Classic Homemade Falafel

Falafel
The Spruce
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 75 mins
  • Soaking Time: 8 hrs
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
  • Yields: 12 falafels

Falafel (pronounced "fell-off-uhl"), sometimes spelled "felafel" or "felafil," is a deep-fried ball or patty that is made from either chickpeas or fava beans and spices. It is a vegetarian and vegan food and one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East. It's a very popular fast food around the world, and vendors sell it on the street corners in countries like Egypt, Syria, and Israel, where it's the national dish.

Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians with its crisp outside and tender inside with a mildly spiced flavor thanks to the garlic, parsley, and spices. The spices are a key aspect and can be personalized to taste. Make sure you leave enough time to soak the dried chickpeas overnight before mixing up your batter and frying.

As a main dish, falafel is often served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it can be served on a salad or with hummus and tahini. It's also often served with hot sauce

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Optional: Pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • Oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Falafel Recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Place dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak overnight.

    Chickpeas in a bowl
     The Spruce
  3. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil.

  4. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and let simmer on low for about 1 hour. Being careful not to overcook them. They should still be firm.

  5. Drain and allow to cool in the strainer for 15 minutes.

  6. Add 2 inches of oil to a heavy-bottomed large pot and heat to 350 F.

  7. Combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper (if using) in a medium bowl. Add the flour.

    Falafel ingredients in a bowl
     The Spruce
  8. Mash the chickpeas, mixing all of the ingredients together. Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.

    Falafel ingredients mashed together in a bowl
     The Spruce
  9. Form the mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.

    Formed falafel balls next to a bowl of falafel mixture
     The Spruce
  10. Fry the falafel balls for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown. Drain.

  11. Serve hot.

    Falafel on a plate with tahini dipping sauce
     The Spruce

Tips

  • The dried and cooked chickpeas can be replaced with a can of chickpeas. Skip the soaking and cooking if using canned beans. Make sure to rinse and drain, patting the beans dry with paper towels.
  • If the mixture isn't firm enough, add extra flour a little at a time.
  • If you need a binding agent, add one beaten egg.
  • Fry in batches, making sure that the oil returns to 350 F before frying the next one.

Is Chickpea Falafel Healthy?

Falafel is vegan and high in fiber thanks to the chickpeas. However, traditional falafel like this recipe is deep-fried, adding fat and calories. Make falafel part of a healthy meal by pairing it with fresh vegetables like cucumber, tomato, and lettuce. Or try making baked falafel.