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Air Fryer Falafel

Air Fryer Falafel makes a crispy and delicious meal that can be served with a dipping sauce, warm pita bread, or as a falafel sandwich.

Any way you decide to eat them is the right way.

Made with dried garbanzo beans, onions, fresh herbs, and seasonings, this healthy falafel recipe is full of flavor and will keep you coming back for more.

Air Fryer Falafel in a bowl with hummus

After spending a high school semester in Israel, Mediterranean food became a regular part of my diet. It’s so rich in flavor and versatile.

Falafel is one of my favorites and it’s not hard to make at all!

What is Air Fryer Falafel? 

Crispy air fryer falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made with dried chickpeas, spices, herbs, and veggies.

They can be shaped into balls or made into patties for sandwiches. Traditional falafel is fried in oil on the stovetop, but this lighter version is an excellent, healthy take on a classic dish.

If you’ve never eaten falafel before, this is a great recipe to start with. Falafel is one of my favorite ways to eat fresh Mediterranean food. It’s so good!

Air Fryer Falafel ingredients

Ingredients: 

  • Dry chickpeas or garbanzo beans (not canned, toasted, or cooked)
  • Yellow onion
  • Fresh parsley leaves
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Garlic cloves
  • Chickpea flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Black pepper
  • Cardamom
  • Baking powder
  • Olive oil

How to Make this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe: 

Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions. 

Step 1: (One day ahead): In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas and water to cover them by about 3 inches. Soak overnight, and have in mind that the chickpeas will double in size as they soak, for this reason, choose a bigger container.

Cover and place the container inside the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Soak chickpeas overnight

Step 2: After the chickpeas have soaked overnight, remove from the refrigerator, drain them and rinse with running water to remove any skins floating in the water.

Leave them draining while preparing the other ingredients.

Step 3: In your food processor, add the drained chickpeas, onion, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, garlic cloves, chickpea flour, salt, ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground black pepper, ground cardamom, and baking powder.

add falafel ingredients to food processor

Step 4: Pulse until you get a smooth consistency. 

blend falafel mix until well combined

Step 5: Using a small cookie or ice cream scoop, make small balls and place them on a baking sheet separately. 

Step 6: Place the balls inside the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2).

Note: This step is crucial to get a stronger consistency that will help to maintain the shape when the balls are inside the air fryer.

roll Falafel balls

Step 7: Remove the falafel balls from the refrigerator and place them inside the air fryer basket separately. 

Inside the air fryer basket, brush the falafel balls with olive oil using a basting/pastry brush. Or, you can spray the falafel balls with olive oil spray. 

place falafel into Air Fryer Falafel

Step 8: Cook the falafel balls at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Then, remove the air fryer basket, shake it a bit, and cook for 5 more minutes. 

Step 9: Place the falafel on a wire rack and let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

Air Fryer Falafel cooked

You can serve falafel alone, or you add to pita bread with tomato slices, cucumber slices, lettuce & tahini sauce. Enjoy!

Tips for success: 

Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best falafel you’ve ever had.

  • For the best texture, cook only as many falafel balls as you want to eat during that meal and save any others in the fridge to cook later. This will ensure that they taste great every time.
  • The balls should hold together without falling apart before you put them in the air fryer. If they’re too wet, add one tablespoon of chickpea flour; if they’re too dry, add one tablespoon of water.
  • After forming the balls, keep them in a single layer on a baking sheet without touching, so they hold their shape.
  • When ready, the falafel balls should have a golden brown color on the outside. The perfect falafel is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

How to Meal Prep Air Fryer Falafel 

This easy air fryer falafel recipe is easy to make ahead and have ready to go for when you want to cook and eat them.

Here are some basic steps to get them prepared:

  • Soak the chickpeas one day in advance.
  • Use enough water to soak the dried chickpeas as they double in size.
  • Store the rolled balls in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for three months.
  • Keep your mixture cold and place them in the air fryer right away.
  • If your mixture is frozen, place it in the fridge until it is cold, and then take it out of the refrigerator and make the balls with the cold mixture.

Ingredients to Add

This Middle Eastern street food is easily adjustable to fit your tastes and preferences. You can add other fresh herbs, spices, or fresh veggies if you want to give them a boost of flavor.

Some options include minced red onion, lemon juice, fava beans, dill, cayenne pepper, paprika, or turmeric.

You can choose your favorite herbs or spices to use as well.

Air Fryer Falafel overhead with hummus in a bowl and olive oil in a pitcher

Other Ways to Cook Falafel 

While cooking falafel in an air fryer is a great way to make homemade falafel, you can also cook them using other methods

The first is to bake them in the oven. This gives them a crispy exterior while still keeping them healthy. This is a great option if you don’t have an air fryer.

You can also fry them in a bit of oil or a deep fryer. This makes for a delicious falafel and is a more traditional method. If you don’t mind the additional oil, this is a great way to get crispy falafel.

How to Serve  

Falafel is a delicious dish you can serve on the side, as an appetizer, or as the main course.

Dip them in a sauce like homemade hummus or tzatziki sauce

Place them in a pita pocket, falafel sandwich, lettuce wraps, grain bowl, or salad bowl.

Add them to a Mediterranean plate, make them into burger patties, or use them crumbled on top of a salad or pizza.

How to Store Leftovers

To refrigerate: Store leftover falafel in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

To freeze: You can easily freeze falafel to save them for later. This is a great option when you want to have a meal ready for a busy weeknight, or you’ve made more than you can eat in five days.

To do this, place them in a large zip-top bag and keep them in the freezer for up to three months.

FAQs: 

Why is my falafel falling apart?

Falafel falls apart if they are too dry or have too much moisture. Make sure to follow the recipe and use the right amount of liquid.

How do you reheat falafel in the air fryer?

Reheating falafel in the air fryer is the best way to make them crispy again. If you use the microwave, they will be mushy.
You can reheat them by preheating the air fryer, setting the falafel in the machine in a single layer, and cooking until they are hot throughout.

Can you fry falafel instead of using the air fryer?

Yes, but it’s not as healthy since you’re using oil as the cooking medium rather than air.

Can I Cook Frozen Falafel in an Air Fryer?

Yes. If you want to use a store-bought frozen falafel, spray the air fryer basket with oil and cook for 10-15 minutes on 350°F until golden and crispy on the outside.

Print the Recipe Card

Falafel is the perfect combination of crispy and savory and it’s great alone, in a sandwich, or on a salad. I hope you love it!

For another hand-held savory snack, try these air fryer pepperoni balls.

Homemade Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Andrea Updyke
Delicious made from scratch falafel is fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside for a healthier version of this classic Mediterranean recipe.
5 from 1 vote

Be sure to check out my tips and tricks in the post. Scroll up to read!

Prep Time 1 d 25 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cooling Time 5 mins
Total Time 1 d 45 mins
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 32 Falafel Balls
Calories 59 kcal

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Air Fryer
  • Baking Sheet
  • Large Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dry chickpeas not canned, toasted or cooked
  • 1 small yellow onion quartered
  • 1 cup fresh parsley

    chopped


  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray

Instructions
 

  • One day ahead: In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas and water to cover them by about 3 inches. Soak overnight and have in mind that the chickpeas will double in size as they soak. For this reason use a bigger container. Cover and place inside the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • The next day, remove the chickpeas from the refrigerator, drain them and rinse with running water to remove any skins floating in the water. Leave them draining while preparing the other ingredients.
  • In a food processor, add the drained chickpeas, onion, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, garlic cloves, chickpea flour, salt, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground black pepper, ground cardamom and the baking powder.
  • Pulse until you get a smooth consistency. Note: Pulse several times instead of doing a long pulse. This will help your processor to work properly, and this way you’ll be able to spot big chunks. Use a spatula to remove big chickpea chunks or herbs that are stuck on the food processor walls, and pulse again.
    The desired consistency is a smooth mixture, but definitely not a purée. You should be able to spot little chickpea chunks, like a finely minced onion.
  • Using a small ice-cream or cookie scoop, make small balls and place them on a baking sheet separately.
    It is important to keep the balls separated. If you put them next to each other in a bowl, they will stick together and the ones at the bottom will deform. This is why placing them separated on a baking sheet will make things easier for you and will keep a nice shape.
  • You should be able to hold the ball in your hands, and the mixture should hold together without breaking or splitting. If the falafel won't hold together, you need to process the mixture once again and make sure to get a paste-like consistency. If the mixture is too wet, try adding 1 tbsp of chickpea flour first and test the consistency. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp (or 2) of water to the mixture and test the consistency.
  • Place inside the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2). Note: This step is crucial to get a stronger consistency that will help to maintain the shape when the balls are inside the air fryer.
  • Remove the falafel balls from the refrigerator and place them inside the air fryer basket making sure they aren't overcrowded.
  • Inside the air fryer basket, brush the falafel balls with olive oil using a basting/pastry brush. Or, you can spray with olive oil spray.
  • Cook at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Remove the air fryer basket and shake it, then cook for 5 more minutes.
  • When ready, the falafel balls should have a golden brown color on the outside. The perfect falafel is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  • Place the falafel balls in a wire rack and let them cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately. You can serve falafel alone, or you can also assemble the falafel balls in pita bread with tomato slices, cucumber slices, lettuce & tahini sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

For best results, plan your portions and cook only the balls you want to eat right away. Refrigerate or freeze the uncooked falafel in the fridge for the next meal. This will allow you to have the perfect falafel every time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1falafel ballsCalories: 59kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 3gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 91mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 185IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is estimated. For the most accurate info, always doublecheck with your ingredients.

andrea

ABOUT ANDREA

I'm a travel-loving boymom living in Raleigh, NC. I love making life a little bit easier and a lot more fun by sharing easy recipes, travel tips, and holiday treats. Read more...

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