Coated in a panko and Parmesan crust, this air fryer eggplant is crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, and packed with rich, nutty flavor.
If you like eggplant Parmesan, then you’ll be crazy for this air fryer eggplant recipe! I coat eggplant slices in a mixture of panko bread crumbs, almond flour, and Parmesan cheese and then air fry them to golden brown perfection.
The slices are crispy on the outside, silky smooth in the middle, and filled with rich, nutty flavor. I’m always a fan of eggplant recipes, but without a doubt, this air fryer eggplant is one of my new favorites.
Air Fryer Eggplant Recipe Ingredients
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this air fryer eggplant recipe:
- Eggplant, of course! You’ll need 1 large globe eggplant, or 2 small eggplants, to make this recipe.
- Panko bread crumbs – They give the eggplant’s coating its delicious crispy texture.
- Almond flour and Parmesan cheese – They make the coating rich and nutty. Don’t do dairy? My vegan Parmesan will work here too.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It helps the air fryer eggplant become crisp and golden brown as it cooks. Don’t worry! You’re still using way less oil than you would be if you were frying the eggplant.
- An egg – It binds the bread crumb mixture to the eggplant slices. Find my vegan substitution in the recipe below.
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Cook Eggplant in the Air Fryer
Ok, I have a confession: though I haven’t been one for salting eggplant and letting it drain before cooking it in the past, I do find that it makes a difference here. This step adds some extra time to the recipe, but it’s almost entirely hands-off. In addition, the eggplant’s flavor is richer, and its texture is extra-smooth. Totally worth it, if you ask me.
So, first thing’s first! You’ll start by salting the eggplant. Toss the eggplant slices with a generous pinch of salt and arrange them in a colander in the sink. Allow them to drain for 30 minutes while you mix up the crispy coating and beat the egg.
After 30 minutes, it’s time to bread the eggplant. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Then, dip each slice into the egg, followed by the panko mixture. Make sure to get it nicely coated on all sides!
Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and arrange them in a single layer in your air fryer basket. If you have too many slices to arrange in a single layer, you’ll need to work in batches. Stack the eggplant rounds on top of one another, and they won’t crisp up as they bake!
Next, cook. Drizzle the breaded eggplant generously with olive oil, and transfer it to a 370° preheated air fryer (P.S. I’ve tried many air fryers and this one is my favorite so far). Cook the eggplant until it’s crispy and well-browned, about 17-20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
That’s it! Good luck not eating it all straight out of the air fryer basket.
This air fryer eggplant recipe is a ridiculously tasty side dish. It pairs well with all sorts of dishes – veggie burgers, pasta, a cooked protein of your choice… Lately, I’ve loved serving it with a substantial salad for a light, yet satisfying, meal. It would be fantastic with any of these salad recipes:
But there are also times when I want to make this air fryer eggplant the main event. To serve it as an entree, I arrange it over pasta tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs. Then, I dollop on marinara or my fresh tomato sauce and top if off with cashew cream. I can’t get enough of this combination!
More Favorite Air Fryer Recipes
If you love this air fryer eggplant recipe, try one of these air fryer recipes next:
Looking for more eggplant recipes? Find 12 of my favorites here!
Air Fryer Eggplant
For Serving, optional
Preheat the air fryer to 370°F.
Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt on both sides and place in a large colander to drain for 30 minutes.
In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg. In a medium bowl or rimmed plate, combine the panko, almond flour, pecorino, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
Pat the eggplant slices dry, dip them into the egg, and then into the panko mixture. Place on a plate as you work and then drizzle the slices with olive oil. Place in a single layer in the air fryer and air fry for 17 to 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown, flipping halfway through cooking. Work in batches if necessary.
Make the eggplant a full meal by serving it with pasta, scoops of tomato sauce, dollops of cashew cream, basil, red pepper flakes, and drizzles of olive oil.
I have this Instant Pot Air Fryer and it’s great.