Easy, healthy, and delicious Air Fryer Eggplant made with a simple spice blend. This air-fried eggplant has a deliciously smoky flavor and tender, yet crisp, texture.
This delicious Air Fryer Eggplant recipe is great simply as a healthy snack, a fabulous side dish, or incorporated into entrées! It is packed with flavor and has a beautiful texture. Gluten-free, plant-based, vegan, and keto diet friendly!
🍆 Ingredient Notes
- Eggplant (also known as aubergine) forms the base of this eggplant air fryer recipe. It is in the same nightshade family of plants as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
- Olive or avocado oil contributes an extra bit of crispness and also adds some healthy fats to this recipe.
- Garlic powder is simply super complementary when paired with eggplant!
- Smoked paprika adds a hint of irresistible smokiness to this recipe and contributes the majority of the flavor.
- Salt! Hard to go without salt on this one—it enhances all the flavors in this dish.
👩🏼🍳 How to Prepare Eggplant Before Cooking?
Before cooking eggplant in an air fryer, here are some tips to ensure the best results. Start by slicing the eggplant into 1-inch cubes.
After slicing, sprinkle the eggplant with a little salt and let it sit for about 30 minutes. This step helps to draw out moisture from the eggplant, which can otherwise make it soggy when cooked.
Once the eggplant has released some moisture, gently pat the eggplant dry with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. This process helps the eggplant crisp up nicely in the air fryer.
After patting the eggplant dry, you can proceed with seasoning and cooking it in the air fryer.
Please note: If you’re preparing more than 5 eggplants, you may need to work in batches during the drying process to ensure each piece is adequately dried.
♨️ How to Cook Eggplant In An Air Fryer
🍽️ Serving Ideas
- This smoky aubergine air fryer dish makes an excellent side dish. We like to serve it with baked potatoes and vegetarian meatloaf.
- It’s also great incorporated into your favorite pasta dishes.
- And I love to eat it as is for a healthy low-carb snack or dipped into a favorite condiment or dips like garlic sauce, tahini sauce, hot sauce, or marinara sauce.
- Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese while still warm.
- Top with chopped fresh herbs like fresh parsley or fresh basil.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
Can I omit the oil in this recipe?
Yes! On an oil-free diet? You can omit the oil for a still-delicious Air Fryer Eggplant dish!
What kind of paprika should I use?
Make sure you use smoked paprika and not the Hungarian (sweet) variety, for best results.
How much salt should I add?
I find around 1/2 teaspoon to be about the perfect amount of salt for this dish but feel free to adjust and salt to taste! You can wait to add salt until the eggplant has finished cooking if need be.
🧀Air Fryer Aubergine Flavor Boosters
Experiment with these ingredients to boost the flavor of your air fryer eggplant:
- Black Pepper: Elevates the flavor profile with its pungent and mildly spicy notes.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a savory, umami-rich flavor to the dish. If vegetarian, make sure to use vegetarian-friendly parmesan cheese that is free of rennet.
- Thyme: Infuses a subtle earthy and floral note to eggplant.
- Italian Seasoning: Provides a delicious blend of herbs and spices for a Mediterranean flair.
- Rosemary: Imparts a fragrant, pine-like aroma and a slightly woody flavor that greatly complements eggplant.
- Bread Crumbs: Offers a crispy texture and enhances the overall crunchiness of the dish. If gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
🥡 Storage and Reheating
This tastes best fresh out of the air fryer, but once cooled can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, place in a 400-degree air fryer or conventional oven and heat until warmed throughout (about 10 minutes).
🍴 More Air Fryer Recipes You Might Enjoy
Air Fryer Eggplant
- 1 medium-sized eggplant sliced into 1" cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or pink salt
- Preheat air fryer oven to 400°F.
- Prepare eggplant by slicing and discarding the leafy top. Slice eggplant vertically then slice each halve vertically again. Then slice horizontally into 1" cubes.
- Place the eggplant in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder, paprika and salt. Toss to coat.
- Place the eggplant into air fryer basket or try. Air fry for 14 minutes or until tender and a fork pierces through easily.