Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Privacy Policy.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This air fryer falafel recipe is air fried instead of deep-fried and comes together in a snap.

Enjoy these falafels as a snack, appetizer, main course, or use them in a wrap. They are a breeze to make, just as easy as frying in a deep fryer, but without the greasy mess. Plus, it’s also gluten-free and vegan! Serve over a salad or with pita bread, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

A front view of a gray bowl piled high with falafel balls.

What Is Falafel?

Falafel is a middle eastern dish that is made of mashed chickpeas, fresh herbs, and ground spices.

Can You Substitute Canned Chickpeas For Dried Chickpeas?

It’s not recommended. While it would seem to make common sense, there is a difference in texture between cooked chickpeas and chickpeas that have simply been soaked overnight. If you use canned/cooked chickpeas, you’ll end up with hummus instead of falafel mix.

Can You Cook Frozen Falafel In An Air Fryer?

You can! While Trader Joe’s falafel isn’t all that bad in the health department, it does use white flour and soybean oil. And since this blog aims to stay clear of ingredients like that, I recommend making and freezing your own.

But either way, yes, you can air fry them! Air fry them at 360 F. for 8 minutes. Remember to rotate them halfway through. To give the outside more of a deep-fried texture, you can spritz them with an oil sprayer first. Use a healthy oil that does well at higher temperatures, such as avocado oil.

How Do You Keep Falafel Crispy?

The trick with falafel is to only make as much as you want to eat in one sitting. Falafel does not keep its crispy outside after being stored in the fridge and reheated. It also tends to dry out a bit on the inside. So it’s best to make, serve and eat this immediately for the best texture.

A side view of a gray bowl filled with falafel balls.

Making Falafel Ahead Of Time

You can store the uncooked falafel in the fridge and then simply cook them as you want to eat them.

This is a great dish to meal prep! Simply make the mixture ahead of time, and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can store the mixture, or you can make the falafel balls and store those. If you make the falafel balls, then all you have to do is air fry them for a quick meal when you are ready to eat them.

The mixture forms best when cold. You can freeze the mix up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge, and then use the cold mix to form the falafel balls.

How To Serve Falafel

There are many ways to serve falafel. Here are a few suggestions:

  • In a salad.
  • In warm pita bread with tomatoes and cucumbers or other fresh veggies.
  • With rice.
  • In a wrap with olives, lemon juice, and some crumbled feta.
  • As a simple, healthy snack on its own.
  • As a main course with other sides.
  • As an appetizer with dip or sauce like tzatziki.

Make It Spicy

If you want to give these a bit of a spicy kick, you can add ½ to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the food processor.

A close up view of a gray bowl filled with Air Fryer Falafel balls.

About The Ingredients

This may seem like a long list, but it’s mostly herbs and spices. I promise this is quick and easy to make!

2 cups dry chickpeas – not canned, toasted, or cooked. Soak the dry chickpeas overnight in a bowl of water in the fridge.

1 small yellow onion – quartered. You just want it small enough for your food processor to handle well. You can also use red onion if you prefer that.

1 cup fresh parsley – coarsely chopped.

½ cup fresh cilantro – coarsely chopped. Optional, but delicious.

4 large garlic cloves – peeled.

2 tbsp. chickpea flour – if you can’t find any at the store, you can grind your own in a food processor using dry chickpeas. Simply grind them until they become a fine flour.

1 tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever you normally use in the kitchen.

1½ tsp. ground cumin

1½ tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground black pepper

⅛ tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. olive oil

How To Make Falafel In An Air Fryer

Soak The Chickpeas

(One day ahead): In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas and water to cover them by about 3 inches.  Soak overnight and have in mind that the chickpeas will double in size as they soak, for this reason, choose a bigger container. Cover and place the container inside the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Remove the chickpeas from the refrigerator, drain them and rinse with running water to remove any skins floating in the water. Leave them draining while preparing the other ingredients. In your food processor, add the drained chickpeas, the herbs, and spices, along with the baking powder.

Blend The Falafel Mix

All the ingredients for this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe sitting in a food processor on a white background.
All the ingredients for this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe blended and sitting in a food processor on a white background.

Pulse until you get a smooth consistency. (Pulse several times instead of doing a long pulse. This will help your processor to work properly, and this way you’ll be able to spot big chunks. Use a spatula to remove big chickpea chunks or herbs that are stuck on the food processor walls, and pulse again. The desired consistency is a smooth mixture, but definitely not a purée. You should be able to spot little chickpea chunks, like a finely minced onion. )

Shape The Falafel Balls

Air Fryer Falafel balls sitting on a baking sheet.

Using a small ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop the falafel mixture into small balls and place them on a baking sheet separately. The desired consistency should allow you to hold the ball in your hands, and the mixture should hold together without breaking or splitting.

If the balls won’t hold together, you need to process the mixture once again and make sure to get a paste-like consistency. After this, if the falafel balls won’t hold together, you need to do one of the following:

  1. If the mixture is too wet, try adding 1 tbsp of chickpea flour first and test the consistency, if not, add another tablespoon and test once again.
  2. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp (or 2) of water to the mixture and test the consistency. 

It is important to keep the uncooked falafel balls separated and in a single layer. If they touch or are stacked, they will stick to each other and the ones at the bottom will deform. Place them separated on a baking sheet.

Place the balls inside the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2). This step is crucial to get a stronger consistency that will help to maintain the shape when the balls are inside the air fryer.

Cook the falafel

Air fryer falafel balls sitting in an air fryer basket.
Air fryer falafel balls, just cooked and still sitting in an air fryer basket.

Remove the falafel balls from the refrigerator and place them inside the air fryer basket separately. Inside the air fryer basket, brush the falafel balls with olive oil using a basting/pastry brush. Or, you can spray the falafel balls with olive oil spray.

What Temperature To Air Fry Falafel?

Cook the cold falafel balls at 350ºF.

How Long To Cook Falafel In An Air Fryer?

Air fry for 10 minutes. Then, remove the air fryer basket and shake it to move the balls around, and cook for 5 more minutes. If the mixture is well-prepared, the falafel won’t break apart while cooking. When ready, the falafel balls should have a golden brown color on the outside. The perfect falafel is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Place the falafel balls in a wire rack and let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

To Store:

As mentioned above, it is best to store falafel uncooked. But regardless of what state the falafel is in, store it in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days.

To Reheat:

Reheat falafel in an air fryer at 350ºF for 2-3 minutes. Remember, the texture won’t be the same after reheating.

Freezing Falafel

Freeze uncooked falafel balls on a cookie sheet for 2 hours first so they aren’t touching. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 6 months.

Making The Tahini Sauce 

Tahini sauce is classically served with falafel. I like to put a little spin on my tahini sauce by making a tahini lemon dressing. It’s delicious! Here’s that Lemon Tahini Dressing recipe.

Recipe Supplies For Air Fryer Falafel

For this recipe, you’ll need a good food processor, a cookie sheet for freezing the falafel, and an air fryer for cooking them. You can click any of these images to be taken to these suggested products on Amazon. (affiliate links)

Food processor sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Sheet pan set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Air fryer sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

More Healthy Air Fryer Recipes

SUBSCRIBE

Remember to subscribe to my free newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox. Click here to sign up!

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe Card

Copyright Policy
A front view of a gray bowl piled high with falafel balls.

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Delicious falafel without the deep oil frying! Note: For this recipe, you need to soak the chickpeas one day ahead.
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 40 minutes
Servings: 32 falafel balls
Calories: 58kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Equipment

  • 1 Air Fryer

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry chickpeas (not canned, toasted, or cooked)
  • 1 small yellow onion (quartered)
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped parsley
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped cilantro (optional, but delicious)
  • 4 large garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp. chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • tsp. ground cumin
  • tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions

  • (One day ahead): In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas and water to cover them by about 3 inches.  Soak overnight and have in mind that the chickpeas will double in size as they soak, for this reason, choose a bigger container. Cover and place the container inside the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Remove the chickpeas from the refrigerator, drain them and rinse with running water to remove any skins floating in the water. Leave them draining while preparing the other ingredients.
     In your food processor, add the drained chickpeas, the herbs, and spices, along with the baking powder.
    All the ingredients for this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe sitting in a food processor on a white background.
  • Pulse until you get a smooth consistency. (Pulse several times instead of doing a long pulse. This will help your processor to work properly, and this way you’ll be able to spot big chunks. Use a spatula to remove big chickpea chunks or herbs that are stuck on the food processor walls, and pulse again. The desired consistency is a smooth mixture, but definitely not a purée. You should be able to spot little chickpea chunks, like a finely minced onion. )
    All the ingredients for this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe blended and sitting in a food processor on a white background.
  • Using a small ice cream or cookie scoop, make small balls and place them on a baking sheet separately.
     The desired consistency should allow you to hold the ball in your hands, and the mixture should hold together without breaking or splitting. In case the balls won't hold together, you need to process the mixture once again and make sure to get a paste-like consistency. After this step, if the falafel balls won’t hold together, you need to identify the issue: If the mixture is too wet, try adding 1 tbsp of chickpea flour first and test the consistency, if not, add another tablespoon and test once again. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp (or 2) of water to the mixture and test the consistency.
     It is important to keep the balls separated. If you put them next to each other in a bowl, they will stick to each other and the ones at the bottom will deform, and you’ll have a hard time maintaining the ball shape. This is why placing them separated on a baking sheet will make things easier for you and will keep the balls in a nice shape.
    Place the balls inside the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2). This step is crucial to get a stronger consistency that will help to maintain the shape when the balls are inside the air fryer.
    Air Fryer Falafel balls sitting on a baking sheet.
  • Remove the falafel balls from the refrigerator and place them inside the air fryer basket separately.
    Inside the air fryer basket, brush the falafel balls with olive oil using a basting/pastry brush. Or, you can spray the falafel balls with olive oil spray.
    Air fryer falafel balls sitting in an air fryer basket.
  • Cook the falafel balls at 350 ºF for 10minutes. Then, remove the air fryer basket and shake it to move the balls around, and cook for 5 more minutes.
    If the mixture is well-prepared, the falafel won’t break apart while cooking. When ready, the falafel balls should have a golden brown color on the outside. The perfect falafel is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
    Air fryer falafel balls, just cooked and still sitting in an air fryer basket.
  • Place the falafel balls in a wire rack and let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately. You can serve falafel alone, or you can also assemble the falafel balls in pita bread with tomato slices,  cucumber slices, lettuce &tahini sauce. Enjoy!
    The trick with falafel is to only make as much as you want to eat in one sitting. Falafel does not keep its crispy outside after being stored in the fridge and reheated. It also tends to dry out a bit on the inside. So it's best to make, serve and eat this immediately for the best texture.
    The finished falafel balls piled high in a gray bowl.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1falafel ball | Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Image depicting 5-star rating. Image text says, Love this recipe? Give it a star rating in a comment below.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.