Enjoy this traditional falafel recipe with a twist; Ditch the deep-fryer and turn to your air fryer for these healthier, air fryer falafel with a tender center and crispy outer shell. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, high-protein, and perfect for meal-prep!
Watch the video in the post for easy visual instructions.The day before you start making the falafel, place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Fill it with plenty of water (the chickpeas should be covered by at least 3 inches/7 cm but add more water if needed) and soak for 18-24 hours. Drain the chickpeas completely and use a paper towel to lightly pat dry them (if they are too wet).
Transfer the chickpeas along with all other ingredients to a large food processor. If you have a small food processor, you will need to work in batches. Process everything for about 20 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the food processor and blend again. Do this a few times until the mixture is well combined, but not mushy.
Refrigerate the falafel mixture (in the food processor bowl) for about 45-60 minutes (or longer).
Use an ice cream scooper to scoop the falafel mixture and shape it with your hands to form a ball (or make a patty/disk if you wish). Do this with the remaining falafel mixture.
Use the cooking spray to lightly spray the falafel balls. Also, spray the basket of your air fryer to avoid sticking. Heat the air fryer to 375 ºF (190 ºC) and set the timer to 15 minutes. Cook the falafel balls in the air fryer, flip them after 10 minutes. They should be crispy and slightly brown on the outside. You might need to fry them in batches if necessary.
Serve hot on its own or assemble the falafels in pita bread with tahini, lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers. Enjoy!
Make sure to use dried chickpeas, not canned or cooked chickpeas.
Flour: I didn't add any flour to the falafel mixture because it held very well together and didn't require a binder. However, if you notice that your mixture needs a binder, you can add 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour (or regular flour or cornstarch). Especially, if you plan to deep-fry them, then adding flour is highly recommended!
Baking powder: You can optionally add a little baking powder to the falafel mix, and it'll result in slightly lighter and airier, tender falafel. Add it just before frying (i.e. don't add it to the mixture when making ahead and chilling in the fridge or freezing).
Oven-baked falafel: It's better to shape the falafel mixture into patties if you want to oven-bake them. Bake in a 375ºF (190ºC) heated oven for about 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. I also recommend spraying them with oil (cooking spray) before baking and after flipping, as they will turn out crispier.
If you want to deep-fry them, fill a large frying pan or medium saucepan with oil (to a depth of about 2 1/2 or 3 inches) and heat it to about 360 ºF (180 ºC). Make sure the oil isn't too hot, or they might fall apart. Add in a couple of falafel balls/patties (don't overcrowd the pan) and fry for about 4 minutes, turning as needed. Place the fried falafel on paper towels to soak up excess oil. It is important that the mixture rested in the refrigerator for about 60 minutes before frying. Also, if you think they are still too moist, then roll the balls/patties in some flour.
You can freeze the uncooked falafel balls for up to a month.
Check the helpful tips and step-by-step photos in the blog post above.
The total time doesn't include the soaking- and resting time.
Air Fryer Falafel
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.