Make the popular Lebanese street food in your air fryer from scratch. This crunchy air fryer falafel recipe is adapted from my Lebanese family’s falafel recipe, rather than fried, they are air fried until golden. This is a naturally vegan and gluten free recipe using a lot less oil.
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What is Air Fryer Falafel?
Air fryer falafel is a healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried falafel.
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas or fava beans, combined with herbs and spices, and shaped into small balls or pucks.
When making falafel in an air fryer, the traditional deep-frying method is replaced with hot air circulation, resulting in a crispy texture with a lot less oil.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Get the same authentic taste without the huge amount of oil, a lower fat content.
- The crispy texture on the outside is still there whilst the inside is still tender
- Enjoy your falafel as you normally would, in a wrap or bowl
- Dietary friendly - vegan and gluten free - not all falafels are gluten free
Ingredients You'll Need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients and their measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Dried chickpeas and extra large fava beans are soaked overnight. Never use cooked or canned beans, these will yield a different result to traditional falafel. The fava beans will need to be peeled the next day when the skins are soft.
Dried herbs, my family’s recipe uses dried parsley flakes, Ground coriander seed, dried mint flakes.
Spices including ground cumin, paprika, Lebanese baharat, which is a blend of 7 spices, black pepper and salt.
Fresh garlic cloves and onion are the aromatics that help create that famous falafel taste when combined with the herbs and spices.
Boiled and peeled potato helps to bind the ingredients together.
Bicarbonate soda leavens the mixture to make it airy. I prefer to use this bicarb soda (affiliate link).
How to Make Air Fryer Falafel
Soak the beans overnight. It is important that the dried chickpeas and fava beans be soaked overnight in triple the amount of water to rehydrate them as they will double in size.
Drain and peel the fava beans. The next day, rinse and drain the beans, let them sit in a colander, so excess water can be expelled. Peel the skins of the fava beans, which should come off very easily. Discard the skins.
Use a high-speed food processor to process the mixture. Add the hydrated beans, and process them until they become roughly chopped, about a minute.
Add in all the other ingredients and then process for a minute at a time, scraping down the sides and bring up the bottom to ensure the mixture is processed evenly.
Repeat 5 to 6 times. The mixture will be a fine grainy wet-crumb (moist).
Rest the mixture. Place your mixture into a bowl and knead it with your hands for a minute until you feel that everything is evenly mixed and there are no large pieces. Cover it with cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Make the falafel balls. Lightly brush the pan of your air fryer with some cooking oil.
Add your mixture to a falafel maker (affiliate link), pack it tight, and shape it into a domed puck (just over an inch thick).
Gently place it onto the oiled air fryer tray and gently brush the top of the falafel ball. Repeat this until the tray is filled with falafel balls, ensuring that they do not touch each other.
Air fry on high (200C/392F) until golden brown (about 15 minutes - see tips below) gently turning halfway. Serve immediately. (this is similar to the air fryer I use - affiliate link)
Kitchen Tools Need
Don’t have a falafel maker, use your hands to create the balls and gently squish them into a puck.
Air fryers differ in make and model, and so will the air frying time. Watch your falafels as they air fryer, they are ready when they are golden brown.
- A falafel pita sandwich is my favorite way to enjoy these delicious crispy pucks. Click the link to see my authentic Lebanese street food recipe.
- Add these to a falafel bowl. There is no hard and fast rule about what to include, but a general rule of thumb is to at least serve it with tahini sauce, hummus, lettuce, tomato and fries.
- Serve it as part of a mezze which is the Arabic word for “small share plates” you can find foods such as Lebanese hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli, fattoush, garlic sauce, spicy potatoes, air fried cauliflower, potato kibbeh and more.
Still can’t decide? Here’s a list of the best side dishes for what to serve with falafel.
Canned chickpeas do not work as well for falafel as they have already been cooked and their starches have been released. This makes the falafel mixture too wet and sticky, and it will not hold its shape when cooked, in fact, it will be mushy.
On the other hand, dried chickpeas, have not been cooked yet, so their starches are still intact when they are rehydrated. This makes the falafel mixture moist and grainy, giving it the right texture.
More on Falafel
Try my traditional falafel recipe - yes the fried version.
If you have special dietary requirements such as a vegan and or gluten free diet, and you might want to read is falafel vegan? and or is falafel gluten free? These two articles will help breakdown the answers.
Easy Air Fryer Falafel Recipe (From Scratch)
- 216 g Dried chickpeas soaked overnight
- 95 g Dried broad bean soaked overnight (fava beans)
- 25 g Boiled potato peeled
- 100 g Onion
- 1½ teaspoon Ground parsley
- 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoon Ground mint
- ¼ teaspoon Lebanese Seven spice
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda bicarbonate soda
- 2 cloves Garlic large
- 1 tablespoon Cooking oil for brushing, use as much as you require
- Water For soaking broad beans
- Soak the dried chickpeas and large broad beans (fava beans) overnight in triple the amount of water.216 g Dried chickpeas, 95 g Dried broad bean, Water
- Drain the beans. Peel the broad beans (fava beans). Discard the skins. Using a food processor, add the beans, onion, garlic, baking soda and spices, and process for a minute. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and bring up the bottom of the mixture to help the food processor evenly process all the ingredients. Repeat x 5.25 g Boiled potato, 100 g Onion, 1½ teaspoon Ground parsley, 1 teaspoon Ground coriander, 1½ teaspoon Ground mint, ¼ teaspoon Lebanese Seven spice, ½ teaspoon Paprika, ½ teaspoon Ground cumin, ¾ teaspoon Salt, ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper, 2 cloves Garlic
- Place your mixture into a bowl and knead it with your hands for 1 minute, until you feel that everything is evenly mixed and make sure there are no large pieces. Cover with cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Add some mixture to a falafel maker, pack it in tight, and shape it into a domed puck (just over an inch thick - See video.). Gently place it onto the oiled air fryer tray and gently brush the top of the falafel ball. Repeat this until the tray is filled with falafel balls, ensuring that they do not touch each other. Air fry on high (200C/392F) until golden brown for 14-15 minutes. Turn them halfway during air frying. Serve immediately. (you may need to do a few batches).1 tablespoon Cooking oil
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.