Oven-Baked Falafel Recipe

I am a big fan of falafel, and every once in a while I get a craving for a good falafel sandwich, either from our local Lebanese hole-in-the-wall, or from the ever-thronged l’As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers.

Seduced by the idea of an easy, ready-made dinner item, I have on occasion bought falafel from the organic store, in little plastic trays of fifteen, and they were quite tasty. But they cost a small fortune — a little over 4€ ($5.5) for fifteen two-bite falafel — for something so cheap to produce, so I got it in my head to make my own instead.

A more rewarding kitchen venture you’ll seldom encounter: the baked falafel turned out crisp and flavorful, and when assembled into pita sandwiches, they made for a wonderful treat of a weeknight dinner.

I certainly don’t object to fried foods on principle, but I do avoid frying anything in my own (open) kitchen, as I balk at the inherent prospect of scrubbing the stove, and having my entire apartment smell of hot grease. So frying wasn’t an option, but baking in the oven was.

As it turns out, making falafel couldn’t be easier: you’ll soak dried chickpeas overnight, then grind them with some onion, garlic, spices, and parsley if you like. You’ll shape this crumbly mixture into balls or patties, and fry or bake, as prefered.

I was also delighted that this gave me the perfect opportunity to use the grinder attachment a friend gave me for my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago, and which had been sitting untouched in one of my kitchen cabinets since then. But if that’s not part of your kitchen arsenal, fret not: a mixer or blender will do just fine.

And a more rewarding kitchen venture you’ll seldom encounter: the baked falafel turned out crisp and flavorful, and when assembled into pita sandwiches with my simple tahini sauce and lots of crudités, they made for a wonderful treat of a weeknight dinner.

And for the cost-conscious among us, I got forty falafel balls out of this recipe, at an (all-organic) ingredient cost of roughly 2€ ($2.75), which makes them out to be about five times cheaper than the store-bought option. Check my homemade hummus recipe for more chickpea money-saving tips.

Join the conversation!

Are you a falafel aficionado too? Who makes your favorite? And do you fry things at home, or do you leave it to the pros to do the frying and related scrubbing?

Falafel sandwich at L'As du Fallafel.

Falafel sandwich (pretty light!) at L’As du Fallafel.

Oven-Baked Falafel Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours, 35 minutes

Makes about 40 falafel, serving 6.

Oven-Baked Falafel Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (2 cups) dried chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose or chickpea flour (use chickpea flour to make this gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to grease the baking sheet
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped (optional)
  • simple tahini sauce, for serving
  • pita bread, for serving
  • assorted crudités, such as grated carrots and chopped cabbage, for serving

Instructions

  1. The day before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with fresh water by 5 cm (2 inches).
  2. The next day, rinse, drain well, and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender with the onion, garlic, flour, olive oil (see note), salt, and spices. Process in pulses, stirring regularly, until you get an even consistency. (If you have a meat grinder, that's even better: use the finest grinding plate to grind the chickpeas along with the onion and garlic, then mix in the flour, oil, salt, and spices by hand.) Fold in the parsley, if using. (Pictured below at right is my Danish dough whisk.)
  3. Oven-Baked Falafel
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until the next day.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and oil a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Shape the falafel mixture into balls the size of a large walnut, and place them on the sheet.
  7. Oven-Baked Falafel
  8. Insert into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the falafel halfway through, until golden.
  9. Serve with tahini sauce, crudités, and pita bread, assembling sandwiches if you like.

Notes

  • Once baked and cooled, the falafel can be frozen. After thawing, you can reheat them in the oven or in the skillet.
  • If you prefer to fry the falafel, omit the olive oil from the mixture.

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  • http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/ theviewfromGreatIsland

    I adore falafel,and I usually make mine bright green, with tons of herbs mixed into the chickpea ‘dough’, but I have never baked them. It sounds like a great idea. I love the flavor of fried falafel, and I don’t think they have ever tasted greasy or anything, but I do hate wasting all that oil, and then there is the disposal dilemma. Great post!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      You’re absolutely right: I should have added that another one of my qualms is using so much oil at once. I guess it makes sense when you’re frying foods on a very regular basis, but for once-in-a-while frying, it is a problem.

  • Caroline Keicher

    This looks fabulous, thanks. And (just confirming that) you don’t need to cook the chickpeas before mixing them with the other falafel ingredients?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That’s right! They are simply soaked before mixing.

  • Chelsea Preedy

    I absolutely love falafel, but haven’t had success with the recipes I have found. This will definitely be going in my recipes to try!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      What did you feel was missing from these other recipes you tried?

  • http://trattoriascorpacciata.blogspot.com Seth Peterson

    I made homemade fried falafel once, once being the operative term. Frying is such a hassle. Can’t wait to try baking them, thanks for the idea!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thanks Seth, do let me know if you try it!

      • http://trattoriascorpacciata.blogspot.com Seth Peterson

        Made them twice. First time freshly cooked I thought they were good, not great. My expectations were too high, perhaps. Cold leftovers were tasty, though. 2nd time I made them for a dinner party, people assumed they were fried and really liked them, and were surprised to hear they were baked. So for me they aren’t quite the same as fried, but the ease of making them means I’ll be doing them again… Thanks for the recipe.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Thank you for reporting back, Seth!

  • Annabel Smyth

    Finally have been able to log in on another device. Good. I hadn’t thought of putting onions in falafel; my recipe, which of course I can’t link to on this machine, also uses gram flour instead of plain. Then just chickpeas, parsley and garlic. I’ve always baked them, and very good they are, too.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Sorry you’re experiencing difficulties with Disqus, Annabel, I’m looking into it. And thanks for sharing the highlights of your own recipe. Indeed, it would make complete sense to use gram flour, and I will add it to the recipe.

  • Franglais Kitchen

    Interesting recipe and they look great. we researched this a lot as we wanted to make some for a supperclub event we run (we had a theme of Le Maghreb) and wanted baked ones not fried ones. After a lot of research, we decided to go with baked sweet potato falafel with some chickpea in it too as we were worried the chickpea alone might be too dry but this looks lovely and I do like the idea of avoiding deep frying so will try this out!

  • http://www.foodpleasureandhealth.com/ Dixya Bhattarai RD

    i love falafel but never do a good job with it at home. thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I hope you get a chance to try it soon!

  • rachelsloan79

    Another falafel lover who is afraid/not inclined to make it at home (I did attempt it once but the results were disastrous – it just disintegrated into the oil) so I’m very grateful for this great-looking recipe! It actually reminds me of the falafel I had at Café Pinson the other week – I think I can safely assume theirs is oven-baked as well. (My absolute favourite falafel place is also L’As du Fallafel, though Iast time I ate there I found the falafel horrifically over-salted – hopefully a fluke!)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That’s right, the falafel at Café Pinson is baked. It is also made with part quinoa or part sweet potatoes most of the time, not just chickpeas. I’ll have to try that sometime!

  • http://the-crispy-crouton.blogspot.co.uk/ Helen Brass

    I attempted to make felafel once and it was an unmitigated disaster – it all disintigretated while I was frying it – so I think the idea of oven baked felafel sounds like a better, more foolproof way to make it (for me at least!).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I can imagine your distress when the falafel disintegrated. I imagine the texture has to be just right, and the temperature of the oil, too — the oven-baked method is much more forgiving!

  • http://www.simplyhealthyfam.blogspot.com Gwen

    There is a nice, authentic, Iranian place not to far from us in Cave Creek, Az. that has delicious falafel pitas. I have yet to make edible ones myself :) I can’t wait to try you recipe, espicially since they’re baked {I have a deep dear of frying :}

  • Ella -

    yum! I have also made felafel using broad beans (fresh or dried) as well chickpeas in the mixture. I go to an Egyptian felafel place and the balls are vivid green (fried to order in a small electric wok – no small task as the place gets packed) which I think is due both to use of fresh herbs and broad beans…

  • gloria

    We love falafel here, (hubby is from Palestine) but I love your récipe at Oven, I wanna try soo, thanks:)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you Gloria, let me know if you do!

  • marysueh

    I just love falafel, and never made it for the very difficulties you cited – all that oil and fried smell. I’m delighted to report that this falafel came out perfectly! My husband thought it was superior to the fried variety. The fine disk on a Kitchen Aid food grinder created a good texture. I would caution others to chop the onion small enough that it moves easily through the machine. I added parsley per your suggestion, as well as some cilantro and leaf celery that are growing with abandon in the garden (though a late frost is headed our way tonight.) I used smoked paprika, and couldn’t resist the urge to add a shake or two of cayenne. FYI, slightly flattening the blobs of falafel mixture makes them easier to flip and stay flipped. I wondered if finely shredded carrot would work well – have you considered that? Thanks so much for the great recipe – it will be my take-to-work lunch this week :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you Mary Sue, so glad the recipe turned out well for you!

      The modifications you made sound lovely, and adding some vegetables in is indeed a great idea! It would work well with grated beets, too.

  • Anna

    Dear Clotilde, I am soaking the chickpeas to make the falafel tomorrow. I like to serve mine with greek yogurt mixed with grated cucumber and a bit of dried mint sauce. One question to you: I find that a lot of falafel is dry; in an attempt to make it baked/healthier, what is the key not to make it too dry?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Hello Anna, I know what you mean about some falafel being unpleasantly dry.

      I think it is, in essence, a dry type of food (which is why it is typically served with tahini sauce of your great-sounding yogurt sauce) so it can’t be expected to be moist like a meatball, for instance.

      That said, I think it pays to get your dried chickpeas from a place that has a good turnover, so the chickpeas aren’t too old. And this recipe combats excessive dryness by the use of olive oil in the falafel mixture (fried falafel doesn’t call for it, understandably).

      I hope you enjoy your falafel, and report back to tell us about your experience!

  • http://rebeccaarielle.wordpress.com/ Rebecca

    I made these tonight with the tahini sauce, and
    they were delicious! The falafel on the baking sheet that went on top of the pizza
    stone browned really nicely.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’m so glad, Rebecca, thanks for writing! Using the pizza stone sounds like a great idea.

  • Cynthia

    would there be any probably substituting canned chickpeas? I want to make these today and that is what I have in my pantry. thanks, I love your books and blog!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I don’t think this particular recipe would work with canned chickpeas — the moisture content would be too high. If you want to use canned, I recommend you look for a recipe that was developed to use them from the outset. Hope that helps!

  • Tom

    Made this not know whether our kids would like it. I was somewhat surprised just how much they did like it. They were really, really good. Made a tahini sauce (slightly different from the one linked to here) to go with it that our 15-yr-old liked. Our 10-yr-old preferred them with ketchup. We will make this again.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Wonderful to hear, Tom — I love that your 10yo dipped them in ketchup!

  • http://www.rokcorecipes.com Rok Jurca

    Oven baked, that’s what i was looking for. Although I wouldn’t resist fried
    ones also :). Our family is staying of fried food for ever (stay healthy and
    full of energy). TNX for the recipe!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Let me know if you get a chance to try these!

      • http://www.rokcorecipes.com Rok Jurca

        sure will

  • http://feastoffashions.blogspot.com/ Rachel Waters

    I have been meaning to make baked falafel…this is the recipe I need to try!! I will let you know how it is and I’m sure will be fab :) Also, l’as du fallafal is so amazing!! I’m from chicago and my mom and I made sure to try it on a paris trip last summer…but you are so right, not exactly light :)

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