Crispy Air Fryer Eggplant Fries

published Aug 17, 2021
Air Fryer Eggplant

There are a bunch of ways you can cook eggplant in the air fryer, but crispy fries are the absolute best.

Serves2 to 4

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Air Fryer Eggplant on a plate with a small bowl of marinara sauce on the side and a green garnish sprinkled on top, with one fried eggplant stick being dipped into the marinara.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Have you ever purchased an eggplant, only to have it sit in the kitchen untouched? I’ve found myself in this position more times than I can remember. And I’ve finally found the perfect solution: the air fryer

There are a bunch of ways you can cook eggplant in the air fryer, but crispy fries are the absolute best. You see, crunchy coatings are where the air fryer totally excels, and this thick-cut air fryer eggplant has it all: a crispy panko-Parm coating, a tender-soft center that’s anything but mushy, and not a hint of greasiness that often comes with veggie fries.

4 Tips for Great Air Fryer Eggplant

  1. Start with a small eggplant. Depending on the type of air fryer you’re using, you may be able to cook the eggplant fries in a single batch.
  2. Cut fries to uniform size. Cut the eggplant into even sticks (about one-inch-thick) to ensure even cooking. Start by cutting the eggplant into one-inch-thick rounds, then cut the rounds into one-inch-thick sticks. 
  3. Don’t let it sit in the egg mixture for too long. Remember, eggplant is like a sponge because of its porous flesh, and has a knack for soaking up liquids in a flash.
  4. Roll and press for the crispiest coating. While simply rolling the eggplant fries in the panko-Parm mixture will give you a coating that’s fine, you’ll get an even better result by pressing the mixture onto the eggplant. You’ll get even more crispy coating on every fry, and it’s less likely to fall off.

How to Serve Air Fryer Eggplant

One of the things I love about air fryer eggplant is that it’s super versatile and can be served in so many different ways. Partner the fries with your favorite dip or simply a bowl of warm marinara sauce, and you’ve got a winning appetizer or snack. And whether there’s a dip or sauce involved or not, it makes a good side dish that’s easy to partner with whatever you’re cooking for dinner. Air fryer eggplant is also a fun addition to one-bowl meals

Credit: Kelli Foster

Air Fryer Eggplant

There are a bunch of ways you can cook eggplant in the air fryer, but crispy fries are the absolute best.

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 firmly packed cup grated on a Microplane or 1/3 cup store-bought)

  • 1 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1

    medium eggplant (about 1 pound)

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Cooking spray

  • Marinara sauce, for dipping


  1. Heat an air fryer to 400°F. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese and place in a shallow bowl. Add 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and mix to combine. Whisk 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water toegether in a second shallow bowl.

  2. Trim the stem from 1 medium eggplant. Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds, then cut the rounds into 1-inch-wide fries. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and toss to combine.

  3. Working with one at a time, dip each piece of eggplant into the beaten egg and turn to coat. Dredge in the panko mixture, pressing to adhere, and place on a plate.

  4. Lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Working in batches if needed, place a single layer of fries in the basket (they can be touching but should not be stacked). Air fry for 8 minutes. Flip the fries and air fryer until lightly browned all over, about 7 minutes more. Serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 350°F air fryer until heated through and crispy on the outside, about 5 minutes.