Here’s how to make falafel: the authentic way! It tastes just like a restaurant, herby and crisp fried to perfection—with a baked variation, too.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (not cooked or canned)
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (or substitute more cilantro)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Neutral oil (like canola or vegetable), for frying
- To serve as a sandwich: quick cucumber sauce, dill sauce, or tahini sauce, flatbread (try ours!) or pita bread, tomato, romaine lettuce, and red onion
- Soak the chickpeas (overnight, or 6 hours): Add the chickpeas in a covered container and cover with several inches of water and soak overnight or at least 6 hours at room temperature. Drain them in a strainer and shake dry before using.
- Make the dough and refrigerate (30 minutes): Peel the garlic. Peel and roughly chop the red onion. Add the garlic, red onion, cilantro and parsley to a food processor and process 10 to 15 seconds until minced, scraping the sides as necessary. Add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, baking powder, kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Process for 10 seconds, stop to scrape the sides, then process more until a dough forms. It should be the texture in the photos above (check to make sure before proceeding!). Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil*: Add 3/4” of oil to a frying pan and heat over medium high heat until oil is 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This takes about 8-10 minutes over medium high heat. (Make sure to take safety precautions when using hot oil.)
- Form the falafel (5 to 10 minutes): Meanwhile, press the dough into 24 to 28 balls about the size of a ping pong ball, around 1 1/2 tablespoons each, and place them on a baking sheet. Falafel dough is very crumbly, so it doesn’t stick together like a normal dough and it takes a little pressing to stay together. Don’t worry: this is just what you want for good falafel! (If the dough is really having problems sticking together, throw it back in the food processor and pulse a few more times.)
- Fry the falafel (8 minutes): When the oil is hot, fry one batch (about 12) of the falafel by dropping the balls gently into the oil with your fingers, keeping them as far apart as possible. Cook 1 minute, then flip with chopsticks and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until browned on all sides. Transfer to a towel lined baking sheet or plate. Repeat with the second batch.
- Serve: Serve with quick cucumber sauce, dill sauce or tahini sauce, or as part of a falafel sandwich.
*Alternate option 1: Skillet fry the falafel: Shape the dough into balls then flatten them into discs, about 2 inches in diameter and just under 1/2-inch thick. Heat 6 tablespoons neutral oil in a skillet or frying pan. Place a crumb from a falafel disk in the oil, and once it starts to sizzle, the oil is ready. Fry about 8 falafel at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until they are lightly browned all over, flipping with chopsticks. Transfer the cooked falafel to a plate. Add a bit more oil to keep the bottom of the skillet covered for the next batch.
*Alternate option 2: Bake the falafel: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Shape the falafel into discs as noted above. Place the discs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Category: Main Dish or Appetizer
- Method: Fried
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Falafel, Authentic Falafel, Best Falafel, How to Make Falafel, Falafel Sandwich