Air Fryer 4-ingredient Eggplant Fries are crispy, very easy to make and they are versatile so you can combine them with a lot of dishes. You will need only one medium eggplant, breadcrumbs, half of cup of parmesan, two eggs, a little bit of oil, and a pinch of salt. A perfect midweek meal that you can make in less than 20 minutes.
Discover how to make 4-ingredient air fryer eggplant fries – a crispy and delicious alternative to traditional fries. Slice your eggplant, coat it with a mix of Parmesan, panko, and eggs, and cook to achieve a texture reminiscent of eggplant parmesan.
This recipe is simple: with some Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and your air fryer, you can whip up a quick snack. It’s an easy recipe that stands out for its convenience and taste, perfect for a quick bite.
The air fryer does all the work, so there’s no need to stand by the stove. Just coat your eggplant slices in the panko mixture, air fry until crispy on the outside and tender inside.
Suitable for both experienced cooks and beginners, this recipe is straightforward and promises a crispy, satisfying eggplant treat.
Quick Note: I suggest also serving them near a dipping sauce to make them more unique. I served them near my homemade marinara sauce, but you can also use a jarred sauce for the dipping.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- Healthier alternative: These eggplant fries offer a guilt-free option. Enjoy the crispy goodness without the excess oil and calories usually associated with deep-fried foods.
- Unique and delicious flavor: The natural flavor and crispy exterior achieved through air frying create a unique and delicious twist on traditional fries. You’ll love the distinct taste that sets these fries apart.
- Versatility: Personalize your fries with various seasonings and dipping sauces. These eggplant fries are versatile, allowing you to experiment with different flavors and create your own mouthwatering combinations.
- Easy and convenient preparation: Making eggplant fries in an air fryer is quick and hassle-free, requiring less preparation and clean-up compared to traditional frying methods. It’s perfect for your busy lifestyle.
- Suitable for different dietary preferences: Whether you’re vegan or have gluten sensitivities, these eggplant fries have got you covered. They are naturally vegan and gluten-free, making them a great option for various dietary preferences and restrictions.
- Nutritional benefits: Eggplant is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By air frying them with minimal oil, you can enjoy a healthier alternative to traditional fries without compromising on taste.
- Fun and engaging cooking experience: Making air fryer eggplant fries is a fun and interactive cooking experience. From slicing the eggplant to seasoning and arranging the fries, every step allows you to get creative and enjoy the process.
🏆 Tips for Success? How to Make It Better?
- Choose the right eggplant: When selecting your eggplant, look for one that is firm and smooth, with shiny skin. Avoid any that have soft spots or bruises. Opt for smaller to medium-sized eggplants, as they tend to have fewer seeds and a sweeter flavor.
- Slice it up just right: For that ideal fry shape, slice the eggplant into uniform pieces, about ½-inch thick. This ensures even cooking and a consistent texture. If the slices are too thick, the fries may turn out mushy; too thin, and they may become overly crispy or even burn.
- Salt and drain for improved texture: Before air frying, sprinkle salt over the eggplant slices and let them sit in a colander for about 30 minutes. This step helps draw out excess moisture from the eggplant, resulting in a firmer and less soggy fry. Rinse and pat them dry before proceeding.
- Get creative with seasoning: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings to enhance the flavor of your eggplant fries. I love to use a combination of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and dried herbs like oregano or basil. Toss the slices in a bowl with olive oil and your chosen seasonings to ensure even coating.
- Preheat the air fryer: To achieve that perfect crispiness, it’s essential to preheat your air fryer. Set it to the recommended temperature (around 400°F or 200°C) and let it heat up for a few minutes before adding the eggplant fries. This preheating step helps ensure even cooking and a crispy exterior.
- Arrange in a single layer: For optimal results, arrange the seasoned eggplant slices in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Crowding them may lead to uneven cooking and result in soggy fries. If needed, cook them in batches to maintain that golden crunch.
- Flip halfway through: About halfway through the cooking time, flip the eggplant fries to ensure even browning and crispness on both sides. A pair of tongs works great for this task. Keep a close eye on them, as cooking times may vary based on your specific air fryer model.
- Serve them hot and fresh: Air fryer eggplant fries are best enjoyed straight from the fryer, while they’re still piping hot and wonderfully crispy. Serve them as a delightful appetizer, a flavorful side dish, or even as a fun party snack. Pair them with a tangy marinara sauce, a creamy yogurt-based dip, or a zesty aioli for a burst of flavor.
🖐️ How to Pick the Right Eggplants?
You may know that not all eggplants are the same in taste. A few of them have a bitter taste after cooking.
So how to pick the best ones?
First of all, pay attention to the weight of the eggplants. Pick those that are heavier, have a green stem, have a shiny peel, and that is slightly firm when squeezed.
Also, if you want to go safer, you may pick smaller ones because usually, they are less bitter than the large ones.
🥘 Ingredients Needed for This Recipe?
- 1 Medium Eggplant.
- ½ cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan.
- ½ cup of Breadcrumbs.
- 2 teaspoons of Olive Oil.
- ¼ teaspoon of Salt or to taste.
- 2 Medium Eggs.
🥦 Ingredients Swap?
- Eggplants: Eggplants are the main ingredient in this recipe, providing a meaty and flavorful base. If you’re looking for a substitute, you can try using zucchini or yellow squash for a similar texture and taste.
- Parmesan. Parmesan cheese adds a savory and nutty flavor to the eggplant fries. For a dairy-free or vegan alternative, you can substitute nutritional yeast, which provides a cheesy flavor, or a vegan Parmesan cheese substitute.
- Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs add a crispy coating and texture to the eggplant fries. You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs if you prefer a gluten-free option. Alternatively, crushed cornflakes or panko breadcrumbs can be used for a crunchier texture.
- Seasoning. You may add black pepper, chili flakes, dried basil or garlic powder.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
- You can use the gluten-free breadcrumb to make the gluten-free version
- You may cut the eggplants into bite sized cubes, or cut the eggplants into slices and to make the eggplant chips.
- You can use more dried herbs to give a more special and personal taste.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
Wash well the eggplant and cut it into sticks.
Quick Note: It’s important to cut the eggplant into similar-sized slices to avoid overcooking some of the slices and undercooking others.
Put the batonnet eggplant slices in a large bowl to be easier for you to mix them. Pour over salt and oil. Mix all the ingredients well.
How to Make Coated Eggplants?
- Take a plate, where you need to combine together the breadcrumbs with salt and parmesan (image 1).
- Take another plate and beat 2 eggs in it (image 2).
- Soak each eggplant slice in the beaten egg (image 3).
- Roll the eggplant slices in the breadcrumbs and make sure that they are covered on all sides (image 4).
Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C) and arrange the eggplant strips evenly in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
Quick Note: If your air fryer basket is smaller, or if you need to cook a larger number of fries, for the best results, consider cooking them in a few batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket.
Cook the eggplant fries in the air fryer for about 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C). The cooking time may also depend on how thick you cut the sticks. In my case, I cooked them for 10 minutes until I got a nice golden color.
If you see that the fries haven’t become crispy yet, consider adding 1-2 additional minutes, but be careful not to burn them.
Quick note: Please consider that the cooking time may differ from one air fryer manufacturer to another or from the quantity of the ingredients you will cook simultaneously. Because of that, in the last minutes, please check from time to time fries and adjust the timing if needed. For this recipe, I used: Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT.
The eggplant fries are ready to be served. For the best crunchy texture, I recommend eating the eggplant strips while they are still hot because if they cool down, the texture will soften.
Additionally, when the eggplant fries are still hot, you may sprinkle them with parmesan cheese, or add a few crushed garlic cloves.
A good and simple option is to serve them near a homemade marinara sauce or just to use a jarred sauce.
♻️ Make Ahead, Storage, and Heating:
Can I Prepare the Dish Ahead?
Not really. The only thing you could do ahead is to mix the breadcrumbs with salt and parmesan. I would suggest cooking and serving the eggplant strips immediately because they are the most crunchy right after you will take them off the air fryer.
How Long Do They Last in the Fridge?
You can keep the eggplant sticks in the fridge for up to 2-3 days in a well-closed container.
Can You Freeze Them?
I do not recommend freezing them as the texture will change.
How to Heat Them?
I recommend heating the fries in a preheated air fryer for 2-4 minutes at 375°F or until they will become crispy again. If you will heat the fries in the microwave, they will soften and not be as crispy as they were in the beginning.
🤔Answering Your Questions:
Do I Need to Peel the Eggplant First?
It is not necessary to peel the eggplant before making the fries, but it is a matter of personal preference. The peel is delicious and is nutrient-rich.
Can I Use Pre-Made Breadcrumbs for This Recipe?
Yes, you can use pre-made breadcrumbs, but fresh breadcrumbs will give better results.
Is It Necessary to Use Fresh Parmesan Cheese?
Fresh parmesan cheese will give better results, but you can also use pre-grated parmesan cheese.
What Dipping Sauce Goes Well With This Recipe?
Marinara sauce, ranch dressing, or tzatziki sauce are all great dipping options for this recipe.
📋 Recipe Card:
4-ingredient Air Fryer Eggplant Fries (from scratch)
- Wash well the eggplants and cut them into evenly sized sticks.1 piece Eggplant
- Prepare two bowls: The first one, with 2 beaten eggs, and another with a mix of Parmesan, salt, and breadcrumbs.1 piece Eggplant, ½ cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs, 2 pieces Egg, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Soak each slice first in the beaten eggs and then rotate on all sides in a plate with breadcrumbs and parmesan.
- Arrange them in the air fryer in a single layer and cook them for 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C).2 tablespoon olive oil
- The air fried eggplants fries are ready to be served.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- Cut all the slices evenly to make sure that all of the fries will be cooked the same.
- Make sure that the eggplant is covered on all sides with breadcrumbs and parmesan.
- Arrange the fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket. If you need to cook a larger quantity, consider cooking them in a few batches to obtain the best results.
- Eat them while they are hot because if they will cool down, the eggplant fries will soften.