Here's my easy, foolproof air fryer falafel recipe. It begins with my classic falafel mixture, made from scratch following my earlier tutorial for how to make falafel). For crunchy falafels, use soaked dry chickpeas instead of cooked or canned chickpeas. To cook them in the airfyer, it's best to form the mixture into lightly packed patties so they lay flat in the air fryer basket. Be sure not to crowd the basket. As air fryers do vary, I like to cook the falafel patties in 5 minute increments until the patties are cooked through to a crispy golden brown.
Soak the chickpeas. (One day ahead of time.) Soak your dried chickpeas in a large bowl of water with the baking soda (the water must cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches). Set aside for 18 to 24 hours until the chickpeas have softened and plumped up. Drain well.
Make the falafel dough or mixture. Add the chickpeas, herbs, onions, garlic and spices to the large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Run the food processor in 40-second increments until everything is well blended and you have a mixture that is similar in texture to coarse cornmeal.
Refrigerate the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a container and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or (up to overnight).
Add baking powder and mix. Before air frying, add the baking powder and toasted sesame seeds to the falafel "dough" and stir with a spoon.
Form falafel patties. Scoop a couple tablespoonfuls of the falafel mixture into your palms and form into disks or patties (about ½-inch thickness). It helps to have wet hands as you form the patties so they don't stick too much. Do not pack the patties too much, so they don't turn out too dense.
Arrange the falafel patties in the air fryer basket. Lightly brush one side of the falafel patties with olive oil. Add them to the basket (oiled side down), and brush the top of the patties with olive oil as well. Don't crowd the basket, allow the patties enough room so they become crisp as they cook. (Work in batches as needed).
Set the air fryer to 400 degrees F and air fry the falafel. Air fry the patties at 400 degrees F one side for 5 minutes, then check if they have gained some color. If not, close the basket and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the ones side has turned nice and golden brown to your liking. Turn the patties and air fry on the other side.
Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. Allow the patties enough room so they cook well and crips up properly.
Air fryers do vary, cook your patties in 5-minute increments until you achieve a crisp, golden brown exterior on both sides of the falafel patties.
Can I cook falafel in the oven? Yes, but it is my least favorite way to cook falafel. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. After brushing the patties on both sides with extra virgin olive oil, arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the falafel once halfway through cooking.
Leftovers and storage: Cooked falafel patties will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days (they will lose their crunch, however). Reheat in a 350 degrees F heated oven until warmed through, or in a 350 degrees F heated air fryer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Can I freeze air fryer falafel? Yes, you can! Allow the cooked patties to cool to room temperature, and then place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid, and then transfer to a ziptop bag or freezer-safe container. Reheat in a 350 degrees F heated oven for about 15 minutes, flipping the patties after 7 or so minutes.