Crispy Eggplant Fries (air fryer recipe)

When you have an abundance of eggplant from the farmer’s market or your garden, these eggplant fries made in the air fryer are the super easy, quick snack or burger side dish you didn’t know you needed!

eggplant fries sitting on a parchment lined gray scalloped cup sitting on a black plate.

You may have (or may know someone who has) a boatload of eggplant growing in their garden. My grandpap Dominic (Josie’s husband) grew loads of eggplant each year in his amazing garden and even was in the paper for growing an absolutely enormous one. I wish I had that picture of him grinning holding that 100 lb eggplant! And I know Josie would have made a truck full of these eggplant fries for her always hungry family.

But maybe not in the air fryer. Ok —definitely not in the air fryer.

Here at J+N, we’re all about old school cool. And no question —air fryers fall in the “cool category” right now.

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Why This Recipe

whole eggplant standing on a light gray floor with a black tile background.

Over here we love breaded eggplant as evidenced by my ricotta-kissed Eggplant Parmesan Stacks. So these Eggplant Fries were a no-brainer to use up my haul from the farmer’s market and they’re the perfect summer sidekick to these oh-so Juicy Turkey Burgers.

Ingredients

The ingredients needed to make these crispy eggplant fries are fairly straightforward with the exception of a couple little zingy surprises! It’s a three step process that is outlined below.

wooden cutting board with slices of eggplant, spoons with seasoning and bowls of eggs, flour, and breading.
  • Dry ingredients. A combo of panko and parmesan makes for a crispy breading. Don’t fall over but I don’t recommend using freshly grated parmesan here. Surprisingly, the Kraft parmesan cheese in the green can makes for a crunchier breading.
  • Binding. The first surprise is a blend of eggs and yellow mustard which adds some zippy flavor.
  • Seasonings. The next surprise is an little spot of heat thanks to some cayenne pepper. You can certainly leave it out all together (it’s such a small amount), and of course, I wouldn’t be one bit mad if you added more.

Step-by-step Instructions

a white bowl with flour, a black bowl with eggs and mustard , and a white bowl of breadcrumbs

First, make sure to grab three flattish bowls (pie or quiche plates work well) to set up a breading station. In each bowl, place:

  • Bowl 1: Stir the seasonings into the flour.
  • Bowl 2: Beat the eggs and stir in the yellow mustard.
  • Bowl 3: Toss together the parmesan and panko until incorporated.
eggplant being sliced into fries on a wooden cutting board.

Next, slice up the eggplant first into about 1″ slices (about 5 per eggplant) and then crosswise into fries. You’ll get about 8 fries per slice.



How much more work is it to make a homemade brownie vs. a boxed mix brownie?

1 average eggplant = approximately 40 fries

-Josie + Nina


Breading process

Now it’s time to get breading…

steps to bread eggplant fries including flouring, egg dip and rolling cheese and breadcrumbs.
  1. A few at a time, lay eggplant fries in the flour and toss to coat.
  2. Dip into the egg and mustard mixture using a fork. Allow excess to drain.
  3. Coat with cheese and panko crumbs and lay on a rack-lined sheet pan.

Cook in Air Fryer

air fryer basket with some breaded eggplant sticks on a gray background.

In a single layer, place eggplant fries in the air fryer basket without crowding. You’ll do this in several steps. Keep an oven on low to keep the fries warm while you are cooking the rest.

Cook at 400˚ for 11-15 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through and is browned and crispy.

Make the dipping sauce

honey, mayonnaise, and sriracha in a cut glass bowl sitting inside a larger black bowl.

In a small bowl, stir up a combo of mayonnaise, honey and sriracha for the best dipping sauce.

Equipment

To make these eggplant fries according to the recipe, I suggest using an air fryer. An air fryer is:

  • perfect for the warm weather because it doesn’t heat up your kitchen
  • is easy to clean
  • is darn fast!

But if you don’t have access to one, the recipe includes instructions for making them in a conventional oven.



TIP

To avoid getting your hands all gunked up during the breading process, use one hand or utensil for the dry ingredients and the other hand when dipping in the wet.

-Josie + Nina


Variations

Here are a few ways to help you tailor these crispy eggplant fries to your menu or tastes:

  • Italian – sprinkle in some oregano and parsley to the seasoning/flour mixture.
  • Southwest – add some cumin and ancho chili powder.
  • Extra spicy – zip things up with a little crushed red pepper.

Serving, Storage & Reheating

  • Eggplant fries can be breaded and refrigerated earlier in the same day before frying.
  • Can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet and transferred to a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in an air fryer for about 3-5 minutes or a 400˚ oven for 5 minutes.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


eggplant fries sitting on a parchment lined gray scalloped cup sitting on a black plate.
5 from 6 votes

Eggplant Fries (air fryer recipe)

Eggplant fries made in the air fryer are the super easy, quick snack or burger side dish you didn't know you needed!
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings 8

Equipment

  • air fryer

Ingredients
 

Sauce ingredients

Instructions

  • Gather three flat pie plates or wide shallow bowls.

For the breading

  • In the first, stir together the flour, cayenne, salt, and garlic.
  • In the second, beat the eggs and stir in the yellow mustard until combined.
  • In the third, lightly toss the panko and parmesan until mixed.

To slice the eggplant

  • Thickly slice the eggplant into 5 slices. Then slice each slice into 8 "fries". You'll end up with approximately 40 fries.

Breading Process

  • Roll a few "fries" into the flour first, then using a fork, coat completely with the egg/mustard. Finally, roll it in the panko/parm until covered.

Air fry

  • In a single layer, place the breaded eggplant in the air fryer basket. "Fry" at 400° for 11-15 minutes according to your air fryer instructions. Check the eggplant at the 8 minute mark and then again around 12 minutes, flipping as needed.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together and serve on the side for dipping.

Notes

Don’t have an air fryer?
Bake at 400˚ on a sheet pan lined with a rack for approximately 20 minutes until crispy. Flip halfway through to bake evenly.
Serving, Storing, & Reheating
  • Eggplant fries can be breaded and refrigerated earlier in the same day before frying.
  • Can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet and transferred to a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in an air fryer for about 3-5 minutes or a 400˚ oven for 5 minutes.
 
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, Celebrations
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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8 Comments

  1. I used fresh Parmesan cheese as I don’t buy the Kraft and they were super crispy and tasty after 13 minutes! I highly recommend!5 stars

  2. Made this tonight and it was fantastic! Love the tang the mustard gave to the batter and the dipping sauce is a must! We had a rather large eggplant and there is nothing left! Thanks so much for the great recipe!!!5 stars