Cast Iron

Smoky Fried Chickpeas

October  2, 2009
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves enough for 4
Author Notes

I was making a sort of Spanish/Moroccan Moorish sort of dinner for friends one night, and was looking for something small and spicy and crunchy to serve with drinks. I thought I had almonds, but had run out, oh no! But I did have a can of chickpeas...

Featured In: The Smoky, Snackable Chickpeas Every Happy Hour Needs —Aliwaks

Test Kitchen Notes

If you were to put out a bowl of these crunchy, smoky, spicy little nuggets at a cocktail party, it's likely they'd be gone in under five minutes. Aliwaks has taken an already brilliant idea (fried chickpeas with smoked paprika) and run with it. You also fry strips of lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves and later thinly sliced garlic to mix with the chickpeas, paprika and salt. This leads to an array of crispy little bursts of flavor, each more fragrant than the last. Do be careful while frying (use a splatter screen if you have one), and make sure the chickpeas are as dry as you can get them. It's worth a little experimenting to find a brand of chickpeas that spit less while frying but still stay tender in the middle. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 large (16-ounce) cans chickpeas
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, in strips
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 coarse salt to taste
  1. Drain chickpeas and set on paper towels over a colander to dry throughly (can be done 1 day in advance).
  2. Heat oil in large pan (preferably cast iron) to 355° F, or until oil makes bubbles around 1 chickpea.
  3. Add lemon zest, a sprig of thyme, and chickpeas in batches, so the pan doesn't crowd (set aside chickpeas on a plate as necessary), and fry for about 5 minutes, until crunchy and the color changes.
  4. Remove chickpeas from the oil and/or plate and drain well over a colander/sieve. Set aside in a bowl, for mixing. Add garlic to the pan and fry until golden. Add garlic to the chickpeas.
  5. Toss it all with smoked paprika and salt, add more if necessary. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Fiona Dunnett

56 Reviews

Rayanne P. June 21, 2022
Crispy bites of crunchy fun in your mouth! My husband now requests these tasty balls of joy every week for his "snack" at work. Thanks for sharing the recipe Food52!
LULULAND April 19, 2020
Is there a baked version on Food 52?

Darcie S. April 19, 2020
Use the search button at the top...
Eggface August 20, 2018
I bake them: they are an unexpected and versatile (changeup seasonings) snack.
Food52 February 16, 2017
Looks delicious.. we make a sort of similar dish in india like and
Laura V. March 6, 2016
These look delicious, I have tried the baked version before. I wonder if there is another way to incorporate the garlic? Where the flavor would meld better.
Karen G. March 7, 2016
Instead of frying, I bake it and use whole cloves of garlic. DELISH. The garlic is amazing.
Darcie S. December 30, 2014
I've made this recipe and made baked chickpeas. I actually find that the baked chickpeas crisp better and they're not oily. I'm going to stick with backing them.
Melissa September 22, 2014
We do a similar thing with chicpeas, but we don't fry in oil. Instead, we leave a little of the juices on the chickpeas, toss them in cumin, rice flour or corn starch, and saute in an iron skillet in a thin sheet of oil with some salt. Finishing with smoked paprika, sometimes adding fenugreek and hing at the beginning. Slightly less unhealthy than the fried version, and amazingly delicious. MH at Teal Farm Vermont.
Deejay J. June 16, 2015
Oh my! Do you have a proper recipe for this? It sounds amazing!
Fiona D. March 22, 2014
When you say 'large can' what size do you mean? 14oz or larger? Just so I get the ratio of spices right :)
frog March 9, 2014
Please edit the recipe--it is confusing as written. The photo does not show the thyme sprig; is it discarded? I think thyme stripped from the stem would be a nice addition.
Aliwaks March 10, 2014
Frog.. what part is confusing? I'd be happy to clarify. If you wish to strip the thyme then you you can see in the thread below everyone has a interpretation.
frog March 10, 2014
add lemon zest, thyme sprig, chickpeas in batches so pan doesn't crowd fry about 5 minutes until crunchy color & changes.
remove from oil, drain well over colander/sieve, add garlic, fry till golden.
Toss with smoked paprika & salt, add more if necessary..serve warm.

By pieces of garlic, do you mean cloves? If there is but 1 sprig of thyme, how do you add it in batches? Toss garlic with smoked paprika & salt?
Aliwaks March 10, 2014
The Thyme flavors the olive oil so It doesn't need to be in every batch & it all goes in teh same bowl anyway and mixes together IF you have a huge frying pan you maybe able to fit it all in one.

As it says in the ingredient list the garlic is sliced

Toss everything, chickpeas, garlic, thyme, lemon zest with paprika & salt.
Jeanette L. April 20, 2014
So by 4 pieces of garlic you mean 4 slices???
jayt March 3, 2014
shelf life?
Manhattan T. February 20, 2014
Made these using the spices called for but omitted the garlic cloves & used garlic powder so I could bake them (400 degrees for 30-40 min) instead of frying them. They came out great; nice & smoky. Next time, I'll dice up a bit of Spanish chorizo and toss that in while baking.
Aliwaks March 10, 2014
The chorizo sounds awesome!
Rickey S. March 10, 2014
Yes it does, I have to try this.
Kathryn M. November 5, 2013
I am a bit obsessed with chickpeas at the moment and would never have thought to roast them. Brilliant idea for coming up to Christmas!
Karen G. October 27, 2013
If you're roasting in the oven, try adding whole garlic cloves or shallots. You will be so delighted with the end result.
kristen T. August 8, 2013
I want to try this recipe, but it recipe is a bit unclear. I presume you add the fired garlic to the drained chick peas with the paprika, but the recipe never gives the clear instruction..comments?
Aliwaks August 8, 2013
Kristen... you fry the chickpeas in batches..with the lemon zest & thyme... then after they are all done you fry the garlic - it burns easily so safer to fry on it's own.. then toss everything in the smoked paprika/salt mixture
Emilia R. July 29, 2013
This sounds wonderful! I wonder what can be served with this as the main dish...
mensaque November 4, 2012
Loved it!Found the fotos very helpfull,cause the writen recipe is a bit hard to follow.
MikkiPoppy April 28, 2012
I'm wondering...I love anything fried, but hate the mess. Does anyone know if it'll work if I toss them olive oil, lemon zest, thyme... and roast in the oven on a high temperature until crispy?? Do you think they will crisp up?? I guess there's only one way to find out...
Jocelynl May 31, 2012
I do these in the oven all the time and it works perfectly!
102bleu September 30, 2012
do you just coat them in oil? and what temp do you use?
thanks, 102bleu
Lauren B. April 14, 2012
This sounds amazing. Wondering same as some others: Remove chickpeas from pan and drain. Add garlic to pan and fry till golden. Should the chickpeas be added back to pan after garlic?
Iris9 January 17, 2012
Superb recipe — I particularly love the harmonious vibe of the garlic with the chickpea. I'm going to add more garlic slices next time. I also added a spritz of lemon at the end, which brightened the flavours. Oh, and I didn't use smoked paprika, but mine did come directly from Budapest, so it made up for it. Mmm......

PS: Make sure to be VERY careful when frying
Sena December 26, 2011
These were delicious! I made them as part of my first attempt at cooking a vegan meal...for company...for Christmas. They were very easy to make. I cooked a bag of dry garbanzo beans the day before and then set them on a towel to dry overnight before frying them. Perfect! Thank you for posting this recipe!