9 Store-Bought Falafel Mixes, Ranked Worst To Best

assorted falafel mix boxes
assorted falafel mix boxes - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

As a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and one of the Mediterranean dishes you need to try, falafel is not just a snack — it's a cultural experience. You can find falafel everywhere, from street food carts to gourmet restaurants. This humble yet flavorful dish, crafted from a simple blend of ground chickpeas or fava beans, is skillfully formed into balls and fried to crispy, golden perfection.

In the U.S., falafel surged in popularity in the late 20th century, when immigrants brought their recipes for this beloved dish from overseas, and vegetarians nationwide fell in love with it. Today, as vegetarian and vegan diets are experiencing a renaissance, falafel is more sought-after than ever.

While there's nothing like a falafel-stuffed Middle Eastern sabich sandwich from your favorite Israeli restaurant, homemade falafel is a budget-friendly and delicious alternative. You can find falafel mix at most major grocery stores, each offering a unique blend of flavors and textures. All you need to do is add water before frying up this traditional meal. I've collected an assortment of the most popular store-bought falafel mixes with the purpose of deciding which mix created the most flavorful, palatable, and perfectly crispy falafel. I tested each mix's stability in an air fryer versus its pan-fried counterpart, and compared the flavors and textures of each to see which falafel couldn't hold up and which came out victorious.

Read more: 30 Healthy Snack Ideas That Won't Ruin Your Diet

9. Tazah

Tazah box with falafels
Tazah box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Tazah's falafel mix is gluten-free and claims to be derived from an authentic recipe. The base for the mix is a blend of fava beans and chickpeas, suggesting that the recipe takes inspiration from multiple regions. Fava beans are popular in Egypt to make ta'ameya — falafel's green cousin — while the use of chickpeas is more widespread. Like most falafel mixes, Tazah's product requires only water to craft your own falafel balls at home.

The Tazah mix batter came together with ease, and forming the falafel balls was simple. Unfortunately, the final product yielded an unsatisfying outcome. Although the falafel held up perfectly both when pan-fried and baked in the air fryer, the result was incredibly dense and dry with a gritty texture.

But texture alone didn't land this product in last place. There were no sweet or warm flavors to be found in this falafel, but instead, an incredibly overwhelming coriander flavor was present. I wasn't surprised to see that coriander is the fourth ingredient on the list, while other spices are listed last. A better balance of spices could have bumped this falafel mix up a few notches, but the intense singular flavor made it practically inedible.

8. Manischewitz

Manischewitz box with falafels
Manischewitz box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Manischewitz's kosher falafel mix is made from chickpeas, spices, and matzo meal for added texture. It was difficult to achieve the desired consistency with this mix; it always seemed to come out a little too soft and soggy, even after following package instructions and then experimenting with different water-to-mix ratios. Once I finally got the mix dense enough to fry it in a pan and in the air fryer, I felt that my efforts were in vain.

Although I appreciate Manischewitz's mix for containing a balance of both crunchy and soft textures, its flakiness was off-putting, and is the major cause of its low ranking. Thanks (but no thanks) to the addition of matzo meal, this falafel was incredibly dry and brittle, although the nucleus of each falafel ball was soft. They appeared structurally sound, but as soon as I picked one up, it began to crumble apart, especially the air-fried falafel.

Although I air-fried the falafel for significantly longer than recommended, it never seemed to cook adequately. The falafel's flavor didn't save it from its unappealing and unstable texture. They were bland and boring in taste, with a cumin-forward flavor that should have included sweeter spices to create a warm medley of tasting notes.

7. Tahoon

Tahoon mix with falafels
Tahoon mix with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Unlike all other mixes on this list, Tahoon's is not all-in-one. Although "falafel mix" is on the label, this product is purely a blend of spices designed to flavor falafel. In order to make the dish with this product, I had to prepare my own chickpea mixture and then add Tahoon's spice blend. If using Tahoon's mix to make falafel, be prepared to either soak raw garbanzo beans or dry canned chickpeas in advance, because chickpeas straight from the can are too moist to go directly into the fryer.

Tahoon's spice mix features standard falafel seasonings like cumin, coriander, cilantro flakes, and parsley, perfect for any falafel recipe — especially one that calls for a drizzle of classic tzatziki sauce. The falafel I prepared was stable and suitable for the air fryer, but I have no reason to believe that Tahoon's spice mix had any bearing on my falafel's texture and consistency.

I appreciate using a spice mix to make falafel instead of an all-inclusive mix, allowing adjustments in flavor where needed, but this minor convenience didn't make up for the lack of ease compared to every other product on this list. While the final result was a perfectly suitable (and quite tasty) falafel, it was significantly more labor-intensive than combining a mix with water, and didn't yield substantially better results, landing it toward the bottom of this list.

6. Ziyad

Ziyad box with falafels
Ziyad box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

The Ziyad falafel mix is extremely soft and fine, so I expected it to combine easily with water and yield a dense falafel. When preparing it on the stove, a thick, golden-brown outer crust gave way to a soft (albeit slightly gritty) interior, providing an exciting fusion of textures to keep your palate on its toes. I blame excessive sesame seeds for the grittiness, although it wasn't entirely unpleasant.

The mixture's texture in the air fryer was a different story. The falafel came apart at the slightest touch, and took on a clumpy consistency and powdery taste. I think it's safe to say that Ziyad falafel is entirely inedible when made with an air fryer.

This falafel's flavor was tasty, but not very interesting. The spices in the mix leaned toward savory rather than sweet, thanks to a heavy presence of onion, garlic, cumin, and salt. I enjoyed a subtle spiciness from crushed red pepper in this falafel mix, but its excessive salt minimized the presence of any spices that would have given this falafel more depth. This savory mix would work well for falafel-based vegan burger patties, as the buns, crisp veggies, and sauces could potentially subdue its saltiness.

5. Cortas

Cortas box with falafels
Cortas box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Like Tazah's falafel mix, Cortas is made with both fava beans and chickpeas, which indicates that this mix is more Middle Eastern-style than Mediterranean. After taking the falafels out of the frying pan, they looked golden brown and crispy, but this turned out to be a deception. The falafel balls fried with this mix were gritty and dense, and not as fluffy and crispy as they should have been.

Nonetheless, the pan-fried falafels were undeniably stable, staying intact throughout the cooking process. When I tested Cortas falafel mix in the air fryer, I was surprised to see that the falafel balls retained the same exact texture, consistency, and flavor, despite not having the trademark golden-brown crust on the outside from pan-frying with oil.

Ironically, the gritty and thick texture of these falafels perfectly complemented their flavor. They were earthy, with deeply savory spices and aromatics, and hints of salty and slightly sweet floral tastes embedded among the mellow, woodsy notes. This falafel wouldn't be ideal for snacking, but you could use this mix to make a falafel brunch with a waffle iron; its dense texture and stable form would likely hold up when pressed.

4. Osem

Osem mix with falafels
Osem mix with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Of all the falafels on this list, Osem's were certainly the most moist. They retained a cake-like consistency, with a very thin, crispy outside. Tahini and tzatziki sauce complemented their texture, and the mix came together with ease.

Unlike most options on this list, Osem's falafel is not gluten-free; its consistency is likely due to the addition of wheat flour. In the air fryer, these falafel balls held up, but they were significantly less moist and slightly more brittle than the falafel fried in a Dutch oven.

Although this texture was exactly what most look for in their freshly made falafel, the spice blend used in this mix could use some enhancement. A little spicy and slightly sweet flavor could have easily landed this option in the first or second spot, but the only discerning flavors to be found were those of cumin, celery, and sesame. Like most lovers of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare, I enjoy a little kick in my savory dishes, especially with a snack-worthy sandwich filler like falafel. Osem's was just too mellow and too bland to be an ideal falafel mix.

3. Knorr

Knorr box with falafels
Knorr box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

A delightful combination of soft, cake-like, crispy, and gritty textures is necessary to create the perfect falafel, and Knorr's falafel mix comes out on top in consistency. Knorr's mix produced what appeared to be smooth falafel balls, but once I bit into one, I discovered a treasure trove of complementary textures.

The middle was soft and fluffy, and the thick layer on the outside had just a hint of grittiness and a nice crunch. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for its air-fried counterpart, which came out so dry that it appeared to be a fossilized relic from a falafel of the distant past. Yikes.

The most prominent flavor in Knorr's falafel is floral and fresh coriander, so if you're among those who think cilantro tastes like soap, you might want to forgo Knorr's falafel mix for a less coriander-heavy brand. Although this herb stands front and center, garlic and some sweeter spices subdue it, creating a delightful balance of flavors. Like many mixes on this list, Knorr's is less spicy than authentic falafel, perhaps to better serve a wide array of palates. These falafel balls would be delicious in a Buddha bowl or salad, where they can be the main attraction — just don't forget to add a drizzle of hot sauce.

2. Sadaf

Sadaf box with falafels
Sadaf box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

Although this falafel was difficult to keep together when frying in both a Dutch oven and an air fryer, it still deserves the number-two spot on this list because it was utterly delicious. Its dense, moist texture would be ideal for a pita sandwich stuffing, salads, or just snacking and dipping.

However, you may have to resort to eating this falafel with a fork and knife, because it tends to fall apart easily. Its crumbliness wouldn't pose a problem stuffed into a pita, but attempting to craft a veggie burger from this mix would likely end in ruin.

Sadaf's falafel is easily the most uniquely flavored and deliciously seasoned on this list. Unconventional ingredients like turmeric add sweetness, spiciness, and depth. There's also a noticeable sweet and aromatic nutmeg flavor in this falafel, although no such spice is specifically listed in its ingredients. Falafel is characterized by its warm, salty, sweet, and spicy flavors, and every one of those tastes is present in Sadaf's falafel.

1. Tarazi

Tarazi box with falafels
Tarazi box with falafels - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

It comes as no surprise that Tarazi would produce the number-one falafel mix on this list, considering that the company specializes in tahini sauce and falafel. Like others on this list, Tarazi's falafel mix is made of both chickpeas and fava beans, a delicious fusion of the best legumes for falafel.

This mix produced falafel with a delicate but ultra-crispy and golden coating, and a fluffy, soft inside loaded with mouthwatering flavors. In the air fryer, the Tarazi mix yielded an almost identical product, albeit slightly drier and missing the classic, deeply golden-brown color.

Baking powder is the secret ingredient for fluffy falafel, and Tarazi was one of only a few that included baking powder in its list of ingredients. This product is also vegan and gluten-free, so it can be enjoyed by all in any delicious form. This mix earns the prize for the spiciest falafel on this list — a prize that I was disappointed to learn most varieties wouldn't qualify for. Tarazi's mix is as warmly spiced as authentic falafel should be, with slightly sweet notes and a subtle kick to wake up your taste buds and make them sing. Serve this falafel with eggs for a Mediterranean-style breakfast, or craft your own unique concoctions, like a frittata with crumbled falafel and feta.


variety of falafel mix boxes
variety of falafel mix boxes - Hunter Miele/Tasting Table

I'm a longtime falafel fan with a passion for the history of this dish, as well as experience creating and enjoying various styles of it. I've crafted falafel from scratch at home and in commercial kitchens, but this was my first experience using boxed falafel mixes. Drawing on my experience with different types of falafel, from working in Mediterranean restaurants to enjoying street food in Cairo, I primarily assessed each of these mixes based on flavor and authenticity.

Except for the Tahoon spice blend, I also considered each mix's consistency and texture, along with its ease in frying on the stove and in the air fryer. Lastly, I considered each product's aesthetic appeal, and whether or not it was gluten-free and vegan, all while setting aside personal taste preferences and biases. There was a little something to love in each of these products, but ultimately, the falafels that came out on top were the most authentic and flavorful store-bought falafel mixes.

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