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Falafel vs. Hummus: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 18, 2023
Falafel vs. Hummus: Falafel is a deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, while hummus is a spread made from blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.

Key Differences

Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish consisting of deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. In contrast, hummus is a creamy spread or dip made primarily from blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.
Falafel, due to its preparation, has a crispy exterior and a soft interior. Hummus, on the other hand, is smooth and spreadable, often garnished with olive oil, paprika, or whole chickpeas on top.
Falafel is often consumed in pita bread with vegetables and sauces, making it a primary dish or snack. Hummus, being a dip, is frequently served with bread, crackers, or fresh veggies as a side or appetizer.
While both falafel and hummus primarily use chickpeas as a base ingredient, falafel often includes herbs, spices, and onions in its mixture. Hummus focuses on the creamy consistency brought by the combination of tahini, olive oil, and the chickpeas themselves.
Both falafel and hummus have deep roots in Middle Eastern cuisine. They have been embraced worldwide due to their flavor and versatility, though their exact origins—be it Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, or other countries—are often debated.

Comparison Chart

General Description

A deep-fried ball or patty.
A creamy spread or dip.

Primary Ingredients

Ground chickpeas or fava beans, herbs, and spices.
Blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.


Crispy outside, soft inside.
Smooth and spreadable.


Eaten in pita bread or as a snack.
Served as a dip with bread, crackers, or veggies.


Middle Eastern cuisine, with debated specific origins.
Middle Eastern cuisine, with debated specific origins.

Falafel and Hummus Definitions


A Middle Eastern dish made of deep-fried chickpea balls.
I ordered a falafel sandwich for lunch.


A spread made from blended chickpeas and tahini.
I spread hummus on my toast for a savory breakfast.


A spiced and fried ball often found in wraps or salads.
The salad came topped with falafel and tahini sauce.


A creamy Middle Eastern dip often paired with bread.
The platter included pita and fresh hummus.


A deep-fried patty made from ground legumes, typically chickpeas.
The crispy falafel was a delightful contrast to the soft pita.


A chickpea-based dish garnished with olive oil and spices.
I love to top my hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.


A vegetarian food item popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Many vegetarians love falafel as a protein source.


A traditional dish made from pureed chickpeas.
Hummus has been a staple in Middle Eastern diets for centuries.


A flavorful deep-fried snack originating from the Middle East.
When visiting Israel, I enjoyed authentic falafel from street vendors.


A popular vegan spread with garlic and lemon flavors.
The vegan party had various flavors of hummus.


A mixture of ground spiced chickpeas or fava beans that is shaped into balls and deep-fried.


A smooth thick mixture of mashed chickpeas, tahini, oil, lemon juice, and garlic, used especially as a dip for pita.


A fried ball made of such a mixture.


A Levantine Arab dip made of chickpea paste with various additions, such as olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and tahini, often eaten with pitta bread, or as a meze.


A thick spread made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic; used especially as a dip for pita; originated in the Middle East


How is hummus typically served?

Hummus is served as a dip or spread, often with bread, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

What are the primary ingredients in hummus?

Hummus is made from blended chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and often olive oil.

Can falafel be baked instead of fried?

Yes, while traditional falafel is deep-fried, it can also be baked for a healthier version.

What is falafel made of?

Falafel is made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with herbs and spices, and then deep-fried.

Is falafel gluten-free?

Traditional falafel is gluten-free, but one should always check ingredients and preparation methods.

What gives hummus its tangy flavor?

The addition of lemon juice gives hummus its tangy flavor.

How is falafel typically consumed?

Falafel is often eaten in pita bread with veggies and sauces or as a snack on its own.

Can falafel be made with other legumes apart from chickpeas?

Yes, while chickpeas are most common, falafel can also be made with fava beans or a mixture of both.

Can hummus be used as a sandwich spread?

Absolutely, hummus is a popular choice for sandwich spreads due to its flavor and creamy texture.

What sauces are typically served with falafel?

Falafel is often served with tahini sauce, tzatziki, or hot sauces.

Does hummus contain any dairy?

Traditional hummus is dairy-free and vegan.

What gives hummus its creamy texture?

The combination of blended chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil gives hummus its creamy consistency.

Which cuisine do falafel and hummus originate from?

Both falafel and hummus have origins in Middle Eastern cuisine.

What spices are typically used in falafel?

Falafel often includes spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, and parsley.

Are falafel and hummus high in calories?

While falafel is fried and can be higher in calories, hummus, when consumed in moderation, is a healthy option with good fats and protein.

Is hummus keto-friendly?

While hummus contains beneficial nutrients, it's relatively high in carbs, so it's consumed in moderation on a keto diet.

Is falafel considered a vegetarian dish?

Yes, falafel is typically vegetarian and often vegan as well.

Can hummus be made without tahini?

Yes, while tahini is a traditional ingredient, hummus can be made without it.

How long can hummus be stored in the refrigerator?

Hummus can typically be stored in the fridge for up to a week if kept in an airtight container.

Is hummus a good source of protein?

Yes, hummus is a decent source of plant-based protein due to its chickpea base.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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