Easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan — Easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan is a delightful twist on the classic Italian dish that’s not only delicious but also healthier.

Instead of frying the eggplant slices in oil, this recipe uses an air fryer to achieve that crispy texture without excess grease. Here’s a closer look at this flavorful and nutritious dish.

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is a beloved Italian-American recipe known for its layers of fried eggplant, marinara sauce, and melted cheese. In this air fryer version, thinly sliced eggplant is coated in a seasoned breadcrumb mixture and then air-fried to perfection. The result is a wonderfully crispy exterior contrasting beautifully with the tender eggplant slices inside.

If you are looking for even more Classic Air Fryer Italian Dishes, some of my favorites are AIR FRYER ITALIAN DRESSING CHICKEN, AIR FRYER EASY ITALIAN CHICKEN TENDERS, AIR FRYER ITALIAN MEATLOAF, and AIR FRYER ITALIAN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

If you love traditional eggplant parmesan, you will love this recipe; made with a handful of ingredients, you can have a delicious plate of Italian Parmesan.

Ingredients in Crispy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

Remember the step-by-step directions, complete recipe,  and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.​

  • Large Eggplant: You’ll need firm and fresh eggplants, which will be thinly sliced to create the base of the dish.
  • Egg: Beaten eggs will help the breadcrumb mixture adhere to the eggplant slices during the breading process.
  • Breadcrumbs: You can use regular breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs, depending on your preference. They provide a crispy coating for the eggplant.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese adds a rich and savory flavor to the breadcrumb mixture, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Italian Seasoning: This seasoning blend typically includes dried herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, adding a delightful Italian flavor to the breadcrumb coating.
  • Garlic Powder: A dash of garlic powder contributes a subtle garlic flavor to the breadcrumb mixture, complementing the other seasonings.
  • Marinara Sauce: Choose your favorite marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce,  or make your own for layering and adding flavor.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Shredded mozzarella cheese is an essential component for creating that gooey, melty topping on the eggplant slices.
  • Fresh Basil: Fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped, are used as a garnish for added freshness and a burst of color.
  • Salt and Pepper: Season the eggplant slices and breadcrumb mixture with kosher salt and black pepper to taste for well-balanced seasoning.
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray: You’ll need olive oil spray to lightly coat the eggplant slices before air frying, helping them become crispy without excessive oil.
  • Optional: Red pepper flakes or grated red pepper for a hint of spice can be added if you like your Eggplant Parmesan with a kick.

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan In The Air Fryer​

This air-fried version of Eggplant Parmesan offers all the deliciousness of the classic Italian dish with a healthier twist.

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan In The Air Fryer​

​Step One: Prepare Eggplant Steaks

Start by preparing your eggplant: slice eggplant, 1/2-inch thick eggplant rounds. If you prefer, you can peel the eggplant first, but it’s not necessary.

Place the eggplant on a paper towel and add salt on top of each slice; let the eggplant sit for 3-4 minutes; this will help remove excess moisture. 

air fryer eggplant parmesan

Step Two: Set Up Dredging Station

In a bowl, whisk the egg until well beaten. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This will be your breadcrumb coating.

Dip eggplant slices into the beaten egg, allowing any excess to drip off, and then coat it thoroughly with the breadcrumb mixture. Press the breadcrumbs onto the eggplant to ensure a good coating.

air fryer eggplant parmesan

Step Three: Air Fry

Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (190°C) for 2-3 minutes. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray to prevent sticking. Place the breaded eggplant slices in a single layer in the basket, ensuring they don’t overlap.

Set cook time for 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. They should become golden brown and crispy.

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan (4)

Step Four: Add Toppings

While the eggplant is cooking, warm your marinara sauce in a separate saucepan on the stove. Once the eggplant slices are done, remove them from the air fryer.

In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce. Place a layer of air-fried eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Add a generous spoonful of marinara sauce to each slice. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the marinara sauce.

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan In The Air Fryer​

Step Five: Serving

Continue layering eggplant, sauce, and cheese until you’ve used all your ingredients, finishing with a layer of cheese. Place the baking dish in your air fryer at 375°F (190°C) for another 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

Pro Tips

Cooking eggplant in an air fryer is a great way to achieve a crispy texture without excessive oil. Here are some pro tips for cooking eggplant in an air fryer:

  • Choose the Right Eggplant: Select firm and fresh eggplants free of blemishes or soft spots. Dark purple and smaller eggplants have fewer seeds and a milder flavor.
  • Slice Uniformly: When cutting the eggplant into slices or cubes, try to make them as uniform in size as possible. This ensures even cooking.
  • Salt and Drain (Optional): To remove excess moisture from the eggplant, you can salt the slices and let them sit for about 15-30 minutes. Rinse and pat them dry before air frying. This step helps prevent sogginess.
  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating your air fryer for a few minutes before cooking helps ensure even and consistent results.
  • Use Cooking Spray: Instead of coating the eggplant with oil, use a cooking spray to coat the slices or cubes lightly. This reduces the amount of oil used while still achieving a crispy texture.
  • Arrange in a Single Layer: Place the eggplant pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket or tray, ensuring they don’t overlap. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you need to cook in batches. 
  • Flip or Shake: To promote even cooking, flip the eggplant slices or shake the basket halfway through the cooking time. This helps both sides crisp up nicely.
  • Monitor Closely: Keep a close eye on the cooking progress, especially during the last few minutes. Air fryers can cook quickly, and you want to avoid overcooking, which can result in a dry texture.
  • Season Creatively: Before air frying, you can season the eggplant with various herbs and spices to enhance the flavor. Common choices include garlic powder, paprika, oregano, or Parmesan cheese.
  • Experiment with Temperatures: Air fryers typically work well at temperatures ranging from 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C). Adjust the temperature based on your preference for texture and browning.
  • Use Parchment Paper: To prevent sticking and make cleanup easier, consider lining the air fryer basket or tray with parchment paper. Just ensure it doesn’t obstruct the air circulation.
  • Serve Promptly: Eggplant dishes are best enjoyed after cooking to retain their crispiness. If you need to keep them warm, place them in a low oven (around 200°F or 93 °C) until they are ready to serve.
Air-Fryer-Eggplant-Parmesan (1)

Can I skip salting and draining the eggplant? Yes, salting and draining the eggplant is an optional step. It helps remove excess moisture and improve the texture, but you can skip it if you’re short on time.

How do I prevent the eggplant from sticking to the air fryer basket? To prevent sticking, use parchment paper or lightly coat the eggplant with cooking spray before placing it in the air fryer. Just make sure the parchment paper doesn’t block the air circulation.

Can I bread the eggplant before air frying it? Yes, you can bread the eggplant by dipping it in a beaten egg and coating it with breadcrumbs or flour before air frying. This will give it a crispy coating.

What temperature should I set the air fryer to for cooking eggplant? Air fryers typically work well at temperatures between 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C) for cooking eggplant. Adjust the temperature based on your preference for texture and browning.

How long does it take to cook eggplant in an air fryer? The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the eggplant slices and the air fryer’s temperature. Generally, it takes about 10-15 minutes, with flipping or shaking halfway through.

Can I reheat leftover air-fried eggplant? Yes, you can reheat leftover air-fried eggplant in the air fryer for a few minutes to regain its crispiness. Alternatively, you can use an oven or toaster oven.

What are some popular seasonings for air-fried eggplant? Popular seasonings for eggplant include garlic powder, paprika, oregano, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Feel free to get creative with your seasoning choices.

Can I use frozen eggplant in the air fryer? While it’s possible to air fry frozen eggplant, it’s recommended to thaw and pat it dry before cooking. Frozen eggplant may release more moisture during cooking.

What dishes can I make with air-fried eggplant? Air-fried eggplant can be used in various dishes, such as eggplant Parmesan, side salad, eggplant sandwiches, or dishes with dipping sauce. It’s a versatile ingredient.

Can I stack eggplant slices in the air fryer? It’s best to arrange eggplant slices in a single layer without stacking to ensure even cooking and crispiness.

How to store leftover eggplant: Let the eggplant cool to room temperature and place it in an airtight container; the leftover eggplant parmesan will stay in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

More Air Fryer Recipes

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Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

3.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

Description

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan — There is nothing better than a plate of eggplant parmesan for dinner or lunch! This will be a crowd-pleaser. Add with a plate of spaghetti for a perfect dinner!

Ingredients 

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice eggplant into ½ inch slices. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and put them on a wire rack. Leave for 10 minutes to draw out excess moisture. Dry the eggplant slices.
  • Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a medium shallow bowl.
  • Place flour and beaten eggs each in separate shallow bowls
  • Dip each eggplant slice first in flour to completely coat, then shake off the excess flour.
  • Next, dip the coated eggplant slice in beaten eggs, and shake off the excess egg.
  • Finally, completely coat the eggplant slice in the breadcrumb mix. Set onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat the process for all remaining eggplant slices.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F, air fryer setting, and spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Spray eggplant slices on both sides with cooking spray and transfer them into the Air Fryer basket in a single layer. Cook in the Air Fryer for 8-10 mins, until pale golden brown and crispy.
  • Top the cooked eggplant slices with marinara sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese.
  • Cook for a further 1-2 mins until the cheese melts.
  • Serve immediately as a snack or with some pasta or salad as part of a full meal.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh basil/parsley (optional)
  • Plate, serve, and enjoy!

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper, optional

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 29kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 262mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 26IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.3mg

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