Air fryer eggplant parm with chunky marinara is Italian comfort food made easy. The eggplant is soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Topped with homemade marinara and parmesan and mozzarella cheese, you can’t go wrong with this delicious and easy dish.
Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
Air fryer eggplant parm is simple and delicious Italian comfort food. Eggplant parmesan is one of my all time favorites. My Italian grandmother used to prepare it every Christmas Eve. The trick to the best eggplant parm is to get the eggplant soft and creamy on the inside with a crispy and tasty crust on the exterior. This can be accomplished by cooking the eggplant in the air fryer. A quick and delicious eggplant parmesan without the hassle.
To Bread or Not To Bread the Eggplant
In this recipe, I made the eggplant parmesan two ways: with both breaded and unbreaded eggplant. The dish works either way. You can do either one depending on your personal preference.
For the breaded eggplant, mix the eggs thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan, and seasoning. Dip the eggplant slices in the eggs, drain excess egg mixture from the eggplant, and then coat thoroughly with the breadcrumb mixture. In my opinion, breaded eggplant is better. It tastes better (the breadcrumb mixture adds some nice flavor). Additionally, it gives the eggplant a nice crust that provides some additional texture. However, it is more work and requires additional ingredients and clean up. Also, it adds extra carbs, if that’s a thing for you.
The unbreaded eggplant is much simpler. Toss the eggplant with olive oil and salt. And that’s it – it’s ready for cooking. This is quicker, requires less ingredients, and doesn’t add any additional carbs.
Cooking Eggplant in Air Fryer
Cooking eggplant parm in the air fryer is simple. Preheat air fryer to 390 deg. F. Put eggplant slices in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for about five to eight minutes. Flip the eggplant slices and cook for another five to eight minutes. The eggplant should be soft and cooked through on the inside. For the breaded eggplant, the outside should be crispy and golden brown.
Chunky Marinara Sauce
Eggplant and tomato play well together. In this eggplant parmesan recipe, the tomatoes come into the picture with a chunky marinara sauce (see here for recipe). After the eggplant have cooked, put a spoonful of hearty marinara sauce on each slice of eggplant, and then top with cheese. I would definitely suggest making your own sauce at home – it is easy, cheap, and tastes much better. Personally, I would even use raw tomato rather than buying a premade tomato sauce. To use raw tomato, simply put a slice of tomato on each slice of eggplant instead of the sauce, and then top with cheese. Put the eggplant parm in air fryer and cook for a couple minutes until cheese is melted.
Serving the Air Fryer Eggplant Parm
Serve the air fryer eggplant parm immediately. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve with extra chunky marinara sauce if desired. You can eat the air fried eggplant parm by itself or with a side of pasta. Toss the pasta with your hearty marinara sauce top with parmesan cheese.
Air Fryer Eggplant Parm With Chunky Marinara
- Air Fryer
- 1 each large eggplant, about 1 lb
- 2 each eggs, mixed thoroughly
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 0.5 cup grated parmesan half should go in breadcrumb mixture, the other half will be sprinkled on finished eggplant parmesan
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
- Cut eggplant into 0.5 inch slices
- Breaded Eggplant: Mix breadcrumbs, half the parmesan, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, put the mixed eggs. Dip eggplant into egg mixture and drain excess. Coat with breadcrumb mixture.Unbreaded Eggplant: Toss eggplant with olive oil and salt.
- Preheat air fryer to 390 deg. F. Put eggplant in air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for about eight minutes each side. Eggplant should be golden brown on the outside and completely cooked through and soft on the inside.
- Put a spoonful of chunky marinara on each eggplant slice. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and then top with mozzarella. Put back in air fryer for about two to four minutes to melt cheese.
- Serve immediately sprinkled with parmesan cheese and extra marinara sauce if desired.