Air Fryer Chickpeas is the definition of an easy vegetarian snack.
Just like my favorite 5-Minute Homemade Stovetop Popcorn, crisp, roasted chickpeas can be seasoned to suit your taste buds, require just minutes to prepare, and are a vegetarian and vegan-friendly recipe virtually no one can resist. It’s perfect for game days, after-school munching, and healthy meal prepping.
What Are Chickpeas Exactly?
Are they beans? A legume? Grains? Let’s dive into the details.
Chickpeas are commonly confused with lentils and fava beans but are actually their own type of legume and a vegetarian staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Cuisine.
They’re light in color and have a smooth, round exterior with a creamy interior, making them the hero in classic chickpea recipes like Roasted Garlic Hummus, Chickpea Fritters, Vegetarian Meatballs, and Crispy Falafel.
But as a professional recipe developer, it’s my expert opinion that a crispy, crunchy, well-seasoned chickpea snack is under-appreciated in vegetarian cuisine. It’s not only the perfect quick nibble on the go, it’s also the best, healthy topper for salads, soups, buddha bowls, tacos, wraps, and more.
As far as vegetarian air fryer recipes go, air fryer chickpeas is easily one of my most repeated favorites because the end result is superiorly crispy in record time.
Believe it or not, making a good vegetarian snack from scratch can be done with just 3 ingredients:
- Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) – I typically use a 15-ounce can of chickpeas for their ease and simplicity, but if you’re cooking your chickpeas from scratch, you’ll need about 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups.
- Oil – Tossing the chickpeas in a little bit of oil is not only key to making them perfectly crisp, but is essential to helping the seasoning stick. I use olive oil, but avocado oil, refined coconut oil, or vegetable oil would all do the trick.
- Seasoning – Every great nosh is made with a great seasoning. Use one of the seasoning variations below, or browse my homemade popcorn recipes for even more flavor inspiration.
Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for measurements.
This air fryer is easy to use and is the perfect size for two or a small family.
Chickpeas alone are rather neutral in flavor and easy to season with whatever your heart desires. Here are a few of my favorite seasoning blends to use, but again, don’t be afraid to get creative here. Or, keep it extremely simple and opt for a classic salt and pepper combo. It’s entirely up to you!
- Multi-Purpose Seasoned Salt: Jazz up the flavor without overpowering their neutral, creamy flavor.
- Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix: Love Ranch Popcorn? You won’t be disappointed with ranch-seasoned crispy chickpeas.
- Taco Seasoning or Fajita Seasoning: Perfect for adding this crunchy garnish on top of tacos, burrito bowls, or a Mexican-Inspired Vegetarian Charcuterie Board.
- Cajun Seasoning: The perfect cajun flavor boost with a kick of heat!
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning: Switching your game day snack to a vegetarian option? Try this lemon pepper seasoning – it’s good on much more than chicken wings.
- Elote Seasoning: Satisfy that Trader Joe’s craving with a homemade elote seasoning!
Craving something sweet? Turn this salty snack into a healthy dessert and toss in brown sugar and cinnamon.
How to Roast Chickpeas in the Air Fryer
Making yourself roasted crunchy chickpeas is as easy as it gets, but there are a few rules to keep in mind for the best results possible.
First, make sure the chickpeas are completely dry before seasoning. This is so important, or the chickpeas won’t crisp up.
After rinsing and draining, pat the chickpeas dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture. Remember, it’s essential that the chickpeas are NOT wet, so take your time here!
Once the chickpeas are completely dry, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and seasoning of choice, then toss chickpeas until evenly coated. As a general guideline, I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon of oil and increasing to 2 tablespoons of oil if needed. You don’t want too much oil though or again, they won’t get crispy enough.
Lastly, spread the seasoned chickpeas in an even layer on the crisper rack of the air fryer (no layering!) and roast for 5 minutes, tossing halfway through. If you’re using more than one can, it’s even more important to toss frequently, so they crisp up evenly.
Aside from crunching on this protein-rich snack by the fistful, crispy air fryer chickpeas can be served warm or room temperature on just about anything that could use a salty, crunchy finish.
Basically, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an occasion where crunchy chickpeas aren’t welcome.
My air fryer doesn’t have a crisper rack. What should I do?
If your air fryer model didn’t come with a crisper rack, don’t fret! You can still make this delicious, vegetable snack right in the air fryer basket. You may need to work in batches, but the end result will still be perfectly crunchy chickpeas.
Can I Make Roasted Chickpeas in the Oven?
You bet! Before I invested in my 4-Quart Ninja Air Fryer, I used to solely make this healthy snack in the oven (though I much prefer the air fryer now as it makes them so much crispier in a fraction of the time!).
Dry and season the chickpeas as usual, then spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a large baking sheet with edges (the more room for the chickpeas to spread out, the merrier). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crispy, shaking them halfway through.
- Remove any loose skins. While drying the chickpeas, you may notice some of the skins coming off. These skins are edible, but if you want your chickpeas to be smooth and uniformly round, feel free to remove any loose skins as you go!
- Avoid overlapping. A general rule of thumb in any air fryer recipe is to avoid overcrowding the crisper or basket. In order for the hot air to circulate properly, it’s best to leave ample room between the chickpeas. For the best crunchy results, keep them in a single chickpea layer.
- Adjust according to your air fryer. Air fryer cooking is simple, but keep in mind that air fryers vary in temperatures, wattages, and size, which means you may need to adjust the cook time to suit your specific model.
- Let the chickpeas cool slightly before enjoying. As they cool, they will continue to crisp up (similar to making Homemade Granola!)
I’ll admit this chickpea snack doesn’t last long around my house, but leftovers will keep for up to 5 days when stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
If storing, make sure the seasoned chickpeas cool completely to room temperature. This will prevent condensation from building inside the storage container and keep the chickpeas as dry and crunchy as possible.
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Get the Recipe Air Fryer Roasted Crunchy Chickpea Snack
- Pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. It’s really important to be sure they are completely dry, or they will not crisp up well.15 ounce can chickpeas
- Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning until coated.1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons seasoning of choice
- Spread in an even layer on the crisper rack of the air fryer. Air fry at 400°F for about 5 minutes, tossing halfway through.
- Remove from the air fryer basket and let cool slightly to continue crisping up, then enjoy them on their own or on top of salads, in tacos, vegetable bowls, and more!