Can You Freeze Falafel?

Falafel is a delicious Middle Eastern dish made with spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses and mixed with herbs and spices. The mixture is formed into balls, deep fried or baked, and served with or in pita bread. It is vegan-friendly but can be enjoyed by everybody.

It is jam-packed full of nutrients and goodness including protein and fiber as well as B vitamins and iron. It makes a delicious mid-week meal but can also be served as the vegan option at a dinner party. However, can you make falafel in bulk and freeze it so that you always have it at hand?

The simple answer is yes, and falafel can be frozen either cooked or uncooked. In this article, we will tell you how to freeze falafel and how to defrost it. 

How To Freeze Falafel

It isn’t difficult to freeze falafel, whether it is cooked or not. Both ways allow you to freeze it so that the balls don’t stick together, and you can then remove only as many as you need. This helps to prevent wastage. 

How To Freeze Uncooked Falafel

1. Make the falafel.

Make the falafel in the way you normally would. Just don’t cook it. Don’t throw away the water from the chickpeas. It’s called aquafaba and can be made into delicious vegan desserts such as mousse, meringue, and ice cream.

2. Flash-freeze the falafel. 

Get a baking tray and line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Place the balls of falafel on this, making sure that they aren’t touching each other. This will ensure that they won’t stick together when you bag them up. Put the baking tray in the freezer for a couple of hours until the falafel is frozen.

3. Put the falafel into a freezer bag.

Make sure that you squeeze out all the air from the bag so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of your falafel. Alternatively, you can put the falafel in an airtight container. Put a label on the bag or container with the date and contents. It is a good idea to write that the falafel isn’t cooked.

4. Put the bag or container in the freezer.

How To Freeze Cooked Falafel

1. Cool down the falafel.

You don’t want to put the falafel into the freezer while it is still warm as it will ruin the texture and could become mushy. In addition, putting warm food in the freezer will raise the temperature and other food may start to defrost and spoil.

2. Flash-freeze the falafel.

Once the falafel has cooled down, get a baking tray and line it with parchment paper. Lay out the falafel, ensuring that they aren’t touching each other. This will stop them from sticking together when you bag them. Freeze for a couple of hours or until they are frozen solid.

3. Put the falafel into a freezer bag or airtight container.

If you are using a freezer bag, squeeze out all the air to stop freezer burn from occurring.

4. Put the bag or container in the freezer.

Tips For Freezing Falafel

  1. Squeeze out all the air from freezer bags to stop freezer burn from happening.
  2. It is  probably better to freeze uncooked falafel than cooked as it will taste fresher when you come to cook them. You won’t get as many textural changes as you will get with freezing cooked falafel. We suggest that you only freeze cooked falafel if you have leftovers. Don’t cook a batch specifically for freezing.
  3. You can cook falafel while it is still  frozen although the taste is always better if you allow it to defrost first.

For How Long Can You Freeze Falafel?

It depends on whether the falafel is cooked or not. If it is uncooked, it will last for up to six months as long as it is kept airtight. If it is cooked, it will only keep for around three months. This is because the ingredients have been changed by cooking and can start to deteriorate more quickly. 

How Do You Defrost Falafel?

The best way to defrost falafel is slowly and steadily as this helps to retain texture. Take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Leave to defrost for around 12 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can put the falafel in the microwave and defrost it on the defrost setting. However, this might make the falafel a little soggy so defrost it in bursts of 30 seconds, checking the falafel each time. You can also cook the falafel from frozen either in the oven or in a deep fat or air fryer. Naturally, it will take longer to cook the falafel from frozen.

Can You Refreeze Falafel?

We don’t recommend refreezing falafel. Every time you freeze food, ice crystals form so if you freeze for a second time, more crystals will form and the falafel will possibly become mushy. There is even a risk of the food spoiling. However, if you flash-freeze your falafel, there should be no reason to refreeze as you will be able to remove only as many falafel as you need. 

Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Falafel?

Falafel does freeze well as long as you keep it airtight. You may find that it is a little softer after defrosting but you can make it crispy by giving it a quick fry in a pan. Alternatively, put the falafel in a deep fat fryer and they should crisp up nicely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing falafel but in case you are still curious about freezing falafel or falafel in general, we have answered a few questions here.

Can I make falafel from other types of beans?

Yes, you can use cannellini beans, black eyed peas, fava beans,  kidney beans, or even green lentils.

Can I freeze falafel mix?

Yes, you can but not the mix as it is. You will need to make it up and then you can either cook it or leave it uncooked. Then freeze according to the instructions we have given for homemade falafel. 

Can I freeze beetroot falafel?

Beetroot is a great addition to falafel. Make the recipe as you would for normal falafel but add grated beetroot. The good news is that beetroot freezes well so yes, you can freeze beetroot falafel and you can freeze it either cooked or uncooked.

What side dishes can I serve with falafel?

Apart from pita, serve falafel with lemon rice, tzatziki, sauteed mushrooms, olive salad, baba ghanoush, or dolmades. Falafel makes a great addition to a meze.

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