Air Fryer Eggplant

Coated in a panko and Parmesan crust, this air fryer eggplant is crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, and packed with rich, nutty flavor.

Air fryer eggplant

If you like eggplant Parmesan, then you’ll be crazy for this air fryer eggplant recipe! I coat eggplant slices in a mixture of panko bread crumbs, almond flour, and Parmesan cheese and then air fry them to golden brown perfection.

The slices are crispy on the outside, silky smooth in the middle, and filled with rich, nutty flavor. I’m always a fan of eggplant recipes, but without a doubt, this air fryer eggplant is one of my new favorites.

Air fryer eggplant recipe ingredients

Air Fryer Eggplant Recipe Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients to make this air fryer eggplant recipe:

  • Eggplant, of course! You’ll need 1 large globe eggplant, or 2 small eggplants, to make this recipe.
  • Panko bread crumbs – They give the eggplant’s coating its delicious crispy texture.
  • Almond flour and Parmesan cheese – They make the coating rich and nutty. Don’t do dairy? My vegan Parmesan will work here too.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It helps the air fryer eggplant become crisp and golden brown as it cooks. Don’t worry! You’re still using way less oil than you would be if you were frying the eggplant.
  • An egg – It binds the bread crumb mixture to the eggplant slices. Find my vegan substitution in the recipe below.
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Sliced eggplant on a cutting board with knife

How to Cook Eggplant in the Air Fryer

Ok, I have a confession: though I haven’t been one for salting eggplant and letting it drain before cooking it in the past, I do find that it makes a difference here. This step adds some extra time to the recipe, but it’s almost entirely hands-off. In addition, the eggplant’s flavor is richer, and its texture is extra-smooth. Totally worth it, if you ask me.

So, first thing’s first! You’ll start by salting the eggplant. Toss the eggplant slices with a generous pinch of salt and arrange them in a colander in the sink. Allow them to drain for 30 minutes while you mix up the crispy coating and beat the egg.

Hand dipping eggplant round into bowl of breading mixture

After 30 minutes, it’s time to bread the eggplant. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Then, dip each slice into the egg, followed by the panko mixture. Make sure to get it nicely coated on all sides!

Breaded eggplant slices in an air fryer basket

Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and arrange them in a single layer in your air fryer basket. If you have too many slices to arrange in a single layer, you’ll need to work in batches. Stack the eggplant rounds on top of one another, and they won’t crisp up as they bake!

Hand drizzling olive oil over eggplant slices in air fryer basket

Next, cook. Drizzle the breaded eggplant generously with olive oil, and transfer it to a 370° preheated air fryer (P.S. I’ve tried many air fryers and this one is my favorite so far). Cook the eggplant until it’s crispy and well-browned, about 17-20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

Cooked air fryer eggplant in air fryer basket

That’s it! Good luck not eating it all straight out of the air fryer basket.

Two plates with crispy eggplant over pasta with basil, marinara sauce, and cashew cream

Serving Suggestions

This air fryer eggplant recipe is a ridiculously tasty side dish. It pairs well with all sorts of dishes – veggie burgers, pasta, a cooked protein of your choice… Lately, I’ve loved serving it with a substantial salad for a light, yet satisfying, meal. It would be fantastic with any of these salad recipes:

But there are also times when I want to make this air fryer eggplant the main event. To serve it as an entree, I arrange it over pasta tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs. Then, I dollop on marinara or my fresh tomato sauce and top if off with cashew cream. I can’t get enough of this combination!

Air fryer eggplant recipe

More Favorite Air Fryer Recipes

If you love this air fryer eggplant recipe, try one of these air fryer recipes next:

Looking for more eggplant recipes? Find 12 of my favorites here!

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Air Fryer Eggplant

rate this recipe:
4.91 from 50 votes
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4
Crispy and flavorful, this air fryer eggplant is one of our favorite side dishes! I also like to make it into a full meal by serving it over pasta with marinara sauce, fresh herbs, and dollops of cashew cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 large globe eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 egg*
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, or Vegan Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For Serving, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 370°F.
  • Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt on both sides and place in a large colander to drain for 30 minutes.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg. In a medium bowl or rimmed plate, combine the panko, almond flour, pecorino, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  • Pat the eggplant slices dry, dip them into the egg, and then into the panko mixture. Place on a plate as you work and then drizzle the slices with olive oil. Place in a single layer in the air fryer and air fry for 17 to 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, flipping halfway through cooking. Work in batches if necessary.
  • Make the eggplant a full meal by serving it with pasta, scoops of tomato sauce, dollops of cashew cream, basil, red pepper flakes, and drizzles of olive oil.

Notes

*Make this recipe vegan by replacing the egg with ¼ cup nut milk mixed with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed.
I have this Instant Pot Air Fryer and it's great.

51 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Kelly
    05.16.2024

    5 stars
    I took a bite of this and declared it was the best thing I’ve ever made. 10/10 recommend!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.16.2024

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. JS
    12.29.2023

    5 stars
    Like restaurant quality. One of the best things I’ve made in my air fryer. Served it with marinara sauce and a side of roasted broccoli, zucchini, and brussel sprouts.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Gay Erlanger
    12.27.2023

    5 stars
    Best Eggplant Parm I ever made! Thank You! First time using my New Air Fryer!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  4. Justine
    12.10.2023

    Do I have to use almond flour or will regular flour work just fine?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.13.2023

      Hi Justine, almond flour adds nuttiness and crunch – I don’t think it would be as good with regular flour. You could also pulse almonds or another nut in a food processor for a similar effect if you don’t have almond flour.

  5. Catherine Robertson
    09.29.2023

    4 stars
    Fabulous fabulous! I never make eggplant but it came in a coop delivery. This was much more delicately tasty than I imagined! I served with pasta, some leftover Rao’s marinara, and instead of cashew cream I warmed up some vegan cream cheese that was languishing in my fridge — what a brilliant meal out of leftovers! Thank you.

    • Catherine Robertson
      09.29.2023

      5 stars
      I meant to make it 5 stars! I don’t know what I did wrong?

      • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
        09.29.2023

        No worries! Thank you!!

        • Renee
          04.29.2024

          5 stars
          Delicious! I made Eggplant Pizzas! Delicious!!! Thank you!!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      09.29.2023

      Hi Catherine, I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. Cindy
    09.05.2023

    Is nutrition information available for this recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.06.2023

      Hi Cindy, I’m sorry, we don’t post nutrition facts.

  7. Margaret Corby
    08.31.2023

    I need to do several eggplants at one time for a family gathering. Wondering if anyone has tried to do this in a regular oven. If so what temperature did you use?

  8. Laurie
    08.01.2023

    A couple notes, many air fryers today have more than one option: Mine has air fry, bake or roast. The one mentioned in the article appears to have multiple settings too. The recipe doesn’t mention which setting? I set my in air crisp, perhaps it should have been on bake? Might want to clarify in the instructions. Also, I’m not familiar with cooking with eggplant so I had to look up sweating the eggplant. The instructions here for example didn’t mention if I should wet the slices before salting or not. So I looked it up to be sure. I used a very small eggplant from my garden so therefore small slices, so I lowered the temp to 360 and from prior experience with my air fryer I lowered the time substantially. I only cooked 5 minutes on each side and that was fine. But then as mentioned my eggplant slices were very small so I knew they would cook faster.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      08.04.2023

      Hi Laurie, Thanks for your comment! We cook the eggplant on the air fry setting. There’s no need to wet the eggplant slices before salting, which is why we don’t mention it in the instructions.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.