Air fryer eggplant is a versatile and easy recipe you can have as a side dish or use to make other dishes.
You can expect a golden-brown exterior, tender interior, minimal oil, and a delicious flavor. Thanks to the air fryer, humble eggplant turns into a veggie superstar.
Table of Contents
You’ll love this air fryer eggplant recipe because it’s delicious as is, but you can also use it to make other irresistible eggplant recipes.
From pasta alla Norma to Eggplant Dip, from Sicilian Caponata to Middle Eastern Fatteh, from a wholesome eggplant salad to indulgent stuffed eggplants and eggplant curry, you’ll never turn on your oven again.
And because we love eggplant in air fryer, we made some delicious variations, including breaded air-fried eggplant and eggplant boats. They are all in the “variations” chapter below.
From this recipe, you can expect a flavor and texture similar to roasted eggplant. The air fryer slightly chars the exterior of the eggplant, giving it a tasty flavor while leaving the inside tender.
You can serve air fryer eggplant as is or top it with a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice for an extra fresh and tangy taste.
To add even more flavor, we recommend drizzling the hot eggplant with chimichurri sauce, tahini sauce, or both.
Ingredients & Substitutions
We use globe eggplant or Italian eggplant because that’s what we find in our supermarket.
However, you can air-fry most eggplant varieties. Some of our favorites are fairy tale eggplant, graffiti, zebra, or Sicilian eggplant, and white eggplant.
Use extra virgin olive oil if you have it. It has a fruitier taste that marries the sweet, earthy notes of the eggplant well.
Substitute avocado oil or regular olive oil for extra virgin olive oil.
Garlic goes well with eggplant, and garlic powder infuses every piece of air fryer eggplant with flavor.
Substitute a crushed clove of fresh garlic or onion powder for garlic powder.
Salt and Pepper
We use sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Dried herbs (optional)
Pick your favorite dried herbs depending on what you do with the air-fried eggplant.
If you are eating it as a side, add as many dried herbs as you like, including rosemary, sage, mint, za’atar, sumac, oregano, thyme, and even an Italian herb mix.
If you are air-frying the eggplant to use in other recipes, we’d advise you to leave the herbs out or add less so that the eggplant stays more neutral and fits the final dish better.
Other spices that go well with eggplant are paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, curry, turmeric, and chipotle powder.
Mix about 1/4 teaspoon of the spice with each eggplant before air frying it.
Fresh herbs + Lemon juice
We recommend adding finely chopped fresh herbs and squeeze lemon juice on top of the eggplant before serving it.
Pick between fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, mint, and thyme.
How to cook eggplant in the air fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F or 200°C for 3 minutes.
Wash and dry the eggplant, cut off the stem, and chop the eggplant into 1-inch (2.5cm) dice.
Transfer the diced eggplant to a large mixing bowl, and toss with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, your desired dried herb, and olive oil.
Transfer diced eggplant into the air fryer basket.
As you can see from the picture, the dice CAN overlap. There is no need to put them on a single layer.
Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket every 3 to 4 minutes.
Cooking time varies slightly based on dice size and air fryer model. The eggplant is ready when slightly charred outside and tender inside.
Transfer onto a serving platter and serve with freshly chopped herbs on top (parsley, basil, mint) and a squeeze of lemon juice, or use it as a base for other recipes.
Recipes with air fryer eggplant
- Pasta alla norma
- Roasted red pepper pasta
- Eggplant Bruschetta
- Eggplant salad
- Breaded eggplant
- Stuffed eggplant
- Eggplant caponata
- Eggplant curry
- Chickpea pasta with eggplant
- Baba ganoush (eggplant dip)
- Mutabal (eggplant and yogurt dip)
- Fatteh with hummus and eggplant
But remember: you can add air-fried eggplant cubes on top of most pasta dishes and salads. That’s what we do all the time!
Breaded eggplant in the air fryer
This recipe is tasty, kind of like an air fryer eggplant parmesan but without mozzarella cheese.
To make it, you’ll need
- 1 large globe eggplant or Italian eggplant
- 1/3 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice (almond, oats, soy). We use plant milk to replace eggs and make this recipe vegan, but you can also use one or two large eggs (beaten)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (panko or other). Use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb mix
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan or regular parmesan cheese if not vegan.
- 4 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
To serve it, we recommend
Preheat the air fryer to 350°F or 180°C for 3 minutes.
In a small container, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian herb mix, salt, and black pepper. To another container, add the plant milk.
Wash the eggplant, remove the stem, and cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Pat dry each dish with paper towels or kitchen cloth to remove excess moisture.
Dip eggplant slices into plant milk, then into the breadcrumb mixture until well coated.
You might need to press the panko mixture with your hands. Arrange breaded slices onto a platter and drizzle with olive oil.
Arrange breaded eggplants in an air fryer basket on a single layer without overlapping.
Air fry eggplant slices at 350°F or 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking. The eggplant is cooked when a fork slides in easily.
Note: cooking in batches takes time. If your air fryer is small, like ours, you might want to bake the eggplants instead. You can arrange them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 20 minutes.
Serve as is, with marinara sauce on top, or even better with pasta, marinara sauce, and fresh basil.
Eggplant boats in the air fryer
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, score its flesh crosswise, and season the cuts with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
Place in the air fryer, cut side up, and air fry for 15 minutes. Turn around and air fry for 5 more minutes or until fork tender.
Refrigerator: store air fryer eggplant leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave and serve with fresh parsley on top and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
More eggplant recipes
Eggplant is a hearty veggie that works in so many different dishes; here are some of our favorites:
- Grilled eggplant (olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, garlic, etc.)
- Roasted eggplant (eggplant, garlic, apple cider vinegar, parsley, etc.)
- Eggplant caponata (capers, olives, celery, tomato, eggplant, vinegar, basil, etc.)
- Sautèed eggplant (canned tomatoes, garlic, basil, eggplant, garlic, etc.)
Or try any of these 35 ways to cook with eggplant.
More air fryer recipes
Air fryer vegetables are the best! Here are some of our favorites.
- Air fryer zucchini
- Air fryer asparagus
- Air fryer tofu
- Air fryer potatoes
- Air fryer cauliflower
- Air fryer mushrooms
- Air fryer chickpeas
- Air fryer sweet potato
- Air fryer green beans
- Air fryer Brussels sprouts
For many more side dish ideas, check out our sides category page.
Air Fryer Eggplant
- Air fryer
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or other herb of choice
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F or 200°C for 3 minutes.Wash and dry the eggplant, cut off the stem, and chop the eggplant into 1-inch (2.5cm) dice.
- Transfer the diced eggplant to a large mixing bowl, and toss with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, your desired dried herb, and olive oil.
- Transfer diced eggplant into the air fryer basket.As you can see from the picture, the dice CAN overlap. There is no need to put them on a single layer.
- Air fry at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket every 3 to 4 minutes.Cooking time varies slightly based on dice size and air fryer model. The eggplant is ready when slightly charred outside and tender inside.
- Transfer onto a serving platter and serve with freshly chopped herbs on top (parsley, basil, mint) and a squeeze of lemon juice, or drizzle with chimichurri or tahini sauce.Alternatively, use it as a base for other recipes (see chapter "recipes with air fryer eggplant).
- Recipes with air fryer eggplant
- More eggplant recipes
- More air fryer recipes
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