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Many falafel recipes caution against using canned chickpeas. For example, this recipe has this to say about using canned chickpeas for falafel:

  • No canned chickpeas (very important!) If you're after the best texture and flavor, you need to start with dry chickpeas. Many falafel recipes use canned chickpeas which is not authentic and will cause the falafel patties disintegrate in the hot cooking oil.

Because of warnings like this, I'm wondering if using previously frozen chickpeas is fine. I had some dried chickpeas which I soaked overnight, but I soaked too many of them, so I frozen the remaining ones. If I thaw these frozen chickpeas, will they work well for making falafel?

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    Good question! The key is for the chickpeas not to be cooked, but they're not. So the question is -- does freezing change their composition in any way that would prevent them from forming a good paste? You might have to try it and see. – FuzzyChef Jun 18 at 5:25
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    @FuzzyChef I plan to do just that if no one here tells me not to. In that case I'll answer my own question here with the results. Might try doing it a few times just to be sure of the results. – Will Da Silva Jun 18 at 5:27
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    Please do it and report back! I'm curious now; freezing soaked chickpeas would save quite some time when preparing falafel! – Luciano Jun 18 at 7:48
  • Will: given that the most likely failure condition is that the batter won't hold together, you could test with a very small batch. – FuzzyChef Jun 18 at 18:27
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I made 4 test case batches:

  1. Dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours
  2. Dried chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours, frozen, then thawed
  3. Canned chickpeas
  4. Canned chickpeas, frozen, then thawed

I tested with canned chickpeas even though it's well known that they don't work well for falafel so that I'd be able to provide more points of comparison.

I started with the dried but never frozen chickpeas, and it went great! No surprises there.

Next came the previously frozen chickpeas. The consistency of the batter made with them was, as far as I could tell, practically indistinguishable from that made from the never frozen chickpeas. When I deep-fried them it seemed like they bubbled more, so maybe freezing them resulted in the chickpeas holding onto less water. The batter held together just as well as the batter made from the never frozen chickpeas. After eating some of both types, I think the falafel made from previously frozen chickpeas were a bit drier, but still good.

Finally came the (never frozen) canned chickpeas. The batter had a finer consistency than the other ones. When I put the first ball of batter into the oil, it began bubbling much more than the previous ones, and within about 45 seconds the ball had broken apart, and had seriously dirtied the fry oil. I tried again with another ball, this time a bit smaller, and made very carefully, but the same thing happened. After that I called it off, since the canned chickpea batter clearly wasn't working. I made the (small amount of) remaining batter into patties, and shallow-fried it. It was edible, but it wasn't falafel, and so I can't meaningfully compare it to the falafel - at least it didn't go to waste.


In conclusion, falafel can certainly be made using previously frozen chickpeas. It may be a bit drier than falafel made using never frozen chickpeas, but is still quite good, and it comes with the added convenience of being able to soak the chickpeas in advanced.

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  • So did you end up testing the frozen, canned chickpeas? It would be interesting to find out if the freezing somehow cancelled out the canning. – csk Jun 21 at 22:32
  • @csk Unfortunately no, I did not. The oil was too dirty to continue frying after the never frozen canned chickpeas. Given the similarity in the batter between the never frozen and the previously frozen canned chickpeas, as well as the similar results (in the batter and final product) between the never frozen and the previously frozen dried chickpeas, I do not expect the previously frozen canned chickpeas would have worked. – Will Da Silva Jun 21 at 22:40
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    Most authentic recipes I have followed specify split fava beans in greater proportion than chickpeas. Soaked dry split faba/fava very much work fine frozen defrosted. And especially well in frozen falafel mix (flat bagged for easy defrosting) – Pat Sommer Jun 23 at 5:19

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