With some basic ingredients and a few straight-forward steps, you could be enjoying crunchy, golden air fryer falafel right from your own kitchen! So good, you may never order take-out again.
Looking for a plant-based side or main course that will have everyone reaching for more? Homemade air fryer falafel is irresistibly crunchy, golden, and oh-so-delicious!
Because we’re soaking dried chickpeas, this recipe does require you to do some prepping in advance.
But the actual steps are very straight-forward, and you may be surprised at how basic all the ingredients are!
Plus the result is so good, there’s a chance you’ll never want take-out falafel again.
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- How to make crispy golden falafel in the air fryer
- Why we need to use dried chickpeas for this recipe
- How long to air fry falafel for the perfect texture and crunch
- What to serve with air fryer falafel
Falafel is such a versatile dish. It makes a great appetizer for a party or potluck, you can enjoy it over salads or in wraps, it’s fantastic drizzled in tahini or dunked in hummus, and so much more!
Once you try a bite, air fryer falafel is going to become your go-to recipe any time you want a meat-free and vegan-friendly dish.
How to Make Air Fryer Falafel
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: At least a day in advance, place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water, covering the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Soak for 18-24 hours until softened, then drain the chickpeas well and pat them dry.
STEP TWO: Add the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs, and spices to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.
STEP THREE: Pulse for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process again for 20-30 more seconds until well combined.
STEP FOUR: Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
STEP FIVE: When ready to cook, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Uncover and stir in the sesame seeds and baking powder.
STEP SIX: Wet your hands, then scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture and form into balls or patties (½ inch in thickness each).
STEP SEVEN: Spray the inner basket of the air fryer with cooking spray, then place the falafel inside the basket an even layer, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Lightly spray the falafel with cooking spray.
STEP EIGHT: Air fry at 380 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping the falafel once halfway through the cook time, until they’re golden brown and crispy.
STEP NINE: Repeat until all the falafel has been air fried.
What is Falafel?
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish that’s become popular all round the world. It involves pureed chickpeas, broad beans, or a combination of the two shaped into a ball or patty and then deep-fried.
These tasty fritters are a yummy street food served in many countries. I like this air fryer falafel recipe for recreating them at home because you get all that amazing taste and texture without the excess oil that comes from deep-frying them!
Why Do I Need to Use Dried Chickpeas for Falafel?
Starting with dried beans and soaking them for 24 hours before cooking is always going to give you the best taste and texture, no matter the recipe.
And this falafel is no exception!
On top of that, canned chickpeas are simply too wet. If you try to use them in this recipe, the falafel will end up soggy and miss all that amazing crunch on the outside.
I’ve seen some recipes that suggest adding flour, but you’d have to add so much that it would significantly dull the taste.
Soaking beans is super easy, and it makes such a big difference. It’s definitely worth it for your homemade air fryer falafel!
Tips for Making the Best Air Fryer Falafel
- If your falafel batter feels loose and won’t hold together, try adding 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of chickpea flour or all-purpose flour to help bind it.
- It’s very important not to overcrowd the basket. Lay the falafel balls or patties in a single layer with room for the air to circulate around each one.
- Lightly spray the falafel with an oil spritzer right before you close the air fryer basket. This will help the outsides get super crispy.
How Long Should You Cook Falafel in the Air Fryer?
As long as the falafel is around a ½ inch thick, they should cook in about 15 minutes.
You want the outside to be golden and crunchy while the inside is heated all the way through.
Make sure to flip the falafel halfway through the cooking time for the best results!
What to Serve with this Air Fryer Falafel Recipe
- Lemon wedges
- Pita bread
- Lemon Herb Tahini sauce
Other Air Fryer Vegetarian Recipes You’ll Love:
- 2 cups dried chickpeas (NOT canned or cooked chickpeas)
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup fresh parsley, leaves and tender stems
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems
- ¼ cup fresh dill, stems removed
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
- SERVE WITH: Pita bread, tahini sauce, hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, lemon wedges
- The day before you plan to cook the falafel, place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water, covering the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Soak for 18-24 hours until softened, then drain the chickpeas well and pat them dry.
- Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, herbs, and spices to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process again for 20-30 more seconds until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover it tightly with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and stir the sesame seeds and baking powder into the mixture.
- Wet your hands, then scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture and form it into balls or patties (½ inch in thickness each).
- Spray the inner basket of the air fryer with cooking spray, then place the falafel in an even layer inside, being sure not to overcrowd. Lightly spray the falafel with cooking spray as well.
- Air fry at 380 degrees F for 15 minutes, flipping them once halfway through the cook time, until they’re golden brown and crispy. Repeat with any remaining falafel balls.
If your falafel batter feels loose and won’t hold together, add 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of chickpea flour or all-purpose flour to help bind it.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.