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. Great recipe with wonderful flavour. Next time I am going to cook the falafel in a non stick frying pan instead of my cast iron as I felt they were cooking too quickly. Would make less pitas so they could be a bit larger and slightly thicker as some did not puff up as well as others.
    Would like to try making Marqooq bread (wrap) instead to make with the falaffel – just wondering if you might have a recipe.?

  2. As always, these were delicious!! They were juicy, but held together fine. I love that you don’t have to cook the chickpeas!
    All the sauces are wonderful, and my family feels spoiled thanks to your delicious recipes Sylvia!

    1. Awww 🥰 thanks Laura! Appreciate this so much and hope you and your family are well. Big hugs ❤️

    1. Feel free to try Roseann- but I will say,the traditional way is with raw, soaked – and it truly is the BEST!

      1. THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING. I DON’T CARRY MOST OF THE INGREDIENTS YOU MENTIONED, BUT WHAT I’LL USE I’M SURE THEY WILL BE GOOD. I JUST HOPE THEY DON’T DISINTEGRATE LIKE YOU SAID COULD HAPPEN.

  3. another winner! I didn’t think they were going to hold when I was at the part of making the balls but with a lot of compressing they totally held up. I did try to make the pita recipe too but I didn’t read it thoroughly and pregnancy brain didn’t help so I used all whole wheat and they were very dry but was still good. I’m going to have another go at it with half and half like you recommend and I believe they will be perfect! Everything else was delicious as usual, the tahini sauce and the pickled turnips paired perfectly! I just threw on some thin sliced cucumbers and it was perfect, and plated so beautiful as I used red onion with the turnip and it turned a beautiful pink! Thank you for another amazing recipe.

  4. I followed the recipe as instructed, however I was afraid I over blended. I chose to bake mine and was on pins and needles praying they’d come out right…and they did!

    1. This is the traditional way to make falafels. Raw, soaked chickpeas (or fava beans). It improves the texture 100 percent.

  5. This came out delicious even though my falafel turned into mush in the cast iron pan (followed recipe exactly, too). We just sprinkled the cooked falafel bits over everything and it tasted just fine. 🙂

    1. Oh shoot Sarah- I’m sorry. Did you refrigerate first? Did you pack them tight in your hands? Any changes or other things you can think of? Just curious, they always work for me…and I want them to you work for you too!

  6. This was much easier than I had feared it might be. The mixture was wet enough to hold together but not too wet to fall apart, though I did sort of pack the balls tightly with my hands. I was surprised how dark they got when fried, but they were not burned and wow, the flavor is spectacular!!! I will never use a mix again, ever. I made them for my birthday dinner and we all loved them!

    Thanks for sharing you family recipe! You are so right about learning to cook what you love from those who originally made it for you. Then you have the food, the memories and the ability to recreate it yourself when they are gone. A treasure!!!

    1. Thanks Mert- I’m so glad you enjoyed these. They can be tricky but I think you nailed it with packing tight. I will note the recipe.

  7. Flavor great…. I tried to use canned garbanzos…let them dry but the falafels just fell apart in the pan no matter how long they cooked…very sad.

    Pita and tzaziki sauce are great

  8. We made the tahini sauce and it was amazing. We will be trying the falafels next week but buying the bread from our local shop.

    1. Yes, they can be a bit delicate, but should hold. It is important to dry off the chickpeas well and also to refrigerate the dough.

        1. Sorry about that. They can be finicky. Perhaps it was the consistency (not blended enough), the type of pan, the length of time the chickpeas were soaked. A lot of variables here! I make these pretty often so will see if I can fine turn the recipe further.

  9. This recipe is the best! The falafel is great, the tahini sauce is great, and the pickled beets are seriously the best! I grew up eating falafel as a kid and wasn’t a huge fan but decided to give it a try as an adult and WOW! Do not skip the pickled beets – they might be the best part of this recipe!

    I cooked the falafel in my air fryer at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes, rotating halfway, and they came out perfect!

    1. Love this is turned out great made it several times. What do i need to do once i freeze them? Do you let the thaw then warm them or put frozen in the oven?

      1. Great Megan! I’ve done it both ways- baked from frozen or thawed, both work! You can freeze on a pan, till firm, then place in a zip lock.

  10. While I wasn’t brave enough to attempt the bread and pickled turnips (yet!), the falafel and tahini sauce were DIVINE. I used store bought pita bread and added cucumber and Campari tomatoes to add a nice veggie crunch. Always love the recipes from this blog!

  11. Love this falafel recipe! It was both delicious and simple to prepare. Definitely putting it in my recipe rotation.

  12. Followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. Thank you! I baked them because I was feeling lazy and they turned out great!

  13. I love this recipe and it’s so easy with uncooked chickpeas! Easy week day meal that lasts for several days.

  14. Absolutely delicious! Tried making the pitas as well, but my oven didn’t go high enough and didn’t have a pizza stone, so ended up eating store bought… Still absolutely delicious though 😋

    1. I just keep in there while the others are frying- 10-15 minutes, just until warmed all the way through.

  15. Can these be frozen before cooking? I’ve made falafel many times before, but this is the first time I’ve added baking soda. The fresh falafels were wonderful – crispy outside and light as a breeze inside – not dense at all. So so good. I’m thinking this is due to the baking soda. If I freeze them before cooking, am I defeating the purpose of adding that ingredient?

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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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