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Crunchy, Nutty Fried Chickpeas Are an Amazing Protein-Packed Snack

Frying transforms canned garbanzos.
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Published Jan. 5, 2024.

Fried chickpeas make a superb snack. They’re crunchy and satisfying, and you can season them any way you want. While there are ways to make chickpeas crunchy by baking or sautéing them, these versions don’t get quite as crispy as fried versions. For the ultimate crunch, don’t be afraid to fry these little beans; it’s easier than you think.

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Start with pantry-friendly canned chickpeas—two cans make enough for a small group. Simply drain and pat them dry, but don’t rinse them because this loosens their skins. Drying the chickpeas well with paper towels helps avoid splatter when frying and speeds up the crisping because it removes moisture.

Then, instead of pulling out a big Dutch oven and fretting over dropping the chickpeas into bubbling-hot oil, transfer the chickpeas to a saucepan and cover them with just 2 cups of oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the chickpeas until crispy and golden brown. 

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Starting the chickpeas in cold oil ensures that they all cook evenly and are crunchy throughout, as the oil heats the chickpeas through slowly instead of just crisping the outsides before reaching the insides. 

Transfer the cooked chickpeas straight to a large bowl instead of draining them on paper towels, as is called for with most fried foods; the oil left clinging to the chickpeas will help the seasonings adhere.

For the ultimate crunch, don’t be afraid to fry these little beans; it’s easier than you think.

Customizing the flavorings is the fun part. First, they need salt, but after that the sky’s the limit. We developed a few different seasoning combinations: minced raw garlic and fresh parsley; spicy chipotle chile powder, lime zest, and fresh cilantro; and lemon zest and black pepper. Start with these three seasoning ideas, but don’t be afraid to branch out and make these chickpeas your own. 

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Serve them at a Super Bowl party, snack on them while you curl up with a good book, swap them in for popcorn on movie night, or pack them up for sustenance on a road trip. You can also add them to salads, such as our Quinoa Salad with Herbs and Parmesan, or other dishes where you want a little texture or more protein, such as on top of hummus or steamed rice.

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