Air Fryer Eggplant

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This crispy, cheesy, immensely snackable Air Fryer Eggplant is going to change your mind forever about this awesome vegetable.

Crispy air fried eggplant with marinara sauce

Air Fryer Eggplant

For what it’s worth, eggplant has never been super high on my list of favorite foods. It isn’t rational, but over the years, I’ve bought it loving the deep beautiful purple color and trying to convince myself I will love it this time.

Truth be told I can finally say, I have experimented with it and learned how to prepare it. I do absolutely love it. I have been making this version nonstop in my air fryer.

My husband is thrilled because eggplant parmesan has long been a favorite of his and I have avoided making it. Now that I have mastered the eggplant part it is a breeze and he gets it often, he is a happy man.

Breaded eggplant in the air fryer is a breeze! And I’m happy to tell you that I’ve conquered eggplant parmesan as well. It is a recipe you must try!

I am confident that with these recipes you can as well. You can bet I am pretty thrilled with the results if I am sharing them with you now.

Marinara sauce on plate with fried eggplant

Air Fried Eggplant

When making eggplant, there are a few key things to get perfectly creamy but not soggy and mushy eggplant. Peeling, salting, and cooking to the perfect doneness are all important.

Salting the eggplant slices pulls excess moisture out of the vegetable. This liquid is what is knows to carry the bitter flavor that is often associated with eggplant.

After salting, be sure to pat dry so that the breading will stick to the eggplant. Drenching in an egg and milk bath followed by flour mixed with Panko crumbs and Parmesan Cheese will result in a perfectly crispy crust.

This is one vegetable we are not looking for a firm bite after cooking but at the same time, don’t overcook it to mush. Be sure to cook it thoroughly so that it results in a soft, smooth, creamy texture. This allows the flavors you put with it to blend deliciously.

In the past, I have often felt like my eggplant was oil or grease logged. A quick spritz of oil before air frying helps give it the crunch but allows the inside to get soft and creamy but not greasy.

Fried Eggplant with dipping sauce

Breaded Eggplant

  • eggplant
  • eggs
  • milk
  • Parmesan
  • all-purpose flour
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried Italian seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • marinara sauce
  • Olive oil spray
  • fresh Italian parsley
bread eggplant on baking sheet

Breaded Eggplant in Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Peel the eggplant and slice into very thin 1/4″ slices. Lay the eggplant slices out on a wire rack or on paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 30 minutes then soak up any excess water that comes out by patting them with paper towels. (Step-by-step photos for salting eggplant can be found on this post.)
  2. Using two shallow bowls, add eggs and milk to one and whisk to combine. In the second bowl, combine Parmesan, flour, Panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Dip an eggplant slice in the egg until fully coated then dip in the dry mixture pressing firmly to make sure to fully coat both sides. Place the coated slice on a clean tray or platter. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
  4. Spray the basket of your air fryer with nonstick spray and place eggplant slices in an even layer in the basket. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in multiple batches. Air fry for 5-8 minutes, flip the slices over, and air fry again for another 5-8 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  5. While the eggplant is cooking, warm the marinara sauce. Remove the crispy eggplant slices from the air fry.
Eggplant cooked in the air fryer

Air Fryer Vegetables.

I am loving the air fryer for small servings of vegetables. They fry up so crispy and delicious in no time at all. Asparagus has become a favorite, quick and easy with minimal prep and no dirty dishes.

Air fryer Brussels sprouts are the popcorn of the vegetable world. There is no way you can eat just one – they are such a great snack or side. 

I use the COSORI Air Fryer pictured in these posts. I’m partial to a square basket air fryer as I find it easier to fit more food into the basket. This is a 5.8QT air fryer, one of the largest machines I’ve found that works effectively.

The machine is a bit retro with simple knob controls. It turns out that I really like the basic settings and ability to set the time and temp like a traditional appliance. I’ve used a few different air fryers with pre-programmed settings and I found I was still tweaking the times.

This machine is surprisingly easy to clean and the two-part basket locks together (it’s literally impossible for it to detach the way some do) until you open the latch and then push the button to release it. I simply wipe down the baskets with a sudsy dish scrub brush or sponge, rinse and let them air dry on the counter.

Marinara sauce on plate with fried eggplant

Air Fryer Eggplant

This crispy, cheesy, immensely snackable Air Fryer Eggplant is going to change your mind forever about this awesome vegetable.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 17 mins
Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups Panko bread crumbs
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Peel the eggplant and slice into very thin 1/4" slices. Lay the eggplant slices out on a wire rack or on paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 30 minutes then soak up any excess water that comes out by patting them with paper towels. (Step by step photos for salting eggplant can be found on this post.)
  • Using two shallow bowls, add eggs and milk to one and whisk to combine. In the second bowl, combine Parmesan, flour, Panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Stir to combine.
  • Dip an eggplant slice in the egg until fully coated then dip in the dry mixture pressing firmly to make sure to fully coat both sides. Place the coated slice on a clean tray or platter. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
  • Spray the basket of your air fryer with nonstick spray and place eggplant slices in an even layer in the basket. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in multiple batches. Air fry for 5-8 minutes, flip the slices over and air fry again for another 5-8 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  • While the eggplant is cooking, warm the marinara sauce. Remove the crispy eggplant slices from the air fryer, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with marinara sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 672kcal · Carbohydrates: 96g · Protein: 32g · Fat: 19g · Saturated Fat: 9g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g · Monounsaturated Fat: 5g · Trans Fat: 0.01g · Cholesterol: 200mg · Sodium: 3340mg · Potassium: 1310mg · Fiber: 14g · Sugar: 17g · Vitamin A: 1448IU · Vitamin C: 16mg · Calcium: 594mg · Iron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @bestvegetablerecipes or tag #bestvegetablerecipes!
Air Fryer Eggplant
Air Fryer Eggplant with marinara sauce

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