top of page

Panelle (Fried Chickpea Fritters)

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Yield: 4 appetizer-size servings

Active Preparation Time: 15 min

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

These irresistible Sicilian fritters epitomize “cucina povera” and represent

the iconic street fare of Palermo. Panelle are thought to have been

introduced to Sicily by Arab invaders in the 9th century. Naturally gluten-

free, these nutritious fritters can be served as an appetizer with a wedge

of lemon or served as a more substantial lunch with a dollop of fresh

ricotta cheese and toasted gluten free bread.


1 cup garbanzo bean flour

2 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil (more for greasing


1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves

1 handful of chopped Italian parsley

Oil for frying

Grated pecorino romano cheese or flaked salt (optional)

Lemon wedges


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and brush liberally with oil.

Heat water in a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add salt,

rosemary and tablespoon of olive oil to water.

Slowly add garbanzo bean flour to water, whisking constantly and

ensuring that no lumps form or remain. Continue whisking mixture for

approximately 8 minutes until mixture has thickened and resembles

cooked polenta. The mixture will be thick and will leave a “path” when

whisked away from the side of saucepan. Add parsley and continue to

whisk for an additional minute.

Using an oiled spatula, quickly scoop out cooked garbanzo mixture onto

prepared pan. With oiled spatula, spread mixture into a rectangle,

approximately ½ inch thick. Using a separate oiled spatula, smooth top

and push in sides of rectangle to form a nice edge. Chill in refrigerator

for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Remove from refrigerator and using a sharp knife, cut into 2 inch squares.

Heat a liberal amount of oil in a large fry pan until oil is hot. Place panelle

squares in frying pan, spacing squares at least 1 inch apart. If they are

placed too closely, they will not puff slightly during frying. Fry until golden

brown on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and dredge on paper


Depending on the size of your frying pan, you may need to cook in two

batches. If so, place the first batch of panelle in the preheated oven.

Serve with lemon wedges, sprinkle with romano cheese or flaked salt, and

watch them disappear.


Tight on time? We recently discovered that Whole Foods carries a “chickpea tofu” which is basically a ready to use version of panelle batter. Simply cut into the desired shape and pan fry.


bottom of page