Crispy Falafel Sliders are full of flavor and have the perfect crunch with every bite. Topped with an herby mayo and homemade quick pickles, they’ll quickly become your new go-to slider for a vegetarian dinner or game day recipe the whole family will love!
Are you ready to elevate the classic crispy falafel you know and love and turn it into a mouthwatering, can’t-get-enough-of-it slider? To make vegetarian dinners full of flavor, texture, and fun? To have a game day or vegetarian BBQ recipe that’s unique, build-your-own, and that everyone will love?
Excellent! Because these Crispy Falafel Sliders are all that and more. Served with a lemon-herb mayo and homemade quick pickles and pickled onions, there truly isn’t a better combination (yes, even if you’re not an onion lover, you’ve got to try them).
Even better is that they are quite easy to make, and in just about 30 minutes it all comes together into one fantastic feast.
Ingredients for Falafel Sliders
- Crispy Falafel: the star of this sandwich is the homemade falafel. It’s made with a mixture of chickpeas, shallot, garlic, cilantro, parsley, spices (cumin and coriander), and rolled in panko for that crunchy exterior.
- Slider Buns: if you can find slider brioche buns…get them. They seriously take these over the top. But truly, any mini-sized slider bun will work.
- Homemade Pickles and Onions: these are truly a must…even if you don’t love onions, these quick pickled onions are just so good on the sandwiches. The tang and acidity they each bring to the sandwich is unmatched, and not to be missed!
- Lettuce: I like to use butter lettuce leaves on these sliders, but really any green will do!
- Lemon Herb Mayo: talk about more flavor! This mayo is bright, herbaceous, and a delicious combination with all of these flavors. It’s made with fresh lemon juice, garlic powder, and parsley. Of course, you could add on some hummus, tahini sauce, or tzatziki instead, but give the mayo a try, you won’t regret it.
How to Make Falafel Sliders
The most labor-intensive part of making these sliders is to make homemade falafel. Which, if we’re being real, isn’t all that labor-intensive and the food processor does most of the work.
Pulse together the falafel ingredients in the food processor until they are combined (see the recipe card and/or the falafel post for more details). then, after an optional chill time, form the falafel into balls and roll them in panko.
Now, while the falafel chills, or even if you want to make them in advance, prepare the quick pickles and onions, as well as the lemon-herb mayo. That way, once the falafel is ready, you can easily assemble the sliders.
Next, pan-fry the falafel, pressing them into discs once you’ve placed them in the skillet. You can form them into patties before you add them to the skillet, too, I just find it easier to press them down in the oil, and it creates a nice sear.
Once the falafel patties are golden brown on both sides, let them cool slightly on a cooling rack or paper towel.
Assemble the sliders by placing a schmear of the mayo on one or both buns, add the lettuce, a falafel patty, some pickles and onions, and away you go. Time to dig in and enjoy!
Additional Topping Options
If you are looking for more topping options to add to a spread (say, if you have your own DIY slider type dinner) here are a few more options to consider:
- Tomato Slices
- Raw Red Onion
- Fresh Herbs, like cilantro leaves, parsley leaves, or even mint!
- Feta Cheese
- Avocado Slices or Avocado Sauce
- Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
- Garlic Hummus
- Tzatziki Sauce
Can I bake the Falafel?
Yes, you can, however, the panko won’t crisp up quite as well, and in fact, you probably want to leave it off, but it’s definitely an option if you’re looking for an alternative to frying.
I also recommend forming the falafel into discs before baking for even cooking. Other than that, bake them in the oven, flipping halfway through, until golden brown.
Baking Tip: place them on an oven-safe cooling rack on top of your baking sheet so the air circulates around them evenly, similar to the process with these cauliflower bites.
Make-Ahead and Freezing
You can easily prepare the falafel ahead of time in a couple of ways.
- Prep and Cook Later: make the falafel all the way through forming the dough and rolling it in panko. Then place the balls on a plate and store in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
- Make the Mayo & Pickles: you can make the mayo and pickles ahead of time, too. Quick pickles don’t stay fresh as long as traditionally jarred pickles do, however, so I wouldn’t make them more than a day in advance.
- Cook, then Store: if you want to pan-fry the falafel ahead of time, I would recommend that you have a method for crisping them back up, whether it’s an air fryer or an oven.
- Freeze: after the individual patties have been pan-fried and cooled completely, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to an airtight container for storage. Reheat in the air fryer or oven from frozen.
Crispy Falafel Sliders with Herb Mayo
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup shallots, heaping, roughly chopped, approx. 1 medium bulb
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- Pinch black pepper
- 4-6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko
- Oil for frying
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 ½ Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 8 Slider buns
- Lettuce, as desired
- Homemade pickles and Onions, as desired
- Prepare homemade pickles and herb mayo in advance, if desired.
- Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, and finely chopped parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Store in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld while you prepare the falafel.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add chickpeas, shallot, garlic, cilantro, parsley, salt, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Pulse until a coarse, pea-sized mixture forms. Add 4 tablespoons of flour, and continue pulsing until the mixture is uniform and fairly smooth – some texture is ideal. If the mixture is really sticky, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Optional: chill the mixture for about 15 minutes before forming.
- Take approximately 2 tablespoons of the falafel mixture and form it into a ball, then roll each ball in panko and set on a plate or baking sheet while you continue with the rest of the mixture (will make 8-10 falafel balls).
- Meanwhile, begin heating a flavorless oil in a skillet over medium heat. Oil should be approximately ½ inch high in the pan. Add falafel balls in the hot oil, evenly spacing them evenly, being careful to not crowd the pan.
- Use a spatula to gently press about halfway down on the ball to form a disc (if desired). Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel or cooling rack. Continue frying the remaining falafel (I usually do 2 batches, this will depend on the size of your pan).
- Place lettuce leaves on the bottom of the slider bun and top with a falafel patty. Top with pickled onions and cucumbers. Spread lemon-herb mayo on the top slider bun. Top the sandwich and enjoy!
- Storage: store any leftover falafel separately in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the oven or an air fryer until crispy, for best results.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.