Which makes the best crispy chickpeas: the oven or the air fryer? I was on a mission to find out, testing cook times and temps, batch after batch, in search of that perfectly crisp roasted chickpea texture.
Read on to find out the winner!
Air fryer vs. oven: the science
The air fryer cooks food faster than a traditional oven by circulating super hot air in a small space. It also doesn’t need to preheat, saving you time.
The food technically isn’t “fried” because it’s not submerged in oil. But it can still result in a crispy crust similar to frying.
I most often use my air fryer for food that we normally think of as having a delicious deep fried taste and crunch, like french fries or buffalo cauliflower wings. Air frying also require less less oil than the oven or deep fryer, which is why a lot of people think of air frying as healthier. The air fryer can do everything from toasting bread to frying frozen fishless sticks in just a few minutes.
Some downsides to the air fryer are it takes up counter space (especially if you have a perfectly good oven), and it can’t cook EVERYTHING evenly. I would stick to the traditional oven for things like cakes and baked goods.
Testing the cooking methods
We know the air fryer will cook the crispy chickpeas faster than the oven… but can it crisp them better?
To compare, I first had to figure out the best temperature and times to get the chickpeas perfect both the oven and air fryer. Then I compared the best method for each based on taste and texture.
You can find instructions for each perfected roasted chickpeas recipe down below in the recipe section. Just a couple things to note:
- In the air fryer, I recommend cooking the chickpeas for 5 minutes before adding the oil and seasoning, to better dry out the chickpeas before crisping.
- Most air fryer chickpea recipes I saw called for cooking at 390F, but this is too high. You’ll end up with a thick, crunchy outside and a mushy interior. In general, you should expect an air fryer to use lower heat than the oven, so it makes sense to use 400F for the oven but 370F for the air fryer.
- Keep in mind the chickpeas will continue to crisp after cooking, especially the ones in the oven, so don’t overcook!
And the winner is…
Drum roll, please… the air fryer crispy chickpeas! I still love my oven, but the air fryer cooked these babies in half the time AND gave a better crunchy outer texture with a perfectly cooked interior.
Despite testing numerous temperatures and cook times, the best oven batch came out with a crust texture that was just a little too thick. The best air fried batch, on the other hand, was crispier throughout with just a little softness on the inside for the perfect bite.
If you don’t have an air fryer, the oven batch was still tasty! I’ve included both the oven and air fryer methods for how to roast chickpeas below.
Not all air fryers are the same. After a lot of research and recommendations, I went with this 6 QT Power AirFryer Oven, which you can buy on Amazon here:
Note that the Power AirFryer Oven is different from the Power AirFryer XL. The oven is a more powerful version that comes with tiered racks for more even cooking, as the air can circulate on the top, bottom, and in between.
The Power AirFryer Oven is big enough that you don’t have to cook in batches, but it still fits on the counter top. It can also work as a dehydrator (mmm…kale chips), a function your regular oven can’t do very well.
If you have another air fryer brand, make sure to test out different temperatures and cook times for these crispy chickpeas. Different sizes and power levels will give different results.
Serving ideas for crispy chickpeas
Whichever cooking method you choose, these chickpeas are seriously addictive. You can eat them straight out of the bowl as a crunchy snack, or try one of these serving suggestions:
- On top of salads to add texture and protein
- In place of oyster crackers in tomato soup or chowder
- Added to wraps or sandwiches
- Alongside a pan of roasted veggies
Two methods for cooking perfectly crisp, seasoned, roasted chickpeas: in the air fryer, and in the traditional oven.
- 15 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and towel dried
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp ginger
In the air fryer:
- Spread chickpeas out evenly on the air fryer rack. It’s best if they do not touch each other, so try not to crowd the fryer.
- Cook at 370 F for 5 minutes to dry out the chickpeas.
- Remove chickpeas from air fryer and place in a medium bowl. Add oil and stir gently to coat. Add spices and stir again to mix evenly.
- Return chickpeas to air fryer and cook at 370 F for another 12 minutes, shaking half way through.
In the oven:
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- In a medium bowl, add chickpeas and oil. Stir gently to coat. Add spices and stir again to mix evenly.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread chickpeas out evenly.
- Roast for 15 minutes, stir, then roast for another 17 minutes.
Listed cook time is based on the air fryer method. The traditional oven will take about twice as long.
Different brands and sizes of air fryers will require different cooking times. I use the Power AirFryer Oven.
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