Crispy Air Fryer Falafel

published Sep 18, 2021
Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Falafel, even eaten on its own with a simple dipping sauce, is a treat that hits the spot regardless if you're a vegetarian or not.


Makesabout 20

Prep15 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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a plate full of air fryer falafel balls with dipping sauce, pita bread, onions, cucumbers, tomato and parsley
Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

After living in New York City for years, eating a late-night falafel sandwich on the street will always be one of my great food memories. There are dozens of falafel spots, and they all conveniently stay open late — prime time for when a craving for that crunchy, garlicky bite hits.

When you fill a warm pita with silky tahini sauce, crunchy cucumbers and tomatoes, hot and crispy falafel, and some tangy pickles, the end result is a sandwich that is full of textures and bold flavors. But falafel, even eaten on its own with a simple dipping sauce, is a treat that hits the spot, whether you’re vegetarian or not. The intimidating part for someone wanting to make falafel at home is the traditional method of frying it in quite a bit of oil. But did you know that these golden-brown bites are a great thing to put in an air fryer?

How to Make Air Fryer Falafel

  • Soak the chickpeas: Start by soaking dry chickpeas overnight or up to 24 hours to soften them. This step really can not be replaced with canned chickpeas. You won’t get the right texture and your mix will be too wet to form the balls that go in the air fryer.
  • Make the falafel mixture: After soaking, the chickpeas go for a ride in the food processor with herbs, garlic, shallots, cumin, baking powder, salt and oil to give the falafel its classic flavor.
  • Chill the mixture: While the falafel mixture chills and firms up, clean up and get ready to roll and fry.
  • Form the falafel. Some falafel come in the shape of a ball and some are more disk shaped — either one is perfectly fine.
  • Air fry and enjoy! Fiftenn minutes in the air fryer and you’ll have hot, crispy, golden-brown falafels ready to eat. 
Credit: Olivia Mack McCool

How to Serve Falafel

My favorite way to serve them is on a “build your own” kind of platter. Surround warm falafel with tahini sauce, sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onion, lemon wedges, parsley, and warm pita. They also make a great crispy addition to any salad. However you serve them up, just make sure to eat them while they are still warm from the air fryer for the best flavor and texture. 

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Falafel, even eaten on its own with a simple dipping sauce, is a treat that hits the spot regardless if you're a vegetarian or not.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Makes about 20

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 8 ounces

    dried chickpeas (1 1/3 cups)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 cup

    fresh parsley leaves and tender stems

  • 1 cup

    fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1

    small shallot

  • 2 cloves


  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1 to 4 tablespoons

    all-purpose or chickpea flour (if needed)

  • Cooking spray


  1. Place 8 ounces dried chickpeas and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl and cover with a few inches of cold water. Let sit at cool room temperature at least 18 and up to 24 hours. Drain, rinse with fresh water, and drain well again.

  2. Coarsely chop 1 small shallot and 2 garlic cloves and add to the bowl of a food processor fit with a blade attachment. Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Pulse for 10 seconds, then scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

  3. Repeat pulsing and scraping 2 to 3 more times ,until the mixture comes together and the chickpeas are broken down but haven't lost all of their texture. If the mixture isn’t coming together, gradually pulse in all-purpose or chickpea flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Heat the air fryer to 350°F.

  5. Lightly coat an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Using a tablespoon or a small cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into damp hands and roll into balls. Cook in 2 batches: place the falafel in the basket in a single layer. Air fry for 10 minutes. Flip and air fry until golden-brown, about 5 minutes more.

  6. Serve the falafel with a dipping sauce or build a sandwich in a warmed pita. The falafel are best eaten immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: You can make the falafel mix the day before and refrigerate it an airtight container. Just be sure to eat the falafel soon after they come out of the air fryer.