This baked falafel recipe uses canned chickpeas to give you easier, healthier homemade falafel (in less time!) With helpful tips and step-by-step photos and video, this is a foolproof vegetarian falafel that’s sure to be a hit.
Looking to whip up a batch of flavorful and wholesome falafel without the fuss? Look no further! Our easy recipe for baked falafel uses canned chickpeas as a modern twist on the traditional favorite, making the process simple and convenient.
It’s important to note that this is not an authentic way of preparing falafel. Traditionally, dried chickpeas are used to make the falafel dough, which are then fried. We’re using canned chickpeas for this falafel recipe, which makes the dough more moist and therefore not suitable for frying.
Ready to whip up this vegetarian classic? Let’s cook!
What is falafel?
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas, blended with herbs and spices, and then formed into small patties or balls. These patties are typically deep-fried or baked until golden brown and crispy. Falafel is known for its deliciously crunchy exterior and flavorful, tender interior.
It’s often served in pita pockets or flatbreads, accompanied by a variety of toppings such as fresh vegetables, tahini sauce, hummus, and pickled veggies. It’s also a common street food and a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Baked Falafel Ingredients
The ingredients for this baked falafel are a combination of classic falafel ingredients and modern updates, all coming together to make tender, delicious, herby falafel in the oven!
- Canned Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas serve as the base for this recipe, providing a convenient and time-saving alternative to using dried chickpeas. Chickpeas offer a healthy dose of plant-based protein and a creamy texture that’s essential for achieving the perfect falafel consistency.
- White Onion: The white onion brings a mild, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor to the falafel mixture. It also contributes moisture and helps bind the ingredients together during processing.
- Garlic: Garlic adds a savory and aromatic element to the falafel. It enhances the overall flavor profile and complements the herbs and spices used in the recipe.
- Italian Parsley, Cilantro, and Dill: These fresh herbs provide a burst of vibrant and herbaceous flavors that elevate the taste of the falafel. They also offer a touch of green color and contribute to the overall nutritional value.
- Flour Flour acts as a binder, helping to hold the falafel mixture together. You can use regular flour or chickpea flour for a gluten-free option.
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest adds a zingy and citrusy aroma, enhancing the falafel’s freshness and brightening its flavors (how to zest a lemon here).
- Spices (Cumin, Coriander, Salt, Baking Soda, Ground Black Pepper): This blend of spices imparts a rich and aromatic taste to the falafel. Cumin and coriander provide warmth and depth, while salt and pepper season the mixture perfectly. Baking soda helps the falafel puff up slightly during baking.
Canned vs. Dried Chickpeas
While we’re using canned chickpeas here, you can use dried chickpeas as well, just boil them first! Here’s how to cook dried chickpeas.
How to make Baked Falafel
This falafel recipe is as easy as blend, shape, and bake!
Step 1: Prep
Drain the cans of chickpeas well, then pat them dry with paper towels. Aim to get these as dry as you can, which will make the falafel dough more shapeable later on!
Step 2: Blitz
Add onion and garlic to a food processor and blitz until broken down.
Add the drained chickpeas to the food processor. Pulse briefly until they are broken down into small, coarse pieces. Be cautious not to over-process; you want the chickpeas to maintain some texture. This step creates the foundation of the falafel’s satisfying consistency.
Add the Italian parsley, cilantro, and dill (all with thick stems removed) to the chickpea mixture. Pulse again briefly to combine.
Step 3: Flavor & Chill
Add in the flour, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, salt, baking soda, and ground black pepper. The flour acts as a binder, helping the falafel hold its shape during baking. Pulse just until combined.
Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (up to 24 hours). This will allow the flavors to merge and will help make the dough more shapeable.
Step 4: Shape Balls
Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to portion the falafel mixture into golf ball-sized rounds. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 5: Flatten
Use a spatula to gently press down each ball into a puck. If edges aren’t perfectly round, invert a drinking glass over the falafel puck. Move the glass in a circular motion on the pan around the dough for a few seconds. This will reshape the edges into a perfect circle.
Step 6: Bake
Bake the falafel in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes. After about 20 minutes, carefully flip each falafel to ensure both sides are evenly browned. Once they are golden and crispy, they’re ready to be enjoyed!
This large nonstick sheet pan is one of my everyday favorites!
Falafel in a muffin tray
While I love using the ice cream scoop method for baking these falafel, you can also cook them in a muffin tin! Just grease the tin well, then plop a bit of falafel dough into each. Bake at the same time and temperature as the recipe instructs, flipping the falafels during cooking.
This method produces slightly crispy edges and can help make the falafel more uniform (especially if you don’t have an ice cream scoop).
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s healthier than traditional falafel, which is usually deep fried (and on that note, so much easier to clean up after!)
- It’s quicker too, because you don’t have to wait for the chickpeas to soak overnight like you do in traditional falafel recipes
- So fresh! The herbs and lemon zest in this recipe truly elevate the dish, making it feel so light and fresh!
Can I freeze falafel?
You can freeze unbaked falafel patties for future use. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. When ready to bake, cook them from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.
What’s the best way to reheat falafel without making them soggy?
To reheat falafel without sacrificing their crispiness, place them in a preheated oven, toaster oven, or air fryer at 350°F (175°C) for a few minutes until they’re warmed through and crispy.
Can I use this falafel in a salad or wrap?
Absolutely! These baked falafel are versatile and make a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches, and pita pockets. They add a delightful crunch and protein-rich element to your dishes.
How to serve falafel
This baked falafel pairs with many other Mediterranean recipes!
- Hummus and Tzatziki are classic sauces to pair it with.
- Pickled Red Onions and Pickled Red Cabbage add a refreshing crunch to a falafel pita wrap.
- Tabbouleh and Parsley Salad make great side dishes for falafel.
P.S. If you loved this recipe, we use similar methods to make these Chickpea Burgers – I think you’ll love them!
- 2 15-oz cans chickpeas 425 g each
- ½ medium white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup Italian parsley flat leaf parsley, thick stems removed
- ½ cup cilantro thick stems removed
- ½ cup dill thick stems removed
- 2 Tbsp flour can sub chickpea flour for gluten-free
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest grated
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- To cook: cooking spray
- To serve: pita pockets, fresh veggies, hummus or tzatziki
- Prep: Drain the cans of chickpeas well, then pat them dry with paper towels.
- Blitz: Add onion and garlic to a food processor and blitz until broken down. Add chickpeas and blitz again briefly. Add herbs and blitz again briefly.
- Flavor & Chill: Stir or pulse in all remaining ingredients. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (up to 24 hours).
- Shape Balls: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment, then spray well with cooking oil. Use a small ice scream scooper or spoon to portion falafel dough into golfball sized rounds. Place each ball on the sheet. Spray the tops with cooking oil. *See notes for muffin tin method.
- Flatten: Use a spatula to gently press down each ball into a puck. If edges aren't perfectly round, invert a drinking glass over the falafel puck. Move the glass in a circular motion on the pan around the dough for a few seconds. This will reshape the edges into a perfect circle.
- Bake: Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, carefully flipping each after about 20 minutes (if falafels are still too soft to flip at this point, don't flip them). They're finished when they're brown and a bit crispy.