This authentic Falafel Recipe is made with soaked, dry chickpeas and hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! You’ll never want to use canned chickpeas again! Vegan and Gluten-free!  Video included. (Original recipe 6/04/13 – updated 2020)
Easy Authentic Falafel recipe made with soaked chickpeas, with Creamy Tahini Sauce.
Growing up with an Egyptian father, this authentic Falafel recipe happened a lot in our household.  My dad called them “Taymea” and he loved these little guys, because they reminded him of home and his own mother, still back in Egypt. They brought him so much comfort.
Today, they do the same for me- transporting me right back into my parent’s kitchen when I was young.

What is traditional falafel made of?

You may be wondering… what is falafel? Falafel is a flavorful mixture of chickpeas (or fava beans) fresh herbs, spices, onion and garlic, that are shaped into little flat balls and pan-seared. Falafel can be served in a pita sandwich or as part of a mezze platter.

Serve falafels with homemade pita bread (surprisingly easy!), creamy tahini sauce, Tzatziki Sauce and pickled turnips (or onions)… somehow the combo, at least to me is absolutely perfect.

Why not use canned chickpeas?

Traditional falafel is made with dried chickpeas  (or dry fava beans) that have been soaked in water overnight. This is what gives falafel its incredible texture.
Using canned chickpeas will result in mushy, overly soft falafels, that crumble and fall apart when searing, that fail to bind. The result is nothing like a truly authentic falafel- and once you’ve experienced an authentic falafel, you will never go back. I promise!

How to make Falafel! | 60-sec video

What is in Falafel?

Authentic falafels made from soaked chickpeas!

How to make Falafel: Step-by-step

STEP ONE: 

Soak dry chickpeas overnight, do not use cooked chickpeas, do not use canned!  You’ll need two cups of soaked chickpeas with is roughly ¾ cups dry.

Drain them well! This is Key- feel free to wrap them in a towel. Spread them out and let them dry up a bit!

An Authentic recipe for the BEST falafels ever, with instructions on how make the pita bread from scratch, the falafel sauce and the pickled turnips! | www.feastingathome.com

STEP TWO:  Place the chickpeas along with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse repeatedly (do not blend), pulse -pulse- pulse, scrape down sides, pulse again, until combined, but not overly smooth.

Don’t over blend- you want to to be granular, not smooth like hummus… and should look something like this below.

To achieve this you must pulse, scrape sides, repeat a few times.

This authentic Falafel Recipe is made with soaked, uncooked chickpeas and hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! So easy! Bake them or pan-sear them. Great in wraps, bowls, or salads. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #falafelsalad, #bowl #veganfalafelrecipe #bakedfalafel #vegan #easyfalafel
STEP THREE:  Refrigerate for 20 minutes (right in the food processor is fine) and then form into 1 1/2 inch balls, compressing them tightly with your two hands. If they feel overly wet, place on a couple of paper towels.

How to make Authentic Falafels made with soaked chickpeas, not canned. This recipe, hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! Vegan and Gluten-free. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #bestfalafel, #veganfalafelrecipe #easyfalafel #authenticfalafel #easyfalafels

STEP FOUR: Pan-sear the falafel.  No, you do not need to dredge them in flour ( unless they feel very very wet).  A little wet is ok here.

Heat a skillet, with high-heat oil, over medium heat.  Without crowding, carefully place falafels in the warm skillet.  Do not fuss with them, just let them develop a crust.

TIP:  If your falafels are sticking to the pan,  it may be you are trying to flip or move them around before they have had a chance to develop their crust.
Letting them get their initial golden crust, will allow them to naturally release themselves from the pan. This goes for almost anything you are searing or frying.
So do not move them, or fiddle with them too much- this will ensure they get that crust and naturally release from the pan.
How to make Authentic Falafels made with soaked chickpeas, not canned. This recipe, hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! Vegan and Gluten-free. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #bestfalafel, #veganfalafelrecipe #easyfalafel #authenticfalafel #easyfalafels
I always do a tester so I can fiddle with the heat.  Normally the heat is somewhere around medium to med-low.
How to make Authentic Falafels made with soaked chickpeas, not canned. This recipe, hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! Vegan and Gluten-free. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #bestfalafel, #veganfalafelrecipe #easyfalafel #authenticfalafel #easyfalafels
Remember, wait until they form a crust before moving, that way they will contract and release themselves from the pan.
I really like using a thin metal spatula to flip these… it gets under there easier than a rubber one.
How to make Authentic Falafels made with soaked chickpeas, not canned. This recipe, hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! Vegan and Gluten-free. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #bestfalafel, #veganfalafelrecipe #easyfalafel #authenticfalafel #easyfalafels
STEP FIVE: 
Place the falafels that are done,  uncovered in a warm oven while you cook the rest.

Can Falafel Be Baked?

Yes, but the texture won’t be quite as traditional. For more info on baking falafels instead of pan-searing, go to the recipe notes. 🙂

What to serve with Falafel

1. Pita Bread!

Making homemade pita bread is a fun easy project – and doing this with your kids is especially fun. Of course, store-bought pita bread is always a great option if pressed for time. But if you feel like making them, these really are easy!

Homemade Pita Bread- so easy, a fun thing to do with kids! | www.feastingathome.com

I remember making pita bread with my mom when I was little, and I’ll never forget the feeling of complete surprise, seeing the flat dough, magically puff up in the hot oven. With the rising time, it’s about a 3-hour commitment, so plan accordingly.

Homemade Pita Bread- so easy, a fun thing to do with kids! | www.feastingathome.com

2. Tahini Sauce!

Make the Creamy Tahini Sauce (aka Falafel Sauce!) in the recipe card.  This version here has the addition of yogurt for extra richness- decadent and delicious! This recipe for Falafel Sauce is one of my favorites… tasty on so many things!
Vegan alternative: Make this Everyday Tahini Sauce instead!

Falafel Sauce...the best recipe I've ever tried. |www.feastingathome.com

3. Pickled Turnips

Pickled turnips are fast, easy and delicious!  Peel them, slice them and place them in a pot on the stove with the pickling liquid. Once they come to a simmer, remove and place in the fridge. The beautiful color comes from adding a few slices of beet.
The pickled turnip gives the sandwich a nice brightness in both flavor and color and is also a traditional addition to falafel sandwiches.

Don't know what to do with Turnips?? Pickled them!! So delicious in Falafels! Dyed with a sliver of beet. | www.feastingathome.com

How to make a Falafel Pita Sandwich

Warm-up pita bread, slice the very top off and open it up, leaving the edges intact. Spread both sides with the Creamy Tahini Sauce,  add a few pickled turnips along with the falafels and garnish with fresh cilantro or mint leaves.
Feel free to add fresh onions, pickled onions, tomatoes, cucumber, microgreens, or even Tabouli or this Lebanese Slaw. 

Make a beautiful Falafel Bowl or a Falafel Salad

If you are on a gluten-free diet, or just want to try something different, falafel salads are a good alternative. Use any greens and toss in any of your favorite veggies  (tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, olives). Dress it with  Tahini Sauce!
To create a Falafel Bowl go to the post for some ideas!
On the homefront:  Food is deeply personal and becomes rooted in us at a very young age. For most of us, our comfort food is what we grew up eating – the special meals our parents made for us in celebration, but especially the simple daily meals we ate together as a family.
After I moved away from home, this was one meal I missed the most and looked forward to every time I went back home. It was the same with my father, this meal reminded him of home.
One thing I encourage you to do is to learn how to cook the dishes that comfort you, from the people who made them for you (if possible).  It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Truly.
When I’m feeling particularly homesick or lonely for my parents, I make these falafels and feel comforted.  Kind of magic. ✨
xoxo
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Falafels with Tahini Sauce. This authentic recipe is made with soaked, uncooked chickpeas and hands-down has the BEST texture and flavor! So easy! Bake them or pan-sear them. Great in wraps, bowls, or salads. |  #falafel #falafels #falafelrecipe #falafelsalad, #bowl #veganfalafelrecipe #bakedfalafel #vegan #easyfalafel

Authentic Falafel Recipe with Tahini Sauce and Homemade Pita Bread

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
  • Prep Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x
  • Category: vegan, main, gluten-free
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to make authentic Falafel from scratch using soaked chickpeas (not canned)  with Homemade Pita, Creamy Tahini Sauce, Pickled Turnips, Cucumber Yogurt Sauce  *Chickpeas need 10-24 hours of soaking time. Makes 10 Falafels (I highly recommend making a double batch of the falafels!)


Ingredients

Units Scale

Falafel Recipe 

  1. 3/4 cup dry chickpeas (yields 2 cups soaked), soaked overnight
  2. 1 cup cilantro (stems ok) or sub-Italian parsley
  3. 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, rough chopped
  4. 3 large garlic cloves
  5. 1/2 a jalapeno, seeds ok ( add the entire thing if you want a little kick)
  6. 1 tablespoon Coriander
  7. 1 tablespoon Cumin
  8. 1 tsp baking soda
  9. 1/2 tsp kosher salt (add more to taste)
  10. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  11. high heat oil for frying, or spray oil for baking

Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips

Creamy Tahini Sauce: ( Or try this vegan  Tahini Sauce!) 

  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • cracked pepper
  • Juice of one medium lemon

Simple Homemade Pita Bread!

Our Favorite Tzatziki Recipe


Instructions

  1. Soak 3/4 cup dry chickpeas in a bowl of cold water on the counter for 10- 12 hours or up to 24 hours hours. They will swell into 2 cups. Place in a strainer, letting them drain WELL, and pat dry with a towel for extra dryness. (Wet chickpeas will be more difficult to fry.)
  2. Measure 2 cups of the soaked, uncooked chickpeas and place in a food processor and pulse repeatedly along with the onion, garlic, cilantro, chili, salt spices, baking soda, and olive oil, scraping down sides, until it is well blended but still coarse like sand. Don’t overwork it- this should not be smooth, but rather quite coarse and granular. Place falafel dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400F.
  4. Using damp hands, form round, golf ball-sized balls in your hands compressing tightly into balls. Teh compression here will help bind them. If they feel very wet, feel free to lightly dredge in flour if you like. (I usually don’t, even when wet!).
  5. In a non-stick pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, heat a ¼ inch of “high-heat” oil on med-high heat until it sizzles when a pea-sized portion of falafel is dropped in.
  6. Turn heat to medium.  Place them carefully in the hot oil, ( they are fragile but should hold together just fine) do not move or mess with them until a deeply golden crust forms (this crust will ensure they naturally release themselves from the pan). Using a thin metal spatula, carefully turn over. Lower heat if necessary. Sear the other side. Each side will take about 3-4 minutes. Cook in batches, not overcrowding. Place falafels in the oven while you cook the remaining falafels to cook them through.  Keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve.
  7. Falafels can be cooked ahead, frigerated, and reheated in the oven. Alternatively, the falafel “dough” can be made ahead, refrigerated, and used throughout the week.

Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips 

  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium-sized pot, remove from heat, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Creamy Tahini Sauce: 

  1. Blend all in the food processor, until smooth. This may seem slightly salty, but trust me it works in the big picture when all the components are combined.

Notes

I do not recommend using canned chickpeas.

Try Fava Beans: Feel free to use soaked fava beans- or a combo of both- also delicious!

Baked Falafel: heat oven to 375 F. Place falafel on a greased parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush or spray the tops with olive oil.  Bake 12-15 minutes, flip and bake 10-15 more minutes or until golden. These can be cooled and frozen.

Meal Prep The falafel mixture can be kept in the refrigerator, and pan-seared “to order”. For example, I’ll often make a double batch and just store the bowl of falafel mix in the fridge for the week, pan-searing as needed.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 falafels
  • Calories: 366
  • Sugar: 5.8 g
  • Sodium: 637.6 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59.8 g
  • Fiber: 7.3 g
  • Protein: 14.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: falafel recipe, falafel recipes, baked falafel recipe, authentic falafel recipe, easy falafel recipes, vegan falafel recipe, vegan falafels , falafel sauce, pita recipe, easy pita bread recipe, tahini sauce,

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Comments

  1. These falafel are so good just batch-up and increase the recipe 3x because you are going to crave them. I had never attempted to make falafel before but this recipe is so easy and beginner friendly. I added fresh mint, which is probably not authentic but I love the fresh hit it lends. One day I’ll make the pita. 🙂

  2. Hands-down, the best falafel I’ve ever made. Love, love, love the use of cilantro here (I think the use of straight Italian parsley is often too bitter for my taste). And the spice is just perfect (I think falafel has a tendency to be over-spiced to the point you taste only cumin). The consistency and flavor of these are phenomenal. I’ve tried *and failed* may times to get falafel right over the years. . . wish only I’d come across this recipe sooner. Thank you!

  3. What do you suggest if I don’t have a food processor? I do have a blender, or I suppose I could try to mash or chop the chick peas?

    1. Yes, I guess you could chop everything very finely and mash the chickpeas. The food processor really helps it get fine enough to stick toghether- so that is what I worry about if you do it by hand. May be crumbly.

  4. Hi Sylvia- Could you use 2C chickpea flour (I have some I need to use up), moistened? Or would that alter the taste/texture too much?

  5. The falafel is yummy! The sauce is not vegan though. Have you tried using plant-based yogurt in the sauce?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can make the Everyday Tahini Sauce instead- it’s vegan. 🙂 Or add vegan yogurt, up to you!

  6. Great recipe! Much better than any bought falafels I’ve tasted. I’m still getting used to the frying method…sometimes it comes out to soft and other times it’s just right.

    1. Great to hear Gen! Yes, I always do a practice one first to gauge the best temp of the pan.

  7. This is a fantastic recipe! I can’t wait to do this one over and over again. I served it at a dinner party and people were going back for 3rds and 4ths…huge hit. It was so delicious! I also added zatar broiled eggplant, and avocado! Yum

  8. hi Sylvia, you have two different recipes for falafels. One starts with 2 cups of drawing chickpeas and the other starts at three quarters of a cup of dry chickpeas, but they both use 1 cup of cilantro. So is one of them revision or are they just two different recipes? Do you have a preference? Thanks so much!

      1. Yes, but one recipe calls for 2 cups of Dry chickpeas, and the other recipe calls for 3/4 cup of Dry chickpeas, and the ingredients in the second recipe are mostly halved, but the cilantro is a full 1 cup in both recipes. One recipe was for the falafel bowls and one was just for falafels in a pita. It’s a puzzle.

  9. The flavor and texture are fantastic, even without the jalapenos. I struggled getting the mixture chopped up in my blender. I wonder if chopping the chickpeas by themselves first in the blender, before adding the rest of the ingredients, would be a better bet for me? Thank you.

  10. I frequently make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator, then cook it as needed throughout the week. You can dredge it in flour if it starts to feel wet.

  11. I made this recipe tonight. It was delicious! The flavor was fantastic – A+. I did not have coriander or the jalapeños seeds and it still came out great.

    1. Yes Pina, you can totally do that! In fact I often make a batch and keep in the fridge and just cook as needed through the week. If it starts to feel wet, you can dredge in flour.

  12. Sylvia, what’s the difference between this recipe and your baked falafel bowl recipe. ? I have made your baked falafel bowl recipe and it is fantastic. Also can I prepare the mixture the day before and keep it in the fridge overnight and then form into patties and bake the following day or is it better to make the mixture form into balls , refrigerate overnight and then bake. I’m pressed for time and wanted to prepare ahead of time. Thanks for all your great recipes.

    1. The falafels are the same- only the bowl version, is baked. And served in a “bowl”. But falafel recipe is the same Pina!

  13. One of my favorite meals I have ever made. These falafel were relatively easy and quick to make (soaking time aside) and were soooo delicious. We baked them and will like pan frying next time. Thanks again for another amazing recipe!

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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