Making Falafels

fresh falafels served on a wooden board
Image by Martin Rettenberg, c/o

Falafels need to be taken more seriously. The classic of Middle Eastern cooking for creating that hearty lunch food. It’s also vegetarian. Essentially a chickpea patty which is a as brilliant as a burger and equally as versatile. Use in pitta bread and salads. Most folks use canned chickpeas but it is perfectly feasible to use dry ones of course, save they need soaking for at least 8 hours. You can also use the soaking water as aquafaba.

The use of herbs is very much a matter of taste and we have often varied them within the mixture to produce slightly different flavours throughout. Cumin adds an Arabic, earthy flavour and a sense of something much more exotic than could be had from bought ones at the grocers.  They make great additions in pitta bread as well but couscous is excellent. Superb with a green salad by the way.

Prep time: 30 minutes with soaking time for the chickpeas if these are dry

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 to 5


  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400g can chickpea, washed and drained or you can use 300g of dried chickpeas which are appropriately soaked for 8 hours or more
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (or use more cumin if coriander is not your thing)
  • handful parsley, chopped, or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1tsp fine salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
  • 1 tsp sumac (optional because of its scarcity)


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan, then fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 5 mins until softened.
  2. Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas and spices, then mash together with a fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down.
  3. Stir in the parsley or dried herbs, with seasoning to taste.
  4. Add the egg, then squish the mixture together with your hands.
  5. Mould the mix into 6 balls, then flatten into patties.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on a medium heat for 3 mins on each side, until golden brown and firm.
  7. Serve hot or cold with couscous, pitta bread or salad.
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  1. I just love falafels and your recipe was the clearest I was able to follow. It is no #1 from your web-site but I would like to see others as well. I am trying to avoid frying but I know this has to be the case so I am using the minimum amount of oil for the onion. Would it work with an airfryer ?

    I think the key ingredient is the chickpeas. I prepared the falafel exactly as you said and used fresh chickpeas from my local store. They needed a long soak – at least 24 hours but when I used them, what joy !! They are crispy and tender on the outside but its inside that really matters. They also soak extremely well. Just love them to be honest and I thought your recipe was great especially with the sumac which I know gives a slightly sweet and almost strangely unusual flavour. Please add more recipes if you have them.

  2. I meant to say that I tried a hummus recipe you have. That is also very good. Would like to see how exotic I could make it all.

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