Crispy Baked Falafel

Packed with fresh herbs and spices, this crispy baked falafel recipe is bursting with flavor. Stuff it into a pita wrap with all the fixings, and enjoy!

 Falafel

I’ll never forget the first time I tried falafel. Stuffed into pita bread with fresh herbs, crisp veggies, and a big slather of hummus, it was crispy, rich, and bursting with earthy, aromatic flavor. I devoured the entire wrap in minutes, amazed at the medley of tastes and textures dancing across my tongue. Falafel has been one of my favorite foods ever since. I still order it out to eat whenever I get the chance, but these days, I more often make this falafel recipe at home.

What Is Falafel?

I’m getting ahead of myself. What is falafel, anyway? In case you’re not familiar with this traditional Middle Eastern dish, falafel are fried balls of ground chickpeas seasoned with herbs like parsley and cilantro and spices like coriander and cumin. They’re 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 them stuffed into pitas brimming with fresh veggies, herbs, sauces, and pickles.

I’m not a fan of frying at home (to be totally honest, the hot oil scares me!), so instead of deep frying falafel myself, I prefer baking it. It still comes out deliciously crisp, so I think it rivals any fried version. I hope you love it too!

Falafel recipe ingredients

Baked Falafel Recipe Ingredients

To make this baked falafel recipe, you’ll need these key ingredients:

  • Uncooked dry chickpeas – When I was first working out how to make falafel at home, I learned that traditional falafel is made with dried, NOT canned chickpeas. In fact, the chickpeas are never fully cooked before the falafel is formed. Instead, you’ll soak them overnight, then grind them up to form the falafel balls. Trust me, you don’t want to use canned chickpeas here! Your falafel will turn to mush.
  • Shallot and garlic – They add a delicious savory bite! You can also use yellow onion in place of the shallot.
  • Lemon zest – It’s not traditional, but I love the brightness it adds to these patties.
  • Cumin, coriander, and cayenne – For warm, aromatic flavor and a kick of 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 – It helps the falafel become nice and crisp in the oven.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Chickpeas and herbs in a food processor

How to Make Falafel

The first step to this method for how to make falafel is soaking the chickpeas. You’ll need to plan ahead here. The chickpeas need to soak for 24 hours, or at least overnight, before you form the balls. Drain and rinse them before proceeding with the recipe.

Once the chickpeas soak, pulse them together with the other ingredients. Add the chickpeas to the food processor with the shallot, garlic, herbs, spices, lemon zest, baking powder, olive oil, and salt.

How to make falafel

Process until the ingredients are finely ground, but not pureed.

Uncooked chickpea and herb patties on a baking sheet

Next, form the falafel balls. Scoop up the chickpea and herb mixture with a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, then use your hands to form it into balls or patties. If they’re not holding together, give the mixture a few more pulses in the food processor.

Finally, bake! Arrange the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and drizzle them generously with olive oil. Seriously, don’t hold back on the oil here! We’re not frying, remember, so a good drizzle of oil is essential for helping the balls bake up nice and crisp.

Bake in a 400°F oven for 14 minutes, then flip and bake until the falafel is golden brown and crisp. That’s it!

Crispy falafel balls on a baking sheet

Best Falafel Recipe Tips

  1. Used dried, NOT canned chickpeas. Really, canned chickpeas will NOT work! They’ll throw off the ratios in this recipe, and they’ll make the patties too wet and mushy. In order to achieve the light texture of traditional falafel, you MUST use dried chickpeas here. Soak them overnight (but don’t cook them!) before making the recipe.
  2. Drizzle the patties generously with oil before baking. Because we’re baking falafel here and not frying it, we’re automatically using much less oil than we would in a traditional falafel recipe. But oil is an important ingredient in falafel. It helps it become crisp on the outside while staying moist in the middle. To achieve this delicious balance, you need to drizzle your patties generously with oil. Don’t hold back!
  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 it 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°F oven for about 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.

Baked falafel in pita with pickled onions and fresh mint

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to serve falafel is in a pita wrap. I stuff it into the bread with a slather of hummus or a drizzle of tahini sauce, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, pickled onions, and fresh herbs. Other sauces and spreads are great here too. Try using tzatziki instead of the hummus, or drizzle on cilantro lime dressing instead of tahini sauce.

Not in the mood for a falafel sandwich? Serve the patties on a salad or grain bowl instead, or add them to a mezze platter. They’re fantastic with few dips or spreads, like muhammara, baba ganoush, or homemade labneh, and a salad or two. Try pairing them with any of these:

Round out the platter with lots of fresh pita bread!

Falafel recipe

More Favorite Vegetarian and Vegan Dinners

If you love this crispy baked falafel recipe, try one of these tasty vegetarian or vegan meals next:

Falafel

rate this recipe:
4.93 from 99 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Soaking time: 1 d
Total Time: 1 d 40 mins
Serves 4
Falafel are flavorful balls of ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. In Middle Eastern cooking, they're typically fried, but here, I bake them for an easy homemade twist. Serve them in a pita wrap with all the fixings, or find more serving suggestions in the post above.

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.

 

195 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Dolores
    09.05.2022

    3 stars
    I found the patties to be very dry. I drained the water from the chickpeas after they soaked overnight. Should I have used the water?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.06.2022

      Hi Dolores, no, you use the chickpeas drained. I just try to drizzle them very generously with olive oil before the go into the oven (since they’re baked and not fried).

  2. Nadia
    07.04.2022

    5 stars
    Wow!! So amazing! I’ll admit I had some serious doubts as I was forming these into balls. The chickpeas were a bit hard. The mixture was quite watery and totally crumbling. I thought there was no way this was going to work. But wow! It came out of the oven as perfect, formed falafel balls! Didn’t even crumble as I bit into it! It’s just perfect!

    The flavor is so good. Absolutely no need to fry. I added a bit more cumin and coriander because the Arab in me needed more spice. I looove the addition of lemon zest and will probably go heavier on the lemon zest next time I make this but I think the amount is perfect if making this for others.

    Definitely my favorite falafel recipe! So easy, healthy, and delicious! I’ll be making this often.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.04.2022

      Hi Nadia, I’m glad they came out so well!

  3. Haylan
    06.30.2022

    Delicious recipe!
    I actually did use canned chickpeas because per usual I did not read the directions thoroughly… yikes!
    So I cooked according to this recipe and then I turned oven as low as it would go and basically dehydrated the falafel for another 15-20 minutes.
    Let them cool and then remove from parchment paper on pan. They were delightful and very light and delicious.
    Tomorrow I’m doing this again but I am soaking them. But just in case anyone had planned I making these and didn’t read directions thoroughly… it’s not a complete doozy!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

      • B.
        09.20.2022

        Liz, do you know about how many cups (soaked) that this ends up producing from the 1 Cup (dry)? TIA 🙂

    • 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.