This baked falafel is my family’s Egyptian recipe with one small twist. I keep the same authentic flavor of traditional fried falafel, but bake them in the oven for a lighter and easier take on this Middle Eastern favorite.  

a baked falafel being dipped into a small bowl of tahini sauce on a plate filled with baked falafel.
Photo Credits: Mariam Hamdy

As you may already know from my cookbook, falafel holds a special place in my heart. Weekend trips to the souq (market) with my father in Port Said, Egypt, often involved a stop at Mr. Bishay’s small falafel shop. A bite of homemade falafel, steaming with the scent of fresh herbs and dried spices, brings me joy and so many fond memories to this day. 

I love adapting my family recipe to get more people making falafel at home, and I’ve been blessed to share my family’s falafel recipe with thousands of readers from all around the world. However, I understand that some people don't like the idea of frying food so that's why I created a crispy air fryer falafel, and now I give you the easiest and most delicious baked falafel recipe.

In this recipe, the falafel is just ever so slightly softer on the outside compared to a fried falafel (think oven-baked versus deep-fried French fries). They turn a nice golden brown and are so comforting and full of flavor. Baking uses very little oil, and all you need to do is throw them on a sheet tray. They’re a lighter, easier version of the traditional dish, and just as comforting!

Use these baked falafels as a vegan protein for pita sandwiches with tahini sauce and Mediterranean tomato cucumber salad. Or, make a loaded falafel bowl for a hearty and healthy lunch. 

Table of Contents
  1. Baked Falafel Ingredients
  2. How to Bake Falafel 
    1. The Day Before Cooking: Soak the Chickpeas
    2. 1 Hour Before Cooking: Make and Chill the Falafel Batter
    3. Form and Bake the Falafel
  3. Three Tips for the Best Baked Falafel 
  4. What to Serve with the Baked Falafel Recipe
  5. You'll Also Like: Our Top Falafel Recipes
  6. Baked Falafel Recipe
ingredients for baked falafel including dried chickpeas, baking soda, parsley, cilantro, dill, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, olive oil, baking powder and toasted sesame seeds.


Baked Falafel Ingredients

Though this baked falafel recipe boast authentic Mediterranean flavor, they’re made with pantry staples and easy-to-find ingredients. Here’s what you need to get started: 

  • Dried chickpeas: Uncooked, dry chickpeas are crucial for a good falafel recipe. I’ve seen many recipes call for canned chickpeas, but canned chickpeas often make for crumbly, dense falafel. All you need to do is soak the chickpeas with water and baking soda overnight (no boiling necessary!). Using dried chickpeas is the most important step to make authentic falafel with the best texture and flavor. 
  • Chickpea flour: Adds flavor and helps hold the falafel mix together. You can find chickpea flour online or in the baking section of your grocery store. Use any remaining to make farinata, an Italian chickpea pancake!
  • 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. If you don’t like cilantro, simply substitute it with more parsley. 
  • Flavor makers: Yellow onion and a bracing amount of garlic give the falafel its deeply savory taste. I like the sweetness of yellow onion, but red or white would also work. 
  • Spices: A blend of black pepper, kosher salt, cumin, and coriander work together to add classic Mediterranean flavor. Cayenne pepper gives the falafel a subtle kick, but if you’re sensitive to spice you can leave it out. 
  • Olive oil: A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil prevents sticking. You don’t want to coat your delicate, expertly seasoned falafel in a bitter oil! Use a high quality variety (learn more about selecting olive oil in our Olive Oil 101: Everything You Need To Know guide). I use our Koroneiki Organic Greek EVOO because it’s nice and smooth with subtle notes of artichoke and sweet almond, which complements the falafel’s fresh herbal flavor. 
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Add texture and flavor to the falafel mixture. You can buy toasted sesame seeds. Or, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan on low heat, swirling until golden brown. 
  • Optional serving suggestions: Falafel is best with something fresh, something pickled, and something creamy. For something fresh, I love peppery arugula and Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad (or sliced cucumber and tomatoes). Pickled turnips or red onions are my favorite way to add bright bursts of flavor. For creamy, go for Tahini, Hummus, or Tzatziki.
overhead photo of a blue plate full of baked falafel surrounded by a plate of cucumbers and tomatoes, a bowl of hummus, a bowl of pickled turnips, a plate of pita and a bowl of arugula.


How to Bake Falafel 

You’ll need to plan ahead for this recipe as the chickpeas soak overnight. I promise you it’s totally worth the effort! Far from the often dense and bland falafel you get at the store, these airy, full-flavor vegan delights are so much better from scratch. Here’s how to make them:


The Day Before Cooking: Soak the Chickpeas

  • Cover the chickpeas with water. Place 2 cups of dried chickpeas and ½ teaspoon of baking soda in a large bowl, and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak overnight until the chickpeas have softened (at least 18 hours). dried chickpeas soaking in a white bowl.


1 Hour Before Cooking: Make and Chill the Falafel Batter

  • Start the falafel batter. When a chickpea easily breaks apart when you squeeze it, drain and pat them dry. Transfer to a large bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade, and add 1 teaspoon chickpea flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 cup parsley leaves, ¾ cup cilantro leaves, and ½ cup dill (stems discarded). 
  • Add the alliums. Quarter 1 small yellow onion and add it to the food processor. Next, use the side of your knife to smash 7-8 garlic cloves, then peel and add to the food processor. 
  • Season and process. Season with 1 tablespoon each of black pepper, cumin, and coriander. If you’re good with spicy, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne, and finish with a generous pinch of salt. Run the food processor, pulsing for 40 seconds each time until everything is well combined. falafel mixture in a bowl of food processor.
  • Chill. Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).


Form and Bake the Falafel

  • Get ready. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Just before baking, stir in 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.
  • Make the falafel. Form the falafel mixture into balls that are about ½-inch thick (about 1 tablespoon each). Wet your hands as you go to prevent sticking. Transfer to the oiled sheet pan, and brush the tops of the falafel with a thin layer of olive oil. unbaked falafel laid out on a sheet pan.
  • Bake the falafel. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip, then bake until they’re golden brown and cooked through, about 7-12 minutes longer. baked falafel on a sheet pan.
  • Serve. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve the falafel hot, next to other small plates. Or, assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with Tahini Sauce or Hummus, arugula, and Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad. Enjoy!


Three Tips for the Best Baked Falafel 

This easy baked falafel recipe is tried, true, and tested. But, at the end of the day, this is your falafel recipe! Always adjust the herbs and seasonings to your liking. Here are my top three tips for the best texture: 

  1. Soak the chickpeas properly. Soak the dried chickpeas overnight, and wait until the afternoon to blend them. They should easily fall apart when squeezed. 
  2. Dry the drained chickpeas well. Ensure the chickpeas are well-drained and relatively dry before blending them with other ingredients. Excess moisture can make the falafel mixture too wet, which can make the falafel too gooey in the end.
  3. Don’t skip the chill. Many recipes use egg or flour as a binding agent. I prefer to chill falafel instead, as it keeps them nice and airy with no added filler. Don’t skip the chill! It’s necessary to ensure they maintain their shape. 
a plate of baked falafel with a small bowl of tahini sauce.


What to Serve with the Baked Falafel Recipe

Though it’s rich in both texture and flavor, falafel is not something you serve on its own. It’s kind of like a Mediterranean meatball: It needs a flavorful sauce and other simple sides to shine. 

My go-to is pita sandwiches. Freshly made pita bread is a special treat, but store-bought works well too. I love arugula, creamy, garlicky, and nutty Tahini Sauce, and Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad. That’s all you need, but if you’re a big fan of spice, you can squeeze in some of your favorite hot sauce. 

For a gluten-free and vegan meal that’s sure to fill you up, make a Mediterranean-style protein bowl with hummus, fresh greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, a drizzle of olive oil, and (optionally) a sprinkling of sumac

You'll Also Like: Our Top Falafel Recipes

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4.71 from 17 votes

Baked Falafel

Suzy Karadsheh
a stack of baked falafel on a blue plate.
This crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside vegan delights are my family’s Egyptian falafel recipe with one minor adjustment. I finish them in the oven for a light and easy twist on the traditional fried falafel. Don't forget to soak the chickpeas overnight–and avoid any temptation to use canned! An overnight soak is all you need to tenderize the chickpeas and make the crispiest baked falafel with very little effort.
Prep – 1 day 10 minutes
Cook – 15 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total – 1 day 1 hour 25 minutes
Cuisine:
Egyptian, Middle Eastern
Serves – 8 people (makes 24 falafels)
Course:
Appetizers, Side, Snack, Vegan

Ingredients
  

For the Falafel

  • 2 cups uncooked dried chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • ¾ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 7 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for coating

For Serving (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • The day before: soak the chickpeas. Place the dried chickpeas and baking soda in a large bowl. Cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak overnight until the chickpeas have softened (at least 18 hours).
  • Process the falafel mixture. When a chickpea easily breaks apart when you squeeze it, drain and pat them dry. Transfer to a large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Add the chickpea flour, baking powder, parsley, cilantro, dill, onion, and garlic. Season with the black pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne (optionally), and a generous pinch of salt. Run the food processor, pulsing for 40 seconds each time until everything is well combined.
  • Chill. Transfer the falafel mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
  • Get ready. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Just before baking, stir in the sesame seeds until incorporated.
  • Make the falafel. Form the falafel mixture into balls that are about ½-inch thick (about 1 tablespoon each). Wet your hands as you go to prevent sticking. Transfer to the oiled sheet pan, and brush the tops of the falafel with a thin layer of olive oil.
  • Bake the falafel. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip, then bake until they’re golden brown and cooked through, about 7-12 minutes longer.
  • Serve. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve the falafel hot, next to other small plates. Or, assemble the falafel patties in pita bread with Tahini Sauce or Hummus, arugula, and Mediterranean Cucumber Tomato Salad. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Avoid any temptation to use canned chickpeas (very important!). For the best texture and flavor, you need to start with dry chickpeas. Many falafel recipes use canned chickpeas which is not authentic and will often result in patties that crumble apart when you cook them.
  • You can buy already toasted sesame seeds. Or, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan on low heat, swirling until golden brown, about 3 minutes. 
  • You can find chickpea flour online or in the baking section of your grocery store. Use any remaining to make farinata, an Italian chickpea pancake!
  • To Freeze: To make ahead and freeze, place the uncooked patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When they harden, transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze them for up to one month. Bake from frozen, adding 5 or so minutes to the cook time.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcalCarbohydrates: 38.5gProtein: 12.8gFat: 6.5gSaturated Fat: 0.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.2gSodium: 223mgPotassium: 638mgFiber: 11.5gSugar: 6.2gVitamin A: 1118.1IUVitamin C: 17.1mgCalcium: 150.1mgIron: 5.5mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Tracy Van Niel says:

    Any suggestion for a cilantro substitution? I would like to share with a friend who doesn't like it (tastes like soap to her).

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Tracy. So cilantro is kind of essential to the taste of traditional falafel. However, you can certainly omit it and simply compensate using more parsley and dill and a touch more cumin. Hope this helps!

  2. DJ Johnson says:

    5 stars
    Oh my! When I was 16, I tasted my first falafel and loved it. Since then, I've tried a few recipes, always with somewhat disappointing results. Your recipe yielded spectacular falafel -- easily as good as those I first tasted! The key is planning ahead a bit, soaking the chickpeas for the full 24 hours with baking soda. I like to serve them with fresh homemade yogurt. Thank you so much!

  3. Tricia says:

    4 stars
    I followed the recipe and read over and over the directions and watched video
    several times and yet, my falafal "batter" was wet and hard to get to form a
    ball. I added what ended up being several tablespoons of the chickpea flour.
    I ended up forming the falafals on the sheet. The second tray I made formed
    much easier. The flour definitely helped. Any suggestions as to why my "batter'
    was wet? I made sure the chickpeas were dry so that was not the issue. Thank you.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Tricia. It's really hard to say for sure. Sometimes this happens if the herbs aren't dry enough. I'm glad you were able to save the batch with some added chickpea flour.

      1. Tricia says:

        5 stars
        Thanks! They taste amazing, but hard to stick together so I know what to watch for next time. Tricia

  4. Jerry says:

    4 stars
    I bought raw chickpeas in two different places with the same results. After 48 hours of soaking, still very hard. I put them through the processor with the other ingredients and then baked. The falafels seemed a bit raw and did give me a stomach ache. There are many other recipes that call for canned ( cooked) chickpeas. Maybe I should try those.

  5. SMR says:

    5 stars
    I have never made falafel before, but these looked incredible! Followed the directions carefully and they look and taste amazing!! I was wondering how a newbie can tell if falafel are fully cooked? I did the quick simmer and then soak for the afternoon. They held together perfectly. Just worried because I understand undercooked chickpeas can be unsafe to eat? Appreciate any tips for this delicious and healthy recipe!!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hello! One good way to tell is by looking at the color. When finished, they should be deeply golden on both sides. Hope you enjoy the falafel!

  6. Molly B Irwin says:

    4 stars
    A Tablespoon of black pepper must be a typo 😯
    Also needed to bake at higher temp , for longer to bake all the way
    Going to try airfry recipe next!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Molly. That's not a typo. You can definitely add less, though, if you prefer.

  7. Margaret Callister says:

    Your book arrived today, fabulous! I love your recipes, have been making some of them this past week. Thank you. By the way I am from Melbourne Australia.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Awesome! Thank you so much for your support, Margaret!

  8. Beth says:

    I am wondering why the baking powder goes in 1st with the herbs for the baked recipe, while the fried recipe says to add the baking powder just before cooking. What is the difference?
    I want to try the falafel both ways, and wondering if I need to make 2 separate batches so they will come out right?
    Thank You!!!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Beth. There is no difference. Either way will work. Enjoy!

  9. Geejazzer says:

    Fell apart...waste of days ...

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hello! I'm so sorry that happened. Some find it helpful to add a bit of egg and/or chickpea flour to the mixture to help hold things together.

  10. Anne says:

    3 stars
    Made this tonight after soaking the chickpeas for about 20 hours. I should have used the food processor in 2 batches since the chickpeas and veggies were too much for my food processor. I resorted to two batches, using another bowl.

    Found the peas and herbs not sticking together. this was just ok much to my dusmay

  11. vaya bairaba says:

    5 stars
    best falafel recipe

    1. TMD Team says:

      Aww! Thank you so much!! That means a lot!!

  12. Elaine says:

    Is it ok to soak then cook the chickpeas to soften them?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Elaine. You definitely need to soak the chickpeas, but don't cook them, or you run the risk of the falafel not holding together well. The chickpeas should not be super soft when you go to make the falafel patties, they should still have a bit of a "crunch."