Air fryer eggplant is so easy you can make it in 15 minutes and enjoy it as a healthy and tasty side dish or as a base to make other recipes.
The air-fried eggplants are slightly charred on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. And you can make this recipe yours using your favorite herbs and spices.
Check out our Best Eggplant Recipes
Our air fryer eggplant recipe is the simplest, fastest way to get a tasty and healthy side dish of diced eggplant on the table.
This recipe is a winner because it's delicious as is, but you can also use it as a base to make other tasty eggplant recipes.
Try it in our eggplant pasta, caponata, or in a wholesome eggplant salad.
Also, because we love air-frying so much, we made some crazy delicious variations including breaded air-fried eggplant and eggplant boats. Check out the "variations" chapter below.
From this recipe you can expect a flavor and texture similar to roasted eggplant. The air fryer slightly chars the diced eggplant, making it tasty while leaving the inside tender and juicy.
To make the recipe, you'll need a few simple ingredients, including olive oil and dried herbs. We keep the recipe simple so you can make it without going to the store, but feel free to add more spices and herbs based on your taste.
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, check out our tahini sauce or chipotle sauce, and use them as a dip or drizzle on top.
We use globe American eggplant or Italian eggplant because that's what we find in our supermarket. However, you can air-fry most eggplant varieties.
Use extra virgin olive oil if you have it. It has a fruitier taste that marries the sweet, earthy notes of the eggplant well.
Garlic goes well with eggplant, and garlic powder gives you a little flavor on each piece of air fryer eggplant. You can substitute a crushed clove of fresh garlic for garlic powder.
Salt and Pepper
We use sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you are on a low sodium diet, you might consider replacing salt with a potassium chloride salt substitute but talk to your doctor first.
Pick your favorite dried herbs depending on what you are doing with the air-fried eggplant. If you are eating it as a side, you can add as many dried herbs as you like, including rosemary, sage, mint, 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 of them, so that the eggplant stays more neutral and fits the final dish better.
Fresh herbs + Lemon juice
We recommend adding finely chopped fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice on top of the eggplant before serving it. For example, you can use fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, mint, and thyme.
Other spices that go well with eggplant are paprika, curry, turmeric, and chipotle powder. Mix about ¼ teaspoon of the spice with each eggplant before air frying it.
Preheat the air fryer to 390°F or 200°C for 3 minutes. Wash and dry the eggplant, and remove the stem. Next, cut the eggplant into ¾-inch (2cm) dice.
Transfer the diced eggplant to a large mixing bowl, add salt, black pepper, garlic powder, your dried herb of choice, and olive oil, and mix well.
Transfer diced eggplant into the air fryer basket. As you can see from the picture, the dice CAN overlap. Therefore, there is no need to put them on a single layer.
Air fry at 390°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.
A serving of air fryer eggplant is an easy way to add extra veggies to your meal, try these flavorful combinations:
- Add to salads: mix tender eggplant with your favorite salad, try it with chickpea salad, quinoa salad, or rice salad.
- Top on pasta: cooked eggplant pairs perfectly with pasta, top it on a serving of pasta with tomato sauce, spaghetti aglio e olio, or spicy rigatoni arrabbiata. You can even make pasta alla norma (pasta with eggplant sauce) with it.
- Serve with protein: and pair it with this aromatic vegan fish or homemade vegan steak.
Breaded air fryer eggplant
This recipe is tasty and similar to eggplant parmesan. However, it is a little more laborious because you need to coat the eggplant in breadcrumbs first, then air-fry it in batches, as the eggplant slices cannot overlap in the air fryer.
To make it, you'll need
- 1 large globe eggplant or Italian eggplant
- ⅓ cup unsweetened plant milk of choice (almond, oats, soy). We use plant milk to replace eggs and make this recipe vegan.
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (panko or other). Use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb mix
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ 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
- Marinara sauce
- Fresh basil
Preheat the air fryer to 360°F or 180°C for 3 minutes.
In a small container, combine breadcrumbs, vegan or regular 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 ¼ inch thick disks. Pat dry each dish with paper towels or a kitchen cloth.
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 air fryer basket on a single layer without overlapping. Air fry eggplant slices at 360°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 do so by arranging them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and baking 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.
Preheat the air fryer to 390°F or 200°C for 3 minutes. Wash and dry the eggplant, cut it in half, and score its flesh with a knife.
Season with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil, then place in the air fryer, cut side up.
Air fry eggplant for 12 minutes at 360°F or 180°C cut side up, flip around and air fry for another 8 to 10 minutes, until brown, a little char, and tender inside.
Serve with a drizzle of tahini sauce, minced garlic in olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and freshly chopped parsley.
Alternatively, top the eggplant boats with diced cherry tomatoes seasoned in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed or minced garlic, and basil.
To make it even more delicious, spread some vegan pesto on the eggplant, and drizzle with tahini sauce.
You can also use the flesh of air-fried eggplant boats to make eggplant dip or baba ganoush.
More eggplant recipes
Eggplant is a hearty veggie that works in so many different dishes, here are some of our favorites:
- Grilled eggplant
- Couscous salad with roasted veggies
- Tofu cream cheese with baked eggplant
- Creamy eggplant dip (baba ghanoush)
- Pasta alla Norma
- Eggplant caponata
Or simply try any of these 35 ways to cook with eggplant.
More air fryer recipes
Air frying is a great way to cook veggies and protein in a fast way. Try these air fryer recipes with reduced oil but maximum flavor:
- Air fryer tofu
- Crispy chickpeas
- Quick green beans
- Crunchy asparagus
- Air fryer zucchini
- Crunchy air fryer croutons
You can even make an easy starter with these air-fried crostini, a light, and quick appetizer idea!
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.
This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
For many more side dishes 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 garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or other herb of choice
- Preheat the air fryer to 390°F or 200°C for 3 minutes. Wash and dry the eggplant, and remove the stem. Next, cut the eggplant into ¾-inch (2cm) dice.
- Transfer the diced eggplant to a large mixing bowl, add salt, black pepper, garlic powder, your dried herb of choice, and olive oil, and mix well.
- Transfer diced eggplant into the air fryer basket. As you can see from the picture, the dice CAN overlap. Therefore, there is no need to put them on a single layer.
- Air fry at 390°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 (fresh parsley, basil, mint) and a squeeze of lemon juice, or use it as a base for other recipes.
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