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Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

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This Vegan and Gluten-free Air Fryer Falafel Recipe delivers perfectly crisp and incredibly flavorful falafels every time.

They’re affordable, freezer-friendly, and ideal for meal prep.

6 pieces of air fryer vegan falafels

Falafel is made with nutritious ingredients like chickpeas, onions, fresh herbs, and spices.

It is a delightful Middle Eastern dish that is super easy to make, full of flavor, and a big hit with vegetarians and vegans.

Whether you prefer them in warm Greek Pita Bread or with a side of Lebanese Fattoush Salad, this beloved street food will quickly become a family favorite!

Please continue scrolling down to find the recipe card below, which contains the complete list of ingredients with measurements, detailed recipe instructions, additional notes, and nutritional information.

Ingredients You’ll Need

labelled picture of ingredients for air fryer falafels
  • Chickpeas – For the tastiest falafel, soak dried chickpeas in room temperature water until fully covered. Canned or cooked chickpeas will make the falafels too soft and hard to shape. They might also end up mushy and fall apart easily when cooking.
  • Lemon zest and juice – While not a traditional ingredient, they’re a fantastic addition that brings sharpness and brightness to the falafel patties.
  • Fresh herbs – I like to add plenty of fresh parsley and coriander (cilantro) leaves for extra flavor and that authentic bright green color. Chop them roughly before adding them to the food processor. You can also add mint or dill along with the parsley and coriander for variation.
  • Onion – I prefer using yellow or white onions for a bit of flavor! You can swap them out with an equal amount of shallots or green onions. Make sure to roughly chop the onion before adding it to the food processor.
  • Green chili – It gives the falafel patties a nice kick and adds a vibrant green color without overpowering the flavor!
  • Chickpea Flour – It helps bind the mixture together and keeps the falafel patties together while air frying. You can also use a gluten-free flour blend as a substitute.
  • Spices – I use ground cumin and coriander, along with chili flakes, freshly ground pepper, and a good pinch of salt.
  • Baking powder — Baking powder makes the falafel more tender, fluffy, and light. 

How to Make Falafel in Air Fryer?

Important Note

Before you start cooking, note that times may differ among air fryers. I develop my recipes using a Cosori 6.8 air fryer. If you’re using a different air fryer, view my recipes as a general guide and tweak the cooking time—add a bit more or cook slightly less as needed.

This foolproof Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe is extremely easy and straightforward. 

However, you need to follow a few simple steps to achieve the best results:

Soak the Chickpeas

This easy step should be done a day before for the best texture and flavor. Put dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in a large bowl, and add baking soda.

chickpeas are placed in a bowl with bicarbonate of soda

Cover with plenty of room-temperature water. Let them soak overnight, or until they triple in size, for up to 2 days. Remember to change the water halfway through. 

Quick Tip!

While soaking the chickpeas, you can leave them in water for up to 2 days. Just remember to change the water halfway through.

chickpeas are covered with plenty of water

When you’re ready to make falafels, drain and rinse the chickpeas under running water.

chickpeas are soaked overnight and drained

Prepare the Falafel Mixture

Put the soaked chickpeas, roughly chopped fresh herbs, onions, green chili, and garlic in a food processor bowl. 

Add lemon zest, juice, salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander powder, chickpea flour (gram flour), baking powder, and flaked chili. 

falafel ingredients are placed in a bowl of a food processor

Pulse until it resembles a coarse sand texture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir well to combine. 

falafel mixture is transferred to a bowl

Cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes until fully chilled.

Shape the Falafels and Cook

After the falafel mixture has chilled completely, scoop out golf ball-sized portions and shape them into patties. 

falafel mixture is shaped into patties

Avoid flattening the patties too much if you want them to remain fluffy after cooking.

Place the shaped falafels in your air fryer’s basket in a single layer. 

falafel patties are placed in an air fryer basket

Lightly oil the falafels using a brush and set your air fryer to 400°F (205°C).

Cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the falafels are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

air fryer falafels are served with tahini sauce and tabouli salad

Enjoy them with tahini sauce and your favorite salads while still warm.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This Air Fryer Lebanese Falafel Recipe is authentic, naturally gluten-free, vegan, and made with just a few simple ingredients.
  • They’re great for meal prep! You can make them ahead a few days, and freeze cooked or uncooked falafel patties for later use.
  • This favorite street food has just the right mix of spices, with a touch of heat from green chili and flaked chilies! Fresh herbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice give the falafel a real Middle Eastern taste.

Expert Tips From the Chef

  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water when soaking the chickpeas to help them soften.
  • Avoid using canned or cooked chickpeas. Soaked dry chickpeas are best for achieving the optimal texture and flavor. If you use cooked or canned chickpeas, your mixture may fall apart unless you add a significant amount of flour, which can alter the taste of the falafel.
  • Refrigerate the falafel mixture before shaping to make the process easier.
  • Avoid flattening the patties too much if you want them to remain fluffy after cooking.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. Giving the falafels some room helps them cook evenly.

What Goes Well with Air Fryer Falafels?

Falafel is best enjoyed fresh and crispy right after cooking.

I typically serve them as a main dish with a side of green salad like Lebanese Fattoush Salad or Greek Cucumber Salad paired with some flat bread such as Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread) or Greek Pita Bread.

You can use Toum – Lebanese Garlic Sauce to transform your leftover falafels into falafel sandwiches.

falafel sandwich

Leftover falafel patties also make a great addition to salads such as Tabbouleh Recipe (Lebanese Tabouli Salad)Gavurdagi Salatasi (Tomato and Walnut Salad), or Turkish Shepherd Salad (Coban Salatasi).

Don’t Forget the Desserts

After enjoying your delicious and healthy vegan falafels, why don’t you treat yourselves to a little dessert as well?

Some of my favorite Middle Eastern desserts to serve after falafels include Tulumba – Turkish Fried Dough Dessert, Kadaif, and Mahalabia.

Storing and Reheating the Leftovers

Falafel is best served freshly warm. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can use them in salads or wraps without reheating, but they will lose their crispy texture.

For longer storage, you can freeze falafel before or after cooking. To freeze the uncooked mixture, place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 5 months.

If you freeze shaped falafel, you can air fry them from frozen. They may need a few extra minutes to cook. If you freeze the mixture before shaping, thaw it overnight, shape it, and cook as directed in the recipe.

To reheat, set your air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and reheat the leftover falafels for 3-5 minutes.

Recipe FAQs

Are falafels gluten-free?

Yes, this vegan Lebanese falafel recipe is also free from gluten. However, some recipes might include wheat flour as a binder, so check the ingredients if you need a gluten-free option.

Why are my falafels falling apart while frying?

If your falafels are falling apart, it may be because of excess moisture in the mixture. Avoid using canned chickpeas and make sure to pat dry the soaked chickpeas before adding them to the falafel mixture.

Can I make Falafels ahead of time?

Yes, simply prepare the mixture and shape it into patties. Then, place them on a baking sheet and cover them tightly. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Please give us a five-star rating and leave a comment below.

I hope you enjoy the process of preparing this Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe just as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂 

Bon appétit! 

Vegan Air Fryer Falafel Recipe

Ayla Clulee
This Vegan and Gluten-free Air Fryer Falafel Recipe delivers perfectly crisp and incredibly flavorful falafels every time. They're affordable, freezer-friendly, and ideal for meal prep.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 20 pieces
Calories 72 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g dried chickpeas (soaked overnight in plenty of water with baking soda)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda  (for soaking the chickpeas)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves  (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves  (roughly chopped)
  • 1 small onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 green chili
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 30 g chickpea flour (gram flour)
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp flaked chilli (pul biber) (adjust the amount to your taste)
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable, rapeseed, or sunflower oil

Instructions
 

Soaking the Chickpeas

  • This easy step should be done a day before for the best texture and flavor. Put dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in a large bowl, add baking soda, and cover with plenty of room-temperature water.
  • Let them soak overnight, or until they triple in size, for up to 2 days. Remember to change the water halfway through.
  • When you're ready to make falafels, drain and rinse the chickpeas under running water.

Preparing the Falafel Mixture

  • Put the soaked chickpeas, roughly chopped fresh herbs, onions, green chili, and garlic in a food processor bowl.
  • Add lemon zest, juice, salt, black pepper, cumin, coriander powder, chickpea flour (gram flour), baking powder, and flaked chili.
  • Pulse until it resembles a coarse sand texture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir well to combine.
  • Cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes until fully chilled.

Shaping and Air Frying

  • After the falafel mixture has chilled completely, scoop out golf ball-sized portions and shape them into patties.
  • Avoid flattening the patties too much if you want them to remain fluffy after cooking.
  • Place the shaped falafels in your air fryer's basket in a single layer.
  • Set your air fryer to 400°F (205°C) and lightly oil the falafels using a brush.
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the falafels are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Notes

  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water when soaking the chickpeas to help them soften.
  • Avoid using canned or cooked chickpeas. Soaked dry chickpeas are best for achieving the optimal texture and flavor. If you use cooked or canned chickpeas, your mixture may fall apart unless you add a significant amount of flour, which can alter the taste of the falafel.
  • Refrigerate the falafel mixture before shaping to make the process easier.
  • Avoid flattening the patties too much if you want them to remain fluffy after cooking.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket too full. Giving the falafels some room helps them cook evenly.
Keyword appetizer, mezze, snack, street food, vegan, vegetarian

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