Home » Instant Pot Recipes » Quick and Easy Instant Pot Falafel

Quick and Easy Instant Pot Falafel

Instant Pot Falafel is one the recipes that makes my Instant Pot worth every penny and every inch of storage space in my small kitchen.

horizontal shot of of an instant pot falafel sandwich with three falafel balls, onions, tomatoes, and parsley in pita bread

The best Falafel starts with dried chickpeas. Using dried beans is absolutely key to getting the right texture for your fried falafel patties.

A good falafel recipe combines soaked raw chickpeas with a perfect balance of fresh herbs and spices. But that requires remembering to soak the chickpeas ahead of time. With the instant pot, all you need is about 20 minutes to do a “quick soak” of the beans.

Once the chickpeas are tenderized either by traditional overnight soaking or by quick soaking in the Instant Pot, the ingredients are pureed together.

Cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley are added for flavor.

Then the mixture is formed into patties and deep fried, pan fried, or air fried until the outside is golden-brown and crisp. The inside stays moist and tender.

Is falafel vegan?

Yes! Falafel is made with chickpeas, seasonings, and a few other vegetarian and vegan ingredients. It makes a great vegetarian protein!

What are the ingredients for Instant Pot Falafel?

  • Dried chickpeas
  • Baking soda
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne
  • Baking powder
  • Cooking oil

Do you really need to start with dried chickpeas?

Yes. Dried chickpeas are starchier than the ones from a can. This means that the patties will have the correct texture and will hold together much better.

Try making falafel from canned beans and they’ll completely fall apart when you cook them.

That’s why I love this Instant Pot recipe so much. Using an electric pressure cooker to cook the beans means that you don’t have to soak the beans first. And they cook in just 30 minutes!

Vertical shot of cooked instant pot falafel balls with fresh parsley.

Can you make gluten-free falafel?

Yes! This recipe is gluten free.

Most falafel recipes include a small amount of flour to hold the dough together. Usually this is all-purpose flour.

But you can use any flour you like. I have made these with regular wheat flour, rice flour, chickpea flour, and almond flour. All of them work great.

I don’t include any flour in this recipe because I find it can make the patties dry. If you find that your patties aren’t holding together well, though, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of your flour of choice.

How do you make Instant Pot falafel?

Instant Pot falafel is surprisingly easy to make!

  1. First you quick-soak the chickpeas in water, salt, and a bit of baking soda in the Instant Pot. This takes just 10 minutes of pressure cooking time (plus 10 minutes or so for the pot to come up to pressure and about 10 minutes to release the pressure).
  2. Next you puree the chickpeas with the other ingredients.
  3. Form the mixture into patties.
  4. Deep fry or pan fry them in cooking oil or fry them in an air fryer.
  5. Enjoy!

Do you have to deep fry the patties?

I prefer to deep fry my falafel patties because they get the crispiest that way. My trick for deep frying without making a huge mess is to use a tall-sided pot and fill it with just 2 or 3 inches of oil. This keeps the splatter inside the pot.

If you don’t want to deep fry your falafel patties, you have plenty of other options. One is to shallow fry them in a skillet with just about ¼ inch to ½ inch of oil. You can even do this right in your Instant Pot using the Saute setting.

Another option is air frying them in an air fryer. Brush the outsides of the patties generously with oil and cook them on the highest heat setting.

You can also bake falafel in a regular or convection oven. Again, for the crispiest patties, brush them generously with oil before cooking.

How do you eat falafel?

You can eat falafel patties or balls on their own, dipped into flavorful dipping sauces like Tahini Sauce or Tzatziki. Or serve them as part of a mezze platter with Instant Pot Hummus, Muhamarra, and pita chips.

I love to stuff falafel into Homemade Pita Bread. Drizzle it with tahini sauce and add some fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Mmmm. A perfect lunch.

Crunchy falafel patties are also a great addition to a salad. Try it with this Tahini Dressing.

Falafel variations

There are lots of ways to get creative with your falafels, not just in how you serve them, but in what you put in them as well.

  • Change up the spices: Add curry powder, garlic powder, turmeric, smoked paprika, or other spices.
  • Turn up the heat: Make them spicy with extra cayenne, ground chipotle, or fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers.
  • Use different fresh herbs: Parsley is my go-to for a basic falafel, but you can go crazy with fresh herbs. Try mint, cilantro, chives, dill or a combination.
  • Try using different beans: Traditionally, falafel was made with fava beans, so those are a good bet. You can also make them with cannellini beans or lentils.
vertical shot of of an instant pot falafel sandwich with three falafel balls, onions, tomatoes, and parsley in pita bread

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Yield: Makes about 12 fish cakes

Thai Fish Cakes

low angle shot of fish cakes on a plate with dipping sauce and limes in the background

These easy Thai Fish Cakes are loaded with the flavors of lemongrass, cilantro, and hot chilies. This recipe uses Thai curry paste, which provides layers of flavor without requiring a ton of ingredients.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white fish fillet, cut into several pieces
  • ¼ cup cilantro, plus additional for serving
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons red or green curry paste (see note)
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Chinese long beans (or sub green beans)
  • ½ cup cooking oil (or enough to fill your skillet about ½-inch deep)
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the fish, curry paste, egg white, fish sauce, and sugar and pulse until the mixture forms a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and pulse until it is well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the sliced beans.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, until it shimmers.
  3. Form the fish mixture into balls a little larger than golf balls and then flatten them into ½-inch-thick patties.
  4. Add the patties to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all of the patties have been formed and fried.
  5. Serve hot with lime wedges, cilantro, and Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce, if desired.

Notes

1. You can use just about any white fish for this recipe. I’ve made it with both cod and catfish. Other options would be haddock, pollock, grouper, or snapper.

2. You can use either red or green Thai curry paste in this recipe, though red is more common. I love green curry paste, though, and think it works just as well in these fish cakes. I tested this recipe using Mae Ploy red curry paste and Mae Ploy green curry paste. One tablespoon of the red was plenty, while I found the green (which is less spicy) required 2 tablespoons to really pop the flavor.

3. Whichever type of curry paste you choose, be careful how much you use. The spice level can vary widely between brands, so start with a smaller amount if you are not used to very spicy food. I usually use Mae Ploy curry pastes, which are very spicy. If I use more than 1 or 2 tablespoons, it is too spicy for my family. Thai Kitchen brand is easy to find in supermarkets, and it is much milder. I would use at least 3 tablespoons of it.



Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 320Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 71mgSodium 729mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 21g

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.

Yield: Serves 4

Instant Pot Falafel

Instant Pot Falafel

Crispy, golden brown patties are tender and moist on the inside. They're seasoned just right with cumin, coriander, cayenne, and fresh parsley.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour (ap, chickpea, almond)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons to 3/4 cup cooking oil for frying or brushing (quantity depends on which method you choose)

Instructions

  1. Rinse the chickpeas and then put them in the Instant Pot and add the water, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the baking soda.
  2. Cover the pot, set the valve to the sealing position, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  3. When the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for about 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure and drain the beans.
  4. Put the onion, garlic, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  5. Add the drained chickpeas, the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper, flour, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and baking soda and process to a chunky paste.
  6. Form the mixture into balls a bit larger than golf balls. You can cook them in balls or flatten the balls into 1-inch-thick patties.
  7. To deep-fry the patties on the stovetop, fill a heavy-bottomed pan with high sides with about 2 inches of the oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the balls or patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until they are golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the patties to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  1. To fry the falafel in the Instant Pot, add 1/4 cup of oil to the Instant Pot and use the saute function to heat it until it shimmers. Add the falafel balls or patties to the oil and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until the are golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the patties to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  2. To cook in your air fryer, brush the balls or patties with oil and arrange them in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 370 for 8 minutes. Flip the patties over and cook for 8 more minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp. 
  3. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 181Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2159mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 8gSugar 5gProtein 9g

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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