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5 from 43 votes

Air Fryer Falafels

This classic Middle Eastern chickpea fritter is easy to make in an air fryer! Crispy exterior and soft interior without any deep frying. Great in a pita bread, on salads, as a dipping appetizer and more!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time11 mins
Chilling Time (approximate)45 mins
Total Time1 hr 1 min
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 9 3-falafels servings (yield slightly less if using canned chickpeas)
Calories: 33kcal
Author: Toni Dash

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion cut into roughly 1” pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Choose between canned or dry chickpeas below (choose one only)

  • 2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans drained, rinsed and placed on paper towels to absorb excess moisture
  • 1 ½ cups dry garbanzo beans
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda only to be used with dry chickpeas

Instructions

Soak chickpeas (if using the dry chickpea option)

  • Add the 1 ½ cups dry chickpeas and ½ teaspoon baking soda to a large bowl. Cover with several cups of water. Allow to soak at room temperature for 18-24 hours until softened.
    NOTE: they will not be soft like canned chickpeas after soaking but will be able to be blended.
    Place on layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture before proceeding with the recipe.

Make the falafels (for canned chickpea and after soaking dry chickpeas)

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, coriander, cumin, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is broken up into a coarse paste– about 30 seconds.
  • Add the garbanzo beans and pulse they are pulverized and a coarse paste mixture forms – about 30 seconds. It should be smooth enough to hold together in a ball but not as smooth as hummus.
  • Chill the mixture, covered, in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat air fryer to 370 degrees F.
  • Scoop out 1.5 tablespoon sized portions using a scoop. Or if measuring by hand gently shape into a ball.
  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray and add the falafel, making sure not to overcrowd the air fryer. Spray the top of the falafel with olive oil spray as well.
    NOTE: for the Cosori 5.8 quart air fryer I cook 9 falafels at a time so they have plenty of air circulation room between them. Keep the batter in the refrigerator while a batch is cooking.
  • Air fry at 370F for 10 minutes. Gently turn the falafels over and cook 5 additional minutes, or until the falafel is golden brown and crisp on the outside.
    Repeat for remaining falafel batter.
  • Remove from the air fryer and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes before serving (this allows them to firm up slightly). Serve immediately with your favorite additions– pita, hummus, salad, etc.

Notes

Air Fryer variations. All air fryer brands and sizes cook slightly differently. Monitor cooking to adjust for your air fryer brand.
Dry the garbanzo beans. After soaking (if using dried) or draining (if using canned) lay the chickpeas out on a few layers of paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. This is important so the falafel batter isn't overly moist.
Cook in batches. Leaving some room around the falafels is important both for hot air circulation to fully cook them but also to allow turning them over without damaging them. For a Cosori 5.8 quart air fryer I cook 9 falafels at a time.
Adding flour. Our recipe does not need flour however if your falafel batter is very wet and won't form patties or balls well, adding 1-2 tablespoons of chickpea flour can help. Often this happens if the chickpeas have not been dried before adding to the homemade falafel batter which creates too much moisture.
How to Store
Falafels are the best when freshly cooked however leftover falafel can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. They will soften slightly.

Nutrition

Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg