Air Fryer Falafel

This crispy Air Fryer Falafel recipe creates healthy falafel that’s lower in fat and perfect for a plant-based Mediterranean diet. It’s easy to make air-fried falafel and this post will show you how. See post tips for making vegan gluten-free falafel.

Serve these crispy falafel with this delicious, dairy-free tahini sauce.

Air Fryer Falafels sit on a plate with veggies, such as lettuce and cucumbers. A bowl of sliced cucumbers is behind it along with a group of tomatoes.

Small town girl goes the Mediterranean! You won’t believe this, but I’ve actually been to Greece and Turkey. It was an amazing trip, with several days in Athens and a cruise of several of the islands, including Crete, Mykonos, Patmos, and Turkey.

However, I’m embarrassed to say that I was not a fan of the food. I was in my early 20s and had spent most of my life in a small, rural Missouri town. I wasn’t up for experimenting and that left me with a very limited palate. So sad!

I hope someday to go back and right that wrong. In the meantime, I’m making my own home the source of some great vegan Mediterranean food. Besides, we know that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat and it is primarily a plant-based diet.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Fresh parsley and cilantro are a must for falafel. It’s what gives them an amazing zest and bright color.
  • This recipe is easy because we’re combining canned chickpeas (drained and patted dry) with lots of herbs and spices, including cumin.
  • Using a cookie dough dispenser creates evenly-sized dough balls. Typically, you would flatten a falafel to make a patty. However, with the air fryer, I like making them round so that each part of the surface area gets browned.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Chickpeas — This recipe calls for 1 can of chickpeas rather than dried chickpeas.
  • Onion — I use a white onion for this recipe.
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice — You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice.
  • Parsley leaves — I grow my own parsley, but you can buy it in the produce section of most grocery stores.
  • Cilantro leaves — I grow cilantro in the summers, but in the winters I buy it in the produce section of my grocery store.
  • Fresh dill leaves — It’s easy to find fresh dill at the grocery store too.
  • Baking powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Flour — You can use either all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour.

How to Make Air Fryer Falafel

I love making falafel, and this air fryer falafel recipe is simply a different way of cooking it. Each falafel is a very flavorful morsel that is typically served as little patties.

I’ve had these at restaurants and enjoy them, but usually didn’t feel great afterward because they’re too greasy. Too much oil! This air fryer falafel recipe solves that problem.

  1. Make the batter by adding chickpeas, onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, dill, flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until a coarse crumb texture is formed.
    Looking down on a food processor bowl full of chickpeas, chopped onions, and fresh green herbs.
  2. Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 2 days before cooking).
  3. Prepare the vegan tahini sauce by whisking the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
  4. Form the chilled falafel mixture into balls.
  5. Spray the air fryer basket with vegetable cooking spray and preheat to 375°F.
  6. Arrange falafel balls in the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook for 15 minutes, using tongs to turn falafel once or twice during cooking time. Once done, remove falafel from the air fryer basket. Allow them to cool slightly.
    Falafel balls are in an air fryer basket.
  7. Once the crust forms on the falafel, you can simply remove the basket and shake it to stir them. Cooking them on all sides creates a golden-brown crust.
    Crispy brown air fried falafel are in an air fryer basket.
  8. Serve air fryer falafel on a plate with tahini sauce for dipping. Or add 3 to 4 falafel inside a halved, pita along with hummus, chopped romaine lettuce, and chopped onions. Drizzle with the tahini sauce.

How to Cook Falafel in an Air Fryer

An air fryer is not a typical tool used to cook falafel, so here are the tips to make it work:

  1. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray
  2. Form the dough into balls instead of patties, so that the entire area of the falafel gets browned
  3. You can roll each ball in a little bit of olive oil before placing it in the bottom of the basket.
  4. Once the falafel forms a crust, remove the basket and shake it to “flip” them.

Air Fried Falafel Calories

This recipe makes 18 to 20 falafel with vegan creamy tahini sauce. The nutritional analysis estimates around 46 calories for each falafel dipped in the tahini sauce. Each falafel has 6 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber, for a net carb total of 5 grams each. Not too bad!

Storage Tips

Store any leftover falafel by placing them in a sealed container. They will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. See below for freezing tips. To reheat falafel, place in a toaster oven for several minutes, or use the air fryer to reheat. Either the air fryer or the toaster oven helps to recreate that crispy coating.

Did you know there are more ways to cook chickpeas in an air fryer? Try these Air Fryer Chickpeas for a real change of pace!

Make the Vegan Tahini Sauce

To make the tahini sauce, combine vegan yogurt with some tahini and lemon juice in a bowl. I have the hardest time finding tahini at my local grocery store. If this happens for you, you can buy Tahini online or substitute unsweetened almond butter.

Reader Reviews

★★★★★
I made these with canned chick peas and they were out of this world!! I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. I think they are better than most restaurants!

Stephanie

How to Serve Air Fried Falafel

  • Falafel Appetizer — arrange them on a tray with a bowl of tahini sauce and toothpicks (for dipping)
  • Falafel Salad. Fill a salad bowl with healthy greens like crispy romaine and leafy watercress and top with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and, of course, 3–4 falafel.
  • Falafel Sandwich.

Of course, I love adding some of my Green Hummus too. The colors together and the flavors are amazing! This Caramelized Onion Hummus is another great option. If you’d like something a little different, try oven Baked Falafel!

Frequently-Asked Questions

Can you freeze falafel?

You can freeze falafel by placing them in a freezer-safe container or bag and placing them in the freezer. They will keep up to 3 months when properly stored in the freezer.

How long to cook frozen falafel in an air fryer?

To cook frozen falafel in an air fryer, spray the air fryer basket with vegetable spray and then preheat to 375°F. Place frozen falafel in the air fryer basket and cook for 5–7 minutes, until heated through. Remove the basket at least once during the cooking process and shake to turn the falafel.

Can you make oil-free falafel?

To make falafel oil-free, cook them in an air fryer and skip rolling the falafel balls in olive oil. That said, I would give them a quick spray with vegetable spray to help them not stick and to create a crispier crust.

A hand holds an falafel and is dipping it in a white sauce.

More Air Fryer Recipes

That’s it for learning how to cook falafel balls in air fryers! I hope you agree, this is an easy way to make healthy air fryer falafel.

A hand holds an falafel and is dipping it in a white sauce.

Air Fryer Falafel with Vegan Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Make these crispy Vegan Falafel balls in an air fryer! It's easy to do and you'll love dipping them in some Vegan Tahini Sauce!
5 from 5 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 18 patties
Calories: 34kcal

Ingredients

For the Falafel

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 6 small cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • ½ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup flour (either all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten free flour)

For the Vegan Yogurt Tahini Sauce

  • 1 cup vegan plain yogurt (not vanilla flavored)
  • 1 tablespoons tahini (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • Add chickpeas, onion, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, dill, flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until a coarse crumb texture is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 2 days before cooking).
  • While the falafel mixture sets, prepare the vegan tahini sauce. Whisk together the vegan yogurt, tahini, and lemon juice until combined. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
  • Once the falafel mixture is chilled, use a spoon or cookie dough scooper to measure out 1 tablespoon of the dough. Form into balls. Place falafel balls on a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
  • Spray the air fryer basket with vegetable cooking spray. Preheat air fryer to 375°F.
  • Use tongs to place raw falafel in the basket, arranging them on the bottom of the basket. Return basket to air fryer and cook for 15 minutes, removing the basket and using tongs to turn falafel once or twice during cooking time. Once done, remove falafel from the air fryer basket. Allow them to cool slightly.
  • To serve, place falafel on a plate and serve with tahini sauce for dipping. Or add 3–4 falafel inside a halved, pita along with hummus, chopped romaine lettuce, and chopped onions. Drizzle with the tahini sauce.

Recommended Equipment

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Notes

Tahini is ground sesame seeds. If you don’t have this, you can substitute almond butter or Sun Butter (made from ground sunflower seeds).
Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 364IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

16 Responses to Air Fryer Falafel

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmanda Reply

    5 stars
    This recipe is so easy! Turned out perfect. Thanks!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLinda Reply

    so when you make them with dried chickpeas are you buying uncooked chick peas and just soaking them for a certain amount of time or are the chickpeas cooked and dried and that’s what you are using?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Linda. This recipe calls for canned chickpeas. If you have cooked chickpeas from dried, you could substitute 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas for canned. Let me know if this answers your question.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJoanna Walters Reply

    Hi Marly! Thank you for this recipe! I have made the batter and cooked a couple of test falafels and the flavor is amazing and the outside super crispy and delicious but am finding that the inside is a little more wet than I’d like. Any ideas for how to make the inside a little bit dryer?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Joanna, So glad you are liking the flavor and the crispy coating of these falafels. If you’re having trouble with the insides being too wet, try adding another tablespoon (or maybe even two) of flour to the batter. That should help.

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyStephanie Reply

    5 stars
    I made these with canned chick peas and they were out of this world!! I couldn’t believe how delicious they were. I think they are better than most restaurants!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Stephanie! I’m so glad you like this falafel recipe! I agree with you that making them at home is so good — even better than restaurants!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNikki Reply

    We made these with the canned chickpeas and the turned out so good. My 6 year old was stealing all of them. I want to try the dry chickpeas just for funsies. But for a busy mom, canned was fast and these were delicious.

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDiana H Reply

    When does the flour come in to play? Do you at it to the food processor with everything you listed?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Diana. Add the flour in step 2 of the recipe. I don’t include it in the food processor so as not to over-process the gluten in the flour. Hope this helps!

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBobbi Dwyer Reply

    These look really good! I agree with Melissa both types make great falafel. Never say “no one ever”. Many do. Thanks Marly. Looking forward to trying these!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Bobbi! First, love your name! Second, I had a hunch I wasn’t the only one. Also, got your second message about spellcheck. It can be so helpful at times…and frustrating at other times!

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMelissa Reply

    I have made them with dry soaked chickpeas and with canned. I love them both. Sometimes your time is limited so canned to the rescue. With that said, this is a great recipe, as always, so thank you 🙂

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Melissa! Canned to the rescue should be on a t-shirt!

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMary Anne Mercer Reply

    No one ever uses canned chickpeas for falafel. Dry soaked chickpeas is the only way to make authentic falafel.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      5 stars
      Hi there Mary Ann. Thanks for your kind comment. Actually, it’s quite easy to make falafel with canned chickpeas. I appreciate your passion for authentic falafel recipes. I’m just here to make space for people who don’t have the time or interest for the lengthier process. I think there’s room for all of us in the vegan Mediterranean world, including making falafel in an air fryer and using canned chickpeas!

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