A spicy, Southwestern take on this Middle Eastern favorite. Serve with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.


Recipe Summary

20 mins
15 mins
35 mins
6 servings


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Place onion, green bell pepper, egg, garlic, taco seasoning, baking powder, peanut oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Puree until smooth.

  • Pour pinto beans into mixture and pulse until pinto beans are chopped and integrated, but not smooth.

  • Transfer bean mixture to a large bowl; stir hot sauce into mixture.

  • Stir enough bread crumbs into mixture to form a dough that holds together, but isn't sticky.

  • Form dough into quarter-sized balls.

  • Deep-fry in hot oil until falafel are deep brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Cook's note:

If a food processor is not available, add first ten ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Mash beans in a bowl with a potato masher, then mix together.

Editor's note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

326 calories; protein 7.6g 15% DV; carbohydrates 32g 10% DV; fat 18.8g 29% DV; cholesterol 31mg 10% DV; sodium 1353.8mg 54% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (6)

Read More Reviews
7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I have made these 3 times in the past 2 months and am getting ready to make them again tomorrow! They are a hit with my family--especially the kids and I took them to a meal swap where they were a favorite! I changed the recipe up some... First I omitted the salt. With the packaged taco seasoning it didn't need anymore salt. Second I added a tsp more cumin and used an entire onion. I also use kidney beans instead of pinto and plan to make them with black beans one of these times! I also use olive oil instead of peanut oil in the mixture and for frying. As with traditional falfalfel it's better to add the bread crumbs and let the mixture set at least 30 minutes. Much easier to form and fry! I do not deep fat fry mine but rather skillet fry and I make patties vs balls. Also it has always taken 1 1/2c bread crumbs vs 1 cup. Again they fry much better when dryer. Serve with homemade salsa and you have an incredible meal! Enjoy! (PS--sometimes I also serve with tortillas fresh tomatoes and lettuce)! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I wasn't able to deep-fry these so I just skillet-fried 'em! Good especially when served with sour cream and salsa (I may have added some green onions on top for color too. Hehe.) The only real change (besides frying technique) was that I used homemade taco seasoning instead of the packet. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Really easy and delicious! Make a recipe for chili sauce and it will be complete. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I omitted the cayenne and pan-fried them as patties in a little bit of oil. They were excellent the family loved them! Next time I will serve them on deli rounds with lettuce tomato onion avocado & chipotle mayo. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I made this mostly as written using the taco seasoning recipe from this site cracker crumbs in place of bread crumbs (had to use them up) and added about a cup of pre-cooked quinoa to bulk up the protein and stretch the recipe. They were very good tho I may have overdone the cayenne a little because they were a little spicy and we like spicy food. I'll keep them in my new vegetarian rotation. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I don't often leave reviews, but I felt I should since there aren't that many here...this was GOOD! The only adjustments I made were that I used my own taco seasoning mix (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder) and I added a splash of lime juice into the mix. I pan fried them in about an inch of grapeseed oil. My five year old LOVED them, and he's really picky! The three year old ironically did not, but we just never know with him. I thought they were VERY VERY good dipped in sour cream and salsa! I saved some and made into burger-sized patties because I think these would work great as a veggie burger :) Read More