Crispy Baked Falafel

Packed with herbs & spices, this crispy baked falafel recipe is bursting with delicious flavor. Stuff it into pitas, top it with your favorite fixings & enjoy!

 Falafel

Falafel was the food that first convinced me that a vegetarian diet could be filled with bold, exciting flavors. It’s crispy, rich, and satisfying, packed with fresh herbs and aromatic spices. Stuffed into pita bread with veggies, tahini sauce, and a pop of pickled onions, it’s insanely flavorful, making it one of my all-time favorite foods.

I included a recipe for red lentil falafel in Love and Lemons Every Day (one of my favorites in the book!), but never before have I shared a classic chickpea-based falafel recipe. Without a doubt, it was worth the wait. I’m picky about my falafel, but these little guys check all the boxes: they’re crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and loaded with herbs and spices.

Falafel recipe ingredients

What is Falafel?

If you’re thinking, “Wait. What is falafel?”, you’re in for a treat. A traditional Middle Eastern dish, falafel are fried balls of ground chickpeas, which often include parsley, cilantro, and spices such as cumin and coriander. It’s a popular street food throughout the Middle East and Europe (if you’re ever in Paris, make a stop at L’As du Fallafel), where you can find it stuffed into pitas brimming with fresh veggies, herbs, sauces, and pickles.

I’m not a fan of working with a big vat of hot oil at home, so instead of deep frying my falafel, I bake it. It comes out deliciously crisp just the same, and it’s a little lighter than the traditional version. This one is my favorite falafel recipe to date, and I hope you fall for it too!

Chickpeas and herbs in a food processor

My Falafel Recipe Ingredients

To make my baked falafel recipe, you need these key ingredients:

  • Uncooked dried chickpeas. I use soaked dried chickpeas, not canned chickpeas, in this recipe. Soak your dried chickpeas overnight before beginning the recipe, and then blend the soaked chickpeas into the herby falafel mixture.
  • Shallot and garlic. Together, they add a delicious bite! You can also use yellow onion in place of the shallot.
  • Lemon zest. It’s not traditional, but I love the lemon’s zesty brightness in these patties.
  • Cumin, coriander, and cayenne. This spice blend is warm and aromatic, and the cayenne adds a little heat.
  • Sea salt. It punches up the rich flavor of the herbs and spices.
  • Baking powder. Just a pinch makes these balls nice and puffy in the oven.
  • Cilantro and parsley. I use a good amount to make my falafel bright green and flavorful. There’s no need to toss the herb stems for this recipe – blend them straight into the falafel mixture along with the leaves!
  • Extra-virgin olive oil. I add a tablespoon to the chickpea mixture for richness. In addition, I drizzle the patties with oil before baking so they become nice and crisp in the oven.

How to make falafel

How to Make Falafel

Once you’ve soaked your chickpeas, this recipe is easy to make! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Blend the ingredients. Add the falafel ingredients to a food processor, and pulse until well combined, but not pureed.
  2. Form the falafel balls. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop and your hands to gently form the mixture into 12 to 15 thick patties.
  3. Bake! Drizzle the little cakes with olive oil, and bake, flipping halfway, until they’re golden brown and crisp.
  4. Serve, and enjoy! Stuff the cooked falafel into pitas with your favorite fixings, top them onto a salad, or serve them over a bowl. Then, dig in!

Baked falafel recipe

Best Baked Falafel Tips

  1. Used dried, NOT canned chickpeas. The perfect cakey, crumbly texture comes from dried chickpeas that have been soaked, but not cooked, before being blended into patties. Make sure to soak dried chickpeas ahead of time to make this recipe. Substituting cooked, canned chickpeas does not work here – your falafel will turn out wet and mushy.
  2. Drizzle the patties generously with oil before baking. Because this falafel recipe is baked, not fried, it automatically uses much less oil than traditional falafel. In order to get your patties nicely crisp and golden brown in the oven, don’t hesitate give them a generous drizzle of oil before baking. They’ll come out delicious and still be lighter than classic falafel.
  3. Don’t pack your patties too tightly. It’s tempting to really pack the patties together tightly, but doing so will make them tough and dense. Form the falafel balls gently, and if your mixture isn’t holding together, pulse it a bit more in the food processor until the mixture sticks together. If it’s still too crumbly, pop it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before shaping and baking the patties.
  4. Make a double batch, and freeze the extras. These guys keep well in the freezer, so go ahead and make a double batch to have on hand for salads, bowls, or wraps. To reheat frozen falafel, pop them in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, until they’re crisp and heated through. Check out this post for more freezer-friendly dinner ideas and this post for some great meal prep tips.

Falafel Serving Suggestions

I love stuffing these into a pita sandwich loaded with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, fresh herbs, hummus, pickled onions, and generous drizzles of tahini sauce. To customize your pita sandwich, you could easily swap another Middle Eastern sauce like tzatziki or baba ganoush for the hummus, or drizzle it with cilantro lime dressing instead of (or in addition to) the tahini.

If you’re not in the mood for pita, top your patties onto a big salad along with some crispy roasted chickpeas, or serve it over a bed of quinoa, cilantro lime rice, or cauliflower rice with lots of fresh veggies.

Baked falafel

And if you’re in the market for a side dish, any of these recipes would be excellent with this baked falafel:

Falafel

If you love this falafel recipe…

Try my Mediterranean chickpea salad, shawarma wraps, or stuffed zucchini next!

Check out this post for more healthy dinner ideas, or this post for 85 more vegan recipes!

Falafel

rate this recipe:
4.95 from 96 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4
This falafel recipe is my favorite vegetarian main dish. I like them stuffed into pita sandwiches, but they're also delicious over salads, grain bowls, or on their own for a quick snack! Gluten-free and vegan.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked chickpeas, soaked 24 hours, drained, rinsed, and patted dry* (see note)
  • ½ cup chopped shallot or yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, patted dry
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves and stems, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

For serving

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large food processor, place the chickpeas (note: the chickpeas will have expanded during the soak time, be sure to use ALL of them here), shallot, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, baking powder, cilantro, parsley, and olive oil. Pulse until well combined but not pureed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Use a 2-tablespoon scoop and your hands to form the mixture into 12 to 15 thick patties (be careful not to pack them too tight or your falafel will be dense). If they're not holding together, give the mixture a few more pulses in the food processor.
  • Place the patties on the baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil (this is the key to making these moist and crisp since we're not frying) and bake for 14 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 to 12 minutes more or until golden brown and crisp on the outside. During the last few minutes of baking, wrap the pita in foil and warm in the oven.
  • Assemble pitas with a slather of hummus, diced veggies, falafel, herbs, pickled red onions, and generous drizzles of tahini sauce.

Notes

*Canned chickpeas cannot be substituted in this recipe or your falafel will turn out mushy.

 

189 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Andrea
    06.26.2022

    Can I do a quick soak of the beans in hot water for an hour. I forgot to soak them overnight!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.27.2022

      Hi Andrea, without trying that, I can’t suggest it.

  2. Karen Lipsey
    06.06.2022

    If you were going to air fry these (or the red lentil falafel in your cookbook) would you just air fry at the same temperature and time as you recommend baking them in the recipe? Both of these recipes are amazing, but I would like to try air frying them.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.11.2022

      Hi Karen, I would do 400°, they may go for less time, I’d just check them until they’re golden and crisp on both sides.

  3. Alex
    06.04.2022

    Hi! Is it 1 cup of chickpeas pre- or post-soak?? Since they expand so much. The 1 cup I started with is much more now so I’m not sure if I should use them all or just 1 cup of the soaked chickpeas. Thank you!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.06.2022

      Hi Alex, use all of them!

  4. Lisa
    05.24.2022

    Hello, I love your recipes!
    I’m in a fix for chickpeas. I did not soak for 24 hours. Can you advise? I’ve got about 8 hours. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.26.2022

      Hi Lisa, I haven’t tried soaking that short so I’m not sure! I think it might be ok.

  5. Richa
    05.21.2022

    You mentioned freezing them for future use . Do we bake them and then store it or just form them into balls and then freeze

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.23.2022

      Hi Richa, here are the reheating instructions up in the text of the post (I cook them fully and then reheat them): To reheat frozen falafel, pop them in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes, until they’re crisp and heated through.

      I hope you enjoy!

  6. Sue
    05.11.2022

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice. Absolutely wonderful. The second time I used a spray oil instead of drizzling the olive oil. It worked really well! I also used preserved lemon instead of the zest. Served the falafel over a bed of dressed greens, topped with a greek yogurt, preserved lemon and mint sauce. Next time I’ll plan ahead and make your pickled onion recipe and add as a garnish. Fantastic!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.15.2022

      Oh yum, I’ll have to try these with preserved lemon. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  7. Anastasiya
    05.06.2022

    5 stars
    Hi, they came out very tasty, but for some reason they came out looking melted. They were too soft, and did not keep their shape.

    What did I do wrong? (Ohh I did use canned chickpeas)

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.07.2022

      Hi Anastasiya, I would try using dry chickpeas next time – canned would get much more mushy.

  8. Lizzie
    05.05.2022

    5 stars
    YUM! I am so used to frying falafel so I was skeptical if this would hit the spot. Oh my. I’m never going back! These were so flavorful- crunchy on the outside, moist in the inside. Easy to make. I topped it with Israeli salad and feta cheese. Will definitely make again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.07.2022

      Hi Lizzie, I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Jen
    05.01.2022

    5 stars
    Hi, is there any nutritional information available for this recipe? I want to start tracking my diet and bake this almost weekly.

  10. Lizzie
    04.30.2022

    Hi! Can’t wait to make these! If I don’t want to include cilantro, should I double the parsley or keep as is?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.01.2022

      Hi Lizzie, you can add more parsley or just skip it.

  11. Liz
    04.21.2022

    This looks delicious! Can you clarify if it’s 1 cup of dried chickpeas or 1 cup after they’re soaked?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.22.2022

      Hi Liz, it’s 1 cup dry. They will expand after they’re soaked and you’ll use them all.

    • Paige Leichner
      05.19.2022

      I made this recipe and cooked it in my air fryer. Delicious!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        05.20.2022

        I’m so glad you loved it!

  12. Leah
    04.16.2022

    5 stars
    These are THE BEST falafel I have ever eaten, truly! Better than restuarant and better than other recipes I’ve tried. I honestly love the crunch from the baked method and so much healthier than frid. My entire family oved these. The second time I made them I soaked an entire pound of beans so I can could make even more to give them away to family and freeze some.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.17.2022

      I’m so glad you’ve been loving them!

  13. Ellen
    04.16.2022

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! I had a bit of trouble with the shaping of the falafels, though. My own fault, I don’t have a food processor so I used my Vitamix. It worked… eventually. Difficult to achieve the uniform texture that’s so important here without the right tools.
    I made double and froze half.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.16.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  14. Jane
    03.25.2022

    5 stars
    I stumbled across this recipe last night and made these for dinner. They are absolutely delicious (I left the coriander out as I don’t like it, but added lots of fresh parsley). They are even better the next day, crunchy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside. Amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.27.2022

      I’m so glad you loved them!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.