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:
4.91 from 52 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.

 

128 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. cindy berger
    05.29.2021

    what is the sodium content of your baked falafel

  2. Leah
    05.27.2021

    My husband said this was the best falafel he ever had! Very delicious, crispy and easy. Made a lemon yogurt sauce to go with it, in addition to the hummus and other suggestions and it was really nice.

  3. deanna
    05.24.2021

    Truly the best falafel I have ever eaten. The fact it was baked and not fried and still turned out crispy and full of flavour.

  4. Le
    05.17.2021

    5 stars
    Love this recipe…thank you for sharing! Also, the recipe for hummus is our favorite. We often look for great recipe ideas from your site always very happy with all the great recipes!😊

  5. April
    05.16.2021

    4 stars
    I just made these, they turned out well thankfully. I was a little worried as I found it hard to form the patties, they were so crumbly and not holding together well. However I happened to have some garbanzo flour on hand from a different falafel recipe I’d used in the past and so I added 2 tbsp and it seemed to help them bind together better. Would make this recipe again just with the added flour to keep it together. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Sasha
    05.06.2021

    Hello! I’m going to try these falafels soon, love the idea of making a double batch to freeze some. Once they are cooked, can they be stored in the fridge for lunches throughout the weekn or will they not keep? Thank you!

  7. Diane from awayfromafrica.com
    04.23.2021

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for the baked falafel recipe! I tried sauteing/frying from a previous recipe, and although they were good, it was so time-consuming and the entire apartment smelled of frying.; plus, fattening Finally! I can have my falafel and eat them too!
    PS I had posted on Instagram… how about a <3 ? https://www.instagram.com/p/CNVr3oyBJH4/

  8. Marj in Maryland
    04.03.2021

    I found this recipe did not meet my expectations. Underwhelmed and disappointed. The draw was baked vs fried and they NEEDED some olive oil! Using dried chickpeas only soaked and not cooked is counterintuitive. The dryness accomplished was not overcome by adding the tahini or tazicki sauce or pickled red onions! I am undecided whether to try to rescue the last patties in the air fryer. Or abandon as a failure.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.03.2021

      Hi Marj, did you drizzle very generously with olive oil before they went into the oven?

  9. Elizabeth
    03.17.2021

    This is a nice recipe. Question: What is the baking powder for? I’m hesitant to use it unless for baked goods…
    Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.17.2021

      Hi Elizabeth, it makes them a little less dense, kind of like what it does for baked goods.

  10. Cari
    03.11.2021

    Hi! These are all ready to go into the oven but we’re not quite ready to eat them just yet. Is it better to cook them right before we’re ready to eat them, or can you recommend a way to reheat that won’t dry them out? They smell delicious! Can’t wait to try them!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.11.2021

      Hi Cari, I think it would be best to store the uncooked patties in the fridge on the baking sheet until you’re ready to bake them. Wait until you’re ready to bake them before you drizzle with olive oil. I hope you enjoy!

      • Cari
        03.11.2021

        Sounds good! And what about making and freezing for future use?

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          03.11.2021

          I freeze them all the time! Bake them, let them cool, then freeze. To thaw, I put them in the oven (frozen) and bake until they’re warmed through and re-crisped on the outside.

          • Cari
            03.11.2021

            5 stars
            Awesome! I’ll be making another batch soon. My fam gobbled them up! Thanks again!

  11. Jordyn
    03.07.2021

    4 stars
    I absolutely love the flavor of these falafels. I actually made it twice within the same week! However, I will say I could not get the mixture to form patties either time. I ended up dumping the mixture on a baking sheet and making circles with a spatula. They did end up solidifying into circular patties in the oven, but I could not form them in my hand. I’m not sure where I went wrong both times as I followed the recipe exactly. I would love some suggestions for next time. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.08.2021

      Hi Jordyn, have you tried our tips that we listed up in the post?

  12. Kathi
    03.07.2021

    Any chance I could use garbanzo bean flour for this recipe?

  13. Rose
    03.02.2021

    My fatales fell apart ? Dry mixture will not bind together ?

    • Rose
      03.02.2021

      4 stars
      My fatales would not bind together? Ideas? But cooked it anyways and flavor is the bomb .

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        03.02.2021

        Hi Rose, assuming that you didn’t change anything about the recipe, here are our best tips to get the mixture to stick together. I also like to use a cookie scoop to help form them. Hope this helps!

        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.

        • Rose
          03.03.2021

          5 stars
          Keep it like the post. I will chill in refrigerator. I put in on a pan and cook them . And am using it in my sakad bowl and still stuffed a pita with boiled tomatoes and goat cheese. Love this site.

  14. Michelle
    02.28.2021

    5 stars
    This was great. Im so glad I came across it this week. We loved it and it was so easy.

  15. Danielle Fernandez
    02.20.2021

    5 stars
    Absolutely love these! Making them tonight and totally forgot to soak last night. Would an 8 hour soak be ok? PANICKING!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.20.2021

      hmmm, I’m not sure, I haven’t gone that short before.

  16. dodie
    02.18.2021

    5 stars
    so, so good! have tried other recipes and none measured up to yours. also made a batch of pita bread, hummous, and pickled red onions. took all day to do all that but so worth it!

  17. Tammy
    02.12.2021

    5 stars
    I am on my third batch of this falafel recipe. This recipe is a staple in my home now. I mostly enjoy them over a green salad.

    I just love how easy they are to make. The aroma coming out of the food processor is to die for!

    My favorite part, aside from how awesome they taste, is the fact you just chop up the cilantro and parsley (stems and all) – makes that super easy.

    I am trying to do no to low oil. I keep to the TBS in the mixture, but only lightly spray them with EVOO.

    So yummy! Again, these are now a staple in my home.

  18. Heidi
    02.08.2021

    It seems strange after soaking the chickpeas to not cook them a little bit in advance of making the falafel… Am I missing a step here? Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.08.2021

      Hi Heidi, no you’re not missing a step – the chickpeas cook in the oven, it’s how falafel is traditionally made (except without deep frying it).

  19. Christine
    01.17.2021

    Hi Jeanine.

    I have some chickpeas soaking and realized that I will be having a dinner party tonight 24 hours after I began soaking them. Would anything negative happen if I let them soak overnight again ? So like 35 hours ? Thanks !

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.17.2021

      Hi Christine, it’ll be fine – I’ve soaked for 2 days before (I wouldn’t do much more than that). Change the water and you’re good to go.

  20. Nicola O'connor
    01.17.2021

    Can I make the mixture in the day and bake later?

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.