Falafel recipe

Falafel is one of the most popular traditional arabic foods. They are fried vegetarian patties, usually made of chickpeas, fava beans or a combination of both with an assortment of herbs and spices.
If you take a walk on Friday morning you are more than likely to see people lined at the nearby falafel shop buying falafel, hummus and fool (fava bean dip)with bags of warm pitas from the oven.It is always fun watching people standing in line. You see half asleep dads, grumpy people who are clearly not into mornings :) on the other hand there are those who are shining with smiles, wishing you a wonderful day as they pass you by. You will see kids giggling, happy to accompany dad or mum.Standing on the tips of their toes to see over the counter edge. Watching intently as falafel is being shaped or fried.Back at home the tea kittle will be ready with some sage or mint to flavor the morning cup of tea, a platter full of pickles, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and lemons all waiting to accompany falafel on the breakfast table.
If you have never eaten falafel, they are crunchy on the outside, soft and light on the inside. They make a wonderful appetizer, you can stuff then into pita pockets to make a falafel sandwich, add them to salad for crunch and flavor or make them into larger and flatter patties and they become vegetarian burgers.
Making falafel at home is easy, you can make a batch and cook some then freeze the rest. All you have to do is defrost it the night before in the fridge.
falafel with pita bread @chef in disguise


Recipe source: Sawsan Abu Farha (chef in disguise)

This recipe makes 70 falafel patties I usually divide the dough into 4 or 5 bags, use one and freeze the rest

  • 1 kg soaked chickpeas
  • 250 g soaked peeled fava beans
  • 1 cup parsley leaves without the stems- washed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves without the stems- washed
  • 5 cloves of freshly peeled garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

To each patch 10 minutes before cooking add

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Tahini Sauce

  • 2 Table spoons of yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Tahini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • a dash of salt
  • garlic (optional)
  • chopped parsley (optional)


Preparing the Falafel Mix

  1. Soak the fava beans and the chickpeas in water in separate containers overnight.
  2. The following day drain the fava beans and the chickpeas, rinse them with fresh water
  3. Place the  fava beans, chickpeas, garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro, salt, peppers and spices in the food processor and run it until they turn into a paste. This will take time (10- 15 minutes depending on how powerful your processor is), you need a very smooth paste and you may have to stop and scrape the sides more than once (check the notes for helpful tips)
  4. If you feel the mix is too dry you can add a little water, one tablespoon at a time
  5. At this point feel free to taste the Falafel mix to make sure it has a balanced flavor.

Frying the Falafel

  1. 10 minutes before frying, sprinkle baking soda and baking powder on the Falfel mix, knead and let rest.
  2. When ready heat 1 inch deep of cooking oil in the frying pan on medium heat (you will know the oil is hot enough when you place a little falafel dough in it and it sizzles and bubbles immediately)
  3. Shaping the falafel: Scoop the falafel by using a specialized Falafel scoop, an ice cream scoop, or by using 2 spoons whereby you scoop the falafel paste in one, and press the other spoon against it to compact it into an oval shape. You can also use your hands to roll the falafel into balls
  4. Drop the falafel gently into the frying pan. no more than 4-5 because if you add too many the oil will cool down and the falafel will fall apart
  5. Fry for a few minutes until the falafel turns brownish (you may have to flip it to get both sides evenly browned)
  6. Take the falafel out and place it on a paper towel or in a colander and to get rid of excess oil.

Falafel Tahini Sauce Preparation

  1. Mix the Tahini sauce ingredients in the blender if adding the garlic or simply with a spoon if not until they reach a homogeneous texture.
  2. Sample to ensure a balance of flavors. A good Falafel Tahini sauce should taste a bit tangy with a hint of garlic.. the sauce should end up looking cream/whitish.
  3. Serve as a side/dip.

Putting Together the Falafel Sandwich

  1. Spread a pita pocket with some hummus or tahini sauce.
  2. While still hot, place some falafel rounds into the sandwich and mash them slightly with a fork
  3. Add any or all of the following garnishes: slices tomatoes, pickles, lemon slices, lettuce, mint leaves, tahini tomato salad, green salad and enjoy.

falafel from scratch


  • You can find fava beans in middle eastern stores. For falafel buy the dried peeled ones, it will save you time because peeling them is a little time consuming.

fava beans

  • If you can’t find favabeans, replace them with chickpeas.
  • You need to use dry chickpeas and favabeans, soak them, rinse them then use then in the recipe. Using canned chickpeas and fava beans will not achieve the texture you need nor the taste.
  • I measure the favabeans and chickpeas after soaking because different brands absorb water differently and end up with different weights after soaking
  • The amount of garlic, onions, herbs and spices is up to your taste. These are the amounts that result in a taste I like. Try it then play around with flavors if you like
  • Make sure your falafel dough is as smooth as possible, scrape down the sides of the food processor repeatedly
  • To help get a smooth dough I usually process the chickpeas and fava beans first until they are almost smooth, take them out of the processor. Add the herbs, onion and garlic and process until smooth, then add the spices and gradually add the processed chickpeas and fava beans. Keep processing until you get a smooth homogenous mix. You can also process the chickpeas and fava beans alone and then process the herbs and onions and garlic alone and manually knead the two mixed together with the herbs.
  • To shape the falafel, traditionally a falafel mold or press is used like the one you see in the picture below. You can also use an icecream scoop, two spoons or your hands

falafel shaping tool

  • When you fry the falafel do it in a small pot, make sure your oil is hot and fry 4 or 5 at most at a time. If your oil is not hot enough or if you add too many patties and the oil cools down the falafel will fall apart.
  • The baking powder and soda transform the patties from dense and heavy to light and airy, make sure not to forget them.
  • The timing of adding the baking soda and baking powder is important. Do it 10 minutes before frying only. If you add it before freezing they will lose their activity and become useless.
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Leave a comment


  1. Eha

     /  May 23, 2013

    I have loved falafel since I first tasted them! Made them more or less successfully quite a few times, but always only using chickpeas. This is such a simple recipe and you have explained the method in your inimitably clear way: I can see myself making them again very soon, hopefully having found fava beans in the interim :) !

    • Nagmana

       /  May 23, 2013

      إن شاء الله I will try

      • Nagmana

         /  May 23, 2013

        جزاك اللهُ خيراً. For making it easy to follow

  2. I love falafel and as I haven’t yet had breakfast, you have left me craving them! Great falafel press, have never seen one of those before :)

  3. Hi sawsan.. long time!! and these look soo good!! am inviting myself over right now!! :))

  4. Amanda

     /  May 23, 2013

    I’ve been making falafel for some time now but they have never been perfect . Now I can see my mistake, timing of the soda and baking powder. Obvious really , silly me . Thank you yet again . Lovely blog .

  5. I made falafel from scratch few times, but never added fava bean or cilantro. Next time, I’m adding these two. Thanks for the idea Sawsan.

  6. G’day! Your recipe and falafel looks fantastic too!
    I LOVE falafel and love your staging of photos, TRUE!

  7. Sahar

     /  May 23, 2013

    What is fava beens in Arabic?

  8. This is great as I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making falafel and I love how you break down your recipes into the key processes making it really achievable!.Just a couple of questions – can I used tinned chickpeas and fava beans or is it best to use ones that have been freshly soaked and then rinsed? Also I’m assuming that you add the chickpeas and fava beans to the food processor with all the herbs and spices. I can’t wait to give these a go! I’m sure to impress my husband!

    • Hello Andrea :)
      I am really glad you found the steps easy to follow. Writing the recipe in one block makes it look too long and intimidating and I try to avoid that
      You sadly can’t use the canned chickpeas or fava beans, you need to soak dry ones then rinse them and use them after that. The texture and the flavor is different with the canned variety
      Thank you for catching the missing instruction. Yes, you add the chickpeas and fava beans with the garlic and herbs. I updated the post and corrected that :)
      Please let me know how the falafel turns out

  9. zeki

     /  May 23, 2013

    beautiful post for this middle eastern classic!!!.. im craving some now!! we make it almost the same in our family. but learned from a great traditional falafel maker that to get the lightest..fluffliest, easiest to digest falafel with crunchiest exterior,u should soak the chickpeas overnight and the skin/peel them as well\( just plunge in soaking water and rub with palms..they pop off easily)..drain and then proceed with recipe,,as u said the fava come peeled..

  10. Falafel is very popular in Berlin, I eat quite often, but I never make it. There’s so many good places to uy. But of course, when you make something from scratch, it’s always better. I pinned your recipe and I’ll make my own falafels for sure :)

  11. I see falafel everywhere yet I have never made it. I have no idea why not because I love all the ingredients and am fond of cooking with chickpeas. You’ve inspired me to give this a go! xx

  12. Sawsan, did you know that falafel is one of the things I like to make? Actually I made it once with a friend at home, and it was a huge disaster. We ate the production, but most of them turned into crumbs in the oil, and the result was little pieces of fried stuff, very heavy and oily. I don’t think I can find dried fava beans, but I’ll try. Would they be too bad with chickpeas only?

    • It is not bad at all with chickpeas only. In fact I have friends who only do it with chickpeas because they enjoy it more that way. I really hope this recipe will work out for you and you’ll enjoy it, if you have a chance to give it a go please let me know

  13. Ohhhhhh my goodness. I loooooooove falafel! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  14. Nothing quite like home made falafels! The frozen ones at the shops don’t even come close!

  15. I love falafel, although I have never tried them for breakfast! Yours look gorgeous!

  16. The one time I made falafel I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t fry them I baked them in the oven. I suspect the outside would be crispier frying than baking, but I still prefer to bake. I’m going to try your recipe next time I make this lovely treat. I never did get a sour dough started, but I’m making your sesame bread on the weekend.

  17. This is one of my favorite vegetarian foods, Sawsan!
    Q: What might happen if I used my fresh fava beans in the recipe instead of the dried and soaked ones?

  18. I love Falafel and Tahini sauce on the side. I just can’t get enough of the combination. Really good food! Thank you, Sawsan. :)

  19. I didn’t realize there were actually machines/devices to form perfect falafel patties. I tried making them once using a boxed mix but they were flavourless. I’d certainly like to try again using my own soaked chickpeas if I got results as attractive and tasty as yours seem to be.

  20. This falafel looks absolutely gorgeous :D
    You would never imagine they were homemade!


  21. Homemade falafel! My stomach is grumbling.

  22. I love falafel! You make it seem so easy! I’m excited to give these a try :) They seem like a perfect snack for Ramadan iftars! :)

  23. Your falafel turned out beautiful. The last time I tried to make this dish it was a huge failure as I tried to bake instead of deep fry ( trying to save on the calories and fat) and they texture was just not good. I will have to try your recipe as they look crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

  24. I adore falafel! They look so perfect!

  25. Paola DAndretta Iglézias

     /  May 24, 2013

    Oi, Titis!   Aí vai uma receita autêntica de falafel. A autora do blog, uma jordaniana, é ótima cozinheira.   Bj

  26. Great recipe Sawsan – I dint know that Fava beans were an ingredient in Falafel. I have neither seen such a tool before..very interesting post. I learnt a lot and thanks a lot for sharing

  27. Oh this looks wonderful! I have this bookmarked and will be giving them a try! Yum!!

  28. That sounds like the best breakfast ever. I love falafel & keep meaning to try making it myself. I’ve bookmarked your recipe so I can make it soon. Thank you. :)

  29. Juliana

     /  May 24, 2013

    My husband loves falafel…but I never made it at home…yours look so good and I love the perfect shape.
    Have a lovely weekend :)

  30. These look gorgeous!!

  31. I love falafel in pita bread! It’s so good! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Yummy! I love falafel! These pictures are gorgeous and the falafel looks amazing! :-)

  33. I never knew there was a falafel mold. I learn so much every time I visit. I love falafel, we both do. I’ve always made them using my hands and getting sticky from top to bottom. Now I want some. :)

  34. I had no clue there was a falafel mold. Of course I’ve been called clueless before. ;-) Really fun post – thanks so much.

  35. I’ve never made falafel and didn’t know there was a special mold. Yours look perfectly crispy and must be absolutely delicious.

  36. I love falafel and mine always falls apart, always. Thank you so much for this method, i shall be trying this very soon. Your work is gorgeous. Now! Sawson. Would you like to join the View from the back door challenge. if not the back door maybe from your balcony? Or the window where your herbs grow.. The Fellowship would love to see a view of your beautiful part of the world. Even if it is just the walls and the street. I would especially love to see what you see when you step out to start your day. Only if you want to though. if you don’t have time for a post just send me a biggish image to the email and I will take it from there. WE would love it. But only if you want to. Take care and now I am off to read this recipe in more detail. I am going to be so popular if i learn how to make falafel properly. c

    • Hello Cecilia, I really hope you will enjoy the falafel. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it.
      I would love to join your view from the back door challenge, it is such a wonderful idea and I have really enjoyed seeing what every one is posting!
      I will include it in my next post and send you the pictures :)

  37. I first ate falafel when I was in Thailand and I was intrigued by the taste and texture of it. I had it again when I was in Europe and I was hooked – it’s such a delicious treat! And now I can make it at home myself, thanks to you! :) Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  38. I had no clue you get falafel mould. We make a few similar dishes, but it’s always messy hand affair. And of course, none are as delicious as a falafel. i LOVE them and thanks so much for sharing this :)

  39. your falafels look so moreish, i bet they are delicious! I love fava beans too, but never tried it in falafels, thank u for the brilliant idea as always, Sawsan :-)

  40. Hi Sawsan, I’ve tried to make falafel a couple of times before… sadly I failed miserably both times. They fell apart in the oil and I ended up with… fried chickpea mush, lol! I love them so much – there’s a shop in Paris which sells them in a big pita bread with shredded cabbage, hummus and grilled aubergine… incredibly good.

    Yours looks wonderful Sawsan, and serve as a great inspiration that I should really try this beautiful dish for myself once again. Third time’s a charm, eh?

  41. A huge YES PLEASE from me Sawsan. These look beautiful. I can almost taste them! Love the idea of making a big batch, and freezing a portion.

  42. Reblogged this on csndra and commented:

  43. Anonymous

     /  October 15, 2013

    Can the recipe be cut in half?

  44. Sawsan – I love the recipe and the lovely anecdote behind the dish. Thank you for sharing. I adore falafel – and this looks like it’s out of this world. Warmly, Shanna

  45. Keila

     /  December 25, 2013

    Assalamu Alaikom,
    Dear Sawsan, found “chefindisguise” 2 days ago, and it’s a real treasure!! MashaAllah!
    I wanna know if I can freeze my falafel dough…( searched for this question but didn’t find it…) 😊
    And if it’s possible to freeze it, how do I do? Should I do it with or without baking powder?
    JazakAllah kheir,
    Allah 3ateek el 3afya,

    • Wa alikom al salam
      Thank you so much Kelia. I am really glad you like my blog.
      Yes you can freeze the dough. What I do is leave out the baking powder and baking soda then I divide the amount in the recipe into 4 parts and place each part in a bag and seal it then freeze it. When you need it, defrost it in the fridge the night before.Add the baking powder and soda right before frying them
      I hope this helps :)

  46. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind
    publishing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write
    with regards to here. Again, awesome web log!

  47. great
    how beautiful <3

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