Eggplant is a mild-flavored veggie that comes from the nightshade family, which also includes zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. While there are many Types of Eggplant, we’re using the globe eggplant in this guide. The globe eggplant is the most common variety in the United States and is easily recognizable as rounded, glossy, and deep-purple in color. However, this guide will work for any type of eggplant, like Chinese or Japanese eggplants.
A ripe eggplant has many health benefits, including a high amount of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re looking to incorporate this nutrient-dense veggie into your daily diet, use this guide to learn how to prepare eggplant for your favorite vegan, vegetarian, or meat dishes!
How to Trim an Eggplant?
Before learning how to chop an eggplant, you’ll first want to know how to trim it. Doing so helps you create a flat bottom that makes cutting the vegetable easier and safer. Here’s how to trim eggplant:
- Trim the stem: Rinse the eggplant under cold running water. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem off the top of the whole eggplant. Discard.
- Cut the bottom: Spin it around and cut a small slice off of the bottom of the eggplant. Discard.
Keep in mind that some recipes that use halved eggplant, such as my Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant, don’t require trimming beforehand.
Should I Peel Eggplant Before Using in a Recipe?
Eggplant skin is nutritious and soft once cooked, so peeling an eggplant isn’t necessary before slicing. However, if you’d prefer to peel your eggplant’s skin, you can do so with a vegetable peeler (affiliate link.)
I recommend trimming it first (following the instructions above). You can either set it down horizontally on the cutting board, supporting it with your hand and peeling it along its length, or place the eggplant upright to peel it vertically.
How to Cut an Eggplant Crosswise?
Cutting eggplant crosswise (into rounds) is one of the most simple and easy ways to prepare it for cooking. Eggplant rounds are perfect to roast in the oven for a simple side dish or to use in recipes like my Baked Eggplant Parmesan. To cut eggplant crosswise, simply:
- Trim the eggplant: Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the stem from the top of the eggplant. Spin it around and cut off a small part of the bottom.
- Slice into rounds: Lay the eggplant on its side and carefully slice it into rounds, holding it firmly with your non-dominant hand as you slice. You can make each eggplant slice as thick as desired, but most recipes call for ½-inch thick slices. Continue to slice until you’ve reached the end.
How to Slice an Eggplant Lengthwise?
Slicing eggplant lengthwise is another easy technique that yields longer strips instead of rounds. This technique is the best for grilling but is also required for various popular dishes. Here’s how to slice eggplant:
- Trim the eggplant: Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the stem from the top of the eggplant. Spin it around and cut off a small part of the bottom. If you prefer to peel your eggplant, you can do so during this step.
- Cut lengthwise: Stand the eggplant up vertically on your cutting board. Using one hand for a firm hold, cut eggplant into thin slices (about ½-inch thick) from top to bottom. Cutting it vertically is usually easier to do with shorter or smaller eggplants, as they’re more sturdy when standing up. If you are cutting a larger eggplant, you can begin by standing it up to cut it vertically and, when you get closer to the end of the eggplant, lay it down on its side to finish slicing it horizontally. Alternatively, you can slice the entire eggplant horizontally if that is more comfortable for you.
How to Cube an Eggplant?
Our final technique, dicing eggplant, yields small, fairly equally-sized cubes. Diced eggplant is ideal to use for stir-frying, pasta dishes, soups, and stews. Keep in mind that eggplant shrinks as it cooks, so you may want to cut it into larger cubes. If you’re wondering how to dice eggplant, here’s how:
- Trim the eggplant: Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim the stem end of the eggplant. Spin it around and cut off a small part of the bottom. If you prefer to peel your eggplant, you can do so during this step.
- Cut lengthwise: Stand the eggplant up vertically on your cutting board. Hold the top firmly with one hand and slice ½ inch strips from top to bottom. If you’re cutting a particularly long or large eggplant, it might be more difficult to cut it vertically as you reach the end of the eggplant. To make things easier, you can lay it on its side to finish cutting it horizontally as you reach the end of the eggplant.
- Cut into strips: Stack the slices on top of one another and set them flat-side down on the cutting board. Cut the slices vertically into ½ inch strips.
- Dice: Rotate the eggplant strips 90 degrees and cut ½ inch slices widthwise (against the lengthwise slices). Continue cutting until the entire eggplant is diced.
How to Use Cut Eggplant in Recipes
Using only the three simple techniques outlined in this guide, you can prep an eggplant for use in endless recipes. This versatile veggie is perfect to serve roasted as a simple side dish or in crowd-pleasing, popular Italian recipes. Here are some ways to use your cut eggplant:
- Cut crosswise (rounds): Once you cut your eggplant into rounds, you can make Roasted Eggplant Slices and Stovetop Eggplant with just a small amount of oil, salt, and pepper. For extra fun, dippable party food, make these Baked Breaded Eggplant Cutlets with panko bread crumbs. Finally, for everyone’s favorite dish, use your slices in a classic Eggplant Parmesan.
- Sliced lengthwise: Long strips of eggplant are an ideal pasta replacement in classic Italian recipes like Eggplant Lasagna and Eggplant Parm. For a lighter yet just as delicious take on Italian involtini, try my Eggplant Involtini. Lastly, for a fun, late summer side dish, use your eggplant slices to make Grilled Eggplant.
- Cubed: Chopped eggplant cooks up quickly in a pan and is ideal for pasta dishes like Eggplant Baked Ziti and Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta. Eggplant cubes are also perfect to use in veggie-based recipes like Ratatouille and Eggplant Stew!
The best way to cut an eggplant for grilling is lengthwise into strips. Simply trim both ends of the eggplant and sit it upright on your cutting board. Holding the eggplant firmly with one hand, cut it from top to bottom into ½ inch slices. These longer slices are easier to turn on the grill and have plenty of surface area to prevent them from falling through.
You can use either round slices or longer, lengthwise slices for eggplant parm. First, trim both ends of the eggplant. For round slices, lay it on its side and cut it into ½-inch thick rounds. For lengthwise slices, sit your trimmed eggplant upright on the cutting board and cut into ½-inch thick slices from top to bottom.
It is not necessary to remove the seeds of an eggplant before cooking. Some eggplants have a very mild flavor, but different varieties may have seeds contributing to a bitter taste. If preferred, to decrease the bitterness of the vegetable, you can remove the seeds by cutting the eggplant in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds with a spoon.
The purple skin of an eggplant is perfectly safe to eat and even contains a variety of vitamins and other nutrients, but whether to peel it is up to your personal preference. If you’re wondering how to peel an eggplant, I recommend trimming the ends, sitting it upright on a cutting board, and peeling it with a vegetable peeler.
When it comes to choosing a good eggplant from the grocery store or your garden, make sure to pick one that feels heavy for its size, is slightly firm (yet not hard), and has vivid, shiny skin. Older eggplants will have soft spots and a dull appearance.
Reader-Favorite Roasted Eggplant Recipes
Once you know how to cut up eggplant, you’re ready to use this yummy, nutrient-dense veggie in endless recipes! Here are some favorite cooked eggplant recipes to try:
If you try this How to Cut Up an Eggplant recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps 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.
How to Cut Eggplant
- 1 Eggplant
- Trim: Rinse the eggplant under cold water. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem off the top of the eggplant. Turn it around and cut a small slice off of the bottom of the eggplant. Discard both pieces.
- Peel: If desired, use a vegetable peeler to peel the eggplant’s skin. You can either stand it up to peel it vertically or set it down horizontally on the cutting board, supporting it with your hand, to peel it along its length.
- To cut into rounds: Lay the eggplant on its side and carefully slice it into ½-inch thick rounds. Continue to slice until you’ve reached the end.
- To slice lengthwise: Stand the eggplant up vertically and cut it into thin slices (about ½-inch thick) from top to bottom. For particularly a long or large eggplant, lay it down on its side as you reach the end to finish slicing it horizontally.
- To dice: Follow the instructions for slicing the eggplant lengthwise. Stack the slices on top of one another and set them flat-side down on the cutting board. Cut the slices vertically into ½ inch sticks. Rotate the eggplant sticks 90 degrees and cut ½ inch slices widthwise (against the lengthwise slices). Continue cutting until the entire eggplant is diced.
- Globe Eggplant: We used a globe eggplant in this tutorial since it is widely available here in the US. However, you can apply the same techniques to other types of eggplants that have similar shapes or sizes.
- Keep it fresh: If you aren’t planning on using your eggplant right away, store it in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. I recommend using it within two days and cutting it up right before you plan to use it. An eggplant will start to oxidize and turn brown soon after cutting it, but you can follow two methods to slow this process and keep it fresh. First, you can store it in the fridge in a bowl filled with cold water and salt. Alternatively, you can brush your slices with lemon juice and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.