This air fryer eggplant parmesan is lightly breaded, topped with mozzarella cheese and served with fresh basil and marinara sauce. It's the perfect snack or side dish if you're looking to eat more veggies!
The best eggplant air fryer recipe
If you need a few reasons why you need to make this air fryer eggplant parmesan here are five.
- It's quick! I love cooking vegetables in the air fryer because it typically takes half the time of using the oven. Traditional eggplant parmesan can take up to one hour whereas this eggplant parm in the air fryer takes only 15 minutes.
- It uses less oil! Traditionally eggplant parmesan is made by frying then baking the crispy eggplant. This can be costly for your wallet and can have negative impacts if you are someone trying to watch their heart health. This crispy eggplant in the air fryer uses only a fraction of oil (and can be left out if you desire)!
- It's a great way to eat more veggies! Eggplants are a vegetable (technically a fruit if we're getting scientific) that are packed with nutrients. They're high in antioxidants, fiber and potassium so their a great veggie to spice up your weekly meal rotation.
- It's packed with flavor! If you are someone like me who was never a huge eggplant fan, this recipe will convert you. I used to find eggplant mushy, and bland however this breaded eggplant in air fryer has completely changed my mind. It's very lightly breaded and tossed in flavourful Italian herbs and spices giving it the perfect amount of flavour and crunchy to convert any eggplant hater.
- It's great for meal prep! This recipe make so much it's a perfect addition to your weekly meal prep because it stores beautifully in the fridge.
Ingredients needed to make eggplant parm in the air fryer
Eggplant- All your need for this crispy eggplant air fryer recipe is one eggplant! Try to find an eggplant that is slightly firm but not hard. You want to be able to push on it with your finger and feel a little pressure. Choose a medium-large eggplant to maximize the amount of eggplant parm you get!
Egg- For this recipe you will need two eggs! Unfortunately as the eggs are used for coating the eggplant rounds with the breading I do not recommend substituting the eggs with anything else.
Spices- Italian spice blend, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder are the only spices you need to make the best breaded eggplant in the air fryer!
Breadcrumbs- To make this eggplant parm air fryer recipe, I recommend using panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs yield the crispiest eggplant. However it can be a little trickier to find than normal breadcrumbs so any breadcrumbs you have on hand will work!
Almond flour- I mix the breadcrumbs with almond flour to make the best breading in this air fryer eggplant parmesan. Using flour helps the breading stay on better, reducing the chances of it falling off while also giving you a nice crispy outer layer! If you do not have almond flour on hand, any other flour will work just as well!
Cheese- Mozzarella cheese is the best cheese for eggplant parmesan in my opinion! I like buying a fresh mozzarella ball, grating it and adding a handful to each eggplant round towards the end of cooking!
Marinara sauce- Any tomato sauce will work however traditional eggplant parmesan uses marinara sauce so it's up to you how traditional you want to keep it! One thing I will recommend is that you look for a sugar free, lower sodium option as many jarred pasta sauces can be hiding sneaky sugars!
Basil- I'd highly recommend you top your air fryer eggplant parmesan with a few leaves of fresh basil for the most flavourful experience!
Air fryer- This isn’t an ingredient but for this air fryer eggplant parmesan you will need an air fryer! I personally love this one! However any air fryer will work!
How to make breaded eggplant in the air fryer
This is quite possibly the easiest eggplant parm air fryer recipe!
Step one: Preheat your air fryer to 400F and slice your eggplant into ½" round slices. For best results, dry your eggplant rounds with a paper towel to ensure all excess water is gone prior to breading.
Step two: Prepare your breading station by cracking both eggs into a medium mixing bowl and whisking. In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs, spices and almond flour. Dip eggplant slices in the egg and then in the bread crumb mixture, gently pressing down to ensure the breadcrumbs stick, repeat until all eggplant is breaded.
Step three: Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer in the basket of the preheated air fryer. Spray with a thin layer of olive oil spray to get the crispiest eggplant. Air fry for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway. While your eggplant is air frying, grate your cheese and get your marinara sauce ready for topping.
Step four: Add a spoonful of marinara sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese to each eggplant round and air fryer for another 2-3 minutes (until the cheese melts). Serve with additional marinara sauce and fresh basil.
Pairing suggestions: This air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe is a great snack on it's own, or works great as a flavourful vegetable side dish paired with your favourite lean protein! My personal favourite recipes to pair it with are spaghetti and meatballs, a big chicken Caesar salad, as a topping on a eggplant parm sandwich or stuffed chicken breasts!
Can I make this air fryer eggplant parmesan in the oven?
Yes! Like all of my air fryer vegetable recipes, you can definitely make this eggplant parmesan in the oven it just might require a little bit more time. If you are using an oven, I'd recommend placing your breaded zucchini in a shallow, oven safe dish and baking at 400F for 40 minutes (flipping halfway). Add your marinara sauce and mozzarella and bake or broil for an additional 3-5 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted!
More air fryer veggie ideas
If you follow me on social media you already know my love of air fryer vegetables is REAL. I'm on a mission to convert vegetable haters into vegetable lovers by making easy, flavourful vegetable recipes in the air fryer. Here are some of my other favorites:
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this air fryer eggplant parmesan, don't forget to tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 large eggplant or two small
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian spice blend
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 2 medium eggs
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
- Slice eggplant into ½" round slices and dry with a paper towel.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, almond flour and spices. In a separate bowl add your eggs and whisk.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture. Gently press down to ensure the breading stays on the eggplant. Continue until all eggplant is breaded.
- Spray each side of the eggplant with olive oil cooking spray and place in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry for 12 minutes, flipping half way. Place a spoonful of marinara sauce and shredded cheese on each eggplant round and air fryer for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Serve with additional marinara sauce and fresh basil if using!