This easy Air Fryer Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier 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 an air fryer falafel recipe that was quick and easy, made from canned chickpeas rather than dried. They come out great in the air fryer, so delicious and easy to make. You can see more air fryer recipes here!
Protein packed, nutritious and light – these air fryer falafel will delight your palate. Perfect on days you want to go meatless or just include more plant based foods in your diet. 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 or serve them over hummus, with couscous, or over rice – you decide!
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.
How To Make Falafel
Dried 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 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. The results are perfect!
How To Serve Falafel
The traditional way of serving falafel 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.
More Air Fryer Recipes You Will Love:
- Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- Air Fried Shishito Peppers
- Avocado Fries with Lime Dipping Sauce (Air Fryer or Oven)
- Air Fryer Salmon with Maple Soy Glaze
- Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Air Fryer Falafel
- 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
- 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, scrape 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.
151 comments on “Air Fryer Falafel”
These were great! Was hesitant to double the recipe first time around due to some negative comments. Very happy I did. Followed the recipe as written and had no issues with consistency at all. They freeze great and taste just as good after being frozen. Thank you for all your great healthy recipes.
First official post. These are incredible. I have left them in the bowl overnight in the fridge, and its worked out incredible. Highly recommend
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!
My husband asked me to make these once a week. Great flavor and texture.
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
Can you substitute rice flour, coconut flour or almond flour for the all purpose flour in the air fryer falafel recipe?
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!
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.
I don’t have a food processor. Is there another way to make this? It looks delicious!
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!
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!
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.
Amazing! Finally a falafel recipe that the entire family likes. Thanks do much.
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…
I don’t have air fryer, but do have convection oven. Are cooking times and temperatures the same?
I was suggested to bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (flipping halfway).
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!
Could this be adapted (low fat) for baking? I don’t have an air fryer.
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.
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.
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!
Too wet! 🙁 More flour didn’t really help. Guess I need to cut back on onion? But I love onion…
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.
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!
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!!!
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!
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.
amazing falafal…some of the best I have ever had
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.
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?
Thank you so much for this info!!!!