These smoky little Air Fryer Chickpeas offer a healthy, low-carb alternative to processed snacks when crunchy cravings strike.
I first encountered crunchy chickpeas in the snack aisle. A successful impulse purchase was made that day. I enjoyed them. I believe they were seasoned simply with sea salt. They were delightfully crunchy and light.
However, I don’t purchase them regularly. Psychologically I think it’s hard for me to want to spend $4 on a 5-ounce bag of chickpea snacks when I can get a 15-ounce can of them for less than half that. No doubt I’m paying for preparation and convenience, but making them at home is pretty easy. Just let your air fryer do the work (we all have these now right?).
How do you make crispy chickpeas in the air fryer?
Air frying at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-22 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for delightfully crisp air fryer chickpeas (see a note on texture). The time may vary for you depending on your air fryer - check out my air fryer set up below to see what I'm rocking.
A note on air fryer chickpea texture
Let me take a moment to describe the texture of these, air fried at 400 degrees F for 20-22 minutes. These air fryer chickpeas will not be anything like the super crisp store-purchased kind. These have a crisp exterior that yields to a starch-like center, kind of like biting into a French fry. I personally love this texture, mostly because it makes me think of eating French fries. I’ve tried air frying them until crisp inside and out, and the texture reminds me of chewing on raw pasta. Have you ever eaten a raw piece of pasta? Not for me.
I've tried several recipes, including those that claim you can get "perfectly crunchy" chickpeas in 12 minutes. As if. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, if you want super crisp chickpeas you're gonna have to air fry the bejesus out of them. As in, at least 25 minutes or longer. And then you're talking raw pasta crunchy.
My Air Fryer Set-Up
My air fryer set up may differ from yours, so let me tell you what I’m rocking. This is important to know should the cooking time and temperature not translate exactly on another model. I picked up one of these 8-quart Instant Pots on a Black Friday sale a couple of years ago:
I am Team Instant Pot and use it several times a month. Air fryers piqued my interest at the time of my Instant Pot purchase but I didn’t want to add another appliance to my kitchen collection.
Not wanting to purchase another Instant Pot, I went on the hunt for a compatible lid for my 8-quart model. After reading rave reviews, I purchased this Michelangelo Air Fryer Lid:
I highly recommend this Michelangelo Air Fryer Lid (AND there's a $10 off coupon available!) if you find yourself in the same boat as I was a few months ago. This lid fits both 6- and 8-quart Instant Pots. It also comes with a deep basket, steam rack, tongs, and silicone pad (aka countertop saver).
My favorite thing about it, other than its ability to fry foods, of course, is that you can see through the lid. This is a feature I have yet to see in other air fryers. I love having the ability to check on my food without having to interrupt the cooking cycle.
When cooking, I put the fryer basket on the steaming rack to elevate it closer to the lid.
What seasonings do you need for Smoky Air Fryer Chickpeas?
- Chipotle chili powder
- Hot Hungarian paprika
- Garlic Powder
These seasonings combined create a beautifully smoky air fryer chickpea. There's a little heat there, but the smokiness shines. Add a pinch of cayenne if you want to get zesty.
You could also use this homemade Low Sodium Taco Seasoning instead.
Try smoked paprika or regular paprika if you don’t have hot Hungarian paprika. You could use onion powder instead of garlic powder.
How do I keep my Air Fryer Chickpeas crunchy?
I'd love to tell you that these will stay precisely the texture as when you pulled them from the air fryer as long as you store them in a single layer in an open container. But I've found that they still get a wee bit soggy after a few hours. Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas are like popcorn; best eaten while still warm and crisp. And, like popcorn, still palatable after they've gone a bit soft. Make a batch and plan on devouring as many as you can while they are at their peak.
I don't know how the store brands do it, must be some sort of sorcery. Maybe that's why they're $4 for a 5-ounce bag...
What do you pair with Air Fryer Chickpeas?
Of course, Smoky Air Fryer Chickpeas are perfect for snacking on their own. They also add a nice crunch to salads and soups. Try them in place of croutons and crackers.
If you like this, try:
Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Lay your chickpeas out on paper towels to dry out after rinsing and draining. I like to roll them around on a few sheets of paper towels until completely dry.
- Add chickpeas to a bowl with a lid. Drizzle with 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil. Add spices. Put the lid on the container and toss to coat. This method gets the chickpeas pretty evenly coated.
- Add the spiced chickpeas to the air fryer, arranging in a single layer in the basket. Cook at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, shaking halfway through.
- When cooked to your desired level of crispness (which is around 20-22 minutes for me), remove from the air fryer. Taste and add more salt, if desired.
- Snack away!