Falafel Recipe

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Delicious balls of Falafel are tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and loaded with zesty flavor! Whether you prefer baked falafel or fried falafel, they’re versatile enough to shine in any dish. Serve them in wraps, pitas, or tossed in a salad. Here, I show you how to make both styles of falafel—pick your favorite or try them both!

baked falafel arranged on a white plate.


Have you ever bitten into a falafel and just knew it was the best thing ever? Well, that was me, not too long ago! I’ve munched on falafels everywhere from Istanbul’s loud streets to the hidden gems in Dubai, and even grabbed some from street vendors who know their stuff. Whether it’s stuffed in a pita or tossed on a salad, I’ve tried them all.

But here’s the scoop: I believe I stumbled onto what I swear is the golden rule for amazing falafel, and that was down the street here in Chicago! He shared that you need to load up on the herbs and toss in a bit of heat. Don’t make them spicy, but crank up the wow factor to a whole new level. ALSO? He assured me that I was not breaking the law by baking them instead of frying them, m’kay?

Made with garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini, and a blast of fresh cilantro, these homemade falafel are a super simple vegetarian treat that works beautifully for a main course, side dish, or appetizer. You can serve falafel as a sandwich, in a salad, or just as part of a yummy appetizer spread. It’s perfection!

What Is Falafel?

Falafel is a popular street food across the Middle East. If you’ve never had falafel before, get ready! It is a delicious treat made with a blend of chickpeas, herbs, chile, and onions, along with various other ingredients, depending on the recipe. Everything gets ground up together in your food processor and then cooked until crispy on the outside and steamy in the center. They’re kind of like meatballs but vegetarian!

overhead shot of baked falafel, cucumber slices, tomatoes, lemons, and tahini sauce all arranged on a large round plate

Ingredients You’ll Need

Making baked falafel really isn’t hard at all! And you don’t need a ton of specialty ingredients to get an authentic, super flavorful result. All of these items are readily available at most grocery stores.

For the Patties

  • Garbanzo Beans: Canned garbanzo beans make this recipe super easy! Rinse them well, and drain them thoroughly, before using.
  • Onion: Chop up one small onion: red, white, yellow, or sweet onions are all fine.
  • Garlic: I like the pop of flavor you get from fresh garlic in this recipe!
  • Jalapeno: I used one small jalapeno with seeds and ribs removed. The pepper is optional, but it does add a tiny bit of spice and flavor.
  • Cilantro: You’ll need a nice amount of fresh cilantro to make the falafel; pack it into measuring cups to measure accurately.
  • Tahini: Tahini is a condiment made from pureed sesame seeds, similar to how peanut butter is made from peanuts. You can find tahini in most grocery stores.
  • Cumin: Cumin adds a beautiful earthy spiciness to this recipe, without adding heat.
  • Cayenne: For a little kick, I add a small amount of cayenne pepper to my baked falafel. Feel free to omit the cayenne if you don’t like it.
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Panko: You can use regular panko crumbs or even pork rind panko.
  • Pita Bread: We can’t have a true falafel without the bread. I use my naan recipe or this Lavash bread.
  • Cucumber slices: The fresh flavor and crispy texture of the cukes is the best!

For the Sauce

  • Tahini: A base of nutty tahini makes this sauce so easy and addictive!
  • Water: A little warm water gives the sauce a better consistency and flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: For the brightest flavor, I recommend using fresh lemon juice. Bottled is also fine.

How To Make Falafel

It’s very helpful to have a food processor when making falafel. You can definitely make it the old-fashioned way by crushing the garbanzo beans with a potato masher or similar, though! Use what you have.

  1. Prep. To make baked falafel, preheat the oven to 450˚F, and slide a baking sheet in there to heat up right along with the oven. 
  2. Process the Falafel Ingredients. Dump the rinsed and drained garbanzo beans into your food processor, along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, cilantro leaves, tahini, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Process the ingredients until everything is  finely chopped, and the mixture holds together. 
  3. Make Patties. Use a spatula to scrape the falafel mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the Panko, and stir well to combine. Pinch off pieces from the mixture, to make 12 patties or balls.
  4. Bake! Using oven mitts, take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, and grease it with cooking spray. Arrange the patties on the baking sheet, and place it back in the oven. Bake the falafel for 10 minutes, flip them over, and bake for 10 more minutes, or until they are golden and crisp. 
  5. Make the Sauce. While the falafel are in the oven, combine the tahini, warm water, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk, season with salt and pepper, and taste. Add more salt, if needed. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little more warm water to thin it out.
  6. Enjoy! Serve the falafel with warm pita bread, cucumber slices, and the prepared tahini sauce. 

Deep Fryer Directions

Authentic falafel are typically deep fried to achieve their signature crispy texture; follow these simple steps for a fried version.

  • To fry your falafel the classic way, pour enough oil in a pot to come up about 3 inches and crank it up to medium heat. You’ll want that oil hot, around 350°F. Drop in the falafel in small batches, like 5 or 6 at a time, and let them fry for about 1 to 2 minutes or until they turn a nice golden brown. Remove and transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate.
side shot of falafel arranged on a plate.

Recipe Tips

Are you feeling inspired to try your own baked falafel? I hope so! You will love them — promise.

  • The Dried Chickpeas Option: Nothing beats canned chickpeas for convenience, and they taste great, too. But, if you have a little time, you can soak dried chickpeas overnight for an even more flavorful, from-scratch falafel. Just cover well with water, soak, and drain, before following the recipe as written.
  • Be Generous with the Oil: A generous brushing of oil on your baking sheet allows the falafel to “fry” in the oven.
  • Form the Patties Gently: Many recipes call for “a light hand” when it comes to shaping and baking, and falafel is definitely one of them. Avoid dense or hard falafel by forming the patties gently, not packing them together forcefully.
  • Double Up: Like meatballs, versatile and savory falafel are great to have in the freezer for a quick meal. So, if you have the ingredients and a little time, double the batch and freeze half of it.

How To Serve Falafel

Serve your gorgeous homemade falafel any way you like! They pair deliciously with the tahini sauce here, but any dipping sauce is excellent. They fit perfectly into buns or pitas for hearty sandwiches and complement any side dish. Try them tucked into fresh pitas with a drizzle of homemade Taratur, aka cucumber yogurt sauce, or alongside a vibrant Shopska—a Macedonian chopped salad packed with fresh veggies. And for a fresh, crunchy side, whip up an easy Tabouli salad.

pita bread stuffed with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and falafel

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Leftover falafel should be stored in the refrigerator within two hours of baking. Cover well or place in zip-top bags or airtight containers, and they’ll keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer. To reheat, bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes or until hot.

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5 from 10 votes

Falafel Recipe (Baked or Fried)

Falafel are packed with chickpeas, tahini, jalapeño, garlic, and a burst of cilantro, making them a fantastic vegetarian treat. Serve them in wraps, pitas, or tossed in a salad.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


For the Falafel

  • 15 ounces canned garbanzo beans, , well rinsed and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion,, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small jalapeno,, ribs and seeds removed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves,, packed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper,, or to taste
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • ¼ cup panko crumbs

For the Sauce

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For Serving

  • pita bread,, for serving
  • cucumber slices,, for serving
  • tomatoes,, for serving
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  • Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 450˚F with the baking sheet inside.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor combine garbanzo beans, chopped onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, cilantro leaves, tahini, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper; process until finely chopped and the mixture holds together.
  • Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the panko.
  • Pinch off from the mixture to make 12 balls or patties.
  • Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and liberally grease the baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the falafel patties on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Flip over the falafel and continue to bake for 10 more minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • In the meantime, prepare the Tahini Sauce by combining tahini, warm water, and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until creamy. Season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust with more salt if needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more warm water until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Remove falafel from oven and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Serve the falafel with warm pita bread, cucumber slices, and tahini sauce.


Deep Fryer Directions: Fill a pot with oil and heat it to 350˚F over medium heat. Add the falafel balls in batches, about 5 at a time, and fry them for about 1 to 2 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy.


Serving: 3falafel | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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Recipe Rating:


  1. Allyson Zea says:

    I loved every bite of these!!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed them! 🙂

  2. Catalina says:

    I love falafel!I should definitely try this baked version! Yum!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    This is the best falafel recipe I’ve ever tried! So much flavor and they stay nice and moist.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  4. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    I’m drooling! This Crispy Baked Falafel is everything I love!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  5. Beth says:

    Oh, gosh. I haven’t had falafel in so long. I can’t wait to make this!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  6. Erik says:

    Been craving falafel lately, so this was perfect. Love that it’s baked!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! Please enjoy! 🙂

  7. Ashley says:

    These are foolproof! So crispy and delicious

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  8. Allyson Zea says:

    That looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for the easy recipe!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much! 🙂

  9. Gina Ceraso says:

    This si the first time my falafel came out crispy! Great recipe!