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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?
How to make Falafel! | 60-sec video
What is in Falafel?
- Dry chickpeas (not canned)
- Cilantro (or parsley)
- Green Chili pepper (jalapeno or sub cayenne)
- baking soda
- kosher salt (add more to taste)
- olive oil
- high heat oil for frying, or spray oil for baking
How to make Falafel: Step-by-step
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!
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.
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.
Can Falafel Be Baked?
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!
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.
2. Tahini Sauce!
3. Pickled Turnips
How to make a Falafel Pita Sandwich
Make a beautiful Falafel Bowl or a Falafel Salad
What to eat Falafel with
Authentic Falafel Recipe with Tahini Sauce and Homemade Pita Bread
- 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
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!)
- 3/4 cup dry chickpeas (yields 2 cups soaked), soaked overnight
- 1 cup cilantro (stems ok) or sub-Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, rough chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 a jalapeno, seeds ok ( add the entire thing if you want a little kick)
- 1 tablespoon Coriander
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (add more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- high heat oil for frying, or spray oil for baking
Middle Eastern Pickled Turnips
- 2 medium turnips, peeled and thinly sliced.
- 2– 3 slices of a small red beet, ( optional, for color)
- 1/2 thinly sliced onion
- 2 sliced garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- Additions: peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, dill ( all optional)
Creamy Tahini Sauce: ( Or try this vegan Tahini Sauce!)
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup tahini paste
- 1–2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- cracked pepper
- Juice of one medium lemon
- 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.)
- 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.
- Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400F.
- 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!).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium-sized pot, remove from heat, and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Creamy Tahini Sauce:
- 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.
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.
- 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,
Amazing recipe. Followed every step! Delicious! Thanks so much! (Cheated and bought pitas – maybe next time)
How do i reheat leftover falafel? Microwave?
I usually bake at 350F to reheat.
Thank you – I actually just ate one cold right out of fridge dipped in tahini and tsziki -..so tasty. I will forever make this recipe! New vegetarian—-love this!
Very delicious sauces for the Felafel for I used a mix which was OK and consisted of Fava beDebans as well as chick peas. Next time Ill make from scratch,
Hi, could I use cooked chickpeas to make the falafel?
You can… but it won’t be quite as good. 🙂 Not the same texture.
This was an amazing recipe like every other one of yours I have tried. We have been plant based for 8 months and I continue to find the most delicious recipes on your site. You have made this lifestyle change so much easier for me and my family. Thank you!!!!
Awwww thanks so much Christine!!!
Thank you for explaining the recipe in detail, specially the sauces.
Thanks~ glad you enjoyed!
A perfect recipe . Glad to follow it
It indeed is feasting at home
Yayyyyyyy! I feel the same about this one. Glad you liked it. It was my growing up food and it was always a feast.
best falafel ever. had it with tahini sauce and your amazing jalapeno crema.
Thank you , amazing falafals & best pita bread . The notes are so detailed & helpful that the entire process is a pleasure
This recipe is amazing – thank you, Sylvia!! I was hesitant to bake the falafels rather than fry them because I didn’t want to be disappointed by the outcome… but I ended up just spreading a couple of tablespoons of avocado oil on the parchment paper in my baking pan and then followed your baking instructions and…I’m not sure that I would have even known the difference – the falafels were crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside! The pickled turnips were so easy and amazing too! Thank you!!
These are outstanding. The texture is much better here using soaked chickpeas vs. using canned chickpeas.
First try at falafel. Awesome! Moist. Fluffy, and also structural.
So, so, so easy! Half a jalapeno was just right.
How long do I leave them in the oven for?
Did you pan sear first or just baking?
A good recipe with great tips. The 6 of us loved it! Served it with your tzatziki and tahini sauces. Hello from Singapore – it’s the Easter weekend and all of us are staying at home because of Covid 19. Stay safe and healthy, Sylvia.
The flavor and texture of these falafel were excellent, really the best I’ve had. The tahini sauce finished them perfectly. I’m so happy to know how to make an excellent falafel in my own kitchen; thank you! My husband, who is a staunch cilantro “hater,” LOVED them and I don’t have the heart to tell him that cilantro features prominently. However, when frying, they didn’t hold their shape too well. Does this mean I should process just a bit more to a slightly creamier texture?
I’ve tasted falafel once before (at a potluck) and was not impressed. THIS recipe was excellent!! I read the instructions too fast and missed the crucial step of getting the chickpeas dry..but I muddled thru and even though some of them crumbled apart, I ate every last crumb over 2 days! This was a real treat..I paired it with salad in organic non-gmo corn tortillas because I was too lazy to make the pitas but I made the vegan tahini sauce and creamy herby dressing to drizzle (smother) on top. A new favorite for sure! Thank you for all of these awesome vegan recipes.. I just might succeed in making it past the 2 week mark of a WFPB diet!! 🙏
Good for you! Glad you liked them!
Delicious!! We have never had falafel before and love it now!
Oh cool! One of my favorite things to eat! Glad you enjoyed!
Can these be deep fried?
Can these be deep fried?
Yes, or even air fried. 🙂
Hello! I’ m so much in love with your cooking! Do you think i can bake the falafel in the oven ? For healthier version ?maybe 20 mins by 200-220 Celsius ?
Hi Romana- Yes, bake at 375F on a greased, parchment-lined sheet-pan,for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through! Brush or spray the tops with olive oil before baking.
Hello. I tried baking and they came out hard and dry on outside and inside. I made them into patties instead of balls. I’m thinking I may have patted them too thin and ended up baking too long? Any tips? Have more soaking for another try.Thank you
I always have better luck pan searing these. Did you spray with spray olive oil? That might help, also flip half way through.
My dad and I lay them out on newspaper! The recipe was amazing and the pita was fantastic also.
These are the best falafels I’ve ever made. Thanks for the recipe!
So concise and had all the info I needed.
Great to hear!
The best falafel ever. Reminded me of the tasty falafel I have only found at street vendors in larger cities. Thrilled to be able to make these at home. I used fava beans too. Family of omnivores gave it a thumbs up!
Yay Susan!!! I think so too! thanks for the rating, appreciate it!
Yes! Glad you enjoyed it!