Lebanese fried falafel is a delicious crunchy fast food made of pulsed chickpea beans, herbs, and spices. If you've ever set foot in the Middle East, you must have encountered falafel sold by street vendors. One of the most loved versions of fried falafel can be found in Lebanon, and here it is- an authentic Lebanese falafel recipe.
Serve fresh falafel in a falafel sandwich with tahini sauce (like tarator), fresh herbs, and vegetables. Looking for what to serve with falafel? Check out the best sides for falafel.
What You Will Love
This authentic falafel recipe is delicious and easy to make. If you like crispy falafel, try this traditional falafel recipe. It's the perfect appetizer, breakfast, vegan salad topping, or pita sandwich.
- Dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans): This recipe uses dried chickpeas, not canned chickpeas or cooked chickpeas. For the best results, use medium-sized dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a punch of flavor to the patties. You can use fresh cilantro (coriander) instead or use a mix of both herbs.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour to bind the patties together during frying. This ingredient is also essential if you choose to bake the dish.
- Onions: These work as a binding agent and add flavor to the patties. Use yellow onion or red onions.
- Fresh Garlic: Some people like to skip this ingredient. However, I recommend that you add it, and it's essential in most Lebanese versions of this dish. Use fresh raw garlic cloves.
- Baking powder
- Spices: Use allspice, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper.
- Sesame seeds: Use raw sesame seeds. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on your patties before you fry them.
How To Make Fried Falafel
Soak the dried chickpeas for 24 hours.
Drain the soaked chickpeas. Pat dry chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, quarters onions, fresh parsley, garlic, flour, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper to the food processor.
Pulse until well blended. Put the dough in the fridge for one hour. After an hour, add the baking powder and mix. Form the falafel mixture into small patties using a falafel scoop (or ice cream scoop).
Heat the vegetable oil on the stovetop. Add the falafel balls to the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown on the bottom, flip them.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the falafel from the oil. Place the fried falafel balls on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Serve hot.
Tips and Tricks
- Never use boiled or cooked chickpeas to make the falafel mixture if you plan to fry your patties. Why? Because the boiling process means the beans will retain moisture causing the patties to crumble apart once you place them in the fryer.
- Soak the dried chickpeas for 24 hours to soften. Don't use canned chickpeas for this fried falafel recipe.
- Put the falafel balls in the fridge for at least an hour before you fry them up.
Variations and Substitutions
There are different versions of falafel. Some people also like to use broad beans (fava beans) in this dish. If you want to use them, add half the chickpeas that our recipe calls for and add these instead (similar to this Egyptian falafel recipe, also known as Ta'ameya).
Different kinds of fresh green herbs and mint can be added to this recipe, but the original Lebanese way of making the patties only involves parsley or cilantro.
Is It Possible To Lighten Up Falafel?
The answer is an absolute yes. While nothing tops crunchy, deep-fried falafel patties, there are other options.
Instead of deep frying falafel, bake it instead. Drizzle homemade falafel with olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. Bake at 450 ℉ (232 ℃) on the bottom rack for 4 to 5 minutes.
Another way of lightening up this dish is by going light on the sauces, that can make this dish heavier. Instead, opt for fresh, crunchy vegetables that also pair well here. Fresh veggies that go amazingly well with falafel include tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, green peppers, green onions, and radishes. For more falafel sides, check out what to serve with falafel.
- A good food processor to pulse blend the ingredients
- A falafel scooper (You can use an ice cream scooper instead or any ladle-style spoon)
- Baking sheets (to set the falafel patties on before frying/baking)
How To Serve Falafel
You can serve the falafel patties on a bed of lettuce alongside a plate of pickles and veggies. Many of us (including myself) like to use the patties in wraps made up of pita bread, tarator sauce, veggies, and pickles. Other options for serving falafel:
- Big bowls of fattoush or tabbouleh go amazingly well with the falafel patties.
- In Lebanon, the dish is always drizzled with a tahini-based sauce called tarator.
- People also serve them alongside popular Levantine mezze dishes including hummus, foul medames and balila.
- In some Lebanese villages, falafel is often served with other plant-based dishes like loubye b zeit and moujadara.
- Homemade pita bread
Traditional Lebanese falafel is not gluten-free because it uses flour to bind the ingredients together. However, the Egyptian version of falafel, also known as Tamiya, is gluten-free.
Fry the falafel in vegetable oil or canola oil.
Yes. Bake falafel instead of frying by placing the falafel patties on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pat the falafel patties with olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. Bake at 450 ℉ (232 ℃) on the bottom rack for 4 to 5 minutes.
Delicious Lebanese Recipes
- Lebanese Chicken and Rice (Riz a Djej)
- Kibbeh Labanieh (Kibbeh Balls In Yogurt)
- Lebanese Kafta Kabobs (Beef or Lamb Ground Meat)
- Lebanese 7 Spice Blend (Sabaa Baharat)
- Kousa Mahshi Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini
- Shish Tawook Lebanese Chicken Kabobs
- Lebanese Tabouli Salad (Tabbouleh)
- Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (Khyar Bi Laban)
Falafel Inspired Recipes
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Lebanese Falafel (Authentic and Crispy)
- 1 lb dried chickpeas
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- canola oil or any other vegetable oil for frying
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds optional
- Soak the chickpeas (or any other beans you're using) overnight or up to 24 hours before you make this recipe. Drain the beans, then rinse them really well and make sure to dry them.
- Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a minute or two. Then add the onions, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, flour, and spices. Pulse until everything is well combined and a thick paste is formed. Put the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. When you take it out, add the baking powder to the mixture and fold it in.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and use a scooper to form the falafel mixture into patties (you can use your hands to make sure a sphere shape is formed). Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Fry the patties in oil. Remove and place them on thick kitchen paper to drain all the oil out.
- You can double the recipe and keep the falafel mixture in the freezer for later use. The recipe keeps well for up to 2 months in the freezer.
- The nutritional information does not include bread or tarator, just the fried falafels.
- To bake falafel balls: Drizzle falafel with olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. Bake at 450 ℉ (232 ℃) on the bottom rack for 4 to 5 minutes.
Wow Lily you are God sent and I truly appreciate your prompt response! By the way; I forgot to ask the same about adding flour after thawing? Thanks so much.
No problem at all! I recommend adding the flour before freezing. It will bind everything together, and it’s fine to freeze.
Dear Lily: if I want to freeze the falafel mix ; should I skip adding the baking powder until I plan on cooking them? Thanks.
Yes, the falafel batter can be frozen without the baking soda. Just thaw it first then add the baking soda before frying.
A great recipe, thank you !
Thanks for the comment!