Until recently, if you’d asked me if I ever wanted to make falafel at home, I’d have said “sure, one day” but what I meant was “nah, why bother?” I was certain that falafel was fussy to make and had a long ingredient list. It probably related in some way to a fritter, meaning that it was bound with eggs and flour, and probably had breading on it too, all pesky steps and this is even before you get to the peskiest of all: deep-frying them. I figured that it’s one of these things that there as many recipes for as there are people who make it, thus whatever I came up with would be wrong by default – too firm or too soft, with chickpeas instead of favas or vice-versa — no matter what. But this isn’t the whole truth. The fact is that below 14th Street, there are two locations each of Taim and Mamoun’s every time I even distantly considered whether I needed a homemade falafel recipe in my life, I knew I could get a perfectly executed sandwich in my hands before I even wrote out a grocery list.
Hey, I’m not proud of this. I pride myself on being a curious person in the realm of cooking so it’s pretty pathetic that I had falafel all worked up in my head as this highly complex thing and never once, you know, read a few recipes. Had I, I’d have learned many extremely cool things about falafel such as the fact that while you do need to start with dried chickpeas (come back!), you don’t even have to cook them, or not in the classic long-simmered way, to make it. You soak them overnight in cold water, grind them up with seasonings and herbs, pack them into spoonfuls, fry them in less than an inch of oil in merely a few minutes, and that is it. There’s no egg. There’s no breading. It’s vegan, it’s gluten-free, it’s dirt cheap, and it’s easy, I mean criminally easy, to make. And I had to do it immediately.
In real life, however, I waited until the first night of Hanukah for two reasons, one, fried food is basically the only rule of the holiday, and two, a family member has recently gone vegan and I weirdly love the challenge of trying new menus (obviously, the meal ended with this cake). Making falafel for 10 people was so easy, I had spare time to kill and so I decided to make pita bread too. Okay, I’m a little nuts but the fact is that 90% of storebought pita is dry and terrible and even the worst homemade pita, the couple that refuse to puff or puff erratically, as you see here, is still delicious.
One year ago: Dutch Apple Pie
Two years ago: Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts, Homemade Irish Cream,
Three years ago: Pull-Apart Rugelach and Tres Leches Cake + A Taco Party
Four years ago: Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix and Gingerbread Biscotti
Five years ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies and Eggnog Florentines
Six years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Seven years ago: Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Eight years ago: Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Nine years ago: Cream Biscuits, Coffee Toffee and Vanilla Roasted Pears
Ten years ago: Feta Salsa and Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Eleven years ago: Tiramisu Cake, Rugelach Pinwheels and Chicken and Dumplings
Twelve years ago: Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable, German Pancakes, and Winter Panzanella
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Linguine and Clams
1.5 Years Ago: Grilled Pepper and Torn Mozarella Panzanella and Crispy Spiced Lamb and Lentils
2.5 Years Ago: The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie, Revisited, Charred Eggplant and Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad, and Strawberry Milk
3.5 Years Ago: Crispy Frizzled Artichokes and Saltine Crack Ice Cream Sandwiches
4.5 Years Ago: Coconut Brown Butter Cookies and Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
This makes 19 pieces of falafel about 1.5 inches in diameter, using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop to measure. I estimate 3 to 4 for each medium-large pita sandwich portion, to make 4 to 6 total, but we preferred only 3 in each. This recipe scales easily; I’d recommend doubling it for a crowd or even just to stock your freezer for a future falafel night.
- 1/2 pound (1 1/4 cups or 225 grams) dried chickpeas
- 1/2 a large onion, roughly chopped or 1 cup chopped scallions
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled (I use 4 but adjust to your tastes)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, if you’re measuring, or a big handful
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, if you’re measuring, or a big handful
- 1 teaspoons fine sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or mild ones such as urfa biber or Aleppo
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- To serve: Pitas, tahini sauce (below), tomato-cucumber salad, harissa (homemade or storebought) or another hot sauce (such as zhoug), and any pickled vegetables you wish, such as cucumbers, red onion, or mango (amba)
- The night before: Place chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough water to cover them by a few inches. I like to put 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per pound of chickpeas in this water too; it will not toughen the beans or slow down their cooking time, it simply seasons them. Let the chickpeas soak overnight.
- To make tahini sauce: I have trouble nailing down precise measurements measurements for tahini sauce because you really want it to taste, and tahinis vary between brands. But, it’s roughly this for this amount of falafel: 1/2 cup well-stirred tahini + 1 clove garlic, minced or finely grated + Juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste + salt, to taste + water, as needed, to thin tahini into a sauce. It’s not strange to need at least as much water as you do tahini to keep it loose and spoonable, but I add it a tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine, tasting along the way.
- Some falafel recipes contain flour (to make it heavier and more firm), some contain baking powder (for fluff), but after making a batch with both, I found I preferred the purist route, with neither. Should you wish to add flour, add 1 tablespoon at time, frying off a ball after each addition until you get the texture you wish, not going further than 4 tablespoons or it will be excessively leaden. To add baking powder, you could use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons for the whole recipe below, but personally, I found the change in fluffiness nominal, and the texture without it not lacking at all.
- I’d forgotten how easy it is to make pita bread and have proceeded to make it 4 more times in two weeks, sometimes for falafel and other times just to go with a really great soup or stew. The recipe was fine as written but I’ve cleaned it up and simplified it because it’s easier than it made it sound. They rewarm well or can be kept warm in a basket lined with a napkin or cloth towel for a while. You know you wanna.
- You guys, I am that weird home cook that finds chopping things cathartic which is why in the 10 years since my mother-in-law bought me one of these (she uses it to make picture-perfect Salad Olivier and vegetable soups), I hadn’t once used it. Well, I looked at the great mass of cucumbers and tomatoes I wanted to chop on Hanukah and decided there was no time like the present to give it a spin. It bashed up the tomatoes a bit but I regret nothing.
An hour or so before you’d like to eat falafel: Drain the chickpeas well. In the bowl of a food processor or a really strong blender, place the onion, garlic, and herbs and pulse the machine until they’re coarsely. Add the drained chickpeas, salt, and spices and process until blended to a fine chop but not pureed. You’re looking for a texture like cooked couscous plus some slightly larger bits throughout. You should be able to pinch it together into a shape that holds.
Transfer chickpea mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic, and place in refrigerator for a few hours, if you have it, but I find even 30 minutes is helpful in getting the mixture to thicken and hold shape better. [This is when I like to get everything else ready.]
To shape the falafel: Form the chickpea mixture into walnut-sized balls. You could use a falafel scoop, if you have one, tablespoon measuring spoon, or even a cookie scoop, as I did. The most important thing is that you press it into the scoop tightly to compress the ingredients, then gently roll it in the palm of your hands to form a ball. Repeat with remaining chickpea mixture. (If you’re like me, you imagine you can just do this as you add them to the pan, but they cook so quickly, you’ll be happy to not have to multitask. Trust me.)
To cook the falafel: Heat 3/4 to 1-inch of oil in a medium-large frying pan to 375°F. Fry about 6 falafel fritters at a time, turning them over once they’re a nice toasty brown underneath, and removing them once the second half has the same color. This took me about 3 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining fritters.
[Don’t have a thermometer? Well, 375 is very, very hot. It takes my frying pan of oil on high heat about 5 minutes to reach this temperature. You can also test a small ball; if it cooks in about 3 minutes, it’s probably about the right temperature.]
To serve: I like to split open a pita and start with a little tahini sauce (below) and a spoonful of salad at the bottom before adding 3 to 4 falafel fritters. Stuff and finish with a more generous scoop of tomato-cucumber salad, more tahini sauce, a hot sauce of your choice, and pickles, if you wish.
Some extended notes:
332 comments on falafel
Never made falafel…but eaten plenty of them :) Thanks for the inspiration! Will definitely be trying your recipe.
Thank you, Deb! I’ve been trying to spread the word about how easy it is to make delicious falafel, but it’s been slow going, so I feel much better about the whole thing now that you’re on board.
I have found a cooking method that’s even easier than frying AND that produces results I like better: a waffle maker, brushed with just a bit of oil. Produces lots of the crispy edges I love on falafel, plus wells to hold feta, tomatoes, and cucumbers! I don’t make full-sized falwaffles (or waffalafels, as you prefer), but scoop about one or two balls’ worth onto each quarter of my round waffle maker, leaving space in between them.
Also – I find it doesn’t quite taste like falafel to me unless there’s a little turmeric, so if anyone finds this recipe to be missing a little something, that’s where I suggest starting.
Excellent idea! Used my iron to make hash browns too.
Whoa – brilliant! I was lukewarm to this recipe because my house always smells like used oil after I fry something but I love to waffle-ize things. Nicely done!
A brilliant idea!
“Falwaffles” and “waffalafels” both made me laugh super hard. The names alone make me want to test out that method.
YES! Another reason to keep the waffle iron. I give it side eye often because I thought it only did 1 job. Thank you dear friends!
I always get chef-mad when I have to stir up tahini but I finally dumped/scraped it all into a little food processor I have and let it rip. Perfect.
I wish tahini came in smaller jars! I can never use a whole container before it grows mold.
Put tahini the back of the fridge. It lasts forever (or close to it).
I know this is an old post, but swirling some tahini into banana bread or chocolate muffins is delicious. Enjoy!
Late to the party – freeze tahini (and PnB) in an ice cube tray. When frozen, pop them out, put into a freezer bag, then to use, take out the amount you need.
Oh boy am I excited about this idea :)
Thank You big time for this idea. Flat sounds so much easier to eat, too.
I love fawaffles… this recipe works perfectly in my waffle iron: http://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/meet-the-fawaffle-a-waffled-falafel-and-hummus-recipe/
… though I’ll try Deb’s version too! Pan-frying isn’t as scary as deep-frying, and as she points out, raw falafel mix won’t kill you.
Your falafel is my go to recipe. My kiddos love them and family says they are better than our local restaurants. Thank you!!
I made Falafel once, and the balls crumbled into little bits as they fried…, your recipe looks perfect! Making this when my kids get home.. or they can make it for me.it looks perfect.. ( of course it looks perfect.) thank you.
This was a common refrain I found in comments online. Did you start with dried? How much did you grind it?
No, I didn’t start with dried.. must have been canned. It was a long time ago,and can’t even remember where the recipe came from… that’s OK.. now I have this one.
I made these yesterday, and started with canned chickpeas because that’s what I had and what I read hinted that it should work. Because I have a deep fryer setup, I used that, and they instantly disassociated, which ruined couple quarts of (cheap) oil. Then I went to the recommended 1″ of oil in a pan and, yeah, same result. I added an egg and got an acceptable result, but evidence mounts that using canned was the problem. At least, that’s my hope because I’m going to try again.
We made decent ones for years, starting them in oil and finishing in the oven. We moved to a drier climate and they just fall apart in the pan every time we make them now (coincidence?). We always used flour, baking powder, and a little egg. It never occurred to me not to add those things. Thanks for giving me new hope!
Looks great! Would it be possible to bake them in the oven instead?
You can, however, I do not find that they get the good color contrast (I’m all about the dark brown edges vs. green interior) and crunch. I know frying can be really annoying, but I listed out the reasons above I found this to be the least stressful, least heavy things I’ve deep (actually shallow) fried.
We’ve had success baking them in a well oiled cast iron pan for good flavor and color.
Do you freeze them fried or unfried?
Every time I have tried to bake falafel it has turned out incredibly crumbly and won’t hold together, whether I use dry or canned chick peas. I don’t add flour to the mixture. Any ideas as to why? I hate to use all of that oil. Thanks!
I love making falafel! I usually follow Bittman’s How to Cook Everything version which is very similar to this. A word of warning: close your closets before you start if you live in a small apartment because the smell permeates. Also a long soak of the chickpeas (+8h) is important to avoid… byproducts of eating the “magical fruit” as they say about beans…
I followed this recipe, including soaking the chickpeas overnight (and most of the next day) and my husband and I had zero problems with those byproducts you refer to. (And it’s not due to anything special about our digestive systems, I can tell you that!)
I love making falafel for all of the reasons you list above and I look forward to trying this recipe!
Just last night I was saying I wanted to make falafels and would be looking at recipes soon. Perfect timing!!
Whoa – brilliant! I was lukewarm to this recipe because my house always smells like used oil after I fry something but I love to waffle-ize things. Nicely done!
I am still on falafel and hummus overload from my 12-day trip to Israel in the spring. However, one can never eat enough flatbread! Yum.
I have chickpea flour. What is the volume of the ground less your way?
It’s not the same. You’re not grinding the chickpeas to a flour here.
Yes it is relatively easy and very tasty. A Lebanese friend of mine made the tahini sauce and was spectacular…I didn’t get the recipe because,like many home cooks, it is a pinch of this and a dab of that and not too much of this.
I made my hummus which has crushed pistachios in it. Really nice added texture and taste.
I’d dearly love to see the recipe for the pistachio-enhanced hummus!
I have never tried falafel from chickpeas that are soaked but not cooked. Do they finish cooking in the pan? Or is there a step missing?
I never make round balls — I make falafel patties. I find this is both easier to cook and eat.
I like to put some Tahini in the mix and serve with tzaziki, a Greek yogurt sauce.
They cook when they fry.
I’ve come here looking for a falafel recipe at least a dozen times over the years. You have such a great repertoire of hummus/Israeli salad/tahini foods that I always think you have falafel floating around too. I usually end up falling down a Google rabbit hole until I settle on a recipe, but I’ve never been thrilled with the outcome. And now finally! Thank you for presenting us with a version I’m positive will be perfect. Quick question: do you dress the Israeli salad with any lemon and oil or do you add it to the pita as-is? I always love the taste with the dressing but find it can make the pita sandwich a little drippy.
I dress the salad with lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil, like so.
Argh. I love felafel and even more I love tahini sauce, but my tongue breaks out in hives from tahini (geographic tongue). It’s miserable, and it’s cumulative, and it’s making me so sad to see this today when my tongue still hurts from last night’s dinner which had tahini dressing on the salad. Sigh. Maybe someday, it looks so good!!!
It can be made without tahini sauce. A lemon garlicky yogurt would be great.
Yes to this suggestion! Plain yogurt + lemon + garlic + chopped cucumbers (for a little crunch) + salt is one of my favorite things to have with falafel or chicken, or anything stuffed in a pita!
I agree with this suggestion! As someone who also can no longer eat tahini without a side of epi-pen, it’s not as hard to live without as you’d think. The lemon-garlic-yogurt is a staple with us. And we replace the tahini, if we really want that texture, with easily made cashew cream.
Have you tried sunflower butter? It might be a good sub too!
You mentioned freezing these to have on hand for quick falafel and I’m all about that – is there anything I need to know about freezing them? Should I fry them for a shorter period of time, or freeze them raw? Would reheating in the oven on a rack work?
P.S. I wanted to thank you for your pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe – it’s become a fall-slash-holiday-season tradition!
No, freeze them fried. It would hardly save time to have to heat up a pan of oil once you defrosted them. You could reheat them on an oven rack. Shouldn’t take long. And thank you!
Jessica, I hate to contradict Deb on anything, but I freeze mine raw. That way you still get hot and crunchy fresh-cooked felafel, which is one of my all time favourite meals. I make mine with split dried fava beans instead of chickpeas (no skins, also cheaper). I usually semi-defrost them spread out on a baking tray (I also freeze them on a tray before bagging them up) but don’t worry too much if they’re still a bit frozen in the middle – that will cook out.
Great for a fast week-night dinner.
I freeze mine raw too – works great!
You may have answered this already but can you omit the cilantro or use the paste in a tube, I really dislike it!
I was wondering what you might suggest as a replacement for cilantro. One of my kids and I both have that thing where cilantro tastes like soap. More parsley instead?
Use more parsley or skip it.
My daughter and I both have the cilantro-soap thing too and sometimes I just add some chopped celery leaves instead…has a slightly mineral taste that I like with the parsley too.
I made it and skipped it (soapy here too). I may have added a smidge more parsley, but it was fine.
I split the difference with parsley and cilantro because I like both here, but either are traditional in different places, so if you don’t like one or the other, I’d actually recommend doubling up on the one you like to keep that green hue and the moisture the herbs bring.
My husband spent a long time perfecting his falafel methodology—his two key tricks were 1) using uncooked chickpeas as you recommend, but also 2) to grind it through a meat grinder attachment on our Kitchenaid. The grinding instead of food processing gives it the texture you’d expect in a restaurant.
For a nifty shortcut, I soak my chickpeas, then drain and freeze them. That way if I last minute decide to make falafel, quickly thaw and proceed with the recipe. Don’t notice any difference in taste/texture than the usual.
I do this also – freeze the soaked garbanzos. I cook for just me so I freeze in quantities that I can make 3 or 4 when the craving strikes! I like them best fresh vs frozen/reheated and really, they are so quick when you have the soaked beans.
I am going to try them in the waffle iron and also, I have an air fryer since I last made them and wondering how that might work. Experimentation fun!
I made these in my air fryer first time (actually Cuisinart toaster oven-air fryer … not sure how different that is than the actual air fryers). In the past when I fry them in oil, they are just this side of falling apart until they hit the oil when they hold together. So for the air fryer, first I prefer a flatter slider like “patty” so that’s the shape I use. And I did add a bit of beaten egg for some extra binding. 375 in my unit for about 12 minutes and they were perfect. I noticed that the Fawafel recipe has olive oil which I think makes the mix more batter like. Looking forward to trying that also.
Thanks for sharing!
ooooh, that’s clever! Will definitely try.
Your recipe is quite similar to America’s Test Kitchen’s book “Vegan for Everybody” page 126. They do use more cilantro and parsley and they add a bit of cinnamon. Also they make theirs in one inch wide disks. I don’t know much about falafel, but from making this recipe, I can say you are right. It is not that much trouble and you can enjoy it at home any time. For anyone interested there is a recipe called “Falafel Waffles” from the Berkeley Bowl Cookbook page 155 that I absolutely love. It is served with a harissa yogurt sauce and a carrot and cuke tangy slaw. Really worth hunting down. Same flavors as real falafel but no frying. Plus, fast and easy- it starts with canned chick peas. If you like falafel, you will love falafel waffles. Thanks for all you do, Deb!
Looking forward to trying this! You don’t mention it, so I assume the chickpeas don’t need to be peeled? And that not peeling doesn’t lead to a gritty texture?
That’s only something I do for hummus, which we want smooth. Falafel is supposed to have a rough texture.
I like to use my falafel mix for “bean burgers”. I mix it with tofu and saute them without the coating. I will definitely be trying this recipe! You are my go to online recipe finder. And I own and use both of your cookbooks. Thank you for sharing your gift!
I’ve made this a couple of times and love it!! Last night, however, was disastrous. No recipe modifications but they falafel fell apart right after we put them in the oil. The balls felt tight and firm, but crumbled in the oil. Any suggestions?!
What kind of oil did you use for frying? Canola? Thanks
I use peanut oil. I find it deep fries very nicely, and tastes unheavy.
I often use peanut oil for high temp ‘frying’ or semi-frying.
No one seems to mention it much anymore, except for Asian blogs. I’ll try to be more aware. Thanks.
I made them before and they turned out great. This time the dough will not hold together at all (before attempting to fry it). I used dried chickpeas – is that why?
Deb recommends stuffing the pita with pickle alongside the felafel, but doesn’t specify what is meant by “pickle”–a broad category. In Jerusalem (and elsewhere in Middle East), the “pickle” in a felafel-pita is likely to include pickled turnip. So easy to make… some beet spears for color and flavor, some vinegar (unless you want to ferment)… I’m partial to David Leibovitz’s recipe (easy to google)… Yes, extra work, but you pickle the turnips ~week ahead….
many moons ago i worked at a software company around the corner from a mediterranean restaurant. i’d often go for a chicken shwarma wrap and greek salad at lunch. the pickled turnips were one of my favorite parts! of course, back then google wasn’t what it was today and i went a long time without actually knowing what i was eating, wondering in vain what vegetable was hot pink, lol! (i’m sure i could have just asked, but i was too shy.) it’s been a long time since i’ve been down that way, so it’s about time i try to make my own at home. thanks for the suggestions!
Time/temp for reheating fried balls in the oven? Thaw first or put in frozen?
When I was looking for recipes for vegan “south of the border” foods, I came across a recipe for acaraje (“riders on horseback”). These were basically balls made from ground up black beans, seasoned with cumin and other spices, and deep fried in palm oil — basically South American falafel.
Those were the “horses”, and the “riders” were shrimp embedded in the balls. (Obviously I left those out to make the dish vegan; formed the balls around macadamia nuts instead.) They were quite good, and very well received.
Funny, I was absolutely thinking about trying that next! Didn’t know the dish already existed, but shouldn’t be surprised. I’d skip the shrimp too.
Acarajé are from Brazil (via Africa) and are made with black-eyed peas. They are a common street food in Bahia. Cumin is not typically used.
Yum! Love falafal! I’ll try this someday when I buy a food processor (it’s on my wishlist along with a stand mixer). I’m contemplating buying both as a 60th bday present to myself (next year). Nice to know you don’t actually have to cook the chickpeas just soak. Until then I will gaze upon it longingly and practice making the pita portion! Thanks for sharing!
I am forever disappointed when we take Arab food and call it Israeli. This is not our food. It’s tasty and great but call it what it is.
Did I call it an Israeli dish? This post is tagged both Middle Eastern — because falafel is Levantine and Arabic, primarily Egyptian, in origin — and tagged Israel, where it is the most popular street food, even if it’s originally from elsewhere.
I’ve been following your food for years, and one of my favorites is your brown butter rice krispie treats. Although you may not have said that falafel is Israeli, it was insinuated, and it’s important to be explicit. Otherwise it’s problematic because when Arab food, especially Palestinian, is labeled as Israeli, it’s being culturally appropriated. It is part of the rhetoric to assert that Arabs and Palestinians don’t have their own culture and history. It might be Israel’s “most popular street food”, but it is not Israeli. As someone who is fond of food, it’s imperative to know the origin of dishes. Each dish tells a story, and falafel is one of the many amazing dishes that tells the story of Palestine. There’s a beautiful history to Palestinian food worth looking into because of its simplicity in ingredients and bold flavors. It’s incredible the things that are done with basic things like chickpeas, lemons, and olive oil 🇵🇸🇵🇸🇵🇸 .
The best falafel I ever had came from a Falafel shop run by Israely family. In fact all the falafel that was any good came from Israely places or Jewish take outs and delicatessens.
I would like to hear more about the Chop Wizard if you have time! Looking at it, it seems hard to believe that little thing could chop potatoes and carrots. After making a giant pot of chicken noodle soup last night, I’m less moved than you are by the romance of hand chopping : )
It’s not the toughest thing; it’s going to fight you on potatoes a little. I mostly liked it for making neat cubes of things (where the appearance matters to you) fairly easily but I think there are better choppers out there when the shape of the chopped item doesn’t matter.
Waitrose, the British supermarket chain, sells bags of fresh, cubed potatoes, about that size. My SIL uses them to make roast potatoes and they are amazingly good.
If I wanted to make this today, what is the minimum amount of time the chickpeas need for soaking? Is there a way to speed up that process?
I’ve been making falafel for a few years – the chickpeas need to soak 12 -18 hours minimum. Sorry!
I found that the chickpeas grew in weight and volume by about 2.2x, so 1 1/4 cups of dried chickpeas turned into 2 3/4 cups once soaked overnight. (They won’t grow further, however. J. Kenji López-Alt was nice enough to figure out for us a while ago that they pretty much absorb all the water they’re going to in the first overnight, so there’s no harm if they sit in water longer. I’d imagine the opposite is true. Maybe 4 to 6 hours is enough?
I felt the same way you did about falafel until I tried it! Now it’s a summertime standard around here – so great for picnics and packed lunches, too. I pan-fry it in little patties because I hate dealing with hot oil and it’s easier to make sandwiches with. I’ll have to try your pita bread – I didn’t have success with it, so we honestly just use homemade French bread.
Just made these for lunch and they are great! Have tried making falafel before but not as successful or easy as this method!
So so good! Even though my food processor is the worst and couldn’t get the grind fine enough to hold together so I wound up adding 1/4C of flour and a beaten egg. I made Deb’s pita recipe and tomato/cucumber salad and then threw together a quick tzatziki sauce and it was a super delicious dinner. Definitely going into our rotation :)
Thanks for this, now that I live in a place where we can’t get great falafel around the corner. Can you explain why the beans need to be dry rather than canned ? Thank you (I know it’s better flavor but recipes usually say you can substitute Thanks
I don’t know about this recipe, but when I make falafel, I use canned. I also bake it, so maybe my version is heretical :)
Yes, because they’re not cooked. They’re just soaked and then ground for that traditional not-totally-smooth falafel. Canned beans blended would give you a bean puree or hummus texture.
I am desperate to make this, but my son is very allergic to tahini. I am all about the sauce, is there another sauce we can make?
She suggests yogurt lemon garlic upthread. My vote would be for tzatziki
Thanks. We had it with Taziki and the Israel salad from this site and it was great
I never know how to dispose of the oil…I have a jar or two of used oil in glass jars in the garage until I find out or just take it to the auto oil disposal…I know it shouldn’t go down the drain, so what do people do? My other thought was to pour it on a pile of paper towels then into the trash but that seems so wasteful of paper towels. What to do? Thanks!
since i don’t fry that often, i just buy the smallish bottle of vegetable oil at the store. i use the whole thing, and then when the oil is cool, i pour it back into the plastic bottle and throw it in the garbage.
if i’ve only used it to fry something “clean” like tortilla chips, i’ll still pour it back into the bottle, but label the cap with an “F” for frying oil and re-use it a few times first before disposing of it in the same way.
you could also transfer it to a freezer safe container, freeze, and then dispose of the solid mass in a baggie. (or no baggie, depending on what the temp is like where you live and when you put your trash out.)
If you have access to one, used frying oil can also be added to a compost pile.
One note, I would be mindful of adding it to compost depending on your local ecosystem. I have bears who would LOVE a compost pile dressed with fryer oil! :-) As much as I hate throwing things into the landfill, I have to be concerned for safety (mine, my pets, my neighbors, and the bear itself).
deb, i’m from rhode island and if there’s one thing i know, it’s that on thayer street in providence lives the greatest falafel of all time. they are not shaped into balls but rather slightly flattened donuts. (yes, with a hole in the middle.) it’s called east side pockets, and you can see a picture of them here: https://www.eastsidepocket.com/
i don’t work for them or anything, just figured if you ever had occasion to be wandering around the east side, you might want to know it’s there. and also i’ve not been able to eat falafel from anywhere else since, because it all always tastes so mealy and dry by comparison, even with all the delicious condiments. but if there’s another thing i know, it’s that i’ve yet to be let down by a smitten kitchen recipe, so i’ll have to give these a go.
Thank you! you made me remember it’s been a looong time since I last made falafel
A quick question about spices: have you ever tried in your experiments to add ground coriander? It balances well the cumin and it makes the falafels more appealing to people that are not so fond of cumin’s earthy taste… (but cumin is great with chickpeas and beans because it helps digestion and reduces gas).
Personally I use yogurt instead of water for tahini sauce, it adds tartness and creaminess.
Better go soaking chickpeas !
Yes, I’ve read it works well here. I also had wanted to talk a bit about purist falafel (just chickpeas and salt, no herbs or spices) but that for another conversation.
I tried these but they would not hold together and to me weren’t THAT much better than when I make them from the mix (I know!). They were a ton of work and I don’t think I’ll make them again.
I love the waffle maker suggestion. Has anyone done a baking alterative?
Mark Bittman has a great baked falafel recipe.
Hi! Just wondering if you think this would work with lentils or another type of legume. Chickpeas really don’t agree with me. Thanks!
Traditional Egyptian falafel is made with favas. Lentils sound good but I haven’t tried it, of course. Do let us know if you do?
This falafel recipe was outstanding! Best I’ve ever had. The pitas were delicious too.
We tried this with canned chickpeas and they all dissolved in the oil. Might try again later with dry. :(
Yes, it’s absolutely not meant to be made with canned chickpeas.
Truly spectacular, I made it with the Israeli tomato and cucumber salad. I’m so glad that you gave us this gift Deb! Incredibly delicious, and added to the regular rotation list. Thank you always for keeping us avid home chefs inspired!
This is almost the same recipe I use and it’s practically foolproof! (mine has 1/2 tsp coriander and 1/2 tsp baking soda) I usually make a double batch and freeze most of them after I have shaped them into balls or patties. I fry them either straight from the freezer, or thaw them if I have actually planned ahead (ha!) and it works both ways. I think I have used them after 6+ months frozen and they were still good.
I made this recipe for dinner last night exactly as written, and it was perfect!
Had them over the turmeric-cumin rice from the street cart chicken recipe in Smitten Kitchen Every Day. It was like the best version of those fast-casual Mediterranean bowls, with the bonus of having leftovers!
Thanks for this tip! Store bought pitas are always disappointing and I didn’t feel like making my own so the street cart chicken recipe rice was perfect! Made the tomato cucumber salad as suggested and they were great bowls (and even better leftovers actually!).
Maybe chilling them is the key. I have tried to make falafel in the past but they just fell apart when I tried frying them. You have inspired me to try again. And if I succeed, then I have an excuse to buy a new gadget :).
could the falafel mix be frozen? I mistakingly soaked 1.5 POUNDS not 1.5 cups – hehe
I’d think so. But, I also think that once you have the oil out and going, you might as well just fry them up, because fried food generally defrosts and reheats well.
I made this last night (with the homemade pita). I don’t know why I got it into my head that this was an “easy” project – I started at 5:30 and we didn’t eat until 8:30 (soaked the beans while out and about during the day). Aside from that (which was my own fault), it went well, except even with an hour of chilling, the chickpea mixture could not be rolled at all. I finally added 1/4 c flour (to a double batch) and I was able to press them into an ice cream scoop with a “push forward flipper” ejector method (rather than the scraper ejector method, which just caused them to crumble) and then plop them out as little half domes and fried them that way. Any time I tried to roll them they just crumbled. Not sure where I went wrong, but my half domes sure ended up tasty.
Tell me more about the chickpea texture once ground — my impression is that if the chickpea bits are too coarse, it won’t pack, but maybe it’s something else. Did they get to soak overnight?
They soaked from 10 am to 5:30 pm (we don’t plan meals in this house – day of is exceedingly in advance). I processed them until they were mainly the texture of cooked cous cous, with the largest pieces (and there weren’t many) about 1/4 of a kernel of corn size. The mixture seemed very very wet to me (my pita needed some extra flour as well), maybe it was all the humidity from the 2 days of rain? I will say it was the first time I have ever deep fried anything in my entire life (I don’t know why I had a phobia of deep frying, but making caramel doesn’t scare me a bit), so thank you for enticing me to get over that!
I had exactly the same result! The chickpeas were soaked for about 16 hours, and the mixture was chilled for 3. It was still very wet and wouldn’t hold together at all. (I admit that some swearing was involved.) I don’t know if it was just the wetness or if I didn’t grind it fine enough, but adding 1/4 c flour (single batch!) at least allowed me to form it into patties, but not balls. I drained the soaked chickpeas for 10 minutes or so, but I think next time I would drain them on paper towels so they’re really dry before using them, and grind them finer. But it was all worth it in the end, because it was delicious. My husband even said he thought it was the best falafel he’d ever had. I actually liked making patties instead of balls because I didn’t need as much oil to cook them.
I made this over the weekend and also had a very wet result. Chickpeas soaked for almost 24 hrs and then drained in a collander. I didn’t think to add flour, but I was able to get them to hold together very carefully once I pressed as much liquid as I could out. They were not about to rolled though!
I was surprised, as all of your other recipes have been nothing short of amazing!
And they fried up okay? The mixture is damp, but when pressed into a spoon, should hold, or it might need to be more finely ground. It’s okay if it feels loose in your hands, as long as it fries up in one piece.
I made these again over the long weekend. I drained the chickpeas and lightly patted them dry with a paper towel. I processed them to couscous size and then a few minutes more (probably about half or a quarter of couscous size, pretty close to puree but still pieces) and they were able to be lightly rolled (tossed?) in my wet hands after packing into the scoop with no flour necessary.
I made this tonight and while the flavor was good, good consistency, it was really salty. I salted the overnight water as well as the mixture and rinsed well. Should I have done only one or the other?
Mine were also quite wet and we’re difficult to shape. I soaked the chickpeas for about 18 hours, then made the mixture and let that chill overnight as well. I followed what others here did and added 1/4 cup of flour, which helped. I couldn’t use a measuring tool to scoop them though because it still made them crumble. I shaped them into balls by hand and very gently placed them in the oil. They turned out so delicious!!
The flavours were amazing, but my mixture was very loose and I was unable to form any kind of shape. I thought is was I maybe used too much herbs.
We used it as a ‘crumbly topping’, which was equally good.
I made them tonight, I soaked chickpeas overnight (double batch) and let mixture sit as instructed at least 5 hours. Mixture was very wet also. Eventually sat mixture in a sieve and pushed a lot of liquid out and used cookie scoop to make scoops but as Delia said they were not going to be rolled into balls so stayed as domes. They were delicious but some succumbed and disintegrated when slid into the oil. Did not add flour and am glad but there needs to be some adjustment or mention in method that the chickpeas need to be very dry…layout on a towel or something. I ground mine quite fine as appeared that that made it easier for it to bind than when coarser but still the liquid was the issue. Will try again but with the benefit of hindsight…a glorious thing
Deb, where did you find those israeli/middle eastern style cucumber pickles that I spot in the photos? At a store in NYC or online?
I went to Holyland Market on St. Marks Place.
Deb, or anyone else, have you had success refrigerating them for leftovers after frying? Obviously not as crispy, but would love to still enjoy them for lunch later in the week!
Yes, it happened once (just once) that there were leftovers. My husband microwaved them the next day and said they were just as yummy, although not as crisp.
We made this over the weekend (along with your pita and cucumber and tomato salad recipes). It was incredible.
We used our fancy blender since we don’t have a food processor and it worked pretty well.
I was planning on making this tonight, so I soaked my chickpeas, but now my plans changed. Would it be better to drain the chickpeas and leave them in the fridge until tomorrow or still mix everything up and let it sit overnight? Thank you!
You can keep soaking them.
Thanks for the inspiration! We made these this weekend, and it was fantastic. The flavor was awesome! As sides, we made the tahini sauce and the tomato-cucumber salad – delicious. I didn’t have a lot of luck with the pitas – the flavor was good but mine didn’t puff up. Overall though, loved this falafel recipe and it’s a new favorite for me. FWIW, my 8yo who is a super picky eater declared these were great and is planning on taking them for school lunch every day this week :)
Is it possible to bake the falafels instead of frying and still get a good result?
I just made these identical to hownrecipe was written but could not get them to come together at all! I added two eggs and it worked perfectly. Not sure where my issue came from but relieved it all worked out!
I just read Claudia Roden’s recipe and she recommends draining/drying excess moisture from the onion (chopped or grated) which in my experience can vary quite a bit in moisture content. Something to consider for those struggling with overly moist mixes.
I made the falafels tonight and they were absolutely delicious. I did the frying on an outdoor stove with a cast iron skillet. I did struggle with keeping the filling together when I was making the scoops. I only refrigerated the mixture for about an hour beforehand – I will try for a longer period next time. I agree that adding flour or something might compromise integrity of filling – it is delicious even though my scoops sometimes fell apart when. I made the pita too and served it all with Israeli salad and hummus. Yum!!
My last attempt at falafel was an epic fail as I Did Not Read the Recipe, and used canned chickpeas rather than dry, which lead to my husband banning me from deep frying in the future. I will try these though, and hope to change his mind!
I made a double batch with all cilantro because that’s what I had on hand. I chilled the mixture for about half an hour. They were a little finicky to scoop into balls, but I used a slotted spoon to lower them into the oil and they firmed up quickly and didn’t break apart during cooking. I served with a tzaziki-ish yogurt sauce, quick pickled red onion, and fresh veggies on ciabatta rolls. They were a big hit for the whole fam!
Love amba and zhug! Other great things to put in the pita: pickled turnips and hard-boiled eggs.
this year I decided not to wish for anything romantic for my birthday but rather I wished for a pressure cooker. I figured with the amount of hummus we eat by now, that this would be a sensible kitchen appliance despite the limited space of our small kitchen.
Well… what is the first recipe I read after having soaked exactly 225g of chickpeas – the first batch of chickpeas ever to be cooked in my birthday present? Guess what, in the end I did not test the pressure cooker… ;-D
The taste of these falafel was spot on (as always with your recipes). I had the same problem as Elizabeth, Cheryl, and Delia with the mixture not holding together easily, although this was not a problem once the falafel were lowered into the oil. I am sure that in my case the mixture was too coarse just as you suggested, so I will definitely try again but only after I’ve put some chickpeas under serious pressure ;-D
I have always wanted to try falafel but I can’t eat onions. Is there something you would recommend to replace them, or just drop them?
Just drop them, unless you’re okay with scallions.
I had same result as others: too damp and too loose mixture. I tried to press them together as much as I could; I barely succeeded. I put the patties on a greased cookie sheet and baked them. I was so skeptical of how they would come out… I carefully turned them, halfway through baking time and upped the oven temperature, which I think helped. However, the results were fabulous. They tasted great!! And we had lots of tasty crumbs to throw into the pita along with the falafel patties and veggies and tahini sauce. I will make these again, but I do wish I could get some ideas about how to make the patties stick together better. Will flour do the trick as some have suggested?
You can add flour but it might help to grind the mixture more. Think: couscous.
And not Israeli couscous, right?
I’m persevering, but I have yet to successfully make falafel that stay together. Squeezing the balls together helped a tiny bit, but they still fell apart. Would it help to drain the onion and parsley/cilantro mixture before adding the chickpeas? It was awfully wet.
These were so good, thank you! I never realized how easy it would be to make these, and the lack of breading was a nice perk to avoid dough fingers that invariably form when breading. Also, I soaked for almost 24 hours and had no issues with forming the balls. Just grabbed a small handful, squeezed to get some liquid out, and then they held their shape.
I love your recipes and trust you implicitly. This may be my favorite food blog. Yet this is not my favorite falafel recipe. I won’t be making it again.
What did you not enjoy?
These were absolutely delicious! I ended up soaking the chickpeas for 48 hours and had no problem forming the falafel balls. The tahini & tomato/cucumber salad are essential. Will be making this often!
We made these exactly as written and they were wonderful! We also made your pitas which turned out fantastic. We let the chickpea mixture sit for a couple of hours and I tasked my 9 year old to shape the balls. She says “you form it into a ball, hold for 10 seconds and let the juices drip. 10 seconds exactly. Then voila!” She was right, they all held their shape and were easy to fry. It’s the first time I ever made falafel and all 4 of us enjoyed it. Thanks for another wonderful recipe and Happy Hanukkah.
I have a fan for so many years, honestly since you first started.
This is my first comment ever!
I find that I have more time on my hands this time of year, which allows me to spend more time playing in the kitchen. My partner is a veggie, so I am always looking for new ideas. I worked hard in the kitchen making these along with your homemade pita and hummus recipes. All three were out of this world and I got rave reviews.
Many thanks to you for all that you do.
Wishing you a fabulous 2019.
Made them tonight and they were perfect!! So happy to have success. No canned chickpeas this time and chilled for 30 minutes. I only soaked them for five hours and that was enough.
I just tried the falafel balls and they came out excellent. Thank you Deb for a great recipe with minute details. It was easy to follow and easy to make :-)
We made these tonight along with some yummies from the Soframiz cookbook. We did have to throw the chickpea mixture back into the food processor to get it to stick together, but then all went well. Thanks for the best falafel I’ve had!
Thank you so much for this recipe. It is perfect. I made it for the family tonight to rave reviews. My daughter who has celiac and also allergic to dairy and eggs, (doesn’t leave much), could join us. I have made falafel many times before but never the right way. I have used eggs and flour as binders but it turns out not only unnecessary but not good. Just as you said very little oil left the pan. That was also a pleasant surprise.
Hands down, best falafel recipe I have ever tried! My family loves falafel, but in the past I have tried several recipes and was never very happy with them, so for years I have just preferred to buy my falafels from the farmers market (which are very good) or restaurants, etc. Your recipe showed up in my inbox and I really liked the simplicity of it and the inclusion of cilantro, so decided to give it a try. My whole family (all very opinionated foodie falafel lovers) declared these the best falafel, better than the farmers market and food carts. I soaked my chickpeas for a full 24 hours, then rinsed and let them sprout a little in the fridge and then I swapped the onions and garlic for chopped scallions as you suggested and they were just perfect! Definitely will be making these on a regular basis. I will try to bake them, but I also found the shallow frying very easy and the result was nice and crisp on the outside and very moist on the inside, not oily and pretty quick and easy.
I’m one of those who had trouble with the texture – it was very crumbly and didn’t stick together at all. Some breadcrumbs helped enough to form them into very fragile patties, but even those were super finicky. I’d made a double batch of the chickpea mixture and didn’t have the patience to coax the second half into forms, so the next day I stir-fried the remainder and served it with pita chips and all the fixings; not traditional, but very well received! We really, really loved the flavors and will try this again, but maybe process the mixture longer to see if I can get a mixture that will form/shape. The smell, flavor, taste, etc. were all spectacular; I just want to get the texture right.
This was amazing! Made tonight after putting chickpeas to soak at 730 this morning. Started draining at 5:00 PM and we were eating at 5:45… when does that ever happen?! Easily put together with my toddler clinging to my legs which says a lotttt.
Saw some comments about the chopped chickpeas not holding together but I found that by giving it a solid grind in the food processor (until bits started to cling to side) the recipe as written is without issue and is perfect.
Thank you, Deb!
I had a similar problems to those listed above – crumbly mixture that fell apart. (I even read the comments before I started!) However, after adding a few spoonfuls of flour to my mix, they held together wonderfully!
The flavor was SO GOOD. We had them with pitas, cucumber-tomato-cabbage mixture and tzatiki.
Just wanted to add that my falafel seemed to pick up more oil than I expected, but it wasn’t a problem overall.
I had made the Serious Eats falafel that also uses soaked, uncooked chickpeas and, while I loved the flavor, they were super crumbly and fell apart more than I liked. Mindful of the comments here, I drained my chickpeas extremely well (sat over a colander for 20 minutes or so while I prepped everything else) and processed quite finely, not caring if it veered into purée territory. Success! The balls held together much better than the Serious Eats recipe and the result was quite tasty. I used all parsley and an equal amount of ground coriander to ground cumin. I made a double batch and was cooking for a crowd so we baked them in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes, turned them and baked an additional 10 minutes. I’m sure they would taste better fried but this was completely acceptable.
Made these for dinner tonight and they were a big hit. I couldn’t believe how fluffy they were! I used a mix of cumin and coriander but otherwise stuck to the recipe. I was fortunate to not have any problems with the mixture coming together, like others had commented on. I used my thermometer and got the oil up to 350 – they took 90 seconds to cook through.
My only negative comment was that my tahini sauce had a bitterness to it – it might be due to the tahini itself or perhaps the garlic. Not a dealbreaker, by any stretch! Also, because I have celiac, I served mine on a corn tortilla instead of tucked inside a pita.
My recipe made 23 individual falafels. I cooked up 6 for hubby and me and am freezing the rest. Once they are frozen, I’ll put them into packages of 5 or 6 for future midweek meals.
It’s been super hot here in Australia so for New Years Eve I made your falafel. I’ll definitely be cooking them before next New Year! Absolutely delicious. I made the lemony pickled red onion from one of your previous posts plus the usual salad suspects. Thanks for another great year of recipes.
I pretty much never comment, but made these today and my entire family says THANK YOU! My husband has lots of food sensitivities that have challenged me, even as a very seasoned home cook. I also have a 7 year old that has detested beans his entire life with the one exception of hummus (nothing else with chick peas is okay though.) Poor kid has to choke beans down fairly often and I hoped this might make it easier on him. This recipe was actually okay with the 7 year old (sold it as fried hummus!) and everyone else really loved it. We served them on salad greens dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette topped with cucumber, onion, and tomatoes with the same dressing over those. Then these little morsels and a dollop of lemon-garlic sour cream (out of yogurt) for most of us and lemon-garlic Vegenaise for the dh went over the top of the salad. I didn’t have time to make pitas, but will serve with those next time for those who can have them. This is going to be my go to meal for vegan/vegetarian entertaining and will be in rotation at our home as well. Thank you!
I add to my Tehini: a little bit of olive oil, a little drop of something sweet (runny honey, agave, maple syrup, date syrup). It balances nicely with the salt, garlic, and lemon.
I made the falafel as written/pictured here — they were perfect, exactly what I expected. Thanks for giving a first time fryer courage!
Thank you very much for this recipe. I’d never thought about making falafel until I read this post. I made it today and it came out great. I also made the pita bread which also came out great.
As I saw the warnings about the falafel falling apart, I took some extra steps. When ground to the texture indicated in the recipe, the falafel mixture didn’t hold together when I pinched it. I kept grinding it until it held together. About an hour before I fried the falafel, I made the mixture into balls and put it on a baking pan which I’d lined with paper towels. I refrigerated the falafel balls until I was ready to fry them. I had no problem with the falafel balls falling apart.
Same! After reading the comments about falling apart, I was worried, so pulsed until I thought it fit the description, but it wouldn’t stick together so I pulsed some more. The mixture was still wet, I squeezed a little to make the balls, but they held and fried up perfectly. I’ll also add that I am not a fryer – I think experiences with bacon spitting makes me want to stay away, but this was so easy! My husband is now wondering what else we can fry…
I made this last night for a New Years Day dinner party (along with your pita and Israeli salad) and they were a hit! I read some of the comments about the chickpea mixture not sticking together, so I prepped the mixture a few hours in advance and then set it in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl in the fridge. Not much liquid drained out, but perhaps it made a difference since I didn’t have trouble with shaping. Set them back in the fridge for a bit before we fried them and they turned out perfectly.
I forgot to add: in addition to the suggested tahini sauce, my friends brought tzatziki sauce and a whipped feta dip-would highly recommend both.
These were delicious and definitely worth making. The mixture was definitely too wet but the parsley was pretty soggy so it was user error. I just picked up blobs of the mixture and squeezed it in my hand really, really well. Next time I am going to wash the parsley ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel so it has time to evaporate the water.
I tried making this but when I would fry them, they would just dissolve ☹️ I used canned chickpeas so I’m not sure if that would’ve made the difference but I thought it was fine the cause consistently was pretty good. Any advise for next time?? Thank you!!
I think you need to use dried chickpeas. I imagine the canned would fall apart and not have the firmness to hold their shape in this recipe. (I made this with dried and it work well, and I use canned chickpeas for lots of other recipes)
I never eat falafal but this looks very tasty. will definitely try to make this wonderful recipe.
We made this last night (I had to leave the bottle of dried chickpeas out on the counter for a few days to remind me to start them soaking the night before) and it was fantastic, and as easy as advertised — the mixture, after chilling, was fairly easy to make into balls and they crusted right up in the hot oil.
Now that we’ve tried it, I can think of so many friends I’d like to have over for an dinner of falafel, pitas, tomatoes, lettuce (for the people who are avoiding bread), and various sauces… (This fits right into yesterday’s New York Times food section suggestion about having dinner with friends be more of an assemble-your-own type of affair, so the cook gets to visit more.)
So great! And faaast! I soaked beans overnight, thoroughly drained them, then pulsed the mixture in the food processor longer than felt right but that got us the nice couscous texture that wasn’t too wet. Left in the fridge for 3-4 hours and the fritters held together nicely. I didn’t need much frying oil and they came out a nice deep/golden brown, crunchy and moist on the inside. Served with thinned out tahini, pickled red onion, cukes and jalapeno, harissa, humus (not needed) and your easy pita. Added 2-3 fritters per sammich, plus one one the side for enjoying on it’s own. Ultimately, for us, the batch makes about 4 servings plus a small snack or two (kept frozen). Mmmmmm, mmmm. The bf said the falafel were as good as his favorite–Mamoun’s!!!!
Also, we made your Israeli salad and will add feta next time as well! Table looked beautiful with all the colors and textures, and it was fun to build your own. Perfect meal for a gathering with friends.
Loved these, as did the rest of the family – result! Had a few leftover for my packed lunch todsy – just warmed in the microwave and had with salad. Will definitely make a batch for the freezer for easy lunch prep x
I made both the falafel and the pita over the weekend. i have a few observations to share. First, i forgot to soak the chickpeas overnight, but did give them a 10-hour soak over the course of the day. I’m wondering if that was enough, because when i followed the directions to the letter, they still were very difficult to “gently roll in the palm of your hand.” they are nothing like meatballs! I almost threw the whole thing in the garbage, but I had a family to feed. So, after pressing firmly into a cookie scoop, i gently PATTED the edges into a ball. Mine weren’t as evenly fried on the outside like Deb’s, but they were still delicious and wowed my family. I count that as a win.
As for the pita…i wouldn’t try making them at the same time i’m making the falafel again. Perhaps earlier in the day (making this really an All Day Affair). I didn’t have the patience (or time) to wait between baking each batch (and my stone only held 2 at a time). I also used Active yeast instead of Instant, so it took longer for the first rise. Lesson learned. Even though I diligently sprayed the pitas with water before putting them into the oven, they didn’t puff quite enough to use as pocket bread. They were still a delicious flatbread to pile falafel onto. So I’m counting it as a win. And they were great to eat with hummus i made the next day.
Can I soak these in the AM and cook in the PM? How long do they need to soak?
I’d assume as long as it’s 8 hours, it should be fine. Check my guideline here.
So excited to make these tonight! Can I pre-roll the falafel balls and let them sit in the fridge, or do I need to roll immediately before frying?
Making for a crowd and trying to cut down on the amount of work I have to do while people are hovering in the kitchen!
Yes you can.
Thank you so much for posting this! I haven’t gone vegan, but am doing a vegan-during-the-week (only in January – ha, so many caveats…) and have been hoarding non-soup recipes. Making these ASAP! If anyone figures out how to do dairy-free tzatziki, they would LITERALLY become my favorite person of all time…
Best falafel ever! Not even kidding, better than my favorite restaurant. So easy to put together. I didn’t buy cilantro so just used all parsley, other than that I followed your directions and they turned out beautifully. Made 19 once inch balls, had them with the homemade pita. An awesome meal for a Monday night.
Mamoun’s is a horrific falafel.
Does he ever change his oil?
My stomach and taste buds won’t accept it. I prefer to go to Coney Island for my falafel, where people care.
I like your recipes but am disappointed by this one.
I’ve made falafel many times with VERY mixed results, but all of the recipes I’ve tried have used canned chickpeas! I was so excited to try out one using dried. :)
Overall, this recipe is perfect and will be one I make again and again. I did add about 1/2 cup flour to the chickpea mix; it was not sticking together at all, but that small amount of flour made it perfect. They held their shape 100% during frying and we loved the tiny little crunch/texture from the chickpeas, which is so different than canned.
Just had leftovers for lunch and feel like this is a meal I could eat over and over! Due with a baby at the end of March and might just make a bunch of these to freeze and reheat!
Another hit! I didn’t plan for a lot of resting time and only let them set for about 40 minutes. The mix was pretty wet so I had to squeeze the balls enough to hold their shape. I eventually squeezed it in some cheesecloth, which worked well. I made 19 balls, and they were fantastic! Served with tomato-cuke salad, shredded lettuce and spinach, feta cheese, garlic aioli, and zhoug (from Trader Joe’s). We will make these often!
Oh! And we also had pickled red onion :)
I just need to add my praise to the reviews of this recipe! First time falafel maker- I live in Utah so I do not have the luxury of amazing perfect falafels in every corner. My memory may be playing tricks, but I would say these are as good as any falafels I’ve had anywhere (anywhere = I’ve only had falafels in California and New York). Go ahead and make the pita and the tahini sauce and the salad as suggested. Delicious. I didn’t seem to have the “wet” falafel issues others had.
I made these and they were super easy and delicious! Would you freeze them before or after frying?
After, so they hold their shape, and so you’re not heating oil just to cook a few.
Just made these. The dough is super-fragile, but they turned out great! Thanks so much for posting it (and testing it).
Tip though: if you like your felafel balls a little firmer, fry them until they’re dark walnut brown, which takes about 2 more minutes.
These are crazy good! I tasted one to make sure it was cooked and now I might eat them all. Quick question. I ended up making them tonight, but need to serve them tomorrow (if I don’t eat them all between now and then, its going to be a challenge). You mentioned that they reheat easily, could you give reheating instructions? I am just planning to store in the fridge for a day
I have my chickpeas soaking now, but I am questioning why I need to finely chop the herbs *before* putting them in a food processor? Won’t they get chopped then?
I made this tonight after a long day of questionable potty training. Thank you for a wonderful meal and a necessary pick me up. It came out beautifully, even with necessary modifications (no cilantro, soaking for only 10hours). We added home fries into the pita and it was delish. Long time reader, first time poster.
Just finished successfully frying (no breakages or explosions!) a double batch of these after so many failed attempts at homemade falafel, so here are my notes: I added a full half cup (for the batch listed in recipe, so a cup total for a double) to the mix as it seemed too wet to form clumps. This made it pliable enough to form into patties, which I refrigerated for a while. I heated my oil and then dredged each Pattie in yet more flour before putting it into the pan. They look and taste great. With the last of my mix, as a controlled experiment, I added yet more flour – an extra quarter cup for only 5 falafel, just to see what would happen to texture and fryability. These rolled and fried like a dream but were a tad stodgy. Basically I think there’s a spectrum where more flour = more reliable outcomes in terms of frying and ease of batter shaping, but a less moist result. I’d err on the more flour side and make up for it with sauces and fixings if nervous. These are so, so much better fried than baked in my experience and I just did mine in a saucepan over the stove, 7 at a time.
Thanks Deb, this was so delicious! I was inspired and in addition made the pitas, my own harissa, and tahini, and your cucumber tomato salad (but with cilantro). We loved it. Great things to do on a couple of snowy days.
So I just made these today and some of mine basically crumbled in the oil, the ones that made it tasted great! Just wanted to ask what I did wrong. Started with dried and soaked overnight, maybe I didn’t grind enough? Is it suppose to be paste like?
I made these with canned chickpeas and they completely fell apart. I ended up having to mush it all back together and added flour and eggs, which couldn’t really be formed into a ball (more of a mushy batter at that point) but formed really delicious patty-type fritters that were amazing with “the works” (tabouleh, feta sauce, etc).
I’m seeing that other recipes include a little bit of chickpea flour. Next time I would definitely try with dried chickpeas and some chickpea flour for binding.
I made these last night. I actually made and rolled the batch and then froze them three weeks ago, then last night popped them in the oil. They were awesome! Thanks, Deb!
I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious!! I changed two things —I forgot parsley so I doubled the cilantro and BAKED them,instead of frying, at 400. flipping them at the 15-20 mark and baking for another ten minutes. Used about 2 tablespoons oil on the bottom of the sheet pan and brushed the tops with another half! So good!
Oh! Good to know! I was wondering about baking and will attempt tomorrow…
I made these tonight with great success! I read through the comments and adjusted accordingly.
Soaked chick peas 16 hrs
Drained and then spread out on a towel and tried to dry them out as much as possible
Processed to oblivion in FoodPro.
Mixture in fridge for 90 mins.
Formed easily into balls and fried per direction.
Loved by all ages in this house :)
Made this and like others it didn’t hold together so added the flour, though I’d prefer not to for GF friends in future :/
Our 9 month old was way into it (and the King Arthur potato flour pita we decided to make with it!), but I’m wondering about oven baking it in the future— obviously won’t be as crispy but think it could be done and hold together? Press into muffin tins? Spray with oil? Thoughts?
If you can source gram flour I add that to these falafel if they need it (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, not sure why!). It’s chickpea flour so doesn’t take away from the flavour and it’s gluten free!
I did try this but my falafel mixture would not stick together. Let the mixture dry in the fridge for 2+ hours. Don’t think adding flour will help the mixture stick together so am going to try and fry it as a patty or patties? what did I do wrong? Maybe I didn’t puree the mixture enough? Didn’t let them soak long enough – 8 hours. Help!
I just made these and my picky 4 year old was fighting for my sandwich (despite the presence of spinach, which she refuses under all circumstances until now)! I was running late getting home from work, so these were soaked ~20 hours, puréed until very fine bits (couscous is probably about right), rested in fridge maybe 20 minutes. It required a gentle hand to form balls, but they firmed up as they fried. I did have a couple casualties due to disintegration in the oil, so kept the rest of the formed balls in the fridge until the oil was ready for each batch which gave better results.
Thanks for giving me the confidence to try this! I can definitely see keeping some of these in the freezer at all times for quick and easy meals.
Has anyone tried using the quick soak method in an instant pot by putting in the beans with water and pressure cooking them for 2-3 min? Finding all of the “do-ahead” work for this recipe to be a barrier to me actually cooking it. Thanks!
Warning: When heating your oil, don’t blindly use the “five minutes on high” guideline like I did!
3/4″ of oil (I measured the depth when I poured it in) in a 12″ skillet over high heat for five minutes got WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY hotter than 375. My tester falafel ball incinerated instantly, smoked out the kitchen, and filled the fry oil with nasty bits of charcoal.
Omg I made just the basic ones of these falafels & they turned out spectacular !!!!
I made some homemade taziki to go with them & omg — so wonderful ! It makes a ton ! I got a food processor as a Christmas present & was stoked I got to make these again.
I had to leave them in the fridge for a few hours because I couldn’t get to it right away but they turned out great still ! Thank you so much we all loved them ! Going to make more tomorrow lol .
These are fantastic! I’d never made falafel before and found this recipe really simple, once I finally remembered to soak the garbanzos overnight. They fried up beauitfully. The whole family loved them, including the kids! (Next time I would use a bit less salt.)
I made this tonight with spinach and it was even better! I just cooked 5 oz of spinach in a skillet, squeezed out the excess water, and threw it in the food processor with the chickpea mixture. It was almost as good as the spinach falafel at Oleana in Boston.
This worked for me exactly as you said it would. I found that if I squeezed each ball together first and got some liquid out of it I was then able to roll it into a ball. I rolled and fried one ball at a time and by the time the sixth one went in the first was ready to turn. They are so nutty and toasty on the outside and so fresh and green tasting on the inside. My husband loved them and our 14 month old was signing “more” after her first bite. I have to admit I think these are better than most restaurant falafel.
For those struggling to form – the mixture is wetter than you think it will be and you do need to squeeze before you roll, but if the oil has come up to temp they’ll hold together if lowered in with a slotted spoon.
Great recipe, Deb! I was thinking just like you before I made my first batch of homemade falafal. But they are so simple to make and take so little time to cook once you’re familiar with the recipe. The first time I made them I followed Ottolenghi’s recipe from his cookbook Jerusalem. He coats the falafel in sesame seeds before frying. This makes them extra crispy. I will definetely give your version a try. Thank you for all the great content, Tim.
I’ve now made these several times, and they’ve been a crazy hit each time! The only weirdness is that my hands smell like raw chickpeas for the next day or so… (perhaps I should invest in a scoop? naah…)
These actually make great dinner party food: we put out a whole variety of things, and people assemble them the way they’d like. Folks have something to do with their hands, and there’s some built-in conversation around “could you please pass the …”
We served the falafels with a bit of grilled marinated chicken breast (cut into strips) two kinds of hummus, zhaug, kalamata olives, tzatziki, pickled red onion strips, pickled radishes, raw lettuce leaves, and lightly seared asparagus, small red peppers, and grape tomatoes (it’s winter here: raw vegetables seemed like they’d be weird. Putting a sear on those was just perfect.) I flaked out and bought the pitas this time, but I made them the previous time, and it was simple and yummy superior.
When you make them for a dinner party, do you fry them in advance? How do they hold up?
Definitely trying this one! I do have one question though. At what point would I freeze them? Before or after frying?
Had these last night and they were delicious, even without most of the parsley and cilantro (mine wilted too soon). A datapoint: I soaked the beans two nights in advance, then blitzed up the mixture the next day and put it in the fridge. I didn’t end up making them until the night after that, but they didn’t seem to suffer for it. The mixture seemed very wet but it held together (I added a tbs of flour but it didn’t really make any difference) just enough for only one or two of my patties to fall apart when fried. I made slightly rounded patties, the way they come out when you squeeze the ball between your palms. They tasted really good.
THESE WERE SO GOOD!! I was a little nervous because some folks had issues with them, but ours turned out perfectly. We soaked our chickpeas (from Rancho Gordo) overnight with salt, drained for about an hour, and processed about as fine as the processor would get them. They were a tiny bit crumbly but held fine in the oil, and were soooo delicious. Will definitely make again!
Yum! Delicious and easy – a fun project. Mine were super easy to form into balls. On my stove, I just left the oil on high and kept adding new ones after taking the old ones out and the temp stayed close enough. My slight deviations from the recipe:
– For the chickpeas, did the quick boil and then soak for a few hours instead of the overnight soak.
– Added a whole bunch of cilantro instead of cilantro and parsley
-Used a regular blender because that’s all I have – was time consuming and there were a few whole chickpeas floating around even at the end, but still didn’t make them difficult to bring together. I might have blended everything a bit more than suggested (maybe?) but it worked and tasted great.
This is the best falafel I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten plenty in my life) and the first time I have made it at home. Thank you for such a great recipe!
I made these falafels this past weekend and one word – AMAZING! So easy to make and they were the perfect mix of crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. I made a double batch for a family dinner and they were gone in about 10 minutes!
Unreal. I made everything in this post last night, (falafel, tahini, pita, israeli salad) and it all came out perfectly. My meat-eater fiance ate every bite with a smattering of enthusiastic MmMMms. The chickpeas soaked while I was at work 10+ hours, rather than overnight, and it worked fine. I halved the pita recipe (as we are only two people with way too much bread in the freezer already). Only one of my 6 pitas did not puff, and it was the last one, which was weird, but it still tasted bomb. Now time for lunch–leftovers :D
These were so good! My husband is herb-averse, so I used baby spinach instead. I had no issues with them falling apart, even with only 30 minutes of chilling, and they were deliciously crispy on the outside. Thanks for another winner!
This is a seriously great recipe. I made it for the first time tonight, and it worked perfectly, despite the fact that I only refrigerated the mixture for like 15 min, and forgot to soak the chickpeas overnight, so did it for like 6-7 hours during the day. My husband, who thought he didn’t like falafel, found it delicious. Also made your fresh pitas to pair it with. Thanks!
Hello, I’m soaking the chickpeas instead of using canned. After an overnight soak they are “al dente” and taste like raw peas. Is that right? Will they take on a different “flavor” after cooking?
Yes. They’ll be ground and cooked in oil and then will taste like… falafel! I.e. not mushy, but cooked.
Wow! These were incredible! I’ve never made falafel before. At first I thought these were going to be a disaster. I made a double batch to freeze and used my vitamix because I thought it had a larger capacity than my food processor. It was difficult to get it to mix. The mixture was incredibly wet after being in the refrigerator for an hour chilling. I couldn’t really roll them into tight balls after scooping the mixture, I could literally squeeze green liquid out of them. I set the balls on paper towels while the oil heated. I cooked them in batches and served with the Israeli tomato and cucumber salad. They somehow turned out to be the lightest fluffiest tastiest fried balls of falafel! I was blown away! Nothing like store bought dry falafel. I froze the rest of the cooked balls and am hoping they reheat well. Fingers crossed. We are trying to eat more plant based meals and this was a winner.
Just wanted to say that you can make these in the morning for lunch from raw if you quick-soak them. I brought my chickpeas to the boil with 1.5tsp baking soda, boiled them for 1 min, took them off the boil, covered the pan and left them to soak for about an hour and a half, chilled them for about 2 hours. Then I drained them, patted them dry with kitchen roll and made and formed them as per the recipe. The mix is slightly pastier but they didn’t lose their form in the pan and they taste great.
Sorry, I made the mixture *then* chilled it for 2 hours. I didn’t chill the unmixed chickpeas separately!
I made these, and they fell apart almost entirely. I think two things caused this:
1) I didn’t grind them down enough from dry — I tried going straight for a double batch, and I didn’t quite process them enough as a result of my food processor being too full.
2) I didn’t let it sit long enough (30 min or so), and I didn’t mix it well afterwards. The stuff on top was drier and just crumbled as soon as it hit the oil. The mixture toward the bottom was wetter and compacted better, and then held better in the oil. Next time this is a prep the day before recipe. Was tasty regardless, though.
I’m hoping to finally make this this weekend after bookmarking it almost a year ago!
I don’t have a large food processor(just a mini), but I do have a Ninja blender. Do you think that would work?
Made these exactly as written (except for 2X the herbs) & they were perfection! My dining compaion eats falafel all the time and said there were the best he’s had in the US. I soaked the chickpeas for about 24 hours, let them sit on a towl for about 5 minutes after draining, processed in 2 batches of food processing in my mini cusineart, combined batches in a large bowl, let sit in the fridge for 30 mins, used a cookie scoop to make very tight, compact balls, & they didn’t fall apart at all.
I experimented with the cooking method: fried some, baked some, and waffled some. Fried were BY FAR the best–the texture was clearly the best but frying amped the flavor of the seasonings, too. Waffling and baking worked just fine, but not as incredible.
This was my first falafel attempt and it was so much easier than I thought it would be – will become a regular in my rotation. Thanks Deb!
I’m in the middle of this. The mixture is hanging out in the fridge. It seems very dry. Should I add a few drops of water?
And on a lighter note, Our bedroom is next to the kitchen. I got in bed late and then heard a popping, crackle sound that did not stop. I was afraid it was a mouse, although we have never had one, I see them all over the Berlin. I tried to tiptoe into the kitchen but our floor boards squeak loudly. In the kitchen I used my cellphone torch to look around. Nothing moved. Following the sound I realized the chick peas were making the sound! Who knew? My husband slept like a baby through the whole thing.
This is the best falafel I’ve ever had. Eady to make and delicious! Also made the pita, Israeli salad and tahini dressing. My new go-to for falafel from now on!
Wow! I love these. So simple and so tasty. In the past I have tried very unsuccessfully to make falafel and had it fall apart and be a horrible mess. These are bright in flavor and absolutely delicious. Highly recommend.
I’ve struck out with other falafel recipes in the past and had honestly almost given up. Since moving to Utah from New Haven I’ve been mourning the loss of the Mamoun Falafel sandwich. It was a pleasant surprise to have these work and I’ve made them again and again since then. Thank you for making my falafel dreams come true, as I can no longer just run down to Mamoun’s to get my fix!
Has anyone tried using the quick soak method in an instant pot by putting in the beans with water and pressure cooking them for 2-3 min? Finding all of the “do-ahead” work for this recipe to be a barrier to me actually cooking it. Thanks!
I haven’t tried that. I did try quick-cooking them with bicarb (bring to boil, boil 1 min) as per my comment above, which meant they could be made for lunch if you started in the morning. On that basis I wonder if pressure cooking for 2-3 mins would overcook them. But I would love it if you tried and reported back, personally!
Once again,thank you so much for a beautiful meal! It only took about 1h to assemble and cook everything (left chickpeas to soak overnight and left the mixture only for 30′ in the fridge because starving kiddos just came back from school). I was curious to see how the falafel balls would taste/cook with no flour and I was also wondering if the chickpeas would be ok without cooking them. Oh my, they were truly delicious, everybody was raving about it! Only with a 300g dry chickpea bag, crazy cheap and crazy delicious. Didnt make the pitas (definitely doing them next time), served with homemade babaganoush and harissa, dear Lord..
I made the falafel, Israeli salad, tahini sauce and pita bread – all absolutely delicious but there were some issues.
First, the pita bread puffed up nicely but the pocket wasn’t dead center in each pita. About 80% of the bread was on one side, making for a doughier pocket than I would have liked. I’m not sure how to achieve a more balanced space between the sides of the bread.
Also, I had some difficulty with the falafel mix, which didn’t stick together very well. I wonder if I had too much liquid or if I didn’t process it fine enough. Quite a few recipes use flour to bind the falafel so I added a few tablespoons without much success.
It tasted outstanding but I’d like to perfect the appearance of the product to serve it at a party.
Here are some tips for making perfect pitas: https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/08/how-to-make-perfect-homemade-pita-bread.html
During the final proofing, air pockets rise to the surface of the dough. Flipping the dough right before baking – baking it top side down on the baking stone – mitigates this problem.
I remade the falafel grinding the ingredients a bit finer than previously. The balls formed perfectly and the result was fantastic.
Also, I tried an excellent pita bread recipe that is not doughy and produces generous air pockets at hostthetoast.com.
Hi… HELP…. I just made these…. yes, soaked over night, and yes, 3/4″ oil in the frypan…. BUT: 1. the consistency of the “dough” was very wet, and I had to squeeze to really get the wetness out, and even so, they were awfully loose… 2. it was difficult to maneuver the balls over in the frying oil when the bottoms were finished, and I would want to try a saucepan instead of a frypan so the oil is deeper and they can move around… your thoughts?
I want to freeze these as you mentioned, (how to freeze them?) and will try…. what do you suggest to get them warm upon needing them from the freezer for inside the pita? reheat? refry? oven?
I usually rewarm things at 350; they freeze well. You could use a different size pan for frying, but I wouldn’t find a deeper pan easier, personally. Wider pans make it easier to get underneath. I use a thin spatula.
Do you freeze them before or after frying them? If after frying them, do you defrost them before you warm them in the oven at 350 or do you throw them in straight from the freezer? Thank you!
Deb and friends, I got the directions mixed up and cooked the chickpeas before making the mixture. Do you think they’ll still work to make falafel? Or should I use these for something else and start again with a new batch of dried chickpeas? Thanks for your advice.
I think you may need to start again with a new batch. I’ve needed them to be very firm (al dente) and not soft or mushy in order to grind them and then fry them. This recipe is worth a second batch of soaked chickpeas!
I have made these so many times and they are really a staple in our fridge and freezer now!
I follow the recipe exactly, use the maximum garlic and the minimum red chili peppers.
I always double, triple or even quadruple the batch so I can freeze a bunch for lunches during the week.
They reheat perfectly in the toaster oven at 350 for maybe 8 mins.
I love these!
Hi, If I forgot to buy cilantro, can I just use parsley and maybe add some ground coriander?
Just decided not to cook my dried chickpeas after I remembered your falafel recipe- if I have presoaked chickpeas in the fridge, how much should I use for this recipe? Didn’t measure before I soaked them…
If you make extra to freeze, do you form into balls and fry from frozen? Or freeze the mixture, then thaw and form before cooking? Thanks!
I’ve been forming them into balls and freezing them.
I take them out of the freezer the night before I’m going to fry them. It works out very well for me.
Also, I find that making the falafel mixture and refrigerating overnight makes it easier to form firmer balls that stay together.
Tip: To shape, use a cookie scoop to get the portion consistent then toss each one lightly between your hands. It compresses them just enough to keep them together. Maybe my mix was too course but they definitely weren’t cooperating when I tried to roll them.
Also definitely double the batch and freeze the leftovers. You’ll thank yourself later.
I made these today. I usually soak a big quantity of chickpeas and keep them in bags in the freezer, do I don’t have to plan ahead when I want to cook them. I thawed a bag about three hours before the time I estimated I would want to start preparing, and they were still cold when I blitzed them (but thawed all the way). Thus, I skipped the chilling step. I used half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint, and no parsley. I also added a tablespoon of flour, reading through the comments and fearing I would end up with nothing to serve for lunch. They were very easy to form. I chilled them for half an hour, while preparing other things. Then fried them into gorgeous dark golden nuggets. They absorbed practically no oil, and were unbelievably crunchy. These are amazing.-
I made this recipe and was very excited about it. However, they did not hold together while frying them. I had to stop everything and use an egg to keep them together. It worked very well after that.
How do you get the balls to stick? I’ve followed the recipe to the letter and it’s all falling apart
You might need to grind them a little further, and press them more firmly. It’s okay if they don’t hold tightly together — just get them in the fryer. They will firm up from there.
Finally tried these! They were good!
I was very concerned about them falling apart in the oil because they fell apart so easily while shaping. I almost didn’t cook them. BUT, the frying forms a hard shell almost immediately, and with the exception of individual garbanzo bean crumbs floating away, they stayed together!
In my case, we didn’t have time to make fresh pita, and I wanted fresh pita, so I refrigerated the whole batch and cooked them for supper the next day. I formed the balls for each batch right before cooking, and everything worked out. They were crisp on the outside and tender in the middle, just as they should be!!!
The only problem was the insides were not steamy hot. In my case this makes sense, since I refrigerated the dough for so long. Next time I will bring the dough out of the refrigerator sooner and for longer before cooking and see how that goes.
I know I should have checked the comments, but I really wish I had known beforehand that I couldn’t sub canned chickpeas. I never made anything before that absolutely needed dried instead of canned, so it didn’t occur to me. In fact, I have dried! But thought I’d save them for the spinach & chickpeas recipe :(
– Flavor and texture were awesome. Best falafels I have ever eaten.
– Took me two calm hours in total to make these and the pita bread (needed husband to bake pita, as it is too difficult for me to control both frying pan, resting and rolling of the pita disks and then the baking ) including the resting in fridge. No stress but quite time-consuming.
– Rested mixture for only 30 minutes and refused to use flour but pressing them inside an ice-cream scoop worked wonderfully.
The down-side is they were really indigest for me. I was bloated and could not sleep for hours. Maybe too much garlic between the falafels and the tahini sauce?
I struggled getting these to form balls, and had to put an egg and a palmful of gram flour in the mixture. Texture wise once cooked, and flavour wise however they were possibly the best falafel I’ve ever had, and so easy. Just make sure you read all the instructions the day before you want to eat them to figure out timing!
I made it as directed and I’m sure it looked like couscous but there was no way they were holding together in balls. In desperation I tossed in about an eighth of a cup of flour and an egg and stirred it all together with a fork. They held just enough to smush into sort of palm-shaped patties and they fried up beautifully and were delicious.
I made these tonight exactly as the recipe – and they were amazing! First time I’ve deep fried anything and I have to admit I was a little nervous. I saw in some comments about the balls not holding – by accident my formed balls spent an hour in the fridge before they made it to the oil – perhaps that helped? Just want to say thanks Deb, as always your recipes are reliable. A bit worried that I might have gotten over my fear of deep frying though…
Oh and we didn’t have tahini in the house so we made your white sauce (from the street cart chicken recipe) and it was so so good on the falafel! My husband’s favourite sauce for so many things ha ha
I made these last night. The flavor was great but a little salty. I salted the soaking water as well as the mixture. I’m wondering should I have done one or the other and not both. I also let the beans soak around 17 hours.
Just made this! It was so easy and delicious! Accidentally overdid it on the salt but still extremely yummy especially with some homemade tzatziki and my own pita!
My kid apparently got take-out falafels with some friends in the last week, concluded that they were terrible compared to Mom’s (aka “Deb’s”) and asked for these for dinner his last night here before heading back to college. That’s a pretty strong recommendation, considering that we have access to almost everything (including some grass-fed T-bones, hanging out in the chest freezer).
I followed the directions as usual, they were delicious.
I had tried to make falafel so many times from canned chickpeas and it never turned out well, always too mushy without a good crust. Using soaked chickpeas and frying in oil was a game-changer and still super easy! Absorbed very little oil and not greasy at all. I have made them multiple times since (pretty much every time we get chickpeas in our Rancho Gordo bean club). Highly recommend!
I have made these many times according to the recipe with spectacular results every time but have discovered a super easy, kid-friendly shortcut that we have playfully dubbed “wafaffles”! Instead of shaping the frying falafel balls, we press a generous scoop in our waffle iron and pull them out when they’re light brown and super crunchy. The waffle divots provide pockets for tomato-cucumber salad and lots of tahini and our kiddos love them smeared with tzatziki. Using a waffle iron for falafel may be quite non traditional but it has significantly increased our household falafel consumption so I’m not mad at it!
Another winner recipe! I’m in shock at how tasty and beautiful the falafel were. The family loved them, and I imagine I’ll be making them again soon. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The falafel were AMAZING! And frying them was so satisfying. I made flour tortillas to serve with them, and when I pulled out the last falafel, I still had one tortilla to cook, so I fried it then sprinkled on cinnamon-sugar and a pinch of salt, and that was a delightful treat! I bought more garbanzo beans the next day so that I could make more falafel ASAP!
My beautiful balls completely crumbled. What can I do next time?
It may have needed either a finer grind or to be more tightly packed. They’ll be fragile until they’re fried brown; then they should hold together.
What size is a walnut? Green or shelled from the store?
Totally crumbled. Tasted good.
2 min total, 335F
Hi Deb, I love most of your recipes and was totally psyched for an Israeli Chanukah dinner. But these falafel totally disintegrated in the oil. There was nothing left. I skipped the other batches to try baking them, sprayed with oil. They came out as warm balls of mush. The flavor was great. The consistency was NOT. Suggestions?
Delicious falafel-so much better than the mixes! I did make the pita and froze in advance, then went crazy and had to make the tahini for the sauce. Homemade tahini was superior, as was the sauce, but will do only the falafel, sauce and pita next time. Christmas cookie baking in the midst was also foolish, I admit. Tsatziki with avos and radishes on the side was “salad”—your recipes are so yummy, Deb, we appreciate you out here in small town Montana!
WOW! I made these tonight for the first time and they were dubbed the BEST falafel ever eaten by my husband and daughter! We’ve had our share of dry falafel from numerous restaurants. These were moist and delicious and a big hit. I’ll definitely be making them again. As others have said, the mixture was too wet, so I added a bit of flour. With the pita (delicious but they didn’t puff), lemon tahini dressing, and cucumber tomato salad (the sumac MAKES it), it was a fantastic meal. Thank you!
I’ve made this twice now and I’ll say I’m kicking myself that was I was intimidated by falafel for years. So easy to make and so so yummy! I use a mini cookie scoop and cook three minutes or until golden brown.
Hi… I have made these before and they are wonderful…. I am making again, but I have a question? Can I leave the beans soaking for 2 days? Or/And can I put the balls in the fridge for 2 days before frying?
thanks so much
I haven’t tested either but my hunch is yes to both
I made these tonight – what a success. Truly easy to make. They were delicious – light and fluffy. (I just had bad falafel from a cart just a bit ago still fresh in my mind). I also have been avoiding deep frying because just browning chicken coats myself and my kitchen in a layer of grease. But, deep frying these hardly got a drop anywhere. What a revelation. If my kids had liked these, this would be part of our regular rotation. We will have to try it again in a few months and see if their tastes have changed. Thanks for the recipe and encouragement to try this!
First time making falafel. I will never need another recipe. These were spectacular. And weeknight doable! Huge hit with the toddlers as well.
Help, my falafels are disintegrating. The oil around them is totally frothy? Any clues
I had this experience as well.
Hello, I’m thinking of using my air fryer…..any tips? Has anyone else had success with this – I have made these many times – I too have had issues with things falling apart…..I’m craving a grain bowl with falafel…..
I haven’t tried it in one but here’s a comment from someone who has: https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/12/falafel/#comment-1340666
I’m having vegan family members over for dinner tomorrow and I jumped the gun and soaked the garbanzos last night. What would happen if I did this a day ahead? Can they be cooked in an air fryer?
I haven’t tested it in an air-fryer but here is a comment from someone who has: https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/12/falafel/#comment-1340666 They can be reheated once fried in an oven until crisp again.
Falafel’s are a favorite of mine. In homemade pita or on a salad they are very versatile. I made some from a mix, but was very disappointed. I went back to purchased several orders at some local places and freezing. I don’t mind helping the local economy, but decided to take the next step and make myself. After researching and reading all the favorable Smitten Kitchen reviews this won me over. I used the max amount of spices and likely added more cilantro and parsley than called for. The chickpea overnight sit in salted water and then leaving the mix in the frig for several hours is a must. I only have a small food processor so it took a couple batches and then mixing in the spices once in a container. Using a well packed cookie scoop worked well and then squeezing to form a ball (did get some liquid).
I went on the lower end of oil, heating well and 3 mins per side was perfect. Didn’t have splattering and now letting the oil cool and then will put through a fine strainer and save for next time. Oh yes, there definitely will be a next time.
These were delicious, BUT I also could not get them to hold together. I cursed, cried a little bit, tried wringing the mixture out a little bit. I ended up using a smaller pan and spreading them out like a pancakes and then flipping it in sections. It was delicious, but broke my heart struggling with it.
What did you use to scoop them? Was it just too wet?
A very curved deep spoon, but I tried rolling them in my hands like suggested, even squeezing liquid out of them, but I couldn’t even get them to really hold to stay solid enough to put down on a plate. And then they largely just fell apart when they hit the oil. A couple stayed in a few pieces, with just the edges dissipating, but the rest just like melted when they hit the oil.
How was the texture of the chickpeas? I wonder if it needed to be ground more.
Perhaps? I thought it seemed couscous like, perhaps slightly bigger. My food processor was full, it didn’t seem like it was getting smaller by running it more. I might try a smaller batch in the future and see if that changes things. Also, looking closely at your food processor pic, your chickpeas look slightly “mushier” than mine? My texture looked less cohesive than yours. Perhaps my chickpeas needed to soak longer? I put them in the bowl with the water around 9pm and drained them about 330pm the next day..
I can’t stress enough how perfect this recipe is. I ordered a bad falafel recently and really was craving that authentic crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside falafel. I followed the recipe exactly as is. For anyone who struggled to form the falafel balls, I suggest pressing into a cookie scoop as Deb mentions. Worked great for me.
I love the flavors but I am having terrible problems with crumbling. Any ideas? Thank you!
I squeeze all the moisture I can get out, out. I’m wondering if I’m leaving it too coarse, I will try to address that and see.
Is there excess liquid? If so, it’s okay to press it out as you pack the falafel balls into a spoon or scoop to shape them.
No, I squeezed it all well as I formed it. I think maybe my oil wasn’t hot enough. Would that perhaps cause it to disintegrate? The flavors are wonderful, and I’ve made it before with success although I feel like I’m always fighting crumbling so clearly I’m doing something wrong. It’s never just disintegrated before though.
If it wasn’t the liquid, it could be how ground up the chickpeas were. Sometimes if too coarse, they don’t hold well.
The first time I made this, I started soaking the chickpeas at 10am for falafel at 8pm and it worked like a charm – best falafel ever, so fresh and light and gree. Beware though of soaking the chickpeas for too long. I started soaking them for this round the night before and when I drained them about 18 hours later they were absolutely drenched. The mix was incredibly soggy and came apart in the pan no matter how squeezed out they were (to be fair I did not add flour or egg to help the binding).
I served my guests delicious crispy chickpea rubble in flatbreads and everyone was happy – genuinely delicious whatever format it is served in – but next time I will soak them 8 hours max I think.
Found the recipe very frustrating. It took way too long to get them to into balls (as most of them just fell apart coming out of the cookie scoop). Then I transferred them to the oil and they completely disintegrated. Ended up sticking them in the oven (we’ll see whether those stay together). I love falafel but I doubt I’d even even consider making the recipe again.
what a surprise! I’ve never seen a recipe for falafel with raw chickpeas. You’ve convinced me to try it! I even grew some chickpeas last summer, so I’m gonna really start from scratch!
We’ve tried making falafel in the past with disastrous results. But, I trust Deb, so followed the recipe exactly. As I was forming the balls, I had to finesse them into shape. Didn’t have high hopes of them staying together in the oil. BUT! Lo and behold, they fried up beautifully!! Hubby and I were both amazed and thrilled! We also made Deb’s pita bread, tahini sauce, tomato cucumber salad and some pickled red onions. Delicious! Thank you for a new go-to recipe.
Falwaffles sound brilliant, I’ll try that. If you still want to have the traditional spheroid, use an æbleskiver pan, if you happen to have one. I have a horror of dealing with frying grease, and I make falafels much more often once the penny dropped about the pan.
Can you make falafel in an air fryer?
Made these and loved them, but the frying didn’t go well for me – big mess, a bit dangerous with the oil popping too. Had to banish kids from the kitchen for the duration. Considering trying them baked next time, maybe on a well-oiled sheet pan or in a well-oiled cast-iron skillet.
Oh, and I soaked chickpeas for 1-2 hours in very hot water instead of overnight. Worked fine, texture of chickpeas was great, and we’re no more flatulent than usual today!
I’ve made these three times in the last couple years. First time with a mini food processor, which worked, but really, I wouldn’t recommend it. Had to do lots of small batches to process it, total mess. Shallow fry as stated. But still, delicious.
Second time, I used an 11 cup Cuisinart food processor, it was so easy. Shallow fry, excellent.
Third time for my son’s birthday party, I multipled the batch by 6, processing each batch separately through the food processor, then used a cookie scoop to portion (necessary for the sheer amount of “dough”). I used a deep fryer to fry them, frying each batch for 3min. I kept them warm in the oven for about 30min before we began eating. Rave reviews!
Never really had the fall apart problem, but I definitely pack the mixture into the cookie scoop and squeeze out quite a bit of water that way. Then, I just handle them carefully getting them into the oil.
Oh, the irony of this recipe being described as easy, although I’m sure it is for some. I don’t think I ground it enough (apparently I have no real idea what couscous looks like). I probably put too much onion in, too. Faced with crumbling balls, I added some chickpea flour and kept it in the fridge overnight. Still wouldn’t hold together. Smashed the water out all of it with a squeezey thing I use on spinach and added a tablespoon of rice flour (which helps Indian bakora made with chickpea flour get crunchy, which probably isn’t something this recipe needs). Still fragile. Finally added an egg, and that did the trick. Tastes delicious, but sheesh what an ordeal. Maybe give yourself extra time the first time you attempt it.
Have you tried substituting fava beans for chickpeas? That’s how they make falafel in Egypt, and it’s amazing! We spent our Christmas and New Years in Cairo and crusing the Nile this year, and our first meal featured fresh-baked pitas, falafel, hummus, and a range of other traditional dishes. Everything was fantastic, but the star of the meal for me was the falafel.
Deb–I tried this falafel recipe last night. The taste was fabulous, but I had such a hard time getting the chickpea mixture to hold together. Consequently, the little balls were misshapen and some of them just fell apart, so I had a lot of crunchies in the frying pan. I tried forming them with wet hands, then with floured hands, after scooping each out with an ice cream scoop. It was not very pretty! What would you suggest?
Press out some of the liquid right in the scoop if it seems to be watery. It might just be more watery than mine usually is.
Or maybe too dry? That’s what I was thinking. No matter what,I won’t give up. Thanks for your reply, Deb. I appreciate it and you!
Fail. Probably because I had to leave in fridge overnight, would not form balls that held together. Also soggy. May try again someday.
Deb- this is the first time for me with your recipes, and I have successfully made a lot of your recipes- the falafel balls fell apart in the frying pan. I packed them up nice and firm and they held up well until they hit the oil. I checked the ingredient list thinking maybe I forgot something. No. It was all there. I don’t understand it. I wonder if anybody else has had this problem?
The same thing happened to me with the very first falafel. As balls, they fell apart, giving me a pile of crunchies; and yet, the mixture was not wet. I used two spoons to push the pile together, so there were at least disks that fried up. But clearly, it’s user error; so I will try again, cuz the flavor was really good.
I encourage you to try again as well, as I’ve never had a bad recipe from any of her cookbooks that I have.
Can you make these in the air fryer or oven?
Lone voice in the wilderness but this was a pretty big disaster. Followed the recipe to a T (doubled it for making leftovers), soaked the chickpeas for 20 hours, ground it to the size specified, and chilled the mixture for over an hour. It wouldn’t hold together. Finally threw a couple of eggs in the mixture and made something more like falafel fritters. They were tasty though! Falafel crumbs are good too!
I made the Smitten Kitchen Falafel recipe with exact ingredients called for in the recipe. However, the “dough” wouldn’t stick together and when I put the falafels in the hot oil they fell apart. I added chickpea flour. A little bit better but still falling apart in the oil. Basically, it’s not working for me.
What am I doing wrong or what can I do to salvage this bowl full of mixture?
I’m not sure but I had the exact same issue! It feels like it needs a binder but egg feels wrong?
When you scoop a spoonful, press it into the spoon, squeezing out a little of the liquid, if there’s a bit, to compact it.
I made this falafel for dinner tonight, with the Washington Post Stovetop Naan. I guess I didn’t process enough because the mixture would not stick. So I baked them. Flavor was so good, even though I prefer the fried. Totally worth it. Such an easy recipe. For a sauce- sesame allergy. Had an abundance of cilantro in my garden. Processed it with olive oil and lime juice, spread on a cookie sheet and froze, broke into freezer friendly squares. Thawed some, stirred in Greek yogurt and used as a sauce/dressing. Highly recommend! Thanks for this falafel recipe.