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You’ll love this cheesy and crunchy air fryer eggplant! Cooking eggplant in the air fryer is super quick, making it a great veggie side dish to just about any meal. My go-to ways to prepare eggplant are sauteed eggplant and roasted eggplant, but when I want a crispy exterior AND the fastest prep time, this recipe (like air fryer zucchini) can’t be beat.
Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Eggplant
- Savory, cheesy flavor with caramelized edges
- Crispy texture on the outside, tender on the inside
- No bowls to wash
- 4 simple ingredients (plus salt)
- Cooks in just 10 minutes
- Naturally low carb and gluten-free
- Easy, healthy vegetable side dish
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for air fried eggplant, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Eggplant – Look for a deep purple eggplant, with a smooth skin that’s not dented or bruised. Small eggplants are preferred to larger ones, because they are less bitter and have fewer seeds.
- Olive Oil – I recommend extra virgin olive oil, but light olive oil or even avocado oil will also work fine.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – You can buy pre-grated or grate your own, just make sure it’s super finely grated, not shredded, so that you get that crispy exterior. We’re using this in lieu of an actual breading, and I think it makes the best air fryer eggplant! That being said, if you prefer to use either regular or panko breadcrumbs, you can use a 50/50 mixture of parmesan and breadcrumbs instead, or use only breadcrumbs for a vegan option.
- Italian Seasoning – You can use homemade Italian seasoning or store-bought. You can also keep it simple and just use one type of dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary. Feel free to add other spices, like garlic powder or paprika.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
How To Cook Eggplant In The Air Fryer
This section shows cooking eggplant in the air fryer, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Slice. Cut the eggplant crosswise to make circles that are 1/2 inch thick. Pat dry with paper towels.
TIP: Cut off leafy end after slicing.
This will allow you to have more to grab onto.
- Season. Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with sea salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
- Air fry eggplant. Arrange the slices in a single layer and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and cheese is golden brown. Garnish with fresh parsley if you like.
TIP: Cook in batches and don’t crowd the air fryer basket.
Having the eggplant in a single layer ensures that it browns properly and cooks evenly.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheat: To maintain crispness, reheat the eggplant in the air fryer again, or briefly pan fry. Microwaving will leave it rather soggy.
- Freeze: You can freeze eggplant recipes, but I don’t recommend freezing this one, because the parmesan coating will get soggy.
What To Serve With Air Fried Eggplant
This veggie makes a great appetizer (dip it in marinara sauce or simply tomato sauce!), or an easy side dish with many kinds of main dishes:
- Chicken – I like to serve it with lemon garlic chicken or air fryer chicken wings, but this dish goes with almost all kinds of chicken recipes.
- Fish – Try pan seared salmon (it has the best lemon butter sauce!), flaky air fryer cod, or for a fancier meal, halibut.
- Steak – Pair it with an air fryer steak for a meal made in the same appliance, a simple sirloin steak you can cook while you have the eggplant in the air fryer, or for something a little different, chimichurri steak.
- Pork – For a quick meal, make baked pork chops, or if the weather will allow, grilled pork chops.
- Noodles – Serve it alongside your favorite pasta, or choose veggie-centric options like zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
- Eggplant Lasagna – Use air fryer eggplant in place of the roasted eggplant slices in eggplant lasagna! You can also use it to make eggplant parmesan by layering it with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, and topping with fresh basil.
More Air Fryer Recipes
If you like eggplant air fryer recipes like this one, you might also like these ways to use your air fryer:
Tools For This Recipe
- Air Fryer – This is my favorite one, from a familiar brand. It has a large basket, it’s easy to use, and cooks evenly. It’s perfect for air fried eggplant!
Air Fryer Eggplant Recipe
Air Fryer Eggplant (So Easy!)
Make easy air fryer eggplant in 15 minutes, with just 4 ingredients! It's faster than other methods & has a delicious crispy, cheesy coating.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Slice the eggplant crosswise to make circles, about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Cut off the leafy end only after you are done slicing, so that you'll have more to grab onto as you slice. Pat the slices dry with paper towels.
Drizzle or brush the eggplant slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning.
Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and the cheese is golden brown. Repeat in batches with remaining eggplant slices.
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Serving size: 4 slices, or 1/4 entire recipe
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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