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:
4.92 from 59 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 (they will be plump but still raw at this point), 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.

 

130 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. CC
    01.10.2021

    How long would these last if stored in the fridge?

  2. Kath
    01.07.2021

    5 stars
    Fantastic and so easy. Would absolutely make these again!

  3. breanne
    01.07.2021

    So delicious and easy! Lots of fresh, herby goodness. Made your recipes for pickled red onion and tahini sauce and served with the falafal in pita with feta, tomato, and cucumber. Just as a reference a 1 lb bag of dried chickpeas is the right amount for a double batch of these. Thank you!

  4. Sharmaine
    11.03.2020

    Hi there!

    I just tried baking these and everything worked fine except they stuck quite badly to the baking paper when cooking, I drizzled about a tablespoon of oil over each one – does that seem enough? Not sure what I may have done wrong!

    Thanks 🙂

    Sharmaine

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.03.2020

      Hi Sharmaine, hmm… parchment paper is pretty nonstick, are you sure you didn’t use something else like wax paper? You could brush a little oil on the paper before placing them down – that should do the trick.

  5. Abbie S
    10.29.2020

    5 stars
    I have been wanting to try to make falafel for a while now, but never seemed to get around to it. I order falafel at a few local restaurants. This was my first try at making it and I’m so glad I chose this recipe. Super easy and super delicious!! The falafel baked well and had the classic taste to it!

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Brenda
    10.21.2020

    Can you please provide me with the nutritional breakdown for this baked falafel recipe. Thanks!

  7. MEBS
    10.13.2020

    Mine taste pretty good but totally fell apart. Any ideas how I can make them hold together next time?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.13.2020

      Hi, did you use dried chickpeas (not canned), and use the full amount post-soak? And were your herbs dry (from washing them) before using them? We also have a few extra tips up there in the blog post under “best falafel tips,” tip #3 has some options if the mixture isn’t holding together. Hope that helps!

  8. Haley
    09.30.2020

    5 stars
    I made these tonight, and they were perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.01.2020

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  9. MJS
    09.03.2020

    5 stars
    Best falafel I’ve ever made or eaten. I “baked” mine in a waffle iron!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.12.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  10. Nicole
    08.22.2020

    5 stars
    Truly the best, easiest, most delicious homemade falafel recipe I’ve ever tried. I doubled this and I’m about to double it again because I know we are going to devour the first batch.
    Thank you!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

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

  11. PJ
    08.05.2020

    3 stars
    While the flavor of these is spot on, after attempting to make these twice the process of actually forming and baking them is really messy and frustrating – no matter how much I tried to make sure the ingredients were dry and processed finely (but not too finely), the patties would simply not hold together for me. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to try to fry them in a pot of hot oil, so at least the baking technique made things a little easier. But I think I’m going to put falafel in the same category as sushi, ice cream and espresso as things I’ll go out for in the future rather than try to make at home 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.05.2020

      Hi PJ, did you change anything in the recipe? (ie, did you use canned chickpeas instead of dried).

      If they’re difficult to form into your hands, you might try using a cookie scoop. They should be a little delicate and not sticky like veggie patties or meatballs. This recipe is definitely meant to be baked, not fried, since they’ll become cohesive in the oven.

      • PJ
        08.05.2020

        I followed the recipe exactly, using dried chickpeas that were soaked overnight and a 1/8 cup (= two tablespoon) measuring cup to measure and form the patties. They still broke apart very easily and made a mess all over my baking pan! So I’m obviously doing something wrong 🙁 Maybe I just don’t have enough of a delicate touch! But like I said – ecen though they’re messy for me, the flavor is terrific and I really want to make them work! I looked at a couple of other recipes online that suggested refrigerating the mixture for an hour or two before forming, so I may try that next time. Will keep you posted! Thanks again!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          08.05.2020

          oh yes, try that, we found 30 minutes to be helpful (check out the other tips in the #3 tips paragraph in the post text). If the mix is crumbly, you could pulse it a little more.

          It’s possible you could try scooping a little tighter, maybe it’s too loose after all of my “not too tight” warnings. If the mix is too wet, also make sure your herbs are well dried after washing them. Hope that helps!

          • PJ
            08.05.2020

            Yes, definitely going to stick with it and try all these suggestions! (I somehow missed your own tip about refrigeating the mixture, which is my own fault – that’ll teach me to read everything more closely before complaining!) Thank you for the helpful feedback – just another reason I keep coming back to your recipes (even if this is the first time I’ve commented on one of them 🙂

  12. Jeanine Donofrio
    07.31.2020

    Hi Heidi, did you start with dry, uncooked chickpeas (vs. canned chickpeas?)

    • Heidi
      07.31.2020

      Yes I did, and I soaked them for 24 hours as instructed.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        07.31.2020

        hmm… and you used all of the chickpeas after they soaked and increased in size (vs. measuring 1 cup post-soak?)

        • Heidi
          07.31.2020

          Correct. The one cup of dried chickpeas had expanded to about 2.5 cups. So befuddled.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        07.31.2020

        It sounds like you did everything perfectly… it’s hard to tell without being there, but I’m guessing that your mixture might have been fine. It is a bit wet and because of the grainy chickpeas it’s not very sticky. It’s definitely less cohesive than a veggie burger or other type of patty or meatball. They’re a bit delicate, but they firm up as they bake. If they’re difficult to form with your hands, you could try using a cookie scoop to scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet into balls and then gently push down to form disks. I hope that helps.

        • Heidi
          07.31.2020

          Thanks Jeanine – appreciate your taking the time to respond.

  13. Shelly
    07.21.2020

    In the photo of them in the wraps, you have a green dressing. Do you have a recipe for that posted somewhere? It looks good. I’m going to make these this week.

  14. Anon
    07.13.2020

    5 stars
    This was great! Didn’t miss the “fry” at all. Baking powder a must

  15. Bina
    07.05.2020

    5 stars
    I love falafel but I am very picky with it (there is one middle eastern restaurant that makes it sooo well) and did not want to deal with making/frying it. I had a bunch of dry chickpeas and was looking for a way to use them.
    I tried your recipe but using 1/2 measure as I have a teeny tiny food processor and I wanted to just try it out. It was a bit of a mess to make (my lack of finesse) but I was really pleasantly surprised at how delicious it turned out. 🙂 I did not have cilantro so only used parsley and left out lemon. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2020

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

  16. Jean
    07.01.2020

    5 stars
    This recipe turned out great. I used to deep fry my falafel, but the outer shell of the falafel would get hard that way. Backed falafel still holds together, but the outside does not become so hard. By the way, left over falafel freezes very well and is easy to reheat.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.12.2020

      Hi Jean, I’m so glad you loved these so much!

  17. Lisa
    06.18.2020

    Is the 1 cup chickpea measurement for dry chickpeas or once they’ve been soaked?

    How many cups should the chickpeas amount to once soaked?

    Also, can I pan fry these instead of baking?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.18.2020

      yep – 1 cup dry, then use all of them post-soak (drain them first and pat dry). It’ll be roughly 3x the amount. I haven’t tried pan frying them, it should work, but they are really great baked.

  18. Lucy Daniel
    06.17.2020

    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe! Everyone loves falafels, vegetarians and non-vegetarians! I like to add a couple of jalapenos to my falafels. It adds a nice flavor and punch to them. And if I feel they are a bit too hot, I remove the seeds.

  19. Tracy D
    06.10.2020

    5 stars
    These are delicious. I make these all the time for my family, and they are always a huge hit! The pickled red onions are a must have on hand at all times!

  20. Jessie
    05.31.2020

    5 stars
    My new weekly favorite to make!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.09.2020

      Hi Jessie, I’m so glad you loved the falafel!

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.