Crispy and nutritious, air fryer falafel are delicious on warm pita bread, a salad, or just eaten by themselves. Don’t wait to enjoy these savory chickpea fritters!

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This vegetarian treat is so tasty and good for you, too.

How long it takes: about a half hour
Equipment you’ll need: food processor, air fryer, tongs
Servings: 4 (makes 12 falafel)

Round golden-brown balls of ground chickpeas and herbs, crispy from an air fryer. A bowl of tzatziki is also pictured.
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About this Easy Falafel Recipe

Have you tried falafel? My husband and I enjoy Middle Eastern food frequently and love these tasty deep-fried fritters.

What are falafel? Falafel are small patties made with ground up chickpeas or fava beans, seasoned with onion, fresh herbs, and dried spices, and deep-fried. They are commonly served in pita bread, and slathered with tahini, hummus, or hot sauce. 

Air frying falafel makes them healthier. The ingredients are all good for you but usually falafel is deep fried, adding lots of extra unhealthy fats. That got me to thinking about how to prepare falafel in a healthier fashion without sacrificing texture or taste. Use an air fryer, of course! I’ve used my air fryer to make all sorts of crispy goodies, without any added oil. I love air fryer French fries, chicken nuggets, egg rolls and mozzarella sticks. It works great to make crispy tofu. Now I know it’s perfect for falafel, too. 

Falafel are a good source of protein. Falafel is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. It’s a great source of plant protein for meatless meals.

Falafel are surprisingly easy to make. You will need a food processor as well as an air fryer, and about a half hour.

Split-open chickpea fritter made in the air fryer. Flecks of herbs are visible.

Ingredient Notes

  • Canned Garbanzo Beans: Garbanzo beans are the Spanish name; English named chickpeas are the same exact thing. Confusing, huh? Canned fava beans are a good substitute, as well. If you prefer, you can cook dry beans.
  • Onion and Garlic: These two alliums add flavor, nutrition, and moisture to the falafel. Any type of onion will work. Use as much or as little garlic as you like.
  • Cilantro and Parsley: Plenty of chopped herbs give the falafel its signature green tint, and add a good dose of flavor and nutrition
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour, or gluten-free or chickpea flour if you prefer. Use breadcrumbs instead of flour if you prefer.
  • Baking Soda: Adds a bit of leavening so the falafel isn’t heavy and compact.
  • Seasoning: Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Coriander, Cayenne.
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How To Make Falafel

Put the drained beans in the bowl of a food processor, along with the coarsely chopped onion and garlic.

Add herbs and remaining ingredients. Don’t worry about picking off  leaves from the herbs. Small stems are fine since everything gets chopped up in the food processor. The stems have so much flavor, particularly the cilantro. Avoid the larger stems of parsley because they can be bitter. Add the flour, baking powder, and seasoning.

Process the mixture. Pulse it until it’s coarse and mealy. You don’t want to over-process it into a gummy green paste. It needs to have a bit of texture, with visible bits of herbs.

Using your hands, form the mixture into 12 balls. If it seems too sticky, stir in a bit more flour, a little at a time. Really, you can make the falafel any size you like as long as you adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Air fry. Place in an air fryer, sides not touching. Spritz with olive oil spray, and “fry” for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once using tongs. How can you tell they’re done? They’ll be brown and crispy on the outside, and warm all the way through.

Cooking Tip

A light misting of olive oil spray isn’t 100% necessary but it helps the falafel get nice and crispy, and also assists in the development of a nice golden brown color. Although food isn’t cooked in oil when it’s air-fried, you’ll find that just a bit of oil really does enhance the flavor and texture and adds very little fat.

What To Serve With Falafel

Falafel are traditionally served with hummus, tahini sauce, or hot sauce. We love falafel with tzatziki, a refreshing yogurt cucumber sauce.

Try air fryer falafel inside a pita bread sandwich with sauce and chopped tomatoes, or on a salad. I love to serve crispy falafel as an appetizer, with one of the above dipping sauces.

Overhead view of crispy chickpea balls, aka falafel. A bowl of tzatziki sauce and fresh parsley are also partially visible.


Why can’t you use canned chickpeas for falafel?

Some cooks claim that canned chickpeas have a metallic taste. Others say that canned chickpeas contain too much moisture, causing the falafel to fall apart or have a mushy texture. Some recipes simply soak the dry beans leaving them uncooked before they grind them.
Personally, I think canned chickpeas are just fine. They taste great and have a wonderful texture in this falafel recipe. Try it and see what you think! If you prefer using dry beans, you’ll find instructions on the recipe card so the choice is yours.

How is falafel pronounced?

It’s pronounced fell-al-full, with the middle “a” sounding like the word cat.

Make It Your Own

  • Change the shape: Instead of balls, shape the falafel into small patties. 
  • Gluten-free: Make the falafel gluten-free by using all-purpose gluten-free flour, chickpea or oat flour.
  • Spice it up: Add more garlic, more cayenne, or red pepper flakes.
  • With dry chickpeas: Soak ¾ cup dry beans in water 24 hours. Add a ½ teaspoon baking soda to the soaking water. Rinse and drain soaked beans and proceed with recipe as directed.
  • Fry falafel: Heat a ½ inch cooking oil in a heavy or cast iron skillet; fry falafel in a single layer until crispy.
Falafel on a plate with tzatziki.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Refrigerate: The falafel dough can be made up to a few hours in advance and stored tightly covered in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the falafel.

Freeze: Make the dough into falafel patties or balls, place on a baking sheet, sides not touching, uncooked, and freeze. Once frozen, place falafel into freezer bags. No need to thaw before baking or frying, although you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time.

Storage & Reheating Tips

Leftover cooked falafel can be tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days, or longer in the freezer. To reheat, place in air fryer or toaster oven.

Meal plan 37 graphic with text and photos of the recipes included.

Free Meal Plans

Interested in weekly meal plans that include this recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan #37 or Meal Plan #68. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week! We add a new meal plan weekly.

More Vegetarian Favorites


Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

4.65 from 17 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes
Total: 29 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Crispy and nutritious, air fryer falafel are delicious on warm pita bread, a salad, or just eaten by themselves. Don't wait to enjoy these savory chickpea fritters!
Save this recipe!
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  • 1 can (15-oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup roughly chopped yellow onion (1 small yellow onion)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour, or chickpea flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne powder, more to taste


  • In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne, flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Pulse until mixture is coarse and mealy. Don’t overblend it!
  • Spray bottom of air fryer basket with olive oil spray. Form bean mixture into 12 balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place in air fryer so they aren’t touching, and spray with olive oil spray.
  • Air fry at 350ºF for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, until golden.


  • Gluten-Free: Substitute an equal amount of all-purpose gluten-free flour, chickpea or oat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.
  • To use dry chickpeas, soak ¾ cup dry beans in water for 24 hours. Add a ½  teaspoon baking soda to the soaking water. Rinse and drain soaked beans and proceed with recipe as directed.
  • Stovetop: Fry falafel using ½ inch cooking oil until crispy. A cast iron skillet works great for this.
  • Make your falafel spicier by adding more garlic, more cayenne, or red pepper flakes.


Serving: 3falafel, Calories: 137kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 895mg, Potassium: 271mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 817IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.65 from 17 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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  1. Ruth McCoskey says:

    I don’t like chickpeas. Can I substitute another bean, if so what kind.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      It will change the texture and consistency, but I think you could probably use great northern, cannellini or another white bean.

  2. Erica says:

    These were easy and tasty! Put them in the air fryer on two pans so the pan underneath needed another 5 additional minutes! Taste was amazing will be back for more! 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked them! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, it means a lot!

  3. Sabrina says:

    a nice change, at least to me, since I’m a complete novice to Midd;e Eastern cuisine, a fun new set of ingredients for me to try, thank you!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I hope you love the falafel!