This easy Air Fryer Falafel recipe is a delicious and healthy alternative to deep fried. Made with soaked chickpeas, these vegan falafels are ready in just 15 minutes. No Air Fryer? No problem - you can make oven baked falafels instead.
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You know what I love? Hot, crispy homemade falafels.
Do you know what I do not love? Deep frying things.
It's not about nutrition - I am all about a wrap made with delicious, deep-fried falafel so long as I don't have to make it.
I simply don't like deep frying things at home. I'm afraid of burning myself (I am a klutz!) and I never know what to do with the oil when I'm done.
If you, like me, are deep-fryer phobic, I have got good news for you: Air Fryer Falafel is the bomb dot com! They're crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and packed full of flavour. Plus, they're incredibly easy to make. And no scary hot oil!
What's in this recipe?
To make homemade Air Fryer Falafel, you'll need just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. You'll find specific amounts of each ingredient in the printable recipe card at the end of the post, but let's take a quick look at what you need:
- Dried chickpeas --> We're using DRIED and SOAKED chickpeas in this recipe, not canned.
- Red onion --> Bringing some flavour.
- Parsley --> I use flat-leafed parsley, but curly is fine too.
- Cilantro --> So good. But you can use more parsley if you hate it.
- Garlic --> Because of course.
- Chili --> I used a mild red chili to make these kid-friendly.
- Ground cumin and coriander --> Our spice crew.
- Salt --> As one does.
- Baking powder --> This provides a bit of lift while the falafels are air frying.
If you're going to make your falafel in an Air Fryer, you're going to need an Air Fryer! I have this model, and it works just fine.
I use an oil sprayer to spray both the basket of the air fryer and the falafels with olive oil. If you don't have one, I've also used a silicon brush to brush the basket and falafels, and that works fine as well.
How to make this recipe:
You'll find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but let's talk through it step by step.
Pro tips / recipe notes:
Can I use canned chickpeas?
No! Canned or cooked chickpeas are way too soft and hold way too much moisture to make falafels. You'll end up having to add a bunch of flour to compensate, and your falafels will be doughy.
Can I make this recipe in advance?
You sure can. And you've got options!
Option 1: Make the falafel mix in advance, then shape and air fry the falafel balls when you're ready.
Option 2: Form the falafel balls in advance and refrigerate or freeze until you're ready to cook.
Option 3: Cook your Air Fryer Falafels, and re-heat when you're ready.
How to freeze falafel
If you want to freeze your falafel balls, you can either freeze the formed balls, uncooked, or you can freeze cooked and cooled falafels.
If you're freezing uncooked falafel balls, I recommend freezing them on a tray in a single layer, and the transferring to a freezer bag for storage. We love these reusable silicon freezer bags for this job.
Cooked falafels are less likely to stick together, so you can just toss them directly into the freezer bag. Frozen falafels will be good for up to three months.
How to re-heat falafel
If you've got leftover falafel you can gently re-heat them in your air fryer. I do recommend spraying them with oil for re-heating as they may dry out a bit.
I also reheat my falafel in the microwave, and usually add a splash of water to the bowl to prevent them from drying out. They won't be crisp, but they will be delicious.
Are chickpeas healthy?
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are a super food! They contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup, which is 50% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Keeps you regular, folks!
About two-thirds of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble, which is great for digestive health, particularly in the colon. The remaining third is soluble fiber, which can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides; important for cardiovascular health.
Chickpeas are also a great source of plant-based protein, offering up about 12 grams per cup. The protein-fiber combination in chickpeas is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace.
Chickpeas are notable for antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, but also contain concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols. Chickpeas also contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. Chickpeas – what’s not to love?!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Air Fryer Falafels
- Air Fryer
- 1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight in plenty of water
- ½ small red onion chopped (about ½ cup chopped red onion)
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 red chili seeds removed and minced
- ¼ cup packed parsley
- ¼ cup packed cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Start by rinsing the chickpeas and then placing them into a large bowl with plenty of water to soak overnight, and up to 24 hours.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
- Place the soaked and drained chickpeas, ½ cup chopped redd onion, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 minced chili, ¼ cup parsley, ¼ cup cilantro, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt into the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse a few times, and then run the food processor until the ingredients are finely chopped. It should still have a bit of texture to it, roughly the size of couscous grains. You may need to stop and scrape the sides of the food processor a couple of times.
- Transfer the falafel mixture into a bowl, and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Scoop heaping tablespoons of the falafel mixture, and use your hands to form into balls. I err on the side of slightly smaller falafels to ensure they stay together well, but they're maybe 2 tablespoons each.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Heat your Air Fryer to 200°C / 400°F.
- Brush or spray the air fryer basket with a bit of oil, and then place the falafels in a single layer, with a bit of space between them. I had to cook mine in two batches. Brush or spray the tops of the falafel balls with olive oil (I use a silicone pastry brush).
- Place the falafels into the air fryer, and set a timer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, carefully turn the falafels over, and brush with olive oil again.
- Return to the air fryer for another 5 minutes.
Oven baking instructions
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray the parchment with olive oil.
- Arrange the falafel balls in a single layer on the parchment and spray or brush with olive oil.
- Bake the falafels for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, carefully turn over, and spray with a bit more oil.
- Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until falafels are brown and crispy.
- Serve with pita and vegetables, or on top of a salad.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- It's really important that you use dried chickpeas, soaked overnight. Do NOT use canned chickpeas - they will result in mushy falafels.
- Uncooked falafel balls can be frozen in a single layer on a tray, then transferred to a freezer bag for storage. You can air fry from frozen by adding a few minutes to the cooking time.