Pan-Fried Crispy Chickpeas with Lime

by Jess on June 14, 2013

in Gluten Free, Side Dishes, Vegan

By the time you read this I will be somewhere in the air on my way home to Kansas.   I’ve written in the past about my carefully packed snacks for flying.  This time around my airplane snack bag includes crispy chickpeas….

Pan-Fried Crispy Chickpeas with Lime :: Inquiring Chef
I’d read a number of blog posts by professional bloggers that made a case for peeling chickpeas.  I was sold on the benefits, but still I wrote peeling chickpeas off as an activity reserved for people for whom blogging is a full-time job.

But then my friend Katie, who juggles grad school and work, wrote about what she calls game-changing hummus.  The secret to super creamy hummus, as you may already know, is peeled chickpeas.  I decided right then and there that if Katie can find time to peel chickpeas, I can too.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear me now proclaim my love for peeled chickpeas, just like Katie and all those other bloggers before me.  They’re absolutely right – peeling chickpeas is worth the trouble.  If you can carve out 10 or 15 minutes to do it, peeled chickpeas make extra creamy hummus, and in the case of this recipe, extra crispy pan-fried chickpeas.

Peeling Chickpeas :: Inquiring Chef

I’ve now been a chickpea-peeling convert for some time, and this technique seems to make quick work of it.

1) Spread the chickpeas out on half a dish towel.  Fold the remaining half of the dish towel over the top of the chickpeas and gently rub the dish towel over the surface of the chickpeas.  I do this for about a minute and it loosens the peels.

2) Pluck the chickpeas off the towel one-by-one, tossing the peel aside as you go.

3) Transfer the peeled chickpeas to a bowl.

Once they are peeled, when the chickpeas meet hot oil in a pan, the outsides turn deep golden brown and so crisp that they are one of my favorite crunchy snacks.

Pan Frying Chickpeas :: Inquiring Chef

I tossed my chickpeas in a spice mixture that is sweet, salty, and a bit smoky – it’s similar to the spice mixture I use when I roast chickpeas, but I took a great cue from Bon Appétit and finished them with fresh lime.  We always end up eating these straight from the bowl – it’s hard to resist them for much longer.

However, if you can save some, I have a really delicious way to use them that will have to wait until I’m back on solid ground.

Pan-Fried Crispy Chickpeas with Lime
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pan-fried chickpeas that are crisp on the outside and creamy inside. These are great on their own as a snack, or topped with yogurt as vegetarian a side dish.
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 4
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chickpeas (from a can or dried chickpeas that have been cooked and cooled) *see note
  • zest and juice from ½ lime
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the paprika, chili powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pour enough vegetable oil into a medium saute pan to coat the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Carefully add the chickpeas to the oil and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chickpeas from the oil with a slotted and transfer to a plate covered with a paper towel. Allow to cool for a minute and, while still hot, transfer the chickpeas to the bowl with the spice mixture. Toss to coat. Squeeze lime juice and zest over the chickpeas and serve immediately.
For the chickpeas: Although not at all necessary for this recipe (even unpeeled chickpeas will work great), it is worth the extra time it takes to peel the chickpeas before using them. The best way I've found to do this is to rub them gently with a dishtowel until the peels begin to fall off the chickpeas. Then the chickpeas can be fairly easily plucked out and transferred to a bowl. If you don't have time to peel the chickpeas, it's no problem - just proceed with the recipe. In either case, it is very important to rub them dry with paper or cloth towels before pan frying them so that they quickly get crisp on the outside. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit's Fried Chickpeas.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 215 Total Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 41g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 328mg Fiber: 9g Protein: 10g Cholesterol: 0mg


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leigh June 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Cooks illustrated had an easy way to do this. Add 1 1/2 tsp baking soda for a can of chickpeas. Mix. Heat in microwave for 2 mins until hot. Put them in a bowl with water. Shake the chickpeas around with your hands. Do this two or three times with fresh water. Have a safe flight.


2 Jess June 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Leigh – is that right!? That’s amazing – I can’t wait to try it.


3 Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion June 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I love toasted chickpeas!!
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4 Anne ~ Uni Homemaker June 15, 2013 at 1:46 am

I’m not a chickpea fan but you may have changed my feelings towards them. These look delicious! I love the idea of adding spice to them and sauteing them. Great snack idea Jess! :)
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5 sally @ sallys baking addiction June 15, 2013 at 3:23 am

Crispy chickpeas are out favorite travel snack! I make them when we go on the road. I make cinnamon/sugar chickpeas but I need to try these, Jess. Safe travels!
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6 Jess June 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Mmm, cinnamon sugar, Sally! I haven’t tried that yet, but I definitely will now!


7 melissa @ my whole food life June 15, 2013 at 5:53 am

I love roasted chickpeas, but I never thought to pan fry them! What a great idea! I am totally going to try this. Thanks for the recipe!
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8 Jess June 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks so much for your note, Melissa! Roasted chickpeas are my go-to, but they really do get extra crispy this way.


9 PolaM June 15, 2013 at 6:19 am

Will have to try! And given I have an intercontinental flight coming up soon, I should read about flight snacks too!
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10 Debra June 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

So that is the secret to creamy homemade hummus. I had no idea. Have safe travels. Eat your weight in blueberries!
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11 Ashley June 18, 2013 at 2:21 am

First, I hope you have a ton of fun while home in Kansas : ) Second, these chickpeas sound like an awesome snack. I’ve always felt the same way about spending time peeling chickpeas … but now you have me rethinking that attitude!
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12 Doc Chez June 18, 2013 at 4:22 am

These look great, but you have got to try them with green garbanzos.
Fresh Nature Foods makes a flash frozen fresh product out of the pod ready to use.


13 Miranda June 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Can I do it without the sugar?


14 Jess June 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Miranda – you definitely can! The sugar is not necessary, but you might want to cut back on the salt a bit as well until you taste the final product.


15 Katie (The Muffin Myth) July 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

You know, I’ve never had crispy chickpeas get crispy enough for me. It seems the secret is, once again, peeling the little suckers. Dang. I thought I had gotten around that by figuring out chana dal for the hummus, but it seems chickpea peeling is destined to be a part of my life! I can’t wait to try these out :)
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16 Feast on the Cheap July 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

These look so good. I’m obsessed with those Peapod Snap Crisp thingies from the grocery store, but I feel like these are probably so much healthier (and cheaper too). Have to make.
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17 Lezlie July 12, 2013 at 12:30 am

Can I use dried chickpeas and soak them in water? I can’t find fresh chick peas.


18 Jess July 12, 2013 at 7:22 am

Definitely, Lezlie! I actually always use dried chickpeas. You’ll need to soak them in water overnight and then boil them until they are tender (depending on how old the chickpeas are the boiling can vary from 45 minutes to a couple hours). I boil chickpeas in big batches and then freeze them. Just take out and thaw as many as you need to make this recipe or any other.


19 Jess January 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Hi Leslie – definitely! I love using dried chickpeas – here’s how I prepare mine for roasting or for pan-frying –


20 TL July 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

I have never made anything like this, but these were amazing! I decided to short cut the recipe, though, and instead of making the mix of spices per the recipe, I just used sprinkled Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning on them. That seemed to work well and the lime juice gave it a nice flavor.


21 Jess July 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

TL – love that idea – great suggestion! Next time I’ll definitely have to try another spice mix – the creole seasoning sounds so good.


22 Carrie muir January 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I have a bag of chickpeas that someone gave me. I would love to try and roast them and make a crunchy snack but I was wondering if I had to soak these first and then drain, pat dry and roast?


23 Jess January 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Hi Carrie – it’s a great question. I recently switched over to using dried chickpeas and will probably never go back to the canned version, but they do take a bit more work. Dried chickpeas have to be boiled for a good long time to become tender and then they’re ready to be roasted. I wrote a bit more about my method in this post – Good call on the step you mention to pat them dry though – getting them really dry is the best way to insure they come out of the oven nice and crisp. Hope that helps!


24 Laura April 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

I just got done making this recipe it’s veery good. I’am not a big chickpeas fan
But these are very good.


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