World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki

April 11, 2021
19 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 27 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Is there a better street food than falafel? The smell of the balls frying, the cool, creamy tzatziki on a muggy New York afternoon. The idea that you are eating something good for you that's on the fried food pyramid. It's really got it all. And it even comes with its own slideshow :) —marisab67

Test Kitchen Notes

Call anything "world's easiest" and we're skeptical, but marisab67 is on to something. We'd never made falafel from scratch before and were astonished at how easy—and fun—it could be. The food processor does double duty for the herbed chickpea mixture and then the garlic-scented tzatziki, saving us from both fine-chopping ingredients and washing extra dishes. The falafel patties are easily formed (a good time to put children or other passersby to work) and behave well in the frying pan. One bite into a pita stuffed with freshly crisped falafel, doused in your perfect tzatziki and a few shakes of hot sauce, and ordering takeout will seem like too much trouble. —A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
World's Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed well and soaked overnight
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 bunch mint, washed, divided
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 piece bread
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 lemons, juiced, divided
  • 1 cup canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, Greek-style preferred
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package pita or flatbread
  1. Drain chickpeas and let air dry for 2 hours, or more.
  2. Process chickpeas, onion, 2 cloves garlic, half bunch mint, cilantro, egg, bread, salt and pepper, cumin, and half the lemon juice on low speed until a thick paste forms. No chunks or your falafel balls will fall apart.
  3. Form into 3-inch patties and let rest while tzatziki is made.
  4. Rinse processor and pulse cucumber, yogurt, remaining mint, remaining lemon juice, and the last garlic clove on low just until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat the canola oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan. When hot, fry patties on medium high heat for 3 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with warm pita or flatbread.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Heather Hildebrand
    Heather Hildebrand
  • Rhonda35
  • Gretchen
  • Bridget Moira Carter
    Bridget Moira Carter
  • Dianecpa

174 Reviews

Cgaeta April 15, 2021
Easy, fabulous recipe no problems at all just follow directions!!!!!
Viviana V. April 13, 2021
I also tried them today and they were amazing in flavor, but they came apart after frying them. Someone wrote that you don't have to cook them before processing them. Does that mean that your chickpeas are raw? just soaked overnight and dried for 2+hours? please someone help me! This is like the fourth Falafel recipe I make but none of them seem to work. What is the secret on keeping them in a patty after frying?
Heather H. April 15, 2021
Yes, just soaked, not pre-cooked. If you cooked them before processing them, you did it wrong.
V September 18, 2020
I followed the directions--used organic dried garbanzo beans soaked a full day ahead. I fried the patties but didn't bother making neat ones, just blobs. BUT I had two problems--1--I could literally not process this amount of food in my Vitamix and broke my old food processor trying. So, I did it in two batches. 2-- this recipe lacks flavor. It is BLAND! I had to add a lot more salt to the batter and to the Tzaztiki. I added lemon zest to the Tzatziki. I am going to re-blend it now with a third garlic clove. Ugh--I need a different recipe.
Heather H. July 4, 2020
If you tried this recipe and it didn’t work, you did it wrong. User error.

If you used canned chickpeas... you did it wrong.

If you cooked your chickpeas prior to food processing them... you did it wrong.

If you didn’t check the temperature of your oil frequently to maintain 350° oil while frying... you did it wrong.

I make these ALL the time and they are FANTASTIC! This time I even made a mistake... I neglected to air dry the chickpeas for a couple hours. The dough was pretty soft and wet and you know what? IT STILL WORKED! They were even better than when I dry the chickpeas! Instead of making patties, I used a small scoop to place a ball on my fingers of my left hand, used the back of the scoop to flatten it slightly, then turned my hand over and wiggled until the falafel plopped into the oil.

Gorgeous, golden, fluffy and light and moist on the inside... perfect!

The tzatziki is a little loose, but I like it that way. If you don’t, the easy solution would be to chop it and salt it and drain it in a colander for 30 mins before making the recipe.
Heather H. July 4, 2020
Chop and salt the cucumbers, I should have said.
Alyssa May 25, 2020
The falafel was super mushy and just completely fell apart in the frying pan. I tried blending in another piece rod bread but it didn’t help. I ended up baking the rest of them at 375 for around 30 minutes. I switched the oven to 390 halfway through because they didn’t seem to be doing much. They came out fine, but not crispy on the outside, and still seemed a little uncooked inside.
Rhonda35 March 7, 2018
Made these for the first time tonight - delicious! I made the chickpea mixture ahead of time bc: life, and let it sit in the fridge till dinner time. It was easy to form the patties and they held together well. I didn't feel like dealing with the mess of frying, so I oven-fried the patties at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes a side. They came out crispy and nicely browned on the outside and tender on the inside. The tzatziki is a perfect compliment to the well-flavored falafel. Loved this recipe!
Gretchen January 22, 2018
I saw this recipe this morning and decided to try them tonight. I was a little hesitant after reading mixed reviews but I’m SO glad I took a chance. They are delicious! I used dried chickpeas and did a quick soak - simmer in hot water for 2 minutes and then let sit for an hour. I made a few small changes- I used a piece of chewy whole wheat bread, added a pinch of cayenne, and after adding I’ve egg, added another to make the mixture more cohesive. I used an ice cream scoop to form the falafel and flattened them slightly to make patties. The falafel were crisp on the outside and nutty and flavorful on the inside. The dried chickpeas have a far superior taste and texture than canned. So good with the tzatziki sauce! This is a keeper!
Anne G. December 28, 2017
Made this tonight and they turned out great and the tzatziki was delicious, will be making these again in the future. I went by the recipe exactly as written and the whole family loved them.
Bridget M. December 13, 2017
I haven't tried this recipe. It reading everyone's comments leads me to avoid it. Here is a really great and delicious, and quite easy to do falafel recipe I have tried - I highly recommend
Bridget M. December 13, 2017
Well I can't paste the link, but it is the falafel fritters bowl from bon appetit.
Katheryn's K. January 21, 2018
Thanks for this Bridget, I prefer not to fry and it’s much easier with the canned chickpeas. This falafel fritter bowl turned out great.
Wordsketch August 21, 2017
I've had this recipe saved for some time and finally made them tonight! They really were so delicious, quick and easy to make, that I immediately made another batch with the rest of my soaked chickpeas. The crust is super nice and while the interior is light yet hearty. I didn't have any cilantro on hand, so I subbed in ground coriander seed.
Dianecpa July 20, 2017
I don't add the egg and just find I have to be patient as it processes to a smooth paste that makes a beautiful ball to bake or fry,
icdragon July 19, 2017
This came out terrible. Just came back from Greece and I was very disappointed. Followed the recipe to a T and I ended up having to add tablespoons of corn starch to get them to stick together in the hot oil, and then they came out like little latke pancakes. They look nothing like the photos. I can't imagine why 2.7k people "favorited" this recipe.
Tamara H. September 13, 2016
The falafel were nice, if somewhat tasteless. Only two pinches of salt? The tzatziki was a watery mess!
Foodlikes1 June 26, 2018
Always squeeze out moisture from cucumbers
Heather H. July 3, 2020
You didn’t taste it for seasoning? “Pinch” is relative, you should always taste the food for seasoning and add more until it tastes good.
Kendra August 31, 2016
Oh man, wish I had read more comments before I read this. I let the chickpeas soak, tasted one, and thought that wasn't right, they must want you to soak for even longer, but since I don't have time, I will cook them... Yup, mush... Tried to salvage by throwing in the oven, but still mushy. Tastes great, but more of a thick dip consistency.

And very very runny tzaziki.
Foodlikes1 June 26, 2018
You have to grate the cucumber and then squeeze it to get rid d, of all the excess moisture
Dianecpa June 9, 2016
Leave out the egg, I do....voila it is vegan. I am sure you can come up with another sauce or dressing. I have made this falafel many times, love it!
Joanne B. June 9, 2016
Okay thanks. Sometimes it really needs the egg. But I will give it a try.
Joanne B. June 9, 2016
This is not vegan. It came up as the third recipe when I searched for "vegan."
Rey C. December 28, 2015
Well...this was a fantastic failure. Given the rave reviews I'm sure it was something I did, but all I got was a mushy mess. Oh well, good thing pizza is on backup.
arielles November 12, 2014
This is one of those recipes that you have to follow without deviating from the directions. If you follow it, it is wonderful! I am about to make it for a second time tonight!
leanne August 23, 2014
Wonderful recipe. A shame so many people had negative comments about the tzatziki, I would have thought that a forum like this is about reinventing recipes and bringing in your own creativity. All of it was great for us and our toddler, thank you!
Dianecpa July 5, 2014
Yes....400 degrees and turn them when they start to brown.
Mayra September 15, 2016
hello! do you remember how long did it take?