Using simple, everyday ingredients, learn how to make authentic homemade falafel from scratch! Follow along as we show you just how easy it is to whip up these crispy and delicious patties.
This Middle Eastern "fast food" is extremely popular amongst the plant-based community, and for good reason. If you haven't tried it before, today's your lucky day!
Falafel is a mixture of chickpeas, herbs, and spices, which are formed into little patties or balls. Although the exact origin is controversial, it is thought to have originated in Egypt. However, there's an argument for the dish being created in Israel or Lebanon, so who knows.
What we do know is it tastes delicious!
We've been making falafel for quite some time and have also enjoyed many versions all over the world. When made right, falafel is crispy on the outside with a warm fluffy inside.
It's packed with fresh herbs and spices for flavor, but also full of fiber and plant-based protein to form a well-balanced meal.
This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and can be made oil-free by baking the falafel patties. We sometimes like to bake half and fry the other half. Try it out to see which one you like best! Let us know in the comments if you're team baked (Justine) or fried (Mitch).
🍲 Key ingredients
- Chickpeas: also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas give this delicious dish its health properties. Not only are chickpeas a rich source of vitamins and minerals, but they're a great protein replacement for those wanting to cut down on their meat consumption. There's over 10g of protein in just a single cup of cooked chickpeas, which we find quite impressive.
- Herbs: using a combination of fresh herbs gives these falafel balls a brighter taste and a beautiful green hue on the inside. Cilantro provides a citrusy flavor, while parsley brightens up the rest of the ingredients. We also add a touch of dill to achieve a licorice note in these little nuggets. Just remember to use proper conversions if you opt for dried herbs.
- Spices: considered complementary spices, cumin and coriander work perfectly in falafel (you'll find them in just about any falafel recipe). Cumin has a smokey and nutty flavor, whereas coriander carries a light, bright, and citrusy flavor. Cumin is an excellent source of iron, and coriander is thought to have digestive benefits, which have been found to help irritable bowel syndrome.
- Garlic: it wouldn't be an authentic falafel dish without garlic tying everything together. It's perfectly zesty with a little zing! You might find it interesting to know that garlic possesses an incredible nutrient profile. Just one clove of garlic contains 2% manganese, 2% vitamin B6, and 1% selenium. Pretty impressive for a tiny, 4-calorie ingredient.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
The first and most important step is to soak the dried chickpeas so they expand in size and soften. The longer you soak them the better (shoot for around 20-24 hours).
Note: don't try to save time by using canned chickpeas in this recipe. You will not end up with the right consistency.
Once the chickpeas have soaked, give them a good rinse, and add them to your food processor. Next, roughly de-stem the cilantro, parsley, and dill. Chop the garlic cloves and onion, and add all of that to the food processor as well.
Then, add in the lemon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper and pulse it all together! You're going for a grain-like texture.
Transfer your falafel mixture into a large bowl. Add in the baking powder and mix together with your hands. Then, cover the bowl and stick it in your fridge for about an hour.
Once the mixture had chilled, remove your bowl and start forming balls or patties about 1-2 inches in size. Transfer the patties to a pan while you're rolling them all.
Next, heat up enough oil over medium-high to allow the falafel balls to be completely submerged (about ¾-inch deep). You can use a saucepan, skillet, or dutch oven for this. Note: the bigger the pan, the more oil you'll need.
Using a thermometer, check that the oil is at 350-375 degrees F. A piece of batter should sizzle immediately.
You can also check the oil is just right with one falafel to start. If it browns quickly on the outside, but the inside is still raw, you'll need to turn the heat down.
Once the oil is ready, cook a couple patties at a time. Don't add too many at once or the oil temperature will drop.
After about 4-5 minutes, or when the outside looks golden brown, remove the falafel balls and let them cool on a rack with some paper towel underneath.
Serve these immediately with hummus, on a pita with toum, or straight up! They make a delicious snack.
Falafel stores extremely well when prepped ahead of time. Simply make the batter, form it into patties, and freeze them for up to 1-2 months in an airtight container or bag. When you're ready to eat, either bake or fry them from frozen.
After you've made the falafel, they are best served warm or at room temperature. However, they will keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Buy your dried chickpeas in bulk
- Make lots of falafel so you can have meals readily available throughout the week
- Use a different acid like apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice
- Make sure you fry the falafel in a cheap vegetable oil like canola
🍴 Tasting notes
This falafel recipe is full of Middle Eastern flare. It's:
- Crispy on the outside
- Fluffy on the inside
If you try this for lunch or dinner, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Authentic Homemade Falafel
- Food processor
- Chef knife
- Deep saucepan for frying
- Oil thermometer
- Slotted spoon
- 3 cups dry chickpeas ($1.53)
- 1 ⅔ cup fresh cilantro ($0.93)
- 1 ⅔ cup fresh parsley ($0.39)
- ⅔ cup fresh dill ($0.95)
- 1 medium onion, chopped ($0.24)
- 6-7 cloves garlic, minced ($0.24)
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice ($0.18)
- 1 ½ tablespoon cumin ($0.03)
- 1 ½ tablespoon coriander ($0.03)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne ($0.04)
- Sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste ($0.02)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder ($0.01)
- Neutral oil like canola, peanut, or avocado
- The first and most important step is to soak the dried chickpeas the night before so they expand in size and soften. The longer you soak them the better (about 20-24 hours).
- Have at least 3-4 inches of water over the chickpeas as they triple in size. You can add baking soda to the water in order to soften the chickpeas even more. Note: canned chickpeas will not work for this recipe.
- Once the chickpeas have soaked, give them a good rinse, and add them to your food processor. Next, roughly de-stem the cilantro, parsley, and dill. Chop the garlic cloves and onion, and add all of that to the food processor as well.
- Then, add in the lemon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Pulse in 15-20 second increments and scrape down the sides as needed. You're going for a grain-like texture.
- After you have the right consistency, transfer the batter into a bowl. Add in the baking powder and mix together with your hands. Cover the falafel mixture and set it in the fridge to cool for about 1 hour.
- Once the mixture had chilled, remove your bowl and start forming balls or patties about 1-2 inches in size. Transfer them to a plate or pan and set aside.
- Next, heat up enough oil over medium-high to allow the falafel balls to be completely submerged (approx. ¾-inch deep). You can use a saucepan, skillet, or dutch oven for this. Note: the bigger the pan, the more oil you'll need to use.
- Using a thermometer, check that the oil is at 350-375°F. A piece of batter should sizzle immediately. You can also check the oil is just right with one falafel to start. If it browns quickly on the outside, but the inside is still raw you'll need to turn the temperature down.
- Once the oil is ready, cook 1-2 balls at a time. Don't add too many at once or the oil temperature will drop. After about 4-5 minutes, or when the outside looks golden brown, remove the falafel balls and let them cool on a rack with some paper towel underneath.
- Serve these immediately with hummus, on a pita with toum, or straight up! They make a delicious snack.
- The price of this recipe will depend on the amount and variety of oil you use. We have not included it in the price for this reason.
- Nutritional information is a rough estimate.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty dishes with a Middle Eastern flair, check out our:
- Chickpea fries with rosemary garlic aioli for a new and equally addicting take on French fries (you've been warned).
- Vegan lentil patties with lemon tahini dip for a hearty patty that's perfect to pair with a rich and tangy dip.
- Creamy Moroccan hummus if you're ready to ditch store-bought and opt for an ultra creamy and fully customizable version.
- Moroccan chickpea stew to try a unique spice blend that will have you coming back for seconds.
- Mediterranean couscous if you're looking for a light, fresh, and tangy meal that's perfect for weekday lunches.
This happens when the oil is too hot. You can use a wooden spoon to gauge how hot the oil is (look for small bubbles), or buy an oil thermometer for a few bucks if you think you'll get good use out of it.
You can bake or air fry the falafel and they turn out great! We just wanted to keep this recipe as authentic as possible.
We do not recommend using canned chickpeas. It's best to soak them from dry. Technically, you can use them, but the texture will be off.
You don't have to use fresh herbs, but it truly doesn't taste the same without them. Plus, you won't get that beautiful green hue when you take a bite. Stick to fresh herbs in this recipe if you can!