Air Fryer Falafel
Air fryer falafel is a healthy alternative to classic deep-fried falafel that still comes out super crispy! This homemade Air Fryer Falafel recipe comes together in just 20 minutes and is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
What is falafel?
Falafels are deep-fried patties or balls made from a mix of chickpeas, herbs and spices that are often served in pita bread. Falafel is a Middle Eastern street food, that most likely originated in Egypt. (Though this is controversial, as many Middle Eastern Countries believe they originated falafel and it’s difficult to know exactly where it came from!)
Falafel is a great vegetarian dish that is both high in protein and fibre. It’s easy to make at home and can be made in a deep fryer, the oven, or in an air fryer.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ready in 20 minutes. This entire Air Fryer Falafel recipe only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish! It’s also very easy to make directly in a food processor.
- Healthier than deep-fried falafel. While deep-fried falafel is delicious, it tends to be greasier and higher in calories and fat. This air-fried falafel uses very little oil and is a great option if you’re looking for a healthier alternative.
- High in protein and fibre. Falafel is a great source of plant-based protein and is packed with 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre per serving.
Dry vs canned chickpeas
While canned chickpeas are great to have on hand for chickpea curry and chickpea salad, for this falafel recipe you want to use dry chickpeas.
Dry chickpeas are sold dried, usually in a bag and need to be soaked overnight before using them in falafel. Not only are dried chickpeas tastier than canned chickpeas, but they will also give the falafel the proper texture and structure to hold up in this recipe.
Air Fryer Falafel ingredients
- Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans): Air Fryer Falafel is made with dried chickpeas, not canned chickpeas. Dried chickpeas will give the falafel a better and crisper texture because they’ll be less wet than canned chickpeas.
- Herbs: I use a mix of parsley and cilantro, but you can use any herbs you love. Make sure to use fresh herbs here, not dried herbs.
- Onion: for flavour. a regular white or yellow onion works here.
- Garlic: this is a key ingredient to flavour falafel. Use fresh garlic, not powdered.
- Spices: this recipe is made with a combination of cumin, ground coriander, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Chickpea Flour: this is used to help bind the falafel together. I like to use chickpea flour but you can use any type of flour. (All-purpose flour, gluten-free flour, almond flour…etc.)
- Baking soda: this will help the chickpeas cook up quickly in the air fryer and give them a nice texture.
- Olive oil: I find this helps to add some moisture to the falafel and helps prevent them from drying out.
How to make Air Fryer Falafel
Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and fill the bowl with water. Let the chickpeas soak overnight to soften. You’ll notice the chickpeas grow in size after soaking. Drain before using in the recipe.
Add the soaked chickpeas to a food processor with the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, baking soda and chickpea flour and pulse to combine.
Use a cookie scoop or your hands to form the falafel mixture into balls or patties. Spray the air fryer with cooking spray then spread the falafel in your air fryer basket and cook at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Remove the falafel from the air fryer and serve immediately.
Tip: depending on your air fryer the falafel may need more or less time, so check on them while they are cooking!
Ways to serve falafel
There are so many different ways to serve Air Fried Falafel! Here are a few of my favourite ways to enjoy eating this recipe.
- Falafel bowl. Falafel bowls are usually made by layering a grain like rice or quinoa in a bowl and topping it off with the falafel, some salad and sauces or spreads like hummus.
- In a pita. One of the most traditional ways to enjoy falafel is to stuff it into pita bread with your favourite vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers and sauces like tahini sauce.
- Mezze platter. This is a traditional Middle Eastern platter than is often served as an appetizer with little bites, snacks and spreads on it.
- Homemade hummus or lemon tahini dressing. Enjoy this falafel on its own dipped in hummus or with a drizzle of tahini dressing on it.
How to store and reheat
Fridge: store leftover falafel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat the falafel in the microwave or in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes.
Freezer: place the falafel in a freezer-safe bag and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the falafel thaw on the countertop then reheat in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes. You can also freeze uncooked falafel by placing the uncooked falafel in a freezer bag in the freezer. Let thaw partially and then cook as directed in the air fryer.
Expert tips for making falafel in the air fryer
- Use dried chickpeas! Canned chickpeas are pre-cook and too soft. The recipe won’t turn out as well with canned chickpeas as it will with dried chickpeas.
- Don’t over-process. Process the mixture just until combined. You don’t want the falafel dough to turn into a wet mushy mixture.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Leave space between each piece of falafel. This will ensure proper airflow in the air fryer and will help each falafel ball become crispy.
- Air fry in batches if needed. If your air fryer is too small, air fry the falafel in two or three batches.
- Adjust cooking time as needed. Many air fryers have different settings and will cook slightly differently, so adjust the cooking time and temperature as needed. It’s best to check on the falafel after 5-6 minutes to see how they’re doing.
Canned chickpeas won’t give the falafel the right texture. Since canned chickpeas are pre-cooked, they are too soft and wet to use in the falafel recipe and can cause the falafel to fall apart and prevent them from becoming crispy.
You can shape the falafel into balls or patties. Both are delicious!
Yes! If you don’t have an air fryer you can still make the falafel in the oven. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the falafel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Yes! Air fryer falafel is a healthy vegetarian and vegan meal that has 350 calories, 10 grams of protein and 8 grams of fibre per serving.
Make these chickpea recipes next!
- Chickpea Burgers
- Morrocan Chickpea Stew
- Golden Chickpea Soup
- Marinated Chickpeas
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
If you tried this Air Fryer Falafel or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!Print
Air Fryer Falafel
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Air fry
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Diet: Vegan
Make homemade air fryer falafel that is healthy, vegan and gluten-free!
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp chickpea flour (can sub any flour)
- Soak the chickpeas in a bowl of water overnight, then drain.
- Add the chickpeas to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until everything is combined.
- Use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the falafel mixture and roll into even balls with your hands.
- Spray your air fryer with cooking spray and cook the falafel at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket when cooking.
Store in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
You can reheat falafel in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes or in the microwave.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 350
- Sugar: 2g
- Fat: 16g
- Carbohydrates: 34g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 10g
Keywords: air fry falafel, falafel in the air fryer, homemade falafel
Would it be possible to cook them in the oven? Unfortunately I don’t have an air fryer yet. Thanks
Hi Anita, yes! I do have a regular falafel recipe on the blog you can find it by searching “falafel” in the search bar. This will give you the recipe/instructions for oven-baked falafel 🙂