Breaded eggplant is an easy and tasty recipe you can enjoy as an appetizer, side, or main dish on top of pasta with a few spoonfuls of our delicious marinara sauce.
The eggplants are baked in the oven or air fryer, they are tender inside and crispy outside, and we show you how to make them with and without eggs.
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Check out our Best Eggplant Recipes
Tender inside, crisp outside, seasoned with herbs, and served with marinara sauce, our crispy eggplant slices are a simple yet delicious recipe you can enjoy on its own or use to make other dishes.
While traditional breaded eggplant recipes pan fry or deep fry the eggplant cutlets in oil and can be a little heavy, we developed this recipe to be simpler, lighter, and healthier while retaining all its deliciousness.
We bake the eggplants in the oven or air fryer to do this. The breading is crisp and tasty, and we show you how to make it with an egg or, if you want to keep the recipe vegan, with chickpea flour.
Breaded eggplants make an excellent appetizer with a side dip of marinara sauce, tzatziki sauce, or chipotle sauce.
They are also delicious on pasta with marinara sauce and fresh basil. Or you can use them to make eggplant parmesan or a glorious crispy baked eggplant sub.
You can use globe eggplants or Italian eggplants, the dark-purple ones you can find in most supermarkets.
Alternatively, graffiti, zebra, or Sicilian eggplants are also excellent for this recipe.
Use regular breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs. We generally use what we have at hand.
We recommend extra virgin olive oil for a more round and fruity flavor. Alternatively, olive oil will do.
Anything Italian tasting is good with breaded eggplant. We recommend an Italian herb mix, but you can also use dried thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, or basil.
Use garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper.
Other spices you can try are onion powder and chili powder.
We add a little salt to the breadcrumb mixture. Then, add a tiny pinch on top of the eggplants before serving them.
Grated parmesan cheese adds a pleasant, cheesy, savory flavor to the breaded eggplants.
It also keeps the breading together as it melts in the oven.
You can substitute vegan parmesan or vegan cheese for parmesan cheese.
Egg or Chickpea flour
You can make the breadcrumbs stick with a large egg or with chickpea flour and water.
We tested both, and they are equally delicious. We honestly couldn’t tell the difference once they were on the platter.
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian herb mix, salt, and black pepper in a large dish.
In a bowl, beat 2 large eggs with a pinch of salt.
Alternatively, whisk the chickpea flour, water, and a pinch of salt together.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) discs.
Note: there’s no need to purge the eggplant with salt. Most eggplants these days are grown not to be bitter. Also, there’s no need to peel the eggplant.
Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg or chickpea batter.
Then let the excess batter drain and dip the eggplant into the breadcrumb mixture till both sides are coated.
Finally, arrange slices on your prepared baking sheet.
Tip: You might need to press the panko mixture with your hands and gently shake off excess. Make sure to bread the sides too.
Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400°F or 200°C for 20 minutes, then turn slices around and bake them for 5 more minutes.
Eggplants should be tender inside, crisp, and golden brown outside.
Transfer them on a serving platter, optionally sprinkle with chopped parsley and a few lemon wedges.
Serve breaded eggplants as an appetizer, side, or main dish with pasta, rice, or a sandwich.
Served this way, they are a great finger food to enjoy as an appetizer or side dish, and they are perfect for get-togethers with friends or family.
Serve breaded eggplant slices (also works with leftovers) on a bowl of pasta or rice.
Top them with a few spoonfuls of tasty marinara sauce, a few basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
This is a wonderful kid-friendly meal, perfect for family dinners.
Nothing beats a warm baguette stuffed with homemade marinara sauce and crispy baked eggplants. I devoured this right after taking this picture, and it was incredible.
You can make this with leftover breaded eggplants, and it’s excellent as a quick lunch or snack.
As a side dish to:
- Pasta Pomodoro (canned tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, spaghetti, olive oil, etc.)
- Tahini salad (tahini, chickpeas, lettuce, oregano, tomatoes, lemon juice, etc.)
- Focaccia bread (instant dry yeast, water, sugar, flour, rosemary, etc.)
- Pasta aglio e olio (spaghetti, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, olive oil, etc.)
- Creamy kale pasta (kale, ricotta, pasta, etc.)
Air-fried breaded eggplant
We have a dedicated blog post on air fryer eggplant, so check it out to learn more.
Making this recipe in the air fryer is simple, although you’ll have to cook in batches depending on the size of your air fryer, so it might be faster to cook the eggplants in the oven.
To start, follow the instructions above until your eggplants are breaded.
Next, preheat the air fryer to 360°F or 180°C for 3 minutes.
Arrange breaded eggplants in your air fryer basket on a single layer without overlapping.
Drizzle with olive oil and air fry at 360°F or 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the eggplant slices halfway through cooking. The eggplant is cooked when a fork slides in easily.
Serve as described in the “serving suggestions“ chapter above; they are an excellent alternative to fried eggplant.
Make ahead: this recipe is best eaten right out of the oven while the eggplants are warm, tender, and crisp.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
Reheat: reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes, in an air fryer for 5 minutes at 350°F or 180°C, or in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 10 minutes.
Freezer: we don’t recommend freezing breaded eggplants.
More eggplant recipes
If you love cooking with eggplant, here’s some more inspiration for tasty recipes:
- Eggplant salad with roasted eggplant and fresh veggies
- Stuffed eggplant with tomatoes and melted cheese
- Roasted eggplants topped with crunchy bread crumbs
- Eggplant pizza with marinara sauce and mozzarella
- Grilled eggplant with Italian marinade
- Pasta alla Norma with a hearty tomato sauce
- Eggplant dip with fresh lemon and tahini
- Italian caponata with olives, capers, and roasted eggplant
Or any of our best 35 eggplant recipes, including dinners, lunches, and snacks.
- 2 medium eggplants about 2 pounds or 1 kilogram
- 2 large eggs sub with ⅔ cup (100g) chickpea flour mixed with ⅔ cup (160g) water
- ⅔ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons Italian herb mix
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese sub vegan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Combine ⅔ cup breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons Italian herb mix, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a large plate.
- In a bowl, beat 2 large eggs with a pinch of salt.Alternatively, whisk chickpea flour, water, and a pinch of salt together.
- Cut 2 medium eggplants into ½-inch (1.5 cm) discs.
- Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg or chickpea batter.Then let the excess batter drain and dip the eggplant into the breadcrumb mixture till both sides are coated.Finally, arrange slices on your prepared baking sheet.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and bake at 400°F or 200°C for 20 minutes, then turn slices around and bake them for 5 more minutes.
- Eggplants should be tender inside, crisp, and golden brown outside.
- Appetizer or side dish: transfer them on a serving platter, optionally sprinkle with chopped parsley and a few lemon wedges.
- Main dish: serve them on top of a bowl of pasta or rice, topped with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce, basil leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Snack or quick lunch: nothing beats a warm baguette stuffed with homemade marinara sauce, crispy baked eggplants, and fresh basil.
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