How to Deep Fry a Falafel


Falafel are one of the great street foods of the Middle East. They are small patties of ground chickpeas or fava beans, well-seasoned and then deep-fried in oil. The small, protein-rich snacks are usually shaped into a slightly flattened ball, with a crisp golden exterior and soft, mealy interior. Falafel can be made with soaked, dry chickpeas or canned chickpeas, though the canned version has a higher moisture content and may require the addition of flour or breadcrumbs. The addition of flour or breadcrumbs and deep-frying them at the correct temperature will prevent them falling apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Deep fryer, or a straight-sided pot and candy/deep fry thermometer
  • Vegetable oil
  • Prepared falafel
  • Slotted spoon
  • Plate
  • Dried paper
  • Fill your deep fryer to the level indicated by the manufacturer. If you do not have a deep fryer, fill a straight-sided pot no more than halfway with vegetable oil and attach a candy/deep fry thermometer to the side of the pot.

  • Heat the oil to a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slide the prepared falafel a few at a time into the hot oil. They should be completely submerged and should be moving freely in the hot oil.

  • Fry the first batch until they are a deep golden brown, usually three to four minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with brown paper. Keep warm in your oven while you fry the remaining falafel.

  • Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before adding any more falafel. Continue until all the falafel are fried.

  • Serve hot with your choice of sauce and accompaniments.

Tips & Warnings

  • Two traditional ways to serve falafel are with a dipping sauce of tahini (sesame paste), garlic and lemon, or wrapped in a pita with lettuce, tomato and plain yogurt.
  • Preparation can be simplified by the use of a commercial falafel mix, but the best results are obtained with dry chickpeas, soaked overnight with a small amount of baking soda in the soaking water.
  • Add a small pinch of baking powder when mixing the falafel for a fluffier texture.
  • Chickpeas are also sold as garbanzo beans and in some areas are easier to find under that name.
  • Always use caution when deep-frying in an open pot. Protect yourself from splatters by wearing an apron and a shirt with long sleeves and keep children out of the kitchen until the frying is finished.

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  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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