Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (2024)

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This easy Air Fryer Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (1)

Air Fryer Falafel

Falafel is a delicious Middle-Eastern vegetarian dish made with chickpeas, a mix of onions and different herbs and spices. They are shaped like meatballs, but there’s no meat in them. I wanted to create an air fryer falafel recipe that was quick and easy, made from canned chickpeas rather than dried. They come out great in the air fryer, so delicious and easy to make. You can see more air fryer recipes here!

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (2)

Protein packed, nutritious and light – these air fryer falafel will delight your palate. Perfect on days you want to go meatless or just include more plant based foods in your diet. Falafel is both vegetarian and vegan. They are made from 100% plant-based ingredients—chickpeas, herbs, spices, and onions. It’s typically served with other vegan-friendly foods such as pita bread, salad, and pickled vegetables or serve them over hummus, with couscous, or over rice – you decide!

What are falafels made out of?

Falafel balls are usually made out of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), but you can find other variations depending on where you buy your falafel.

How To Make Falafel

Dried chickpeas are usually soaked, then ground up, and seasoned with herbs, spices and aromatics. Because they are usually made from soaking dried chickpeas, they can be quite time consuming to make. I wanted a speedy recipe so rather than starting with dry garbanzo beans, I created this quicker version with canned garbanzo beans instead.

The challenge using canned chickpeas is the inside comes out too soft, almost like a mashed potato texture. So I reworked the recipe a few times to get them just right. The trick is to blend all your other ingredients first so you don’t over-process the chickpeas and just pulse them a few times at the end. A few spritzes of olive oil before air frying makes them crisp on the outside and tender inside. The results are perfect!

How To Serve Falafel

The traditional way of serving falafel it is to stuff two or three pieces in a pita, along with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a dollop of tahini. But it can also be eaten – hot or cold – as an appetizer or as part of a main course salad. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Serve them in a hollow pita. That’s pretty obvious, here in NY most street carts that sell them, they come in a pita with tomatoes, red onion and even pickles. Falafel is commonly accompanied by tahini or a spicy harissa hot sauce.
  • Serve them over hummus. That’s my favorite way to eat them, served over hummus topped with cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes. A few pieces of toasted pita wedges on the side. Also great to pack for lunch!
  • Make a platter. Serve them over couscous or basmati rice with tomatoes and cucumbers.
  • Lettuce wraps. Not traditional but you can keep it light and serve them in lettuce wraps. The outer leaves of a head of iceberg lettuce, in my opinion make the best “wrap” because they are larger and easier to fold.

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (3)Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (4)Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (5)

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Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (6)

Air Fryer Falafel

4.68 from 68 votes






This easy air fryer Falafel recipe is made quicker and healthier with canned chickpeas – no deep frying!

Course: Dinner, Lunch

Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern

Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (7)

Prep: 15 minutes mins

Cook: 30 minutes mins

Refrigerate Time: 2 hours hrs

Total: 2 hours hrs 45 minutes mins

Print Rate Pin SaveWW Points

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 3 falafel balls


  • 1 (15.5 ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • olive oil spray

Optional for serving:

  • hummus, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, pita, tahini, etc


  • Dry the chickpeas on paper towels.

  • Place the onions and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, scallions, cilantro, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes.

  • Process until blended 30 to 60 seconds, then add the chickpeas and pulse 2 to 3 times until just blended, but not pureed.

  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and the flour, scrape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula and pulse 2 to 3 times.

  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, 2 to 3 hours.

  • Form the falafel mixture into 12 balls, if it’s too sticky add some flour to your hands and your work surface.

  • Preheat the air fryer 350F.

  • Spray the falafel with oil. Cook 14 minutes, in batches until golden brown, turning halfway.

Last Step:

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Refrigerate falafel for up to 4 days. Freeze uncooked balls for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before air frying.


Serving: 3 falafel balls, Calories: 134 kcal, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 2 g, Sodium: 403 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 1 g

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Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (With Canned Chickpeas) - Skinnytaste (2024)


Why can't I use canned chickpeas for falafel? ›

Turns out that dried chickpeas are essential to good falafel. See, canned chickpeas have already been cooked. Starch molecules within them have already burst and released their sticky contents, much of which get washed away in the cooking liquid, leaving the remaining chickpeas with very little clinging power.

Is it better to deep fry or air fry falafel? ›

Or you could air fry them.

It's true that the falafel cooked this way doesn't get 100 percent as crispy as a traditional deep fry, but it's very close. Plus, the the easy clean-up and use of less oil make it totally worth it.

Should you cook chickpeas for falafel? ›

The key is to use avoid using canned chickpeas. Many recipes call for them — and, believe me, I see their appeal — but I can tell you from experience that they don't work (unless you want a mushy disaster on your hands). The best falafel is made with dried chickpeas that have been soaked but not cooked.

Why is my falafel not fluffy? ›

Falafel have to be crispy on the outside yet soft and fluffy in the inside. They have to have enough fresh herbs and onion. Too much onion and your falafel will have a bad after taste. Too little and they won't be as moist and fluffy as they should be.

Can I use canned chickpeas instead of dried chickpeas? ›

The only difference is that canned chickpeas tend to be moist and hold extra liquid. This can make your hummus runnier than if you used dried chickpeas soaked overnight. Go ahead and try making hummus with canned chickpeas - it should still be delicious!

Do you have to rinse canned chickpeas before cooking? ›

If you are using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse them with water to cut the sodium (salt) content by almost a half. Rinse well in cold water to make them easier to digest and less gas-producing.

How do you keep falafel from falling apart when frying? ›

If the mixture is too wet, the falafel has a tendency to fall apart when being fried so please pat dry the ingredients before using them. If you find the mixture is too wet, simply add little more breadcrumbs. The falafel mixture after prepared can be shaped by hand or with a tool called an alb falafel (falafel mold).

Why is my falafel not crispy? ›

Work in batches so that you don't crowd the pan when you fry the falafel as that can cause them to bump into each other and knock them apart. It also lowers the temperature of the oil, which can prevent the protective "crust" from forming and make the balls soggy.

Is fried falafel bad for cholesterol? ›

Falafel's Nutritional Profile

Zozos says that the health benefits of falafel are plenty. It tends to be relatively low in cholesterol, low on the glycemic index scale, and high in protein. Also, it's full of complex carbs and fiber, which are good for a healthy gut and regular bowel movements, adds Zozos.

Why do you need baking powder in falafel? ›

- Spices: cumin, coriander, and a little cayenne pepper. Along with the fresh herbs, this trio of spices is what gives falafel it's bold authentic taste. - Baking powder: this is what gives falafel an airy, fluffy texture (many recipes skip this, causing the falafel to come out too dense.)

Can you substitute canned chickpeas for dried in falafel? ›

Yes, you can make falafel from canned chickpeas instead of dry ones that you have to soak ahead of time. It's a huge time saver! Baked, not fried. This recipe uses significantly less oil, and they bake all at once for maximum efficiency.

What happens if you forget to soak chickpeas for falafel? ›

If you don't have time to soak your beans ahead of time, you can use this “quick soak” method, which shortens the overall cooking time. To quick soak beans: Pour the dry beans into a saucepan and cover them with 3 inches of water. Bring a boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Is baking soda or baking powder better for falafel? ›

Baking soda and powder: Baking soda breaks down and softens the chickpeas as they soak. Baking powder, mixed in just before baking, makes the falafel light and airy. Fresh herbs: The tender leaves of parsley, dill, and cilantro bring fresh, herbal flavor and color.

What kind of oil do you use to fry falafel? ›

Greek Garden Organic olive oil is smooth and well-balanced with a light finish to enhance the flavors of dishes such as hummus, Tzatziki and falafel. Using olive oil is a healthier option for frying, as it creates a thick crust that stops the oil from being absorbed into the food.

How do you know when falafel is done? ›

When finished cooking, the falafel should be golden brown on both sides and feel dry to the touch, but still give a little when you press the middle.

Do you have to use dried chickpeas for falafel? ›

Really, canned chickpeas will NOT work! They'll throw off the ratios in this recipe, and they'll make the patties too wet and mushy. In order to achieve the light texture of traditional falafel, you MUST use dried chickpeas here. Soak them overnight (but don't cook them!) before making the recipe.

What are the disadvantages of canned chickpeas? ›

Canned chickpeas contain high amounts of potassium. Since people who are on certain medications, such as beta-blockers for heart disease, have increased levels of potassium in the blood, they should be careful about their potassium intake.

Can you use chickpeas from the can? ›

Canned chickpeas are pre-cooked chickpeas. You can eat canned chickpeas straight out of the can! (Just be sure to rinse them off before chowing down to wash out excess sodium) Otherwise, you can roast them or turn them into any number of delicious dishes, like these here.


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