Smoky Fried Chickpeas

October 2, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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


Food52 Review: 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&MThe Editors

Serves: enough for 4


  • 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
In This Recipe


  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.

More Great Recipes:
Paprika|Thyme|Bean|Chickpea|Smoke|Fry|Serves a Crowd|Cast Iron|Make Ahead|Hanukkah|Vegan|Snack

Reviews (53) Questions (7)

53 Reviews

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.
Author Comment
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.<br />remove from oil, drain well over colander/sieve, add garlic, fry till golden.<br />Toss with smoked paprika & salt, add more if necessary..serve warm.<br /><br />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?
Author Comment
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.<br /><br />As it says in the ingredient list the garlic is sliced<br /><br />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.
Author Comment
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?
Author Comment
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
MrsK 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? <br />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...... <br /> <br />PS: Make sure to be VERY careful when frying <br />
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!
micook December 2, 2011
Ok, in my continuing quest to figure out far in advance I can make just about anything, I made these Tuesday night for friends. Fried them -- it took me a bit to figure out that longer is better; you want them to look golden brown -- and held them in a warm oven for maybe half an hour. They were good. But they got better. Wednesday night, I heated some of the leftovers in the toaster over til they were hot -- yum. And the last batch Thursday night made us wish I had made more. (I had cooked a bag I found in the pantry.) So for those considering entertaining for a crowd, I'd say make them when you have time and recrisp them in the oven right before the party. Also, I added a little hot smoked paprika to the plain smoked paprika and next time would probably add more of the smoked. Delicious and totally addictive!
Lauren B. April 14, 2012
Enjoyed your comment/alterations. Can't wait to try. Question: You said you "cooked a bag ... found in the pantry." Were you referring to a bag of dry chickpeas or did I misunderstand?
Brsboarder July 15, 2011
How long will they last before they start to get soggy?
Brsboarder July 14, 2011
How would I make these from dried chickpeas? Soak overnight and then directly fry, or overnight, then 1 hour cook and then fry? <br /> <br />I would appreciate any help
Author Comment
Aliwaks July 14, 2011
Definitely cook them, make sure they are cool and dry. I think they will be outstanding with properly cooked chickpeas, bravo for not taking shortcuts.
magdance May 17, 2011
Delicious! I made them with chick peas cooked from scratch and had no trouble with getting them dry. Just spread on a towel after cooking and leave for an hour or two. I gave them the quick soak (bring to boil and let sit for an hour) and then cooked until soft but not falling apart, about 40 minutes. Also it's fine if you keep the cooked chick peas in the fridge for a few days or a week before drying and frying. Yes, I've eaten a lot of these yummy little guys all by myself while trying this out.
jnewberry May 11, 2011
1 coarse salt? Is that 1 tablespoon?
BocaCindi November 27, 2011
It's coarse salt to taste. I found it on another site. It was bugging me too. A Tablespoon sounded like too much. I will be making these very soon.
AlizaEss May 4, 2011
I have done this in the oven before but never on the stovetop since I hate dealing with all the oil in the frying pan. The oven works well but I'd bet this method gives a better crisp! So versatile and a good party snack that's veggie friendly.
Marihada November 27, 2011
How do you do them in the oven? Toss with enough olive oil to coat, salt and seasonings, and bake at 400 or so? These look delicious - would love to serve them and the party popcorn with holiday cocktails! <br />
ChefDaddy March 10, 2011
Very nice!
s-chapstick December 5, 2010
To avoid the grease thing I read a recipe in a magazine that is almost the same except it used cajun or old bay seasoning's & you bake the chickpeas in a 400* oven for about 20 mins. <br />They taste wonderful !
J-Dizzle June 9, 2010
I love chick peas, they are so versatile....I am going to make this on the weekend. Thanks for the healthy snack recipe! Cheers.
chez D. May 6, 2010
Mmm. Mmm. Going to stash this one away for later. Thanks.
gabrielaskitchen February 4, 2010
Making these for my vegan buddies for superbowl! thanks!
BigChiefDogface January 3, 2010
You could also smash the chick peas and fry them in little pancakes as appetizers. Serve with a dollop of thick rich yogurt. Thanks for the recipe! Nice...
deensiebat December 30, 2009
made them, loved them!
friskier December 30, 2009
A hit. Somehow turned out much lighter and better than what we had sampled at a pricey tapas place.
BonEllen December 29, 2009
I made these just now with only chick peas, and tossed w/ paprika & kosher salt. AMAZING! Even the kids love them!
Author Comment
Aliwaks December 29, 2009
Cheese, <br /> Good question, I've never let them sit too long. They tend to absorb alot of oil since they are quite soft. <br /><br /> I suppose you could give them more of a deep fry than a pan fry and that may get them crunchier ( longer lasting) (strain and keep oil for later use , so as not to waste) and do all lemon thyme garlic etc in the last fry..<br /><br />Another thing to try may be to dry them well then dust with chickpea flour or cornstarch, bit of a change, but the outer layer may retain crunch a bit longer since it has so little moisture.
cheese1227 December 28, 2009
I have served this at 3 dinner parties since it one the prize and I have not yet been disappointed. But what is the secret for keeping them extra crispy? Because of all the popping in the pan, I like to make them ahead of the guests arriving and while they are a 10 right out of the pan, they seem to loose their crunch quite quickly.
lastnightsdinner October 30, 2009
Totally addictive - fabulous party fare!
Rohit M. October 30, 2009
Had a chance to taste these and they are addictive! Great snack...
mariaraynal October 30, 2009
I just tried these and they are fabulous! Great cocktail party fare. Be sure to invite others to join you, though, because otherwise you'll risk eating the whole bowl yourself...