Crispy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan is one of our favorite recipes for an easy meatless dinner that is still flavorful and filling. In just 30 minutes, this easy air fryer recipe creates crispy “fried” eggplant topped with rich marinara, mozzarella and basil!
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan is unbelievably quick and easy. No big skillet with hot oil for frying! No grease at all, but you will still get all of the taste! Meatless Monday has never looked so good or tasted so delicious.
Golden and crispy breaded eggplant is dripping in marinara sauce, with melted fresh parmesan cheese and fresh basil all right on top. We honestly find that the eggplant parmesan comes out more crispy from the air fryer than if we had cooked it the traditional way using a frying pan and oil!
This easy family dinner is kid approved, it’s actually one of the few vegetable dinner recipe that my kids request for dinner. We usually serve our Eggplant Parmesan stacked on top of a plate of traditional spaghetti and we never have leftovers. The ingredients are simple, most of them are staples in your pantry already, but the flavor is spectacular! Let’s get cooking!
How To Serve Eggplant Parmesan
As you will see in the photos, we like to stack our Eggplant Parmesan slices on top of each other to make a stack. Then we usually serve them on top of, or on the side of, some spaghetti sauced with traditional marinara.
However, there are a tons of ways to serve Eggplant Parmesan! Here a few other options for side dishes or other ways to serve air fried eggplant:
- Appetizer: Skip adding the marinara and cheese and instead serve the crispy breaded eggplant as an appetizer with some marinara sauce on the side to dip it into.
- Italian Salad: A crisp and light salad with an Italian vinaigrette pairs perfectly.
- As a Sandwich: Add extra cheese and marinara and serve sandwiched between fresh toasted Italian bread.
- Roasted Vegetables: like zucchini, broccoli, etc.
- Garlic Bread: If you’re kids are anything like mine, don’t forget the garlic bread for the side!
What makes this Eggplant Parmesan taste so good is the fresh mozzarella, basil and eggplant.
- Eggplant: We use two medium sized eggplants to feed a family of 4.
- All Purpose Flour
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Italian Seasoned
- Breadcrumbs: Italian Seasoned
- Seasonings: Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Marinara Sauce: Use your favorite. We love Raos!
- Mozzarella Cheese: We like to buy the pre-sliced fresh mozzarella, but any fresh mozzarella will do!
- Basil: While optional, some fresh basil on top takes this recipe to the next level and makes all the flavors shine.
Should I Sweat My Eggplant?
Some people like to “sweat” the eggplant to draw out any bitterness or extra water in the eggplant. To sweat your eggplant, you will need to slice it and lightly coat each slice in salt. Water will rise to the top of the eggplant which you will discard.
While testing this recipe for Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan, I tried the eggplant prepared both ways and do not taste a difference. Pre-slicing the eggplant and covering it with salt is not necessary! At least we do not think it is!
How To Make Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
The easiest and fastest way to prepare eggplant parmesan is to make an assembly line. Start with dredging the cut eggplant through the seasoned flour and then into the egg bath and finally coat it in the seasoned breadcrumbs. It sounds like a lot, but it goes quickly! So let’s get started!
Step 1: Rinse and pat dry the eggplant and place it on a cutting board. Slice the eggplant into a quarter inch thick slices. Try to keep the slices consistent in size so they cook evenly.
Step 2: Create your assembly line by gather 3 medium sized shallow bowls.
- Bowl 1: Place whisked eggs in the first bowl.
- Bowl 2: Place flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt in the second bowl and whisk to combine.
- Bowl 3: In the last bowl, whisk together the two types of breadcrumbs (both seasoned panko style bread crumbs and seasoned regular breadcrumbs).
Step 3: Start with coating the eggplant in the flour on both sides. Transfer the eggplant to the eggs and coat both sides in egg.
Step 4: Immediately coat the eggplant with the breadcrumb mixture and set aside. Repeat until all of the eggplant slices are fully coated.
Step 5: Place 4-6 coated eggplant slices in the air fryer, depending on how many you can fit while making sure they are not touching.
Step 6: Lightly spray both sides of the eggplant with a 100% olive oil spray. This olive oil step is optional, but will help your eggplant get extra crispy!
Step 7: Cook on the air fryer setting at 375°F for 8 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and add 1 tablespoon of marinara to the top of each eggplant slice.
Step 8: Top marinara with a slice of fresh mozzarella and cook for 2 more minutes.
Step 9: Remove from air fryer and add fresh basil, if desired. Repeat as necessary until all eggplant slices are cooked! Serve immediately.
- Do Not Crowd. When you are frying the eggplant in your air fryer, make sure that you do not overlap the eggplant and that it does not touch. This will ensure your eggplant cooks evenly and gets crispy.
- Extra Crispy. If you want your eggplant to be extra crispy, don’t skip the light mist of olive oil onto your coated eggplant before frying.
- Gluten Free. You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs and finely ground almond flour.
- Medium Sized Eggplant. We prefer to use small to medium eggplants over large eggplants, as they tend to be sweeter, less bitter and have less seeds. Eggplant skin should be smooth, shiny and slightly firm.
- Good Quality Marinara and Mozzarella. Besides the eggplant, the fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce are the stars of the show. A good quality fresh melty mozzarella and a rich marinara (not too sweet – watch for the added sugar!) will make this dish irresistible!
What is the Best Air Fryer?
Air fryers come in a couple of different styles. The first style is a drawer/basket style that slides in the front. The second type looks like a toaster oven and opens with a door, like a mini version of a regular oven.
We have personally tried a few different styles of air fryers and these are our three favorites. Depending on your budget and air fryer style preference, you should find one that will work for you below:
- Large Budget Friendly Basket Style: 8 Qt Gourmia Air Fryer
- Best Large Basket Air Fryer: Power XL 10 Qt Air Fryer
- Toaster Oven Style Air Fryer: Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
How To Store and Reheat Leftovers
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan makes pretty good leftovers because there was no oil used to fry them! They don’t get as soggy as traditionally fried Eggplant Parmesan. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To re-heat the leftover eggplant parmesan, I simply place it in the air fryer on 375°F for about 3-4 minutes with the marinara and mozzarella still on it.
- 2 medium sized eggplants (or 1 large eggplant)
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 100% olive oil spray, optional
- 1 cup marinara
- 6 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into pieces
- fresh basil, for garnish
- Slice the eggplant into about 1/4” inch round pieces. Try and keep the slices even in width so they cook evenly.
- Gather 3 medium sized shallow bowls. Place whisked eggs in one bowl. Place flour, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt in the second bowl and whisk to combine. In the last bowl, whisk together the two types of breadcrumbs.
- Start with coating the eggplant in the flour on both sides. Transfer the eggplant to the eggs and coat both sides in egg. Immediately coat the eggplant with the breadcrumb mixture and set aside. Repeat until all of the eggplant slices are fully coated.
- Place 4-6 coated eggplant slices in the air fryer, depending on how many you can fit while making sure they are not touching. Lightly spray both sides of the eggplant with olive oil spray. This olive oil step is optional, but will help your eggplant get extra crispy!
- Cook on the air fryer setting at 375°F for 8 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and add 1 tablespoon of marinara to the top of each eggplant slice. Top marinara with a slice of fresh mozzarella and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from air fryer and add fresh basil, if desired. Repeat as necessary until all eggplant slices are cooked! Serve immediately.
Eggplant Size: We prefer to use small to medium sized eggplants over large eggplants, as they tend to be sweeter, less bitter and have less seeds. Eggplant skin should be smooth, shiny and slightly firm.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 558Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 1258mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 11gSugar: 15gProtein: 24g