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 51 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.


  • 1 large globe eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 large 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


  • 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.


*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.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Lorrine

    This was great. The only thing it was too salty. Maybe from the salting in the beginning. I’ll definitely fo this again but I need a b8gger air fryer. It took forever to finish one egg plant. Lol.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Lorrine, so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Ivy

    We had this tonight! We added ricotta and parm @ the end, holy cow, this was delish! Having this again for sure

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  3. Evie

    Looking forward to trying this but what am I draining? You salt it and let it sit? Thanks!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Evie, Yep! You salt the eggplant and let it sit. We like to put it in a colander because the salt draws moisture out of the eggplant, and the colander allows some of this moisture to drain away. To remove the rest, pat the eggplant dry before breading it. Hope this helps!

  4. PTM

    4 stars
    The recipe was good however, if you are gluten free do not use GF flour. I don’t know that I would use flour at all next time. Instead just the panko and egg. Also, needs more flavor. If you can get the Italian flavor panko I would suggest that. I love my air fryer and the recipe is easy.

    • Phoebe Moore

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! The almond flour adds a really nice nuttiness here; I wouldn’t recommend substituting regular flour or a GF blend.

  5. Nancy Kahm

    Is the breading a suggestion? Not near enough to coat a whole cut up eggplant!

    • PTM

      I had to use about double the recipe. It may depend on the panko and how big the pieces are.

  6. Linda Condomitti

    Excellent! One of the best I’ve tried

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Cate

    5 stars
    I tried this (with AP flour since that was all I had) and it was amazing! The eggplant was crunchy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. I used it as my base for eggplant parm and it held up so well. Definitely going to be making this again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Suzanne

    5 stars
    This recipe is perfect. I don’t have a “reall” air fryer, but I do have a convection toaster oven. 425F on bake/convection in a air fryer pan for about 16 minutes turned out eggplant perfectly crispy and not mushy. The breading with the almond flour made for a nice, light crunch. I did turn part of the slices into eggplant parmesan. The rest I will use in a sandwich. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it! Ooh, I’m craving this as a sandwich now 🙂

  9. Bonnie Carpenter

    5 stars
    Trying your recipe right now. I get hot oil everywhere on the stove and now that we have a new cooktop that’s a big no no.. Air Fryer here we come. Taste is phenomenal and they look great. Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha, that’s how I feel about frying too 🙂 Love my air fryer.

  10. Patti

    5 stars
    I made this today and it was fantastic. My son who would never eat eggplant gobbled it up. This is a definite keeper.
    Thanks for the recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  11. Sandra

    5 stars
    I converted my boyfriend! He told me he “hated” eggplant, and I said, “I bet you’ll love this one.” I knew it would be good just by reading the recipe. Now, he keeps asking for more! LOL Thank you for sharing!
    By the way, did you ever freeze it? I want to make it ahead and freeze it open. Thoughts?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Oh I love hearing that! I’m so glad he loved it. I think it might freeze ok, but I would probably reheat it in the air fryer so it would crisp up again.

  12. Lize

    It’s a keeper! So says my ecstatic husband. “Lipsmacking good “.` I used this as my base for eggplant parm. Tossed fresh garlic, red bell peppers, green onions, spinach mushrooms, and sauce on top. Sprinkled mozzarella on top and back in the oven until hot. Yummy. The eggplant kept its wonderful texture and flavor. I also threw some garlic powder and pepper in the flour mixture. Gluten free folks will not be disappointed!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you both loved it!

  13. Scott Trusty

    2 stars
    Way too salty, is there a mistake somewhere. Also what too many adds.

  14. ST Santoli

    5 stars
    I bumped up the flavor on the panko mix with powdered garlic & onion, as well as oregano. This is the best air fryer recipe we’ve tried yet. Worth the extra step to salt and rest the eggplant, as well as using almond flour instead of regular since, imho, the subtle nuttty flavor is key to this recipe. In my Ninja, I didn’t even have to turn the eggplant half way through and was able to reduce the cook time by about 4 minutes. I can easily see using this “breading” with chicken, fish, pork, or other veggies – so good.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved the eggplant!

  15. BarefootD

    5 stars
    Made this last night as side for pork. It is excellent & in our rotation. I added 1/2tsp garlic powder & 1/2tsp Italian seasoning to the breading mixture. Thank you!

  16. roofer in lakewood

    5 stars
    I love breaded eggplant as a stand alone! This recipe will be perfect for me! Thanks for sharing this delish recipe! Stay safe!

  17. J

    5 stars
    This is now our favorite way to make eggplant! I usually grill it and top it with mozzarella or make a non-breaded eggplant Parmesan casserole but this method had everyone raving and asking for more. It is great as written but the second time I increased the panko to 3/4 c and decreased the flour to 1/4 as I found the 1:1 ratio to be a bit much. Perhaps because I was using all purpose flour? I also started seasoning the breading with onion powder, garlic powder and oregano which amps up the flavor a ton. Overall this recipe is a keeper!

  18. Mary O

    5 stars
    So easy and so good! Didn’t have almond flour so used all-purpose and turned out very well. Topped with fresh grated Parmesan and it was delicious! Crispy outside and melt in your mouth inside.

  19. joan

    5 stars
    This resulted in the best eggplant parm I’ve ever had. I’m not vegan, so I topped with a little tomato sauce and provolone in the oven for a few minutes. Eggplant was light and crispy. Fantastic! Thanks.

  20. Patricia

    5 stars
    I normally don’t leave comments but just had to this time. I made this roasted eggplant recipe along with the cashew cream. It is absolutely amazing! So easy, so tasty. I used the finger eggplants from my garden.

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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.