This easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan recipe is crispy, healthy & delicious! Crispy breaded eggplant is quickly cooked in the air fryer before being topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella. It’s crispy, cheesy, and delicious over pasta or rice!
Meatless Monday doesn’t have to be boring. That’s why this easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan was invented. It’s just as cheesy, rich, and delicious as a chicken parmesan recipe, but swaps the meat for breaded eggplant!
The best part about this recipe is that you get to skip the messy deep fryer oil or long baking times that a fried or baked eggplant parmesan requires. The air fryer makes the whole process speedy so you can get dinner on the table in a hurry. Every marinara and mozzarella-covered bite is crispy and crunchy even with very minimal oil.
If you love eggplant parmesan, you’re sure to love my Mushroom Parmesan with Garlicky Breadcrumbs. It’s another vegetarian dish that packs in Italian flavor, nutrition, and plenty of cheese!
Eggplant parmesan ingredients
- Eggplant – One medium eggplant should be enough for about 4 servings. Go ahead and buy an extra eggplant or two if you’re serving a crowd or making this recipe for meal prep!
- Italian breadcrumbs – Or use panko, whole wheat, or gluten free breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning – This is easy to make yourself using dried herbs you probably already have on hand.
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Eggs – For coating the eggplant rounds.
- Flour – All purpose flour will make the breaded eggplant the crispiest, but you can use whole wheat flour or gluten free flour instead.
- Olive oil spray
- Marinara sauce – Use my easy homemade marinara sauce for the best flavor!
- Mozzarella cheese – This melts on top of the eggplant in the air fryer, giving you ooey gooey bites.
Does eggplant need to be salted before cooking?
Some recipes will tell you to sprinkle the sliced eggplant in kosher salt before cooking it to help draw out the natural bitter flavors. This step isn’t necessary, but you’re welcome to give it a try if you don’t love the flavor of eggplant. Just remember to rinse off the salt and pat the slices dry before dredging.
How to make eggplant parmesan in the air fryer
Set up your dredging station by mixing the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and seasonings in a shallow bowl. Add the flour in a separate bowl, and the beaten eggs in another.
Coat the eggplant rounds in flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place them on a baking sheet and spray the tops with olive oil.
Air fry the breaded eggplant slices for 8 minutes, then flip and continue cooking. You’ll know they’re done when the breadcrumbs start to brown and look crispy.
Next, top the air fried eggplant with marinara and mozzarella. Place them back in the air fryer so the cheese can melt.
To serve, plate the eggplant parmesan with a side of pasta or rice and fresh basil on top. Enjoy!
Can I bake the eggplant parm instead?
Yes! If you don’t own an air fryer, eggplant parm can easily be baked in the oven instead. Here’s how it’s done:
- Dredge the eggplant as usual and place the slices on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake in a 400ºF oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Take the eggplant out of the oven and top each one with marinara and mozzarella.
- Pop them back in the oven until the cheese melts, then serve.
Can you make air fryer eggplant parmesan without the breading?
Skip the dredging and air fry the eggplant as-is instead of breading it in flour and breadcrumbs. You can add a little dried Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese on top to make sure there are still plenty of delicious flavors. Don’t forget the marinara sauce or mozzarella cheese too!
Can you make this recipe ahead of time?
Eggplant parmesan can be made ahead of time and enjoyed for meal prep, as leftovers, or as a quick freezer dinner for later. Once the eggplant parm is ready:
- Store the cooked and cooled eggplant in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Freeze the eggplant in a sealed bag or airtight container for up to 6 months.
- To reheat, place the breaded eggplant (straight from the fridge or freezer) back in the air fryer at 350ºF and cook until it’s warmed through and crisp.
Wine pairings for air fried eggplant parmesan:
- A medium-bodied Zinfandel is my favorite to pair with acidic tomato sauce-heavy dishes.
- A medium-bodied, oak-aged Chardonnay will complement every cheesy bite.
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Indian Butter Chickpeas
- Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
- Cauliflower Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Quinoa
- Cheesy Instant Pot Lentils and Rice
If you loved this air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe, I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
More air fryer recipes:
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Green Bean Fries
- Easy Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Toasted Ravioli
- Air Fryer Falafel
- MORE → 30+ Air Fryer Vegetarian Recipes
What goes well with eggplant parm?
- Spaghetti or any cooked pasta
- White or brown rice
- Creamy Polenta
- Vegan Caesar Salad
- Arugula Salad
- More → Sides for Eggplant Parmesan
- More → the BEST Italian desserts
Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 medium eggplant (sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds)
- ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese + more for topping
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- ¼ cup flour
- Olive oil spray
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 8 Sliced mozzarella cheese
- Freshly chopped basil (optional for topping)
- In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl and beaten eggs in another shallow bowl.
- Dip sliced eggplant in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Place coated eggplant on a baking sheet and spray the tops with olive oil.
- Preheat the air fryer to 370 degrees.
- Place breaded eggplant rounds in the air fryer basket, oiled side down, then spray the tops with olive oil. Note: You may need to work in batches, the eggplant should not be overlapping. Cook for 8 minutes, flip and cook 3-4 minutes longer, until crispy.
- Top each piece with marinara sauce and 1 slice mozzarella cheese. Place the basket back in the air fryer and cook 2-3 minutes longer, until the cheese is melted.
- Repeat with remaining eggplant, if necessary.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh basil. Enjoy!