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Air Fryer Falafel

Air Fryer Falafel is quick and easy to make and just as good as the deep fried version.

low angle shot of air fryer falafel in a serving dish.

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The best falafel is crunchy and golden brown on the outside, tender on the inside, and full of Middle Eastern flavor. And with an air fryer, you can skip the messy, greasy deep frying and jump right to the delicious part!

Why you’ll love this air fryer falafel

Falafel is a type of fritter made from ground chickpeas. It is flavored with fresh herbs, spices, onions, and garlic. 

Traditional falafel is deep fried until it is golden brown and crisp. But for those of us who hate the mess of deep frying, Air Fryer Falafel saves the day.

This Air Fryer Falafel recipe starts with the same mix of chickpeas, herbs, and spices, but, obviously, you air fry the balls instead of deep frying them.

The result is light, fluffy falafel with a crisp outer shell and none of the heavy greasiness that can plague some deep-fried foods. They’re every bit as flavorful as deep fried falafel, but easier and healthier.

This recipe is also completely vegan AND gluten free!

Overhead shot of ingredients needed to make air fryer falafel.

ingredients you need

The list of air fryer falafel ingredients is short. All you need for this falafel recipe is just chickpeas, garlic and onion, and a bunch of fresh herbs and spices. Here’s the complete list:

  • Dried chickpeas—Be sure not to use canned chickpeas or already cooked chickpeas. They will not provide the right texture. Use dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight. If you don’t have time to soak them overnight, you can use the Instant Pot quick-soak method, or even a stovetop quick-soak method.
  • Garlic
  • Red onion
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Ground cumin
  • Baking powder (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Spray oil, like olive oil spray or cooking spray (just make sure it is a nonaerosol oil spray if using a nonstick air fryer basket.) Or use any neutral oil and brush it on.

How to make it

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

It’s super easy to make this air fryer falafel recipe in the air fryer. Here’s how:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water (or use the Instant Pot quick-soak method).
  2. Combine the chickpeas with the garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, mint, cumin, baking soda (if using), salt, and pepper and process in a food processor.
  3. Form the mixture into balls using either your hands or a small cookie scoop.
  4. Brush or spritz the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil and add the falafel balls in a single layer with a bit of space in between (you’ll have to cook in at least 2 batches). Brush or spritz the balls with oil.
  5. Cook for about 7 minutes, flip, brush with more oil, and cook for another 7 minutes or so until they are crisp on the outside.
  6. Serve hot.
Close up shot of a falafel ball on a fork.

Tips for success

  • First off, don’t use canned chickpeas! The texture won’t ve right and the fritters will fall apart.
  • If you forgot to soak the chickpeas ahead of time, you can still make this falafel recipe! Use an Instant Pot to do a quick soak, which only takes about 20 minutes.
  • Use a food processor to grind the chickpeas and chop the other ingredients. It’s such a time-saver!
  • You can make the falafel mixture into balls or into patties, whichever you prefer. Patties can be a bit easier to stuff into traditional falafel sandwiches.
  • You can cover and refrigerate the uncooked falafel balls for up to a day before you cook them. Cook them just as directed in the recipe.
  • Preheat the air fryer if you have a model that needs preheating. Heat it to 400°F for about 5 minutes before putting the falafel patties in.
  • Make sure to arrange the falafel balls in a single layer in the air fryer basket and leave a bit of space between balls so that they all get nice and crisp and golden brown.
Close up shot of a half of a falafel ball on a fork.

Falafel variations

This Air Fryer Falafel recipe is great as is, but you can get creative if you like. Here are some of my favorite variations.

  • Be traditional and deep fry them: You can use either this recipe or the recipe in my Instant Pot Falafel post for the mix and then follow the deep frying instructions in that post.
  • Try different flavors: Add curry powder, garlic powder, turmeric, smoked paprika, or other spices.
  • Make them spicy: Add cayenne, ground chipotle, or fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers.
  • Use different fresh herbs: I love making falafel with parsley, cilantro, and mint,  but you can also try chives, dill, basil, scallions, and other fresh herbs.
  • Switch the beans: In addition to chickpeas, fava beans are traditionally often made with fava beans, which are a great option. Or try using cannellini beans or lentils.
Low angle shot of a platter of air fried falafel patties.

What to serve with falafel

Stuff these air fried falafel balls into warm Pita Bread or any flatbread with fresh veggies, Tahini Sauce, and Harissa Paste.

Or serve this Air Fryer Falafel as part of a Middle Eastern Mezze Platter with dipping sauces like Tahini Sauce, Tzatziki Sauce, Instant Pot HummusZhoug SauceMuhamarra, Tzatziki, or Harissa Paste.

Or top a salad and add crispy falafel patties are also a great addition to a salad. Try it with this Tahini Dressing or Harissa Dressing.

Yield: Makes about 24 falafel balls

Air Fryer Falafel

Low-angle closeup shot of a pile of air fryer falafel balls.

The best falafel is crunchy and golden brown on the outside, tender on the inside, and full of Middle Eastern flavor. And with your handy air fryer, you can skip the messy, greasy deep frying and jump right to the delicious part!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups dried chickpeas
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Spray oil

Instructions

  1. Place the chickpeas in a pot or bowl and cover generously with cold water. Soak overnight (12 hours) and then drain well.
  2. In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, mint, cumin, salt, and pepper and process to a sandy texture.
  3. Use a small cookie scoop or your hands to form the mixture into balls.
  4. Brush or spritz the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil and add the falafel balls in a single layer with a bit of space in between (you’ll have to cook in at least 2 batches). Brush or spritz the balls with oil.
  5. Cook at 400 ˚F for 14 minutes, flipping halfway, until the balls are golden brown and crisp on the outside.
  6. Serve the falafel hot with tzatziki, Zhough sauce, or Harissa Paste.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 37Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 42mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 1g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on April 18th, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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