Air Fryer Crispy Eggplant

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If you have an air fryer and an “eggplant? no, thank you” person in your house, try this recipe to change hearts and minds! The coating can be enhanced with more seasonings and you can serve this with pasta, red sauce and mozzarella or just as a side dish. Don’t skip the salting step, it improves texture and removes bitter compounds in the eggplant.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large globe eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 370°F.
  2. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt on both sides and place in a large colander to drain for 30 minutes. Water will seep out, and take the salt with it.
  3. In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg. In a medium bowl or rimmed plate, combine the panko, flour, parmesan or pecorino, seasonings and salt, and several grinds of pepper.
  4. Pat the eggplant slices dry. If you still see salt on them, give a quick rinse and gently pat dry, very 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. Serve warm, with pasta, sauce and cheese or just as a simple side