Easy Homemade Falafel

$3.01 recipe / $0.43 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.47 from 80 votes
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I was so excited, so drawn in, so salivating when I saw this recipe for falafel from Living The Pie Life a few weeks ago. The only problem was that I didn’t have a food processor. But somewhere in the back of my mind, a little voice was telling me, “you WILL get a food processor for Christmas… just be patient, Beth.” Sure enough, my parents bought me this food processor as an early Christmas and graduation present. I’ve been using it non-stop ever since.

Originally posted 12-10-2010, updated 7-16-17

A stack of four cooked falafel with one broken in half and leaning on the side.

What is Falafel?

If you’ve never had falafel before, they are a little patty made of mashed beans (fava or sometimes garbanzo) along with tons of fresh herbs and spices. Traditionally they are fried which gives them a wonderfully crispy exterior with a soft warm center. I have an irrational fear of deep-frying, so I shallow-fried my falafel in a skillet. My version of this tasty treat is definitely not authentic, but if you’d like to try your hand at making authentic falafel or read more about the culture and history behind them, check out these recipes:

Can I Bake Them?

I always get questions about whether you can bake falafel and I really wouldn’t suggest it. You won’t get that nice brown crispy exterior like you do with frying and they will probably get quite dry. If anything, use just a small amount of oil in a non-stick skillet to at least brown them up some.

Are They Freezer-Friendly?

I froze most of my falafel uncooked and will probably shallow fry the rest of them. Leftover cooked falafel are also great as an addition to salads or to make sandwiches with, so cooking them all at once isn’t a terrible idea.

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Easy Homemade Falafel

4.47 from 80 votes
A popular Middle-Eastern street food, falafel pack beans, fresh herbs, and spices into a flavorful patty. Enjoy as an appetizer, on a salad, or stuffed into a pita.
Falafel are an ultra flavorful Mediterranean bean patty packed with fresh herbs and spices. Enjoy as an appetizer, on a salad, or stuffed into a pita. BudgetBytes.com
Servings 7 2 falafel each
Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 15oz. cans chickpeas ($1.58)
  • 1/4 red onion ($0.25)
  • 1 handfull fresh parsley (about 1/4 bunch) ($0.25)
  • 1 handfull fresh cilantro (about 1/4 bunch) ($0.25)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp baking powder ($0.03)
  • 1/2 cup flour* ($0.07)
  • 1/4 cup neutral cooking oil for frying ($0.16)

Instructions 

  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas in a colander. Add the chickpeas to a food processor along with the red onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, cayenne, garlic and cumin (all ingredients except baking powder and flour). Process the mixture until it forms a chunky paste. A little texture to the mixture is usually desirable. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure the mixture is an even texture.
  • Place the mixture into a bowl and stir in the baking powder. Begin adding flour, 2 Tbsp at a time, until the mixture becomes cohesive enough to form into patties. Chickpea or garbanzo bean flour gives the best flavor and texture, but all-purpose can be used in it’s place. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend.
  • Using a small measuring cup or scoop (about 1/8th cup or 2 Tbsp), form the falafel dough into small patties. If freezing the patties for later, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet so they can freeze without sticking together. The patties can be transferred to an air-tight container or freezer bag for long-term storage once they have frozen through.
  • To cook the fresh or frozen patties, heat oil in a skillet (or pot if deep frying) until very hot and shimmering, but not smoking. Cook the patties on each side until deep golden brown and crispy.

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Notes

*chickpea flour will give the best flavor and texture, but all-purpose flour can be used in its place.

Nutrition

Serving: 2falafelCalories: 110kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSodium: 395mgFiber: 1g
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How to Make Falafel – Step By Step Photos

Top view of Falafel Ingredients in blender
Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of chickpeas (or about 3 cups if cooked from dry) in a colander. Add the chickpeas to a food processor along with a large handful of parsley, a large handful of cilantro, 1/4 of a red onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 1 tsp salt.

Top view of ingredients blended in blender
Pulse the mixture until you have a chunky paste. Chunks add great texture but too many will keep the mixture from holding it’s shape in a patty. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Baking Powder and Flour added to chickpea and herb mixture in mixing bowl
Stir 1 tsp baking powder into the chickpea mixture. Then begin adding flour, 2 Tbsp at a time, until the paste is dry enough to form patties and not stick to your hands. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors blend.

Shaped Falafel on pan lined with parchment paper

Scoop the falafel into about 2 Tbsp portions and shape into small patties. If you’d like to freeze your falafel, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment, then place them in the freezer. Once frozen solid you can transfer them to a freezer bag for long term storage.

Leftover Falafel in ziplock bag ready to freeze
I got 15 falafel with a 2 Tbsp scoop. I cooked some immediately and froze the rest.

Top view of Three Falafel in pan frying
To cook the falafel, add enough oil to a skillet to completely cover the surface (one of my favorite pans). Heat over medium until the oil is hot and shimmering. Add the falafel and cook on each side until brown and crispy. Let them drain on paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

A stack of homemade falafel with one broken in half.

And that’s it! If you’re a garlic lover, you’re going to LOOOVE these homemade falafel!

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  1. I made these yesterday and they were so easy! It was quick to come together and I could tell the resting in the fridge really helped the flavor. The first few I cooked got a little too crumbly, so I added more flour to the rest of the batter to hold them together better, this was a good call, they cooked up so well after that.

    The flavor is delicious! I served them on a salad with some homemade tzatziki (another budget bytes recipe!). 

  2. Hi there! Could you use freshly cooked chickpeas for this recipe the same way you would canned? And if so, would this equate to about 3.5-4 cups of cooked chickpeas?

    1. Hi! While I haven’t tried freshly cooked chickpeas, they would probably work. One 15oz. can is usually somewhere around 1.5 cups of chickpeas, so I would aim for about 3 cups. That being said, I’d really need to test it before offering any concrete suggestions.

  3. I accidentally blended the mix for too long, so the patties aren’t as meaty as they should be, but it still is incredibly delicious! I need a new blender lol. I added more onion, garlic, and spices because I like the flavoring to be a bit stronger.

  4. I made these a couple of months ago and have been eating them out of the freezer as needed using the thaw then cook in oil method… and I always found it unpleasantly oily. Today I forgot to take my falafel out of the freezer in the morning so it would be thawed at dinner time so I just threw it in the dry skillet still frozen and let it cook until I could see that it was mostly thawed. I then flipped it, added a few tablespoons of water, and smashed it down. The water helped it get nice and crispy on the bottom as it evaporated. Then I flipped it over again and added water and smashed again to get it crispy on the other side. I enjoyed it much more than cooking it in oil when cooked this way!

  5. We have made this a million times and loved it. In the latest iteration, we used chickpea flour instead of regular flour. Not sure if we did something wrong but it resulted in a big old miss. The falafel disintegrated in the pan and gave it a much grainier texture when done. 

    Would chickpea flour do that?

    1. It’s possible, since chickpea flour has a different composition from wheat flour, so it might not be quite as “gluey.” How about everything else, was it minced as finely? I can see larger pieces of the other ingredients causing it to not hold together as well.