Air Fryer Falafel

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!
Air Fryer Falafel

Falafel is a delicious Middle-Eastern vegetarian dish made with chickpeas, a mix of onions and different herbs and spices. They are shaped like meatballs, but there’s no meat in them. I wanted to create a falafel recipe that was quick and easy, made from canned chickpeas and didn’t require frying. Solution, air fryer to the rescue! You can see more air fryer recipes here!

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

Protein packed, nutritious and light – these un-fried falafels will delight your palate. Perfect on days you want to go meatless or just include more plant based foods in your diet. Serve them in a pita, over hummus, with couscous, or over rice – you decide! Also great for meal prep!

What are falafels made out of?

Falafel balls are usually made out of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), but you can find other variations depending on where you buy your falafel. The chickpeas are usually soaked, then ground up, and seasoned with herbs, spices and aromatics.

Because they are usually made from soaking dried chickpeas, they can be quite time consuming to make. I wanted a speedy recipe because I never have time for that so rather than starting with dry garbanzo beans, I created this quicker version with canned garbanzo beans instead.

The challenge using canned chickpeas is the inside comes out too soft, almost like a mashed potato texture. So I reworked the recipe a few times to get them just right. The trick is to blend all your other ingredients first so you don’t over-process the chickpeas and just pulse them a few times at the end. A few spritzes of olive oil before air frying makes them crisp on the outside and tender inside.

What is traditionally served with falafel?

The traditional way of serving it is to stuff two or three pieces in a pita, along with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a dollop of tahini. But it can also be eaten – hot or cold – as an appetizer or as part of a main course salad. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Serve them in a hollow pita. That’s pretty obvious, here in NY most street carts that sell them, they come in a pita with tomatoes, red onion and even pickles. Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini or a spicy harissa hot sauce.
  • Serve them over hummus. That’s my favorite way to eat them, topped with cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes. A few pieces of toasted pita wedges on the side. Also great to pack for lunch!
  • Make a platter. Serve them over couscous or basmati rice with tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Lettuce wraps. Not traditional but you can keep it light and serve them in lettuce wraps. The outer leaves of a head of iceberg lettuce, in my opinion make the best “wrap” because they are larger and easier to fold.

Are falafels vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, falafel is both vegetarian and vegan. They are made from 100% plant-based ingredients—chickpeas, herbs, spices, and onions. It’s typically served with other vegan-friendly foods such as pita bread, salad, and pickled vegetables.

This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

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This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!
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4.64 from 52 votes
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Air Fryer Falafel

1
5
1
SP
134 Cals 6 Protein 24 Carbs 2 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Refrigerate Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 45 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Dinner, Lunch
CUISINE: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
This easy Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier in the air fryer with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

Ingredients

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • olive oil spray

Optional for serving:

  • hummus, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, pita, tahini, etc

Instructions

  • Dry the chickpeas on paper towels.
  • Place the onions and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, scallions, cilantro, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Process until blended 30 to 60 seconds, then add the chickpeas and pulse 2 to 3 times until just blended, but not pureed.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and the flour, scape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula and pulse 2 to 3 times.
  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, 2 to 3 hours.
  • Form the falafel mixture into 12 balls, if it’s too sticky add some flour to your hands and your work surface.
  • Preheat the air fryer 350F.
  • Spray the falafel with oil. Cook 14 minutes, in batches until golden brown, turning halfway.

Video

Notes

Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Freeze uncooked balls for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before air frying.

Nutrition

Serving: 3falafel balls, Calories: 134kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 2g, Sodium: 403mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g
Blue Smart Points: 1
Green Smart Points: 5
Purple Smart Points: 1
Keywords: Air fryer falafel, Easy falafel recipe, falafel, Falafel recipe canned chickpeas

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140 comments

  1. The best falafel recipe ever! I just used less onion, because I read the comments and people mentioned it was too wet. Mine was still a little wet, so I added about 2 tbsp bread crumbs. Delish!

  2. My husband asked me to make these once a week. Great flavor and texture. 

  3. Followed instructions to the T and the falafels turned out perfectly. They were delicious. My hard to please teen and littles enjoyed it very much. Dinnertime turned out to be pleasant!
    Thank you so much

  4. Can you substitute rice flour, coconut flour or almond flour for the all purpose flour in the air fryer falafel recipe?

  5. I am trying to search for how to cook dried chickpeas in the instant pot. Every time I try the search lots of recipes come up USING chickpeas but none on how to cook them. n HELP!

  6. I make a double batch of these for meal-prep on a constant rotation. Here’s what works for me. (Amounts given for single batch)

    1) I use dried chickpeas (1/2 cup) soaked and cooked in the instant pot (it’s just more cost-effective since I make them so often). Leave them to dry on paper towel covered cookie sheet for an hour or so.
    2) 50 grams yellow onion, 31 grams of chopped parsley; 20 grams of cilantro; 33 grams scallions
    3) Wheat flour instead of white
    4) Use a small cookie scoop to portion.
    5) Misto for EVOO

    It’s been foolproof for the last couple months.

  7. I don’t have a food processor. Is there another way to make this? It looks delicious!

  8. Too wet! 🙁 More flour didn’t really help. Guess I need to cut back on onion? But I love onion…

    • It looks like others have had success with this recipe, but I have never had success when I’ve started with cooked chickpeas, whether canned or starting from dried–the falafel ends up wet, and then you have to add a lot of flour to form them, which makes them fairly dense.

      Instead, try soaking dried chickpeas overnight, but do NOT cook them . Drain them, dry them, and then process the soaked, uncooked chickpeas with all the other ingredients here EXCEPT flour. If you process it to fine grains (but not a paste), it should make delicious falafel. I know Gina is trying to save the soaking step, but it really won’t take any longer than opening and draining/rinsing canned chickpeas since you’re not cooking it. I hope that works for you!

    • Rosie, maybe you can reduce the onion and add some onion powder. I added 2 tbsp bread crumbs and it helped a lot!

  9. This was perfect! So easy as long as you plan ahead. I served it with hummus, cucumbers,feta, tomatoes and red onion. I made it for my dinner. I served three with all the sides and it was plenty for me. I also used gluten free flour and baked them for 20 mins on 400 degrees. Came out fine!

  10. Recipe indicates the the uncooked falafel balls can be frozen.  Has anyone tried freezing ones that have already been air fried?

    • Yep. I just put them into Gladware and pull them out 9 at a time (3 days at 3 each for brunch.) They’re still soft and delicious.

  11. Amazing!  Finally a falafel recipe that the entire family likes. Thanks do much. 

  12. came here for the air fryer temperature but falafel on rice or couscous? that would be blasphemous back home lol
    also what we would use for toppings is a combination of radish, tomatoes, pickled peppers and beets, chopped parsley, some mint and tarator (tahini sauce) etc…

  13. I don’t have air fryer, but do have convection oven.  Are cooking times and temperatures the same?

  14. I don’t know if I already commented on this recipe, but here I am again! My husband begs me to make these, and he doesn’t like beans. Wrapped in a warm pita with tzatziki and veggies makes this a super indulgent (but not) Meatless Monday dinner!

  15. Could this be adapted (low fat) for baking? I don’t have an air fryer.

  16. I made this twice this week. The first time I used the whole onion and it was drippy. Could barely create balls and they didn’t cook through. The second time, I read the comments and only added 1/4 of the onion. Followed the rest to the letter and it came out perfectly.

  17. These were really good! I will defiinitely make these again. Had them with hummus, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and pita bread and it was delicious and filling.

  18. Delicious 😋 

  19. I absoluetly LOVE this recipe! I’ve just made another batch to bring to work for my lunches! I use a whole 19oz can of chickpeas, the texture is wonderful, and the mixture is easy to roll into balls. I added a squeese of lemon juice to the mix. Thabks for a wonderful, easy recipe!

  20. I only added about 1/4 onion after reading the comments and seeing others’ batches were coming out watery. Forgot to allow enough time for chilling, but putting them in the freezer for 20 mins seemed to work fine. I didn’t have any trouble getting them to stick together. Very crispy and yummy.

  21. Totally new to air frying. This is the second recipe I have made in it and I’m blown away. I’ve never been able to replicate falafel taste I love that isn’t deep fried. Holy moly were these tasty. I can’t believe how easy and delicious they were. Thanks Gina!

  22. Yummy!

  23. Wow! Just made these, and they were really delicious! Made a tahini sauce, too. I used mini pitas, put one falafel in each, drizzled with tahini sauce, and garnished with green onions. Falafel sliders! Thanks for this easy and tasty recipe!!!

  24. Yikes! Way too wet. Added flour but still wasn’t right. I’ve made so many recipes from by Gina so I’m assuming this was just a fluke. Oh well. Gonna try again!

  25. Love this recipe. It’s quick and easy and flavorful. I make them into patties instead of balls as they lay in a sandwich better.

  26. amazing falafal…some of the best I have ever had

  27. This was my fifth falafel recipe that I tried and the winner by far for all of us in the house as well as neighbors! Thank you. 

    Has anyone tried freezing yet?  Curious if you freeze mix or cooked falafel. We go through them so fast in our house. 

  28. Heads up everyone, you can air fry these FROM FROZEN! I love this recipe, the first time I made it I made a single batch and froze 3 portions and defrosted per the instructions. The second time I made it I made a double batch and froze 7 portions and air fried from frozen and it came out great! In general the recipe needs to be air fried for 20 minutes when fresh, from frozen I think I did….24 minutes? Maybe 28?

  29. I didn’t do the cover in fridge for 2 hours as I honestly didn’t have the time – wife sent me the recipe and I ignored reading the time constraints (BAD HUBBY!). Either way, I followed the list of ingredients subbing the salt because of our lifestyle of reducing salt intake BUT I have one little tip that I used – taking a small ice cream scoop and spraying it with olive oil and using that to make my falafel balls. – They ended up really tasty and perfect, even without the salt. Adding this to my list of recipes!

  30. I love these so much and they’ve worked out perfectly each time. This time I used spinach instead of cilantro and that worked out great, too. I will probably use spinach from now on as I always have it on hand. Thanks for another great recipe.

    • I dried out the garbanzos by air frying them without any oil for about 3 minutes first. That seemed to make them more like the dried ones once soaked. I had no problem with them being too wet- if anything they were a little dry. I used shallots instead of onion which also have less moisture. These were pretty good!

  31. I tried this recipe last night and it was delicious. I didn’t have any issues with moisture content, I used a shallot about 1/2 the size of my palm and one very large clove of fresh market garlic. Next time I will likely add a bit more salt and cumin but I did add a sprinkle of Tajin seasoning before air frying them and it was a good addition. I chopped up cherry tomatoes and a small cucumber and mixed that with sumac and lemon juice to add to the pita with lettuce and tzatziki. I will make these again.

  32. I can’t wait to try this in my air fryer. Can the mixture be frozen? My son will be doing virtual learning this fall (I’ll have to help a lot) so I’m looking for ways to be more efficient with my time.

    • The notes say you can freeze uncooked portions for 6 months.  I’m also looking for more make-ahead recipes.  Good luck with your son!

  33. Could I make these with gluten free flour

  34. Sooo good! I had such a craving for falafel, and I wanted to put my new Airfryer to use. Didn’t have any issues with the watery mix like some others have said — I believe it’s the onion to blame because I actually forgot an onion and only used a little bit I had left. I also blended the mixture in a Magic Bullet, and although it required some effort to make sure the chickpeas were all blended, it wasn’t a big deal by any means. I also didn’t refrigerate them before. Maybe it was just pure chance, but they turned out perfect! 

  35. Why does it need to be refrigerated? I popped it into the airfryer before I read that. 😂 I used sprouted flour. My mix was pretty dry with some bigger chunks of chickpeas.

  36. I was out of cilantro and used spinach instead….very delicous!!!

  37. Love this recipe! Have made it twice now and has been a hit. I had a hard time getting the center of the ball to cook all the way through, so I pressed the ball shape down flat. It actually worked better for me because this shape fits better in a pita sandwich!

  38. I made these tonight with your Homemade Rice Pilaf and Skinny Tzatziki. I also made a cucumber salad. It was a delicious vegetarian meal! I did cook mine maybe two minutes longer than the stated time…my air fryer tends to need more time than most recipes say. 

  39. Made these for dinner tonight and they were delicious! The mix was pretty loose so next time I think I’ll add extra flour before shaping into balls. I followed the recipe exactly and put them in the air fryer in batches for ten minutes and then flipped over and cooked another 5-7 minutes. It was a great meat free dinner that was a little different  🙂 

  40. Horribly disappointing. Couldn’t even form them into balls because of how wet the mixture was. Followed the recipe exactly as written and still came out inedible. Had to throw everything away and find something else to meal prep for the week.

    • You’re obviously doing something wrong, considering 99% of the people who have commented have given great reviews. Perhaps you used too large of an onion, resulting in a wet and bitter recipe. The recipe turned out incredible for myself.

    • Why wouldn’t you just add more flour until you could roll it?

  41. Hi! I just tried this recipe today, but I think I used more chickpeas than I was suposed to. Did you consider the 15,5 ounce before or after the chickpeas were drained?

    • It doesn’t look like anyone responded to your question. My thinking was that canned beans come in different sizes, and the sized can for this recipe is the 15.5 ounce can. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and you’ve got plenty for the recipe. Hope that helps.

  42. Can i substitute oat flour and/or quinoa flour instead of the all purpose flour? I need to make them gluten free but want to ensure the mixture holds together properly. Thank you! 

  43. LOVE this recipe! Wouldn’t have thought to refrigerate the mix to make sure everything held together. The cooking instructions to preheat the air fryer and flip the falafels half way through made it come out perfectly. Only modifications I’ve made to this recipe was replacing to of the tablespoons of all purpose flour for almond flour, hand mashed the beans with a fork instead of pulsing in the blender/food processor, I didn’t use any oil, and refrigerated the mixture overnight. It came out perfectly!

  44. It’s been a long time since I’ve had good falafel. I’ve only made it myself out of the dry mix. This was easy and delish! Thanks for another great recipe. 

  45. My kids loved this meal!  I think I got too heavy handed with either the onion or red pepper flakes so added lemon juice prior to chilling.  I had to add flour once at of the fridge to firm up the mixture.  I served with hummus and pita.  Great meal to mix things up.

  46. Could I use almond flour instead of AP? 

  47. Can I bake these if I don’t have an Air fryer?
    I usually make my falafels from dried garbanzo beans but need a quickie recipe! Thanks they look delicious!

  48. I just tried these tonight. The flavor was great but the batter was super watery and I had to add a lot more flour so that changed the texture.  I’m not sure what happened. Maybe my onion was too big. Any suggestions?

  49. Great recipe! I made up a batch and have kept it in my fridge, frying up a few balls as I need them for lunches. Next time I might add a little more salt and spice to make it a little less bland. But really good with tahini, greek yogurt and lemon on top of a salad. Thanks!

  50. OMG Gina!!!! I absolutely loved these! Mine came out perfectly. Loved the flavor and the texture. Had my last today for lunch over some (store bought hummus) and garnished with Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and a few slices of red onion. And, I dashed a lil hot sauce on top for good measure. Gina- AMAZING!! Thank you for this recipe. This was my first time making falafel at home and it was fun.

  51. The falafel consistency was to wet.  I think I blended the chick peas too long and it became a puree.  Also, I air fryed for the time in the recipe but it was not brown.  I had to cook it longer.

  52. These turned out great. We will definitely make again. I had to substitute some of the ingredients since we can run out to the grocer right now.
    I only had dried cilantro and parlsley. I was afraid they night be too wet, but they were fine. I made 20 smaller sized ones, cooking ten at a time. I kept one half in the fridge while the first batch cooked then put them in a warm oven while I cooked the rest. We served with two kinds of hummus, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, Skinnytaste’s tzatziki sauce, soft taco wraps. Delish. Great no-meat dish for the whole family, that is filling and tasty.

  53. These came out great!  I ended up with 14 balls in two air fryer batches. I did find them a little bland though—though I generally think that of falafel so nothing wrong with the recipe!

  54. I LOVE falafel ! I’m excited to try this recipe. I do have one question: I usually do my own dried legumes. Could you easily substitute home cooked garbanzo beans?

  55. I cooked the falafels in the over at 350 degrees for 20 minutes on the convection setting. Worked out well! Was a little chewy in the centre. I also found that they held together well. Very nice dinner!

  56. I was so glad to see a recipe for these. Have always wanted to give them a try. They were fun to make and I got 18 littler falafel balls. Have found a great hummus Oasis brand that claims 28 calories per two tabs, fat free feta, cucumber and tomato. Used Joseph small pita breads too. Like someones idea of a squeeze of lemon and make a tzatziki sauce. Will do that for next servings. Nice to have another great vegetarian dish to make. Thank you
    I noticed someone thought they detected a bit of bitter, I thought I did too a bit, could it be I was heavy handed with cumin? Didn’t notice it when eating them with all the additions.

    • Wondering if bitter is from the baking powder, maybe need to add less?
      Making tonight.. mine seem to not be as firm. Already ended up adding for flour almost double… still in the fridge part right now.

  57. Using the air fryer is probably the best way of cooking, no oil and easy on the stomach. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it is very easy to make and healthy with all the herbs and spices that have been used.

  58. What can you use in place of a food processor?  Magic bullet, or immersion blender?

  59. For those without an air fryer – I baked these in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes (flipping halfway through). They were lightly browned on the outside, but tender and moist on the inside. Very good!

    Served them with couscous and a tomato cucumber salad using leftover white sauce from Gina’s food cart chicken recipe. Very good!

  60. I really enjoyed these, but they did have a bit of a bitter quality to them. My husband wasn’t a fan, the bite that it had to it was a little too much for him. I’m sure that this was a user error, as your recipes never let me down. What do you think could have caused it to have a bitter taste?

    • Did you use baking soda instead of baking powder maybe?

      • No, it was baking powder. 

      • I think maybe my onion was just too large, so it was too much. My moisture content and yield was on the high side too, and that would make sense if there was more onion than what your recipe was supposed to produce. Thank you for trying to help me trouble shoot, I look forward to trying this one again!

  61. I made this yesterday and it was FABULOUS for a meatless Monday. Relatively easy to make and yummy. We did a mediterranean night, and I added some tzatiki sauce the falaffel, we had hummus and pita, and then a tomato and cucumber salad with a drop of olive oil, lemon, and fat free feta. A delicious and healthy meatless meal! Thank you, Gina!

  62. Just wondering if the calorie count is correct? A 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, should be around 1000 calories.. divided by 4 servings that is still 250 calories per serving without any of the other ingredients.

  63. Is it okay to chill for more than 3 hours, possibly overnight, before cooking? I personally think it would be fine, but thought I’d check with the group as I’d hate to mess i t up.

  64. When you say refrigerate up to four days- is that after they’re cooked? I was wondering if I could make the mixture up to step 5 the night before and then finish them up the next day after work? Or would the mixture resting that long in the fridge be a problem?

  65. Made these over the weekend, but I didn’t have an air fryer so I cooked them in a skillet. The flavor is good, but I think the cloves of garlic I used were too large and it get it more of a spicy kick/bite than I wanted. Is there a trick to correct this in the future?

  66. It was as easy as you said it was! I’ve always been intimidated to make falafel. Thank you for this great recipe. They were delicious 

  67. Just made these and they are delicious! Doubled the recipe to meal prep lunches for the week. Definitely heavy on the garlic flavor, but that’s never a bad thing for me. Felt like it needed some sauce other than hummus (perhaps tzatziki or some other yogurt sauce), so I’ll be sure to make some next time. Overall, a great recipe 🙂

  68. Delicious! Best way to reheat the next day?

  69. Bought an air fryer it’s the best kitchen gadget I’ve ever bought I updated a previous model & I love it
    Well done 👍 Gina 

  70. How long do you let the chick peas dry?

  71. Can this be used with the Instant Pot air fryer lid?

  72. I’m not a fan of cilantro. Would it be Ok to double the parsley or would you suggest adding something different In place of cilantro? These look amazing! Thanks!

  73. Looks like I need to buy an air fryer!

  74. Hi! These are coming up as 4 blue sp when I add into the calculator. Should I be using the recipe builder?

    • Recipe builder.

    • This was great!  I made it for meatless Monday and did a Mediterranean theme.  We had the falafel with some drizzled tzatziki sauce, some hummus and pita and a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with fat free feta and some lemon juice and a touch of oil.  A fabulous and filling dinner.  

    • I made this recipe tonight (although I made the batter the day before). I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but YUM YUM YUM!! A couple of falafel in a warm pita, some chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber and lettuce, a little tahini and I was in heaven. Just a note, though,…I should have known that all air fryers are different and I had to set mine at 400 for it to cook properly. But the final result was delicious. THANK YOU!!

  75. I love falafel, and just purchased a Mealthy lid. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  76. I don’t have an air fryer . Can an oven do the same to the texture

  77. Any suggestion for which flour to use for GF? 

  78. Any suggestions on how to cook these if you don’t have an air fryer? Thanks!

  79. What is AP flour?

  80. What other ‘clean’ flour can I substitute the AP flour with? (ex: almond flour)? Thanks.

  81. What is AP flour?

  82. Do you have a version of this for a regular oven? I don’t have an air fryer. But it sounds delicious and would love to make it! 

  83. How can these be made in a regular oven? I have no room for one more appliance. Don’t want to fry rhem. 

  84. Looks delish! What is AP flour?

  85. What if you don’t have an air fryer?? Would baking them in the oven make them too dry? I can’t wait to try making these. Thank you!!

    • I haven’t tested them in the oven. You can flatten them and cook them in a skillet with a little olive oil spray. 4-5 minutes on each side.

  86. I do not have an air fryer, but my oven has convection roast. Do you think that would work? Thank you

  87. Hi Gina, these look delicious!  Would it be possible to cook these in the oven, since I’ve yet to buy an air fryer?   Thanks!

  88. Is the cooking temp / time same in toaster oven air fryer?  Gonna make these today – excited! Thank you, Gina.