Can’t get enough of air fryer eggplant recipes? Be sure also to check out our Air Fried Eggplant recipe for a more simple preparation of eggplant made without breadcrumbs.
The ingredient list for the air fryer eggplant parm recipe is quite simple, yet each component plays a vital role in creating a healthier version of this Italian eggplant recipe. Below is what you’ll need:
- Eggplant: Amongst all the different types of eggplants, I find that globe eggplant is the easiest to find, so I tested this recipe using that variety. However, if you can get your hands on Italian eggplants, go for it. There is no need to peel eggplant. The skin is edible.
- Large eggs: Eggs are the binder in this recipe. If you have egg allergies, a good alternative is using aquafaba instead.
- Panko breadcrumbs: Similar to my Crispy Breaded Eggplant recipe, I used panko breadcrumbs as I love the crispy texture they provide, but you can use regular breadcrumbs as well. If you are following a gluten-free diet, you can purchase gluten-free panko or use an equal amount of almond flour instead.
- Cheese: We incorporate shredded parmesan cheese in the breading mixture while reserving mozzarella cheese to create a sumptuous topping when cooking eggplant parmesan in the air fryer. Both shredded mozzarella cheese and sliced fresh mozzarella cheese would work in this recipe.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning are all you need. Don’t have Italian seasoning? Make your own spice mix by mixing ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon of dried rosemary, ¼ teaspoon of dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon of dried basil.
- Tomato Sauce: I used my go-to Basil Tomato Sauce, but you can also use store-bought marinara (such as Rao’s Marinara Sauce (affiliate link) for an even quicker air fryer eggplant parmesan.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh basil and oregano are the classic herbs when making eggplant parm. However, you can also use their dried versions.
How To Air Fry Eggplant Parmesan?
Making this air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe is a breeze with our easy-to-follow guide. We start with making my breaded eggplant in the air fryer and then top it off with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
- Salt & dry the eggplant: Sweating the eggplant step is optional, especially if you make this recipe during the summer months when eggplant is in season. However, if you prefer to salt your eggplant, start by lining your work surface with a few sheets of paper towels. Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices and spread them on the paper towels. Lightly sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt on both sides and let them rest for 15 minutes. Gently pat-dry eggplant slices with a sheet of paper towel to remove the excess moisture.
- Prepare your dredging station: Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In a separate bowl, combine panko, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
- Assemble: Dip each eggplant slice in the beaten egg (letting the excess drip off) and then in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to ensure an even coating. Transfer them onto a baking sheet until you are ready to start air frying.
- Air Fry: Pre-heat your air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place breaded eggplant slices in the basket of your air fryer on a single layer. Air fry until crispy and golden brown on both sides for about 14 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Add the toppings: Carefully top each slice of air-fried breaded eggplant with two tablespoons of marinara sauce and a tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese. Air fry eggplant parm for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Garnish and serve: Transfer the air-fried eggplant parmigiana onto a plate and garnish with fresh basil before serving.
How To Store and Reheat?
Like any of my other air-fried eggplant recipes, this eggplant parm is best on the day it is made. However, you can easily store leftovers and reheat them to enjoy later. Here is how I do it:
- Storage: Bring your air-fried eggplant parmesan slices to room temperature and then transfer them into an airtight container. Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheating leftovers: Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place the eggplant parm in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until warmed thoroughly.
If you are serving this dish to people with special diet requirements, below are a few variations:
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan without Breading: You can make this recipe without breading. If you choose to do so, simply skip the breading step and make a batch of my Air Fryer Eggplant Recipe with no breadcrumbs instead. Once the eggplant slices are air fried, you can top them off with marinara and cheese and air fry for one to two minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan in the Air Fryer: To make this recipe vegan, I would recommend swapping eggs and dairy with their vegan counterparts.
- Use aquafaba in place of eggs.
- Swap parmesan cheese with vegan parmesan cheese.
- Substitute vegan mozzarella cheese in place of regular mozzarella.
While this air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe is pretty straightforward, there are a few things that I’d love to share so that you can achieve great results on your first try:
- Uniform slices: While cutting the eggplant, do your best to slice them in equal slices to ensure even baking.
- Sweating eggplants: During the eggplant season, the globe eggplants that are widely available in US supermarkets do not need to be salted. However, if you make this recipe during the off-season, I recommend salting your eggplant before air frying. If you want to know more about why and when to salt aubergine, be sure to check my article on Salting Eggplants.
- Prep your dredging station: The most time-consuming part of this recipe is the coating of the eggplant rounds. I recommend getting everything ready before your start.
- Press to coat: I think the best part of this recipe is the crispy and crunchy texture of the eggplant. The secret to getting that crunchy texture is to make sure the slices are completely covered with the panko mixture. As you are coating each slice, press it gently so the bread crumbs stick well to the eggplant.
- Do not overcrowd: For best results, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to air fry the crispy eggplant in multiple batches. While this is an extra step, it is important to avoid overlapping slices, as doing so can result in soggy eggplant parmesan rather than the addictive crispy texture.
- Spray: Some versions of this recipe uses an olive oil cooking spray to spray breaded eggplant before air frying. During my recipe testing, I did not think that it was necessary, but if you want, you can lightly spray the breaded eggplant slices.
What To Serve With This Recipe?
I think we can all agree that eggplant parmesan cooked in the air fryer makes the best side dish you can make in less than 30 minutes. Similar to my Chicken Parmesan recipe, this Italian classic pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Below are a few serving suggestions:
- Pasta: Serve with a simple pasta dish like my Green Pasta, Caprese Pasta Salad, or Garlic Butter Pasta with a side of garlic bread for a satisfying weeknight dinner.
- Vegetables: Consider serving it with Steamed Asparagus or Garlic Butter Green Beans for a veggie-packed dinner for your next meatless Monday.
- Meat Dishes: Make it a side dish for main course meals like my Mediterranean Lemon Chicken, Turkey Zucchini Meatballs, or Air Fried Cornish Hens.
- Salad: A fresh green salad like my Kardashian Salad, Spring Mix Salad, or Mediterranean Quinoa Salad would add a refreshing contrast to the richness of the air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe.
Yes, you can. Making eggplant parmesan in the air fryer is not only quicker but also healthier (no more greasy eggplant again!) Start with coating the eggplant slices with a breadcrumb-parmesan topping and bake them in the air fryer. At the last minute, spoon some marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the eggplant slices. Air fry until the cheese is melted, no more than 1 or 2 minutes.
It takes about 16 minutes to cook eggplant parmesan in a preheated 350-degree air fryer.
Other Eggplant Recipes You Might Like:
Here at Foolproof Living, we love eggplant. Over the years, we have published several eggplant recipes that are made with wholesome ingredients. Below are a few you might also enjoy if you are a fan as well:
If you make this recipe for healthy eggplant parmesan in the air fryer or any of our other Air Fryer Recipes, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
- 2 medium eggplant globe eggplant ~ 1 pound each – washed and dried (no need to peel)
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs 3.5 ounces
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese 3.2 ounces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce or your favorite Marinara sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese or you can use thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
- Handful of fresh basil leaves as garnish
- Salt eggplant*: Cut the top of the eggplant and eggplant into ½-inch thick slices. Spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon of salt on both sides (¼ teaspoon salt for each side.) Let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Pat dry now-rested eggplant slices with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Set them aside.
- While the eggplant is resting, prepare your dredging station. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs. In a second bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
- Dip each eggplant slice in the beaten egg making sure to let the excess drip off. Then dip it in the panko mixture and gently press to ensure the coating sticks. Continue to follow the same steps with the rest of the eggplant slices. Transfer the now-breaded eggplant slices onto a baking sheet until you are ready to air fry.
- Pre-heat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Place panko-coated eggplant rounds in an even layer in the fryer basket, making sure they are not overlapping. It is best to do this in two batches so that they are perfectly crispy with a crunchy exterior.
- Air fry for 14 minutes, making sure to flip each slice halfway through the baking process. It should be done when they turn lightly golden brown.
- Carefully remove the air fryer basket and place two tablespoons of tomato sauce and a tablespoon of mozzarella cheese on top of each slice.
- Air fry* until the cheese melts for about a minute or two. Repeat the same process with the second batch of eggplant slices.
- Serve while they are still hot.
- Salting the eggplant: If I buy the eggplant from a grocery store and if it is in season (May-September), I skip this step as freshly picked eggplant, harvested before it is full of seeds and eaten within a few days, does not need salting. You can learn more about sweating eggplant in this How to Salt Eggplant post.
- Yields: This recipe yields 14-16 slices of eggplant parmesan, depending on the size of your eggplants. If you are serving a smaller crowd, you can easily halve the recipe.
- You may have to adjust the amount of dredging ingredients based on the size of your eggplants. This recipe was developed using two medium-sized eggplants that were less than a pound.
- Storing & Reheating instructions: The air-fried eggplant parm is best when served immediately. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days, then reheat them in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 3-4 minutes or until warmed thoroughly.
- There is no need to “reheat the air fryer” when putting them back in the air fryer (after topping them off with the tomato sauce and cheese). Your air fryer should still be hot enough to melt the cheese.
- Keep a close eye on them: I tested this air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe in my Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer (affiliate link.) Please know that depending on the air fryer you are using, the cooking time might change slightly. To get the best results, gauge doneness by examining the color. As you flip halfway through the air frying process, you will be able to tell if they are browning too quickly. Once you top them off with the tomato sauce and cheese, they melt quickly, so I recommend keeping a close eye on them.
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