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The Best Way To Reheat Falafel – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

If you’ve just cooked up a big batch of falafel, there’s a good chance you’ll have some leftover.

I have personally experimented with several different reheating methods, to find out what one’s best at delivering a crunchy exterior and a tender, herbaceous inside.

No dried-out falafel in sight!

I also give some tips on storing and freezing your falafel to eat later.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

What’s the best way to reheat falafel? The best way to reheat falafel is in the oven. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Next, arrange the falafel on a baking tray and cover with foil. Reheat the falafel for 5-7 minutes, or until piping hot. If you prefer a crispy falafel exterior, skip the foil.

A note on my experiment

I spent a fun evening making some delicious falafel and then left them in the fridge overnight. 

The following day, I tested four different ways of reheating the falafel:

  • In the oven
  • In the microwave
  • In the air fryer
  • Frying

Overall my favorite options were the oven and the microwave. 

The microwave resulted in the moistest falafel but isn’t great if you want a crispy outside. 

The oven (with foil) also kept the falafel moist. If you’d prefer a crispy outside, skip the foil.

The air fryer was slightly too drying for me, although the outside of the falafel was nice and crispy. 

Frying resulted in a crispy coating and a soft inside, but it was too much effort overall.

Top tip: If you know you’re going to reheat the falafel, make small balls so they won’t take too long to reheat. 

If your falafel balls are massive, you can always cut them in half before reheating them to speed up the process and reduce the risk of them drying out.

Related: The Best Way To Reheat Pita Bread – I Test 8 Methods

Reheating falafel in the oven

To reheat falafel in the oven, preheat it to 400°F (200°C) while arranging the falafel on a baking tray. Cover the falafel with foil and heat them for 5 minutes. Cut one open and see if it’s warmed through. If it’s not, heat for a further 1-2 minutes. If you prefer a crispy outside, don’t use foil.

The oven is an excellent way to reheat falafel and one I recommend. A big advantage is that you can reheat lots of falafel at once.

How to reheat falafel in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Lay the falafel out on a baking tray.
  3. Cover the falafel with foil (optional).
  4. Heat the falafel in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Cut one falafel open to see if it’s heated through. If it’s not, put the falafel back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes.

I chose to cover my falafel with foil because moisture is the most important thing for me. I don’t like dry falafel, and the foil stops too much moisture from escaping.

Skip the foil if a crispy outside is important to you, and you don’t mind a slightly drier inside. 

400°F (200°C) is relatively high for reheating something, but it means the falafel have to spend less time in the drying heat of the oven.

I also tested reheating the falafel at 350°F (180°C), and I can confirm they significantly more dried out.

Verdict

I was impressed with the results from the oven and would use it again. I like the fact you can customize it to suit your falafel preferences.

Reheating falafel in the microwave

To reheat falafel in the microwave, wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat the falafel on high for 30 seconds. Check on the falafel and heat them for a further 10 seconds if needed. The microwave will produce moist falafel, but they won’t be crispy. 

The microwave is by far the quickest and most convenient way to reheat falafel.

You just have to compromise on crunchiness. 

How to reheat falafel in the microwave:

  1. Wrap the falafel in a damp paper towel.
  2. Put the wrapped falafel on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. Microwave the falafel on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Check the temperature of the falafel and heat for another 10 seconds if needed.

When you open the damp paper towels, be careful because the steam can burn your hands.

The paper towels keep the falafel moist and stop it from becoming too dry. 

Try to keep the number of falafel in the microwave to a minimum. Three or four small falafel would be my limit.

Less falafel means the heating is more even.

Verdict

The microwave was my favorite method in this experiment (and I don’t say that often) because of how moist the falafel were. 

If your falafel have been sitting in the fridge for a few days and have become really dry, definitely try the microwave.

But if you want crispy falafel, steer clear of the microwave.

Reheating falafel by frying

To reheat falafel in a skillet, add 1 inch of oil to a heavy-bottom pan and heat it until it reaches 350°F (180°C). Fry the falafel for 60 seconds, turning them halfway through. Scoop the falafel out and let them rest on a paper towel for a minute before serving.

Frying is messy and unhealthy, but as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. The falafel will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

How to reheat falafel by frying:

  1. Heat around 1 inch of oil in a heavy-bottom pan until bubbles start to appear on the surface (or it measures 350°F (180°C) on a thermometer).
  2. Fry the falafel for 60 seconds, turning them halfway through.
  3. Let the falafel rest for a minute on a wire rack or paper towels before serving.

I’ve given instructions for shallow frying here, but you can also deep fry the falafel. Heat the oil to 350°F (180°C) and gently lower the falafel into the oil for 60 seconds. No need to flip.

You can also use a lot less oil than 1 inch, but you will have to turn the falafel frequently to ensure they heat evenly and don’t burn on one side. 

This can be difficult when they’re ball-shaped. It’s much easier if you have falafel patties.

Oil temperature is important when you’re shallow or deep frying, so it’s best to use a thermometer to monitor it. 

Too cold, and the falafel will soak up all the oil and be greasy.

Too hot, and the falafel will burn on the outside but be cold on the inside.

Don’t overcrowd the pan with falafel. Overcrowding will cause the oil temperature to drop and can lead to uneven heating.

The falafel should have their own space to float around in.

Verdict

If you get this method right, the falafel are really nice (like good as new). I was worried re-frying my falafel would dry them out, but it didn’t. 

However, because frying involves quite a bit of effort and some risk is involved, it’s not my recommended method.

I would avoid it if you have bigger falafel which might take a while to heat through.

Reheating falafel in the air fryer

To reheat falafel in the air fryer, preheat it to 350°F (180°C). Arrange the falafel in the air fryer basket so they’re not touching, and heat them for 2-3 minutes. Cut one open to check it’s heated all the way through. If it’s not, heat the falafel for a further minute.

The air fryer is a quick way of getting crispy falafel, but it’s also very drying. I wasn’t a fan of the falafel out of the air fryer.

How to reheat falafel in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Arrange the falafel in the air fryer basket, making sure the balls aren’t touching.
  3. Heat the falafel in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Cut one falafel open to check it’s heated all the way through. If it’s not, put the falafel back in the air fryer for another minute.

If you want to get a really crisp outside, spray the falafel lightly with oil before putting them in the air fryer.

I don’t tend to do this because I think they’re crispy enough without the extra oil.

Be very careful not to leave the falafel in the air fryer too long, or they’ll come out hard as rocks!

Verdict

I’m usually a big advocate for the air fryer, but it was my least favorite option in this experiment.

The falafel came out chewy and dry even though I took it out as soon as it warmed all the way through.

How to store falafel

To store leftover falafel, wait for it to cool to temperature before putting it in an airtight container lined with paper towels. Keep the balls from touching as much as possible and separate layers with more paper towels. The falafel will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it.

The paper towels will help soak up excess moisture and keep the falafel crispy.

While the falafel will stay good for up to 5 days, they will get drier as time goes on, so it’s best to eat them as soon as possible. Or freeze them to preserve the moisture.

You can also store the raw falafel mix.

You can store uncooked falafel mix in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Simply put it in an airtight container and put it in the fridge. You can store the falafel mixture shaped or unshaped.

For shaped falafel, wrap each individual ball or patty in plastic wrap.

Don’t leave your cooked or raw falafel out at room temperature for more than two hours. It’s perishable and can start to grow harmful bacteria.

How to freeze falafel

To freeze falafel, wait for it to cool to room temperature (if warm), and then lay the balls out on a sheet pan and put this in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once the falafel balls are hard to the touch, transfer them to a heavy-duty freezer bag. The falafel will last for up to 6 months in the freezer.

You can freeze uncooked but shaped falafel in the same way.

Tip: flatten the balls slightly while shaping them so they don’t roll around on the sheet pan.

Freezing the falafel individually first ensures they don’t stick together in the freezer bag, so you can take out as many as you need each time.

Before putting the freezer bag in the freezer, squeeze as much air out of it as you can. Air is the primary cause of freezer burn, so you want to get rid of it.

A step up from squeezing the air out of the bag is to suck it out with a straw.

And even better than that is using a vacuum sealer. Make sure the falafel are hard to the touch before you vacuum seal them, or they’ll get squished in the process.

Should I freeze falafel before or after cooking?

You can freeze falafel before or after cooking. Freezing cooked falafel is more convenient, but you lose some of the crispiness of just-cooked falafel. Freezing uncooked falafel is better for the overall texture. However, the balls become more fragile, and you risk them breaking during cooking. 

I like the convenience of being able to heat up some falafel in a few minutes if I need to, so my preference is to freeze cooked falafel.

Always freeze uncooked falafel shaped. If you just freeze the mixture, it will be hard to shape the falafel once it’s thawed.

How to thaw falafel

To thaw your falafel, take them out of the freezer the night before you want to use them and let them thaw slowly in the fridge. If you’re in a rush, put them in a sealed bag and submerge the bag in water. Alternatively, you can cook the falafel straight from frozen in the oven or the microwave.

The BEST Way To Reheat Falafel

If you’ve just cooked up a big batch of falafel, there’s a good chance you’ll have some leftover.
I have personally experimented with several different reheating methods, to find out what one’s best at delivering a crunchy exterior and a tender, herbaceous inside.
No dried-out falafel in sight!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 6 mins
Course Ingredient
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 1 person
Calories 333 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion falafel
  • 1 spray oil optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Lay the falafel out on a baking tray.
  • Cover the falafel with foil (optional*).
    Skip the foil if a crispy outside is important to you, and you don’t mind a slightly drier inside.
  • Heat the falafel in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Cut one falafel open to see if it’s heated through. If it’s not, place the falafel back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 333kcal
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