Our breaded eggplants are an easy and tasty recipe you can eat as a starter, side dish, or main dish on top of pasta with a ladleful of our delicious marinara sauce.
This recipe is healthy, without eggs and frying. Instead, you can bake the breaded eggplants in the oven or in the air fryer. Let's see how!
Check out our Best Eggplant Recipes
Tender on the inside, crisp on the outside, seasoned with herbs, and served with marinara sauce, our breaded eggplant slices are a simple yet delicious recipe that you can enjoy on its own or use to make other dishes.
Traditionally, breaded eggplant is on the heavy side, breaded with eggs and fried in oil.
That's why we developed this recipe to be simpler, lighter, and healthier while retaining all the goodness of good ol' breaded eggplants.
To do that, we use plant milk instead of eggs and oven-bake or air-fry the eggplant instead of frying it on a pan.
We use some parmesan cheese in the breading to add flavor, but you can easily swap that out with a vegan parmesan replacement to make this recipe vegan.
We love serving it as an appetizer, with a side dip of marinara sauce, tzatziki sauce, or chipotle sauce.
It's also great on pasta with plenty of marinara sauce and fresh basil. Or you can use it to make eggplant parmesan or a glorious crispy baked eggplant sub.
Use standard globe eggplants or Italian eggplants, the dark-purple ones you can find in most supermarkets.
Use regular bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs. We generally use what we have at hand.
We recommend using 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. We find those are pantry staples that everyone has and that fit the recipe well.
We add a little salt to the breadcrumb mixture. You can also add a tiny pinch on top of the breadcrumbs before serving them.
Parmesan cheese adds a ton of flavor to the breaded eggplants. It also keeps the breading together as it melts in the oven. However, we often make dairy-free crispy eggplant by using vegan parmesan cheese. Here are some good options from PETA.
We use plant milk to replace the eggs and make the breading stick to the eggplant cutlets. Make sure you use unsweetened plant milk. Unsweetened soy milk is great, but any other plant milk works as well.
Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a shallow bowl or oven dish, 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.
Note: there's no need to purge the eggplant with salt. Most eggplants these days are engineered not to be bitter.
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, and gently shake off excess. Then, arrange breaded slices onto a plate.
Arrange breaded eggplant onto the baking sheet on a single layer, without overlapping, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
If you have any remaining eggplant slices, bake them in a second batch.
Bake at 400°F or 200°C for 20 minutes, or until the breaded eggplants are tender on the inside, crisp, and golden brown on the outside. Flip once, after 15 minutes.
There's no better way to serve breaded eggplants than pairing them with a homemade tomato sauce like our marinara sauce.
Don't worry; our marinara sauce is very easy to make. You can put it together in 20 minutes with a few simple ingredients while the eggplants bake. Here are our serving suggestions:
On a platter with marinara sauce
One way of serving breaded eggplants is on a platter with our homemade marinara sauce.
Served this way, they are a great finger food to enjoy as an appetizer or side dish, and they are perfect for getting together with friends or family dinners.
Pasta with breaded eggplant and marinara sauce
A wonderful kid-friendly meal, perfect for family dinners. This healthy recipe combines spaghetti with our wholesome homemade marinara sauce and crisp breaded eggplants.
Serve with fresh basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Breaded eggplant sub
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.
Or serve it as a side dish with:
Air-fried breaded eggplant
We have a dedicated blog post on how to air-fry eggplants in different ways, so check it out to learn more.
To make 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.
However, follow the same instructions as above until your eggplants are breaded.
Next, preheat the air fryer to 360 Degrees 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 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.
Serve as described in the "serving suggestions" chapter above.
More eggplant recipes
If you love cooking with eggplant, get more inspiration for tasty dinners and lunches:
- 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.
This recipe is best eaten right out of the oven (or air fryer). Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Reheat in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 10 minutes, or in an air-fryer for 5 minutes at 350°F or 180°C.
- 1 large eggplant
- ⅓ cup plant milk of choice unsweetened (almond, soy, oat)
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (panko or other)
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb mix
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Our homemade marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, vegan or regular parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian herb mix, salt, and black pepper.To another bowl, add the plant milk.
- Wash the eggplant, remove the stem, and cut it into ¼-inch thick disks. Pat dry each disk with paper towels or a kitchen cloth.Note: there's no need to purge the eggplant with salt. Most eggplants these days are engineered not to be bitter.
- 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, and gently shake off excess.
- Arrange breaded eggplant onto the baking sheet on a single layer, without overlapping, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.Tip: If you have any remaining eggplant slices, bake them in a second batch.
- Bake at 400°F or 200°C for 20 - 25 minutes, flip once after 15 minutes. They should be tender on the inside, crisp, and golden brown on the outside.
- On a platter with our homemade marinara sauce.Served this way, they are a great finger food to enjoy as an appetizer or side dish, and they are perfect for getting together with friends or family dinners.Sprinkle with some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley to add freshness and color.
- On top of spaghetti, they become a wonderful kid-friendly meal, perfect for family dinners. This healthy recipe combines spaghetti with our wholesome homemade marinara sauce and crisp breaded eggplants.Serve with fresh basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Nothing beats a warm baguette stuffed with homemade marinara sauce and crispy baked eggplants. Perfect quick lunch with leftovers eggplants.
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