Alotta Falafel: An Authentic Homemade Falafel Recipe

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Homemade falafel is a bit of a project, but we promise, it’s easier than you think. This authentic falafel recipe makes a big batch, so you can cook some falafel now and freeze some to cook later. Or try some of our other great fritters.

Homemade Falafel Recipe Umami Girl 780

Tip

Homemade falafel is easier than you may think, especially if you make a big batch and freeze some of the pieces to fry later.

Falafel is street food, right?

Even for the avid home cook, certain foods are worth buying at a street cart in the middle of a particularly tough day, biting in when you know they’re still too hot, letting the sauce dribble down your chin.

There’s satisfaction is tossing those flimsy paper napkins into a wire trash can on the street corner, checking your teeth with a shop window glance, and stepping back into the office as if the whole salacious affair never happened. The escapism’s the thing.

Considering homemade falafel

I used to think falafel was one of those escapist foods. If you’d still like to think of it that way, please, don’t let me deny you the pleasure.

Honestly, it’s only since Shake Shack entered my life that I’ve been able to see falafel as anything more than a fling — as something to bring home to my family. If you’re not ready to take the leap, I won’t mind if you sit this one out. 

A satisfying vegan falafel recipe

It was Kim O’Donnel, writing about Meatless Monday back in the days of A Mighty Appetite, who convinced me to try falafel at home.

The glug-glug of a quart of oil pouring into a Dutch oven on your very own stovetop may just be the antithesis of escapism.

But it turns out that falafel is not only easy to make at home—it’s also dearly beloved by children and adults, zealots and skeptics, veg-heads and carnivores alike. It’s a real crowd-pleaser, is what I’m trying to say here. And if there’s one thing better than escaping from the crowd, it’s being responsible for putting soulful, herb-flecked grins on their faces.

It’s a wholesome, grown-up pleasure, to be sure, befitting of cloth napkins more than paper ones. Still and all, I highly recommend it.

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Authentic Homemade Falafel Recipe

This recipe makes a huge amount of falafel, because if you're going to make falafel, you might as well make alotta falafel. If you like, you can freeze some of the raw balls (after Step 3 below) on the cookie sheet until firm, then transfer to an airtight bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before proceeding.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 days 1 hour
Total Time 1 days 2 hours
Serves Makes about 60 1-inch pieces

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Safflower oil for deep frying

Directions

  1. Place chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by at least 1 inch. Soak for 24 hours. Drain well.
  2. Half at a time, pour chickpeas into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until chickpeas begin to form a very coarse paste. It should just hold together when you squeeze it in your palm but still be made up of thousands of little chickpea bits. Scrape the chickpea paste back into the large bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, baking powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix well but gently with your hands (as you would for meatballs). Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  3. Using a measuring tablespoon if you wish, or just your hands, shape batter into 1-inch balls. The balls should stick together well, but try not to work the batter too much. Divide the balls between two half-sheet pans or cookie trays lined with parchment, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make a sauce, such as tahini (click and then scroll down for recipe) or yogurt sauce.
  4. Pour oil into a large, heavy pot to a depth of about 1 inch (I use a 5-1/2 quart Dutch oven). Insert a candy/deep fry thermometer and heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Carefully drop balls one by one into the hot oil. Don't crowd them—you'll fry in batches of about 8 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. Fry until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 250°F oven if you like. Serve with pita, tahini or yogurt sauce, raw onions, cucumber, parsley, and tomato—or any or none of the above.

Notes

Adapted from A Mighty Appetite by Kim O'Donnel, who adapted it, in turn, from Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks.


Nutrition Information

Serving Size:

1 piece

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 70 Total Fat:: 2.7g Carbohydrates:: 9.3g Fiber:: 1.8g Protein:: 2.9g

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Comments

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  1. Peggy

    I had trouble getting them to stick together. My falafel that were grainer disintegrated while cooking. I had to grind them up pretty much to get a ‘paste’ did I do it wrong?

  2. camille

    I have tried this recipe before and it really works. it is delicious both fried or baked. This x-mas I am going to do it again. thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Niall O Hara

    “candy/deep fry thermometer ” what is that.. is it a small electronic thing I must buy or a simple hard boiled sweet.

  4. Leslie

    Once, after having made homemade falafel, I had them on racks to cool. My husband, coming home from who knows where now, saw said falafel and though to himself, “COOKIES! nom nom nom!” and went for them. Imagine his shock when they weren’t cookies at all!!

  5. Lauren

    If I were to use canned chickpeas how much of the canned stuff would equal the four dried cups? Thanks!

  6. I love your photography! And hey that looks pretty simple to make too, I can’t wait to give it a try sometime 😀

    1. Thanks, Sunit! Hope you like it.

  7. Oh my. I think I’m getting a touch of the vapors just thinking about the deliciousness that is falafel.

    I’ve never thought about trying to make it at home, but now the idea is in my head and I feel it’s only right that I put said idea into practice. I think it would simply be…wrong…unconstitutional…a sin!…to not make these.

    1. Hi Molly, hope you give it a try!

  8. I just love falafel, hard to get anything close over here but I can get good chick peas so I’m going to have to try this soon. (sans cillantro, though, even harder to find in Italy.
    J

    1. Joshua, a lack of falafel may be the first reason—or at least the first culinary reason—that I’ve ever heard to be sad about living in Italy.

      It’s totally fine to double the parsley instead of using cilantro.

  9. Awww, what a great write up! I agree totally, I just made falafel at home last week 🙂

    1. Thanks, Manny. Glad to know there are other homemade falafel devotees out there.

  10. Tastespotting has always been good to me at helping me discover some gorgeous food bloggers/photographers! Today I found u 🙂
    You have a lovely space and the recipe just did it for me! I have so many wonderful memories related to falafel. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
    Following u from now on to stay in touch!

    1. Hi Prerna, thank you so much for visiting. Your blog is lovely, too. I’m a huge Indian food fan and cook from Madhur Jaffrey from time to time (although I have to admit that since our Whole Foods started procuring their Indian food from an excellent local restaurant, a lot of the time I get my fix at lunchtime from there instead). Looking forward to reading more!

  11. Jill

    Sounds mighty DE-lish. And quite perf for our family!
    We are also looking forward to a visit to Shake Shack at the end of the month! ;o)

    1. Thanks, Jill! You might find me hiding in your cargo space on the way to Shake Shack. I’ve started manufacturing excuses to go to the city to get me sommadat.