Homemade Falafel

Falafel 4

Falafel is not something I grew up with, but something I grew to love. Like most of us, I fell for it at street stalls and takeout joints – it’s not the sort of thing I thought to make at home, until about five years ago, when I discovered it’s about as easy to make as a batch of hummus. Truly! If you have a food processor, you can make falafel in about five minutes.

Falafel ingredientsMaking falafel

It requires a can of drained chickpeas (cheap), some garlic, onion, cilantro, salt and spices – go by taste and pulse it all into a mulch, adding a few tablespoons of flour to help bind the mixture together. (Any kind, really.) You can make them perfectly smooth, or leave some texture, which is what I do. A bit of baking powder lightens them up a bit.

Falafel 1

Shape the soft mixture into little patties – you could do balls, but patties cook through more quickly, and more surface area means more crunchy bits. You can also get away with using less oil in your skillet. (These don’t need to be deep fried, as in submerged in oil, but having some oil hit the outside makes them irresistibly crunchy.)

frying falafel

They cook quickly – in just a few minutes – which makes these totally count as real food, fast. Lift them out with tongs onto a paper towel-lined plate and eat them warm, straight-up, with tzatziki or thick Greek yogurt spiked with lots of garlic, lemon juice, a spoonful of tahini and a big pinch of salt. Pitas optional.

Falafel 3

Homemade Falafel


February 8, 2017


1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained

1 small purple onion (or a small chunk of one), chopped

2-4 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

pinch dried chili flakes

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

canola or other neutral vegetable oil, for frying


1Put the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt and chili flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined but still chunky, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse until you have a soft mixture that you can roll into balls without sticking to your hands too much. You can make it as smooth as you want, but I like leaving a little texture.

2Roll the dough into meatball-sized balls, and if you like, flatten each slightly, making a little patty. (I like doing this for maximum surface area, which equals more crunch. Flatter also means they cook through more quickly.)

3In a shallow pot or skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of canola or other mild vegetable oil until it’s hot but not smoking. Test it with a bit of falafel mixture or a scrap of bread – the oil should bubble up around it. Cook the falafel for a few minutes per side, without crowding the pan (which will cool down the oil), until they’re golden and crisp. (You could get away with using just a drizzle of oil – if you do this, best to leave the falafels round, so that you can roll them around in the pan to brown all sides.) Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

4Serve warm, with tzatziki or thick plain Greek yogurt spiked with lemon, garlic, tahini and salt. Makes about 20 falafel patties.


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11 comments on “Homemade Falafel

  1. Eileen
    February 8, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Thanks Julie, these look great. Easy too.

    • Julie
      February 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

      I’m glad Eileen!

  2. Anonymous
    February 8, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    My mother always made taratour sauce for falafel: .25 cup tahini; .5 cup water (more or less depending on thickness of tahini; 1-2 cloves crushed garlic; .25 cup lemon juice; salt to taste; chopped parsley or cilantro; couple shakes of hot sauce (optional)

    • Julie
      February 8, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      YUM! Thanks for sharing!

  3. esme
    February 8, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Oh, Julie. These look SOSOSOSOSOSO yummy. And easy. Thanks so much for the recipe. I would never have thought to make my own falafels, but here I go. 11:00 pm isn’t too late to start cooking, right?

  4. Kim
    February 8, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks for the recipe – we’re snowed in on Vancouver Island and I have all the ingredients for this in my kitchen!

  5. Kathy
    February 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Excellent. A very budget friendly source of protein. Thanks Julie.

  6. stacey snacks
    February 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

    I just made a batch. Followed your recipe to the letter.
    And for those of you who say NO canned chickpeas, I say you are wrong!
    I used canned garbanzos and these were as good as L’as du Falafel in Paris!

    I put them inside warm pita with pickled onions and avocado (not very traditional), and made the taratour sauce that your commenter posted.


  7. Vicky
    February 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Looks so goood and sooo easy to make!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  8. Maggie
    March 19, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    How long ahead of time can I make the falafel before I fry it?

    • Julie
      March 22, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Hmmm… I’d think they’d be fine for a few hours, anyway! Even a day ahead, covered in the fridge!

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