For a healthy meal prep option, try Air Fryer Falafel. It’s crunchy, tasty and easy to make with canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas.
I really enjoy falafel as a restaurant or take-out treat. But I tried a boxed falafel mixture at home once and was not a fan. Since I’ve had such resounding success with my air fryers, I decided it was time to create an Air Fryer Falafel Recipe.
I did a lot of research before attempting this green-hued delicacy. For flavoring, I took some inspiration from this recipe. But I decided that with my specific falafel dough mixture, I could save a lot of time by using canned chickpeas instead of soaking dried chickpeas overnight.
But what I think is even better about my recipe is that these falafel are absolutely perfect for meal prep. You can make a double batch, freeze them and then cook them from frozen. Keep scrolling for complete instructions. You are going to absolutely love this healthy falafel recipe!
Why falafel works best in the air fryer
This falafel recipe is vegan. Falafel is a good source of fiber and protein. The hot air circulation of the air fryer basket mimics deep frying, minus all the extra oil/grease. So your air fryer helps to make falafel a truly healthy treat. And the texture of these falafel is so much better than baking them in an oven.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Falafel
- Chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans, drain them well but reserve some of the liquid
- Chickpea Water – when whipped it’s known as aquafaba and can be used as an egg substitute. For the falafel recipe the water helps to blend all the ingredients together in the food processor.
- Olive Oil – adds fat and flavor.
- Lemon Juice – adds bright, citrus flavor which compliments the spices which are warm and earthy.
- Parsley – to save on prep, I love using this brand of lightly dried herbs, found in the produce section. You are welcome to use fresh instead.
- Cilantro – omit the cilantro if you have the gene which makes it unpleasant for you!
- Garlic – I like to use shortcuts when I can and keep a tube of garlic paste in my fridge. Use fresh garlic cloves if you prefer.
- Red Onion – use both in the falafel dough and in a salad to serve with them.
- Sesame Seeds – I just love the flavor and texture toasted sesame seeds add to falafel.
- Cayenne Pepper – omit the cayenne if you don’t like heat, or add a little more if you do!
- Coriander – although its seeds come from the cilantro plant, the coriander provides a warm and spicy flavor.
- Cumin – tastes earthy and warm with an edge of citrus, blending well with all the other flavors.
- Salt and Pepper
- Flour – helps to form the chickpea dough. Use gluten-free flour if you need to.
- Panko Bread Crumbs – also helps to form a cohesive dough.
- Baking Powder – helps to keep the falafel crispy on the outside.
Instructions for how to make Air Fryer Falafel
Making the dough is the most tedious (time consuming) part of making the air fryer falafel patties. But it’s so simple once you have everything prepped and measured!
Into a food processor, add all the ingredients EXCEPT FOR the flour, Panko, baking powder and chickpea water. Pulse until smooth. Add a little chickpea water as needed to help with blending.
Whisk together the flour, Panko and baking powder. Transfer the blended chickpea mixture to a clean bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 – 60 minutes.
Use a cookie scoop to help form the dough into 10 balls. Gently flatten them with your hands until they are a smooth patty shape.
Place the falafel in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Brush them lightly with olive oil. Fry them at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes, or until they are puffed and lightly browned.
- As pictured, with fresh veggies like tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, olives, feta cheese and tahini sauce or dressing
- With warm pita bread or naan bread and hummus
- Tzatziki Sauce for dipping
- Homemade Tabouli
- As a falafel sandwich in a wrap or pita
- With a side dish of rice like this Lemon Rice
- Greek Rice Salad
Falafel is often served with tahini dressing or tzatziki sauce. But to get my kids to try it here at home, I served it with ranch dressing for dipping. And they liked it!
Freezing instructions for air fried falafel
Place the patties in a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet. Be sure and place some parchment paper or wax paper in between the falafel and plate to keep it from sticking. Put the falafel in the freezer for about four hours, then transfer the falafel to a freezer-safe, Ziploc bag for up to one month.
Can air fryer falafel be cooked from frozen?
I tried it and was so tickled by how well these falafel cooked from frozen! And the cooking instructions are basically the same. Place the frozen falafel in a single layer into the air fryer. Brush lightly with olive oil. Cook at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
Can I use cooking spray in an air fryer?
I never recommend using cooking spray in your air fryer! Over time, it will damage the non-stick coating of your air fryer basket. I always use a silicone pastry brush to lightly coat my food with vegetable oil. Or in the case of air fryer falafel, extra virgin olive oil.
Can I put my air fryer basket in the dishwasher?
Yes, as long as the manufacturer instructions tell you that your air fryer basket is dishwasher safe. There are four separate parts to my air fryer basket (Philips XXL). I can’t imagine not being able to put mine in my dishwasher. It makes clean-up so easy!
Place the already air fried falafel into an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Or in the freezer for up to one month.
How to reheat falafel in the air fryer
Place the leftover falafel (already cooked) into the air fryer. Reheat at 350 degrees F for 3 – 4 minutes.
- I own a Philips XXL Air Fryer and test all of my recipes in it.
- For a single recipe of air fryer falafel, a 3 or 4-cup capacity food processor will work.
- This is the small cookie scoop I used to help shape the falafel.
- To make multiple batches of this recipe, you’ll need at least an 8-cup capacity food processor.
- Use a silicone pastry brush to lightly oil your falafel before air frying.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Feta Cheese Egg Rolls
- Air Fryer Garlic Bread
- Hasselback Potatoes
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Air Fried Chex Mix
Air Fryer Falafel
- 1 Air Fryer
- 15.5 oz Chickpeas
- 2 tbsp Parsley
- 2 tbsp Cilantro
- 1 tbsp Garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Red Onion
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds toasted
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tbsp Chickpea Water use more if needed
- 2 tbsp Flour
- 2 tbsp Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- Drain the can of chickpeas, but reserve about two tablespoons of the water.
- Into a food processor, add the drained chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, garlic, red onion, sesame seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Cover and begin to pulse the mixture on low. Add one tablespoon of the chickpea water and switch to high power for about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl, using a spatula.
- Blend again for about 20 seconds. Add one more tablespoon of the chickpea water if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the food processor container again and blend the chickpea mixture until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, Panko breadcrumbs and baking powder. Transfer the blended chickpea mixture to a clean bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula, until you have a smooth, cohesive dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 - 60 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Use a small cookie scoop to help form the dough into 10 balls. Gently flatten them with your hands until they are a smooth patty shape. (see pictures above, in the post)
- Place the falafel in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Brush them lightly with olive oil. Fry them at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes, or until they are puffed and lightly browned. It is not necessary to flip them.
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