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Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

This garlicky air fryer eggplant parmesan with seasoned breadcrumbs and melty mozzarella is an easy 25-minute appetizer. It’s tomatoey, herby, and perfect for all your dinner parties.

Cheesy air fryer eggplant  parmesan on a plate.

Easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

If you’re hosting a dinner party with Italian food but still need the appetizer, this cheesy air fryer eggplant parmesan is it. It’s crispy around the edges and loaded with your favorite marinara sauce. The mozzarella cheese-pull is also quite irresistible! Sprinkled with garlicky breadcrumbs for crunch and fresh basil, everyone will be pushing the main dish aside just for another helping of these tender eggplants.

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

You’ll be sticking to this impressive eggplant appetizer for all your dinner parties from now on.

  • Beginner-friendly. This is a fail-proof appetizer where the air fryer does most of the work for you.
  • Quick. The eggplants are ready in only 25 minutes!
  • Fancy but easy. You get three layers of goodness (eggplants, sauce, and cheese) in 5 simple steps.
  • Needs little oil. This recipe just calls for 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
Ingredients for air fryer eggplant parmesan.

What You’ll Need

From the breadcrumbs to the marinara and mozzarella, this easy air fryer eggplant parmesan is loaded with Italian personality. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Italian bread crumbs – Plain breadcrumbs or panko are great swaps.
  • Garlic – I prefer fresh garlic or garlic paste.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – Feel free to use coconut or avocado oil.
  • Salt and pepper – Kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper are best.
  • Italian eggplant – Small eggplants have less meaty centers.
  • Marinara sauce – Use your favorite, even with Italian seasoning.
  • Mozzarella – Any melty cheese like cheddar or Muenster works.
  • Fresh basil – You can also use fresh parsley.

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan In The Air Fryer

Air frying the eggplants is the reason why this recipe needs very little oil. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Make the breadcrumb mixture. Toss the breadcrumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a bowl until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Season the eggplant. Preheat the air fryer to 400F. Generously season the eggplant with salt, pepper, and the remaining olive oil on both sides.
  • Cook it. Arrange it in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Leave about 1/4″ space between them. Cook them for 6 minutes, flip, and cook another 6 minutes or until golden.
  • Add sauce and cheese. Spoon marinara sauce over the eggplants and sprinkle with cheese. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until hot and melty.
  • Serve. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes, serve, top with basil and the breadcrumb mixture. Enjoy!
Plate of air fryer eggplant parmesan with breadcrumbs and fresh basil on top.

Tips for Success

Extra crispy breadcrumbs, creamy Alfredo sauce, and spices can take this air fryer eggplant parmesan to the next level.

  • Spice it up. Mix 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the eggplants when you’re seasoning them for more flavor.
  • Don’t crowd the basket. Don’t overlap the eggplant slices in the air fryer. They need room for the air to crisp them up nicely. If the basket’s crowded, the eggplants will turn out soft and watery.
  • Adjust the texture. The thicker the slices are, the softer the center will be. If you prefer crisper bites, slice them to 1/4″ thickness.
  • Swap the sauce. Change things up by swapping the marinara for your favorite Alfredo sauce, hummus, or a creamy artichoke-spinach dip.
  • Add crunch. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon breadcrumb mixture over the melty eggplants during their last 1-2 minutes of cooking. The breadcrumbs should turn golden and come out super crispy.
  • Make them on the stove. Sear the eggplants in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until tender. Add the sauce and cheese on top. Cover the skillet until the cheese melts. Remove it from the heat and serve as usual.
Bitten-into eggplant on a fork.

Serving Suggestions

This air fryer eggplant parmesan is a cheesy appetizer or side for your favorite Italian-inspired dinners. Serve them with my Bison Meatballs or add them on top. My Monte Cristo Chicken is another great option. For a seafood option, go for my Pistachio Crusted Salmon. To complete the meal, add some Tomato Cucumber Salad or Grilled Vegetables on the side.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

The eggplant needs to be fully cooled before storing.

  • Fridge: Place it in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat it: Microwave it in 30-second increments until warm. You can also use the air fryer at 250F for 5-10 minutes.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Landscape photo of air fryer eggplant parmesan.

Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan

This saucy air fryer eggplant parmesan recipe with fresh mozzarella is the perfect veggie appetizer for dinner parties. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 small Italian eggplant about 1 lb., trimmed, sliced crosswise 1/2″-thick
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. marinara sauce
  • 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves torn into pieces


  • In a medium bowl, toss together breadcrumbs, garlic, and 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
  • Meanwhile preheat the airfryer to 400°.
  • Lay slices of eggplant in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with salt, pepper and drizzle of olive oil.
  • Working in batches, arrange eggplant in a single layer in air fryer basket spacing about 1/4" apart. Cook for about 6 minutes, flip eggplant and, cook an additional 6 minutes. You want the eggplant to be tender and golden in color.
  • Carefully spoon some marinara on top of slices; top with some mozzarella. Return basket to fryer and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 1 to 2 minutes..
  • Divide eggplant among plates. Top with basil and bread crumbs.
Course: Appetizer, Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian


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