Air Fryer Falafel

Falafel are one of the most widespread Middle Eastern recipes. What’s good to know is that falafel is traditionally a street food (similar to french fries), with deep-frying being the traditional preparation method. However, more and more people crave authentic falafel at home. Air fryer falafel is a spin of the traditional deep-fried version that is way lighter than the real deal.

I’ll show you how to make air fryer falafel and what to keep in mind when following this method.

Air fryer Falafel

Can you air fry falafel?

Yes, you can totally air fry falafel! While frying in oil is the traditional method, air frying and oven baking are two common alternatives to deep frying. Air fryers are a (relatively) new method of making falafel (our grandma’s didn’t have one). Nevertheless, making falafel in the air fryer is becoming increasingly popular. That’s mainly because this method requires much less oil, making air fry falafel much lighter when compared to traditional deep-frying.

Air fryer falafel vs deep frying

Air Fryer Falafel Ingredients

Authentic falafel only need a few simple ingredients. They are naturally vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. There are some recipes out there that suggest adding flour but I assure you that the best falafel recipe doesn’t need any flour to become so crispy and delicious!

You’ll need the following ingredients for this falafel recipe.

  • Dried Chickpeas: When deep frying falafel, it’s essential to use dried chickpeas (not canned ones), as they would fall apart when frying. When air frying, this is not as important, as your falafel will hold together in the airfryer. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend using dried chickpeas for air fryer falafel, as the taste is definitely superior to canned chickpeas. Besides, when using dried chickpeas, there’s no need for flour or any other binding agent.
  • Fresh Cilantro and Parsley: A combination of fresh cilantro and fresh parsley, or only fresh parsley (if you don’t like cilantro). Flat-leaf parsley works best.
  • Onion: A regular onion will make your falafel juicer and overall improve the taste.
  • Garlic: Garlic cloves to enhance the taste. The garlic is very subtle (no strong garlic taste).
  • Seasonings: To season, we’ll use ground cumin and ground coriander which are hugely popular spices in Middle Eastern cuisine. Additionally, we’ll add a bit of salt to taste.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is added to make the falafel mixture fluffier and lighter.
  • Olive oil: We don’t want dry falafel. Brush them with a thin layer of olive oil (on both sides) when you add them to the air fryer. Don’t worry, even when brushing them with oil, air fryer falafel will still have way less oil when compared to deep frying.

Note: Quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe and can be adjusted according to the amount of servings you’d like to make.

Ready to get cooking? Let’s get started! You’ll find the detailed step-by-step instructions below. For a shorter version (to print out), simply scroll down to the recipe card.

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (Step-by-Step)

The first steps of my air fryer falafel recipe are identical to the traditional falafel. The mixture will essentially be the same, no matter how you cook them later. The main differences when air frying your falafel is when it comes to shaping them (and of course, the frying part).

Step 1: Soak the chickpeas

First, we’ll soak our dried chickpeas for at least 12 hours (better 20-24 hours). Most people will soak their chickpeas overnight to use them the next day. As mentioned above, using dried chickpeas (instead of canned ones) is very important for the taste (falafel just don’t taste good with canned chickpeas). To soak your dried chickpeas, place them in a large bowl and add at least triple the amount of water. Set aside and soak overnight.

By the next day, your chickpeas will have doubled in size. Drain them in a colander and rinse them. Be sure they are dry before you proceed (let sit for a couple of minutes or pat dry with kitchen paper). Now your chickpeas are ready to use. For falafel, they don’t need to be cooked beforehand (as you’d do when preparing hummus, the popular chickpea dip). We’ll add the raw (soaked) chickpeas to the blender and they will cook all the way through in the air fryer.

Step 2: Prepare the falafel mixture

In a second step, we’ll prepare the veggies for our falafel mixture. It’s enough to peel and roughly chop everything, your food processor will take care of the rest. Peel a garlic clove, cut off the ends, chop and add to the food processor. Cut off the large stems of your parsley and cilantro and discard. Roughly chop the herbs and add them to the food processor. Peel an onion, roughly chop and add to the food processor too.

Add the drained (soaked) chickpeas to the food processor as well and blend all ingredients for about 4-5 minutes. Since the chickpeas weren’t boiled, blending them won’t result in a uniform, creamy purée but rather a blended mix with small bits of chickpeas throughout. If you have a small blender, it’s best to blend in multiple batches (always include chickpeas with some cilantro/parsley). Make sure that all the ingredients are finely blended (without large chunks of chickpeas or cilantro/parsley left).

Step 3: Add spices and let sit

Transfer the falafel mixture into a mixing bowl. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, salt and baking soda and stir well (knead well with your hand to incorporate the spices to the mixture). Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

If you have a large food processor and blend everything in one go, you could add the spices in the previous step. If you blend in multiple rounds or wish to freeze a portion of the mixture, don’t add the seasonings to the blender, but add them to the mixture that you’re going to fry today.

Step 4: Shape the falafel

While the first three steps are always the same (no matter if you deep fry or air fry falafel), the process differs when it comes to shaping them. While the traditional shape is roundish, it’s better to shape them into flat disks when air frying them. This is to ensure they cook all the way through when in the air fryer.

Use about 1 tablespoon of the falafel mixture for each patty and shape it into a circular, flat disk. You can do so by hand or use a falafel spoon instead. Place the shaped falafel on a plate or on a sheet of parchment paper until all the falafel mixture is used up.

Step 5: Air fry falafel

Brush the falafel with a thin layer of olive oil (on both sides) and place the patties into the air fryer. Alternatively, spray the bottom of the airfryer with olive oil and then spray with a thin layer of olive oil as well. This is to avoid them from becoming too dry and also prevents your falafel sticking to the air fryer.

Air fry them for 7-8 minutes at 200°C (390 F). Flip them over and fry for another 7-8 minutes until they are slightly golden on both sides. Remove them from the air fryer and transfer them onto a serving plate. Serve with hummus, falafel sauce, pita bread and any other sides of your choice.

Taste Test: Deep-Fried vs. Air Fryer Falafel

While deep fried falafel is the traditional method, air fryer falafel has become a popular alternative. But which one is actually better? Air fryer falafel contain much less oil (and are therefore lower in calories) when compared to traditional falafel (deep fried in oil). When it comes to the looks, there is actually not much difference between deep frying and air frying (if you shape them the same way).

For me, the taste is what matters most. Air fryer falafel are delicious if you use the right falafel recipe, as the ingredients play a major role in the taste. However, authentic deep fried falafel are juicier and crunchier, and that’s what makes them so irresistible. While air fryer falafel are a great light alternative, I’ll personally stick to deep frying them.

Serving Suggestions

Falafel is a very versatile dish and there are countless ways to serve it. It’s traditionally served for breakfast or brunch, but also makes a great lunch, snack or dinner. Falafel is most commonly served with hummus, pita bread, olives and fresh vegetables. It also pairs wonderfully with my easy Falafel sauce (which only takes 2 minutes to make).

Falafel

Make Ahead & Storage

Falafel mixture can be stored for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. However, the baking soda should be added only prior to frying. If you’re preparing a large batch of falafel mixture to make over several days, omit the baking soda and add it about an hour before you fry them.

Falafel is best enjoyed right after frying. It’s not a dish that you’d typically prepare ahead of time. However, you don’t need to throw away any leftovers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 1-2 days. You can reheat falafel in the microwave or in oil. You can also eat falafel cold. Be sure that they are at least at room temperature.

Any Questions or Feedback?

If you liked this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. In case you’ve any questions or feedback, please leave me a comment (down the page). I’m happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.

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Air fryer Falafel

Air Fryer Falafel

Kitty Ramasamy
A spin of authentic deep-fried falafel, air fryer falafel are a popular variation of this famous Middle Eastern classic. Here’s how to air fry falafel.
Rate this recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Main Course, Brunch
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 4 people
Calories 192 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 200 g (1 cup) dried chickpeas
  • 0.5 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 0.5 bunch cilantro
  • 1 onion yellow, small
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • Olive oil for brushing

Instructions
 

  • Soak the chickpeas in water (1:3) for at least 12 hours, better for 20-24 hours. Drain the soaked chickpeas in a colander and rinse with cold water.
  • Peel a garlic clove and roughly chop. Peel and roughly chop an onion. Cut off the large stems of the parsley and cilantro bunches (discard) and roughly chop the leaves. Add all chopped veggies to the food processor.
  • Blend for about 4-5 minutes until all the ingredients are finely blended (the texture should be similar to sand).
  • Transfer into a mixing bowl. Add cumin, coriander powder, salt and baking soda. Knead well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and shape into flat circular disks (using your hands or a falafel spoon).
  • Brush the falafel with a thin layer of olive oil (on both sides) and place the patties into the air fryer. Alternatively, spray the bottom of the airfryer with olive oil and then spray with a thin layer of olive oil as well. Air fry them for 7-8 minutes at 200°C (390 F). Flip them over and fry for another 7-8 minutes until they are slightly golden on both sides.
  • Remove from the air fryer. Serve warm. Serve with hummus, falafel sauce, pita bread and any sides of your choice.

Notes

  • The key to authentic Middle Eastern falafel are dried chickpeas. They simply need to be soaked overnight and are ready to use the next day. No cooking and no dehulling required.
  • Brushing the falafel with olive oil (on both sides) is important to avoid them from becoming too dry and also prevents your falafel sticking to the air fryer. But don’t worry, they will still have much less oil and be way lighter when compared to deep frying.
  • Vegan falafel? They are naturally vegan! No meat and dairy products in there.
  • Gluten free falafel? Falafel are naturally gluten free, at least if you follow my authentic falafel recipe. Flour doesn’t belong here.

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 10gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 583mgPotassium: 512mgFiber: 9gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 714IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is only a rough estimate and may vary depending on factors such as the cooking method, exact weight, type, and brand of ingredients used.

Keyword Falafel, air fryer falafel
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