Thin & Crispy Air Fried Eggplant Slices
One of the best ways to taste eggplant is air frying! These crispy eggplant slices are very easy to assemble and ‘air fry’ and contain much less oil and calories than traditional fried eggplant. Plus, there are so many ways to use them! Enjoy them alone as a delicious appetizer with a sauce, serve them on salads and pasta dishes, or add them to sandwiches, pizzas or even use them as a base for an eggplant parmigiana.
We used the crisper (air fry) feature in our Ninja Foodi Grill, but this recipe will work with any air fryer. Before cooking, you can check the recommended temperature for cooking vegetables in the manual for your air fryer.
PURCHASE → Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 4-Qt. Air Fryer, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate Indoor Electric Grill, 10 “x 10”, Black and Silver
You can also simply bake these slices on a baking sheet in the oven if you don’t have an air fryer.
Ingredients for air fried eggplant
Eggplant: We used medium sized eggplants for this recipe but in this case size doesn’t matter too much. Mini eggplants would be perfect to serve on salads or pizzas. Cut them into 1/2-inch slices.
Breadcrumbs: Italian seasoned breadcrumbs are perfect for this recipe. You can also use plain if you plan to serve these crispy eggplant slices with a different dipping sauce.
Parmesan cheese – If you’re dairy free, this one is optional, but it adds that lovely cheesy umami flavor that we all love. You can also substitute for other hard Italian cheeses such as Pecorino-Romano, Piave or Grana Padano. If you have more than one on hand, try mixing it up.
Flour and eggs – This is for dredging and soaking so that the breadcrumbs stick to the eggplant.
Herbs and spices – Salt and pepper are obviously a must, but I also like adding finely chopped fresh parsley (dried is great too). If you are a garlic lover, add a little garlic powder to the breading mixture.
Olive oil – Drizzle the eggplant slices with olive oil before air frying them to keep the breadcrumbs crisp and moist during cooking. You can also use another healthy neutral oil which is good for cooking at high heat. Avocado oil would be another great choice. When assembling these eggplant slices, I first drizzled with the oil. But for a more evenly distributed coating of oil without too much waste, it is best to use a spray bottle.
A glass spray bottle filled with olive oil like this linked here and pictured below is a great tool to have in the kitchen, especially if you prefer to cook with a specific brand or type of oil. It makes it easier for you to control how much you use.
BUY → Evo aerosol-free oil spray bottle for olive oil
You can also check out the grocery store or online retailers for olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil in non-aerosol spray cans similar to non-stick sprays like Pam. I’ve linked to a few that you can get from Amazon below.BUY → Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil Spray
PURCHASE → La Tourangelle Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil Artisanal Cold Pressed
BUY → Mantova 100% grape seed oil spray
For a better flavor, salt the eggplant before breading it
Many cooks swear that you get a creamier, richer tasting eggplant when you “salt” the eggplant before cooking. This step draws water from the eggplant and can reduce any bitterness. It’s very simple to do.
Sprinkle salt on both cut sides of the sliced eggplant, then place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to catch the water. You can also place them on their side in a large enough colander above the sink. After 30 minutes, you should see water droplets on the surface of the eggplant. Rinse the eggplant slices under running water, then dry completely. Your eggplant is now ready to flirt!
This step can be skipped if you are short on time. I had great eggplants with and without salting beforehand.
Bread and cook the eggplant slices
In a flat bowl or large platter, combine your Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, panko, Parmesan, pepper, garlic powder and dried parsley. Then set up a dredging station to bread the eggplant. The order should be the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Once the slices are breaded, place them on a baking sheet or wire rack and drizzle or spray with oil before air frying.
Baking the eggplants in batches, we air-fried them at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes in total, flipping them after about 5 to brown evenly on both sides. Please note that all air fryers cook slightly differently, you may need to adjust the temperature of your machine. Consult your manual for recommendations or cook a batch at the recommended temperature here and adjust if necessary.
Tip dairy free and vegan!
To make these eggplant slices vegan, replace the Parmesan with nutritional yeast and coat the eggplant slices with olive oil (or another oil of your choice) or vegan mayonnaise instead of egg. beaten before dipping in breadcrumbs. Then cook as directed.
GET THE RECIPE!
Thin and Crispy Italian Air Fried Eggplant Slices
This recipe makes delicious eggplant slices that are thin, crisp, and taste like fried, but without all the extra oil and calories. Super versatile, you can serve these eggplant slices as a savory appetizer, on a salad or even used as a base for eggplant parmigiana.
Aperitif, side dish
Portions: 12 slices
- eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- olive oil
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese, grated (Romano can be substituted or combined for a blend)
parsley, finely chopped
garlic powder (optional)
Cut the eggplant into 1 / 4-1 / 2 inch slices. 1/4 inch for super thin eggplant slices or 1/2 for slightly thicker slices, perfect for eggplant parmigiana.
OPTIONAL STEP: Some report a creamy eggplant with a richer taste when salting the eggplant before cooking. Place the eggplant on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt on the cut sides. This will draw water from the eggplant and reduce the bitterness. After 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant slices, then dry completely.
In a flat bowl or large platter, combine your Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, panko, Parmesan, parsley, pepper and garlic powder (optional). Place next to your flour and beaten egg bowls. The order of the dredging station should be flour, then egg then breadcrumbs.
Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip them in the egg, coating both sides to allow the excess to drip off. Then, press the eggplant slices into the breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides. Place on a plate or rack and repeat until all the slices are coated.
Batch, spray or drizzle with olive oil on both sides of the eggplant slices before adding them to the air fryer basket. Cook 5 minutes, turn and cook another 5 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Place on a baking sheet or wire rack and continue cooking the rest. You can keep them in a hot oven if you want.
NOTE: All air fryers cook differently. You may want to adjust your cooking time or temperature after the first batch.
Season with a little salt if desired. Serve with your favorite dip such as marinara, tzatziki or on a salad or pasta. These eggplant slices can also be used for eggplant parmigiana. Enjoy!
Our sincere thanks to