For Crispy Air Fried Chickpeas, Toss Them In Cornstarch First

You might be accustomed to using chickpeas right out of the can for a salad topper or to blend into creamy hummus. They're the perfect legume to add a burst of flavor and texture — or to increase the amount of fiber — in a variety of dishes. But if you appreciate a crunchy texture, roast chickpeas in an air fryer before eating them. The result is crispy chickpeas that are delicious as a snack or as a healthier alternative to croutons on top of salad or soup. To make sure your chickpeas get as crunchy as possible, toss them in cornstarch first.

When you toss the chickpeas in cornstarch and oil before roasting them in an air fryer, you're guaranteed to get the crispiest texture possible. Cornstarch, a thickening agent made of the starch found in corn kernels, traps the moisture between the oil mixture and the actual chickpeas and creates a crispier exterior. It's the same reason some cooks use cornstarch in their crunchy fried chicken or crispy potatoes. The air fryer is a kitchen tool that makes this technique quicker, but you can also roast chickpeas in the oven to get a similar tasty result.

Making crispy chickpeas with cornstarch

To make crispy chickpeas in the air fryer, you must drain off the aquafaba (that's the liquid in the canned chickpeas) and dry them first. When they're dry, toss in the cornstarch with oil, salt, and your preferred seasonings. For one 15-ounce can of chickpeas, about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch should be enough. Then, spread them in an even layer in the air fryer and cook them for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're roasting them in the oven instead, about 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit should be sufficient.

You can keep the seasoning simple with just salt and black pepper, but perhaps the best part about roasting chickpeas is you can experiment with different flavor combinations. To lean into Mediterranean flavors, sprinkle the chickpeas with dried oregano and garlic powder. For more of an Italian flare, use spices like dried parsley or rosemary, red chili flakes, or an Italian seasoning blend. Other spices that we think will taste delicious on crispy chickpeas are onion powder for umami, smoked or regular paprika for smokiness, or cayenne pepper and chili powder for a kick of heat.