Air Fryer Falafel is pretty amazing and comes out perfectly crispy, fluffy, and flavorful. This falafel recipe uses much less oil and is totally gluten-free and vegan. It makes a wonderful meatless meal the whole family will love!
This Air fryer Falafel has actually become my new favorite air fryer recipe. It is so simple and easy to make and it comes out perfectly crispy and fluffy. Falafel is a great meatless option and it is loaded with plant-based protein and lots of nutrition. Not bad for a recipe that is typically fried.
The herby, lemon and garlic flavors come together perfectly and balance nicely with the crispy outer layer and wonderfully fluffy center of this falafel. These are great served with some fresh chopped veggies and hummus!
If you are looking for an easy and delicious meatless meatball recipe then this is it!
What is falafel?
Falafel is a traditional food that originated in the Middle East that is actually considered a “fast food”. It involves blending chickpeas with herbs like parsley and cilantro and spices then rolling them into balls or patties and frying them in oil.
Why you’ll love this air fryer falafel recipe
- Quick and easy recipe – you can make it in under 20 minutes.
- Packed with flavor – so much herby, garlic flavor.
- Crispy and fluffy falafel with no frying in oil needed.
- Healthier than traditional falafel – made with less oil and fat but still golden and delicious!
- Great meal prep recipe – make them and store them for easy meals and snacks.
- Gluten-Free and Vegan – this crispy falafel are already vegan and gluten-free.
What makes this falafel recipe healthier?
- Made with all real ingredients like chickpeas, lemon, and fresh herbs.
- Loaded with plant-based protein, fiber, and vitamins.
- Made with much less oil with no deep frying needed thanks to the air fryer.
- Naturally gluten-free, and vegan.
Thanks to the air fryer this healthier falafel still tastes just like it was fried, which is the most amazing thing about this easy falafel recipe.
Air Fryer Falafel Ingredients
- Chickpeas – dry, not canned is preferred – see below for more information on using canned chickpeas in this recipe.
- Cilantro and parsley – fresh herbs for that nice green, herby flavor and color.
- Onion and garlic – fresh onion and garlic.
- Gluten-free flour – to help pull it all together and allow the batter to become thicker and easier to roll into balls.
- Baking powder
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Chili Powder, cumin, and coriander – are used to add great flavor to the falafel.
How to make Falafel in the air fryer
- Prep the chickpeas. Cover the dry chickpeas in water and soak them for at least 6 hours or overnight, then drain.
- Make the falafel mixture. Mix the herbs, onion, garlic, spices, and lemon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cover and pulse a few times to break it all down. Then add in the chickpeas and pulse a few more times and add in the flour and baking powder. Pulse until everything is incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Form the falafel into balls. Use an ice cream scoop and wet hands to form the falafel into even size balls.
- Cook the falafel. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray and place some of the falafel into the air fryer basket in an even layer. Spray the falafel with more olive oil spray. Close the basket and cook the falafel at 350 degrees F for 14 minutes. Continue until you have cooked all of the falafel.
- Serve. Sprinkle the cooked falafel with lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. Enjoy these hot or at room temperature with some hummus and fresh chopped veggies.
The falafel gets so crispy on the outside and incredibly fluffy on the inside, it is so crazy good! I could eat these every day! They also make a great snack dipped in some homemade hummus.
- Use dried chickpeas and not canned chickpeas. Although canned chickpeas will work, they will make these falafel turn out less crispy and fluffy. If you are short on time, check out this post on how to quickly soak chickpeas.
- Chill the mixture before rolling it into balls. You want to plan ahead and make sure you chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes before rolling them into balls. This will help the falafel stay together and not fall apart while they are cooking.
- Use an ice cream scoop and wet hands to roll the falafel. If you use an ice cream scoop it will help you roll the falafel into even size balls so they all cook evenly. Also, wetting your hands a bit with some water while rolling the mixture into balls will make it easier and also prevents the mixture from falling apart while rolling.
- Preheating the air fryer to 400 degrees first then reducing the temperature to 350 degrees F to cook the falafel helps it get nice and golden and crispy without overcooking it.
- You can also brush the air fryer basket with olive oil instead of spraying it if you prefer.
Substitutions and variations
- Out of fresh herbs? You can use fresh spinach in place of parsley and cilantro. The taste will be slightly different (not as herby) but they still come out great!
- You can use chickpea flour or oat flour in place of gluten-free flour.
- Red onion or shallots can be used in place of white onion if that is what you have on hand.
Should you use dry or canned chickpeas?
Although canned chickpeas will work in this recipe, it will make the falafel more mushy and difficult to roll into balls. Starting with dried chickpeas that are soaked in water will give the falafel a better crunchy, crispier texture and help them stay together better when rolled into balls and cooked. See the notes section for a link on quick soaking chickpeas.
Can you make this recipe in the oven?
Yes, you can! Bake the falafel on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
Ways to serve homemade falafel
We also like to serve them in a bowl with some fresh chopped veggies and healthy tzatziki sauce. They can also be served inside some pita bread with hummus, tzatziki, and fresh mixed greens.
Storing and reheating suggestions
- Storing: leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat right in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes.
- Freezing: Cook the falafel as directed in this recipe then let it cool completely. Place the falafel onto a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for an hour. Then transfer it to a freezer-friendly container or bag and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- Reheating: Reheat it right in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 2-3 minutes. To reheat from frozen, place frozen falafel into the air fryer and cook at 390 degrees F for 5-6 minutes.
More air fryer recipes to try
- Healthy Air Fryer Carrot Fries
- Gluten Free Air Fryer Zucchini Fries
- 10 Minute Air Fryer Healthy Turkey Meatballs
- Low Carb Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Easy Air Fryer Salmon Patties
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Did you try this air fryer falafel recipe? If you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. I would love to hear how yours turned out!Print