

9. The oil temperature is also crucial, as if the oil is not hot enough, the falafels can break. When you place them in the oil, it should come up gradually on top. If it does not come on the top or sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough.

If it comes too quickly and starts browning fast, the oil is very hot. Here the small falafel ball has not broken in the oil and thus the ground mixture is good enough for frying.

removing fried falafel

10. Make medium to large sized balls from the mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the wok or pan. Do not crowd the pan.

frying falafel in wok

11. When they get light golden, gently turn over using a slotted spoon and fry the other side.

frying falafel in wok

12. Fry them till they become crisp and are golden turning over as needed.

frying falafel in wok

13. Remove with a slotted spoon draining as much oil as possible in the pan.

removing fried falafel with a slotted spoon

14. Drain them on kitchen paper towels so that they absorb extra oil. This way make them with the rest of the mixture.

fried herb falafel on kitchen paper towels

15. Serve green falafels as a snack hot or warm with a dip of your choice. You can also stuff them inside pita bread, wraps or bread with your preferred fillings.

These makes for a good evening snack.

green falafel served in a plate

Suggestions for serving falafel

  • Enjoy as a snack or finger food: Falafel can be served on it’s own as a snack, but it’s best to include a dip or sauce on the side. The flavor of falafel is slightly savory and earthy, with a soft center. Therefore they go quite well with condiments such as tahini dip, hummus, muhammara (roasted red bell pepper dip), mint or coriander (cilantro) chutney.
  • Use to make burgers, sandwiches, pita bread: Crunchy and crumbly falafel is great to use as a meatless staple of lunch and dinner recipes. Load them into pita bread with your favorite vegetables and sauces for a classic dish. You can also include them on sandwiches, as plant-based burgers on buns, and in wraps. Try including hummus, pickled veggies or grated vegetables for extra yummy flavors and textures.
  • Serve as an appetizer or side dish: Share falafel with dipping sauces or chutneys as an appetizer at gatherings or as a side for a middle eastern-inspired dinner. They are delicious as part of a Lebanese mezze or alongside nearly any main dish you like.
  • Include in salads: Let homemade falafel cool before cutting into pieces and using to top fresh green salad. Enjoy with tahini dressing, tzatziki sauce, or a tangy lemon vinaigrette.
Tips

Expert Tips

1. Dried chickpeas: The crispiest falafel texture is achieved by using dried chickpeas. Again, you can use canned chickpeas, but note that your falafel will have a different taste and texture than this original recipe. Also, using canned chickpeas will likely require a bit more all-purpose flour to get the right semi-crumbly consistency.

2. Binding: Traditional falafel is made using all-purpose flour as a binding agent. But feel free to use whole wheat flour instead. For a gluten-free falafel recipe you can use rice flour or chickpea flour.

3. Consistency: The right consistency of the ground chickpea mixture is very important to make perfectly shaped falafel balls or patties. If it’s ground too much it’ll turn into a mushy paste; if not ground enough it will be too coarse to hold shape. What you want is a crumbly semi-course blend.

4. Frying: It is key that the oil be nice and hot before the falafel mixture is added. If it’s not hot enough, the falafel balls will soak up oil and be soggy rather than have that perfect crunchy crust. Therefore I recommend that you test to make sure the oil is hot by frying a tiny ball of the mixture first. It should not crumble (oil is not hot enough) or brown too quickly (oil is too hot).

5. Storing falafel mixture: This is a terrific make ahead recipe. You can make a batch of the ground falafel mixture and store in the fridge for up to 1 day or freeze. To freeze I recommend you first shape into balls and flash-freeze on a baking sheet for one hour, then transfer to an airtight zipper bag. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the falafel in the fridge overnight before frying.

Falafel recipe variations

  • Herbs – In the recipe below you’ll find ingredients to make traditional and an herb version of falafel. However, feel free to omit, increase, or add any herbs you like to either recipe.
  • Healthy greens – Add a handful of spinach, chopped leafy kale, or amaranth for an extra boost of nutrients. They’ll also turn your falafel a lovely shade of green!
  • Veggies – Hearty vegetables such as beetroot, cabbage, radish or carrots can also be added to the ground chickpea mixture. Shave or dice the veggies before adding to get the best consistency.
  • Spices – These recipes include my favorite spices, but you can certainly change these up however you prefer. Try other combinations to create your favorite falafel.
  • Baked falafel – For a healthier dish you can skip frying and easily bake homemade falafel. To do so first preheat an oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit), and shape the falafel into patties.
    Place them on a greased baking tray, and lightly brush the top and sides of the patties with oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Brush on a bit more oil after flipping, and continue to bake until browned and crispy.

More snacks recipes for you to try:

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Falafel Recipe (2 Ways)

Falafel is a middle eastern fried snack made with chickpeas or fava beans. Here I share two foolproof and equally delicious recipes for preparing the best traditional falafel and a vibrant green falafel loaded with herbs.
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 30 mins
Cuisine Lebanese, World
Course Snacks
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

Recipe 1 – Traditional Falafel Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas or 200 grams dried white chickpeas
  • 1 small onion – chopped or ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chili powder or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (coriander powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns or ½ tsp crushed black pepper or pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour or add as required
  • salt as required
  • oil for deep frying, as required

Recipe 2 – Green Falafel Ingredients

  • cup dried white chickpeas
  • 1 cup fresh parsley  or cilantro (coriander leaves) or half-half of both
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped onions or 1 small onion or 35 grams onions
  • 3 to 4  small to medium garlic cloves  – roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander  (coriander powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin  (cumin powder)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder  or crushed black pepper
  • ½  teaspoon cayenne pepper  or red chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric turmeric powder – optional
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon  lemon juice  – optional
  • salt as required
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons water  – add only if required while grinding
  • oil for deep frying

Instructions
 

Recipe 1 – Making Traditional Falafel

    Soaking chickpeas

    • Rinse 1 cup chickpeas for a couple of times in water. Then soak the chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Drain all of the water.
    • Rinse the soaked chickpeas in running water. Drain water very well again.

    Blending

    • Then add the soaked and drained chickpeas in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.
    • Add the spices, seasonings and herbs – chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped cilantro or parsley, cayenne pepper (red chili powder), ground coriander, ground cumin, black pepper and all purpose flour.
    • Also add lemon juice and salt as per taste.
    • Process or blend the mixture in small intervals of time. Scrape the sides of the mixture and add back in the jar.
    • You should get a semi coarse mixture. Don't make it too pasty and smooth. Avoid adding water while grinding. If you are unable to blend without water, then you can add 1 to 3 tablespoons of water.
    • Take the mixture in a bowl. Check the taste and add more salt or spices if required. With a spoon or your hands mix everything well.
    • If the mixture is too coarse, you won't be able to shape them into balls. The consistency should be semi coarse, so that you are able to shape them in balls or patties. You can even refrigerate the mixture for some hours or a couple of days.

    Checking oil temperature before frying

    • First lets test the falafel. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or wok. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.
    • If it does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tablespoon more of the all-purpose flour.
    • The oil temperature is also crucial, as if the oil is not hot enough, the falafel can break. 
    • When you place the falafel in the oil, it should come up gradually to the top. If it does not come to the top or sticks to the pan, the oil is not hot enough. If it comes too quickly and starts browning fast, the oil is very hot.

    Frying falafel

    • Make medium sized balls from the ground mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the wok or pan. Do not crowd the pan.
    • When the base gets light golden and firms up then gently turn over with a slotted spoon. Fry the other side.
    • Fry till they become crisp and are golden turning over as needed for a couple of times.
    • Drain them on kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil.
    • This way make falafel with the rest of the mixture.
    • Serve falafel as a side snack with a tahini dip or hummus. It also tastes good with cilantro chutney and even tomato sauce. You can also stuff them in pita breads. 

    Recipe 2 – Green Falafel

      Making Mixture

      • Rinse and then soak 1 cup dried white chickpeas in enough water overnight for 7 to 8 hours. Later drain them well. Rinse them in running water. Drain very well again.
      • Then add them in a grinder jar or a food processor or in a blender jar.
      • Add fresh parsley or cilantro (coriander leaves) or half-half of both, roughly chopped onions, chopped garlic, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper powder or crushed black pepper, red chilli powder, turmeric powder (optional), all purpose flour and salt as required. You can also add ½ teaspoon lemon juice.
      • Grind the mixture in small intervals of time or pulse to get a semi coarse mixture.
      • Take all the ground mixture in a bowl. 
      • Make medium to large sized balls from the mixture.

      Frying Green Falafel

      • Heat oil for shallow frying or deep frying in a pan or kadai. Roll a small ball or patty from the mixture and place it in the oil.
      • If the falafel does not break, then you are good to go with the frying. If it breaks then add ½ to 1 tablespoon more of the all purpose flour. 
      • Make medium to large sized balls from the mixture and place them in medium hot oil. Add the number of balls depending on the size and capacity of the kadai or pan. Do not crowd the pan.
      • When they get light golden, gently turn over and fry the other side.
      • Fry them till they become crisp and are golden.
      • Remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain them on kitchen paper towels so that they absorb extra oil.
      • This way make them with the rest of the mixture.
      • Serve green herb falafels as a snack with a tahini dip or hummus. These also taste good with coriander chutney and even tomato ketchup. You can also stuff them in pita breads.

      Video

      Notes

      • To make gluten free version use rice flour or gram flour instead of all purpose flour.
      • Use dried chickpeas to get the crispy texture. Using canned chickpeas will give a completely different taste and texture. You will also require to add some more all purpose flour to bind the mixture well. 
      • Fry falafel in medium hot oil. Before frying always check a small ball made from the mixture. It should not break or get too browned from outside. If the oil is not hot, it may absorb more oil and can also break in the oil.
        If the oil is too hot, it can get browned from outside too quickly leaving the insides raw. So when frying fry at a medium to medium high flame. 
      • The consistency of the ground mixture is semi coarse or semi fine. Do not make it too coarse as the falafel balls cannot be shaped easily. But you can grind to a fine consistency. The resulting texture in the fried falafel will be smooth from inside but will taste good. 
      • You can easily store ground mixture in the fridge for a day or in the freezer. Before frying let the ground mixture come at room temperature. 
      • The nutrition info is for one serving of classic traditional falafel.

      Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

      Nutrition Facts
      Falafel Recipe (2 Ways)
      Amount Per Serving
      Calories 356 Calories from Fat 126
      % Daily Value*
      Fat 14g22%
      Saturated Fat 1g6%
      Sodium 412mg18%
      Potassium 649mg19%
      Carbohydrates 47g16%
      Fiber 13g54%
      Sugar 9g10%
      Protein 14g28%
      Vitamin A 170IU3%
      Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
      Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
      Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
      Vitamin B6 1mg50%
      Vitamin C 6mg7%
      Vitamin E 5mg33%
      Vitamin K 8µg8%
      Calcium 89mg9%
      Vitamin B9 (Folate) 383µg96%
      Iron 5mg28%
      Magnesium 85mg21%
      Phosphorus 255mg26%
      Zinc 2mg13%
      * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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      This falafel recipe post from the archives (April 2012) has been republished and updated on 2 June 2021.

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      Meet Dassana

      Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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      43 Comments

      1. Hello mam…what can be added to make a gluten free version…cornflour or roasted besan?? Which will taste nicer???
        Btw ur recipes are awesome

        1. thanks ruchika. use roasted besan. it will give a better taste than corn flour.

      2. When we were in US, a middle eastern friend suggested we use split green garbanzo (chickpeas/chana). It used to taste awesome. We moved to India recently and we have been searching for split hara chana (green chickpeas) since then but with no luck. Any idea where can we get that from?5 stars

        1. hara chana is available in most grocery stores in metros. you can even find them in big stores like reliance etc. or you can buy online from amazon.in or bigbasket.

      3. Really love your recipe. I have been using Desi chickpeas for my recipes. How long would you recommend soaking them for this recipe?

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