Eggplant Chips with Honey (Berenjenas con Miel)

5 from 6 votes
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Berenjenas con miel (aka crispy eggplant with honey) is a popular Spanish tapas combining super crispy eggplant chips/fries (fried, baked, or air fried) and served with black honey (aka cane molasses). Best of all, this eggplant chips recipe requires just 5 ingredients and under an hour for a delicious sweet and savory appetizer or side!

A plate with eggplant fries

Recently, a Spanish Instagram follower let me know about this popular Andalusian tapas dish “berenjenas con miel”, aka eggplant with honey, and I’m obsessed. I’ve already shared a recipe for breaded (baked) eggplant fries and recently shared my general favorite methods for cooking eggplant (which includes air frying and baked). Now, these crispy eggplant chips with honey combine a few elements of both – topping off the crispy eggplant “fries” with black honey (aka cane molasses – which is actually 100% vegan!).

For my version of berenjenas con miel, I’ve made crispy eggplant chips/fries, including a method for deep frying the eggplant chips (which is the traditional method). However, I’ve also lightened this tapas dish up with baking and air fryer methods. When doing either of the latter two, the recipe requires far less oil and reduces a ton of calories for a far healthier dish. You can then enjoy them with other tapas dishes (like fried Padrón peppers or Patatas Bravas) or as a side.

Eggplant fries and black honey

I actually made this batch in my air fryer, and they are still CRISPY with a capital C. Even the baked eggplant slices are wonderfully crispy (though not quite as impressive). Best of all, depending on what flour and oil you use, this recipe can be gluten-free, paleo, keto, and vegan!

And, if you’re looking for more ways to enjoy eggplant, you might like this Chinese eggplant stir-fry, eggplant red pepper dip (ajvar), eggplant parmesan, tomato eggplant pasta, or perfect oven roasted eggplant slices!

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Why soak eggplant?

I’ve included methods using either dairy milk or sparkling water (vegan) to soak the eggplant within this recipe. Soaking the eggplant removes the bitterness from the eggplant even without salting it. Sparkling water and milk fill the porous cavities in the eggplant. This not only makes for super tender eggplant and holding its shape better, but it also stops excess oil from being absorbed by the eggplant too (great when deep-frying).

Eggplant slices soaked in milk

Having tried methods with and without soaking the eggplant, I LOVE how unbelievably crispy the eggplant chips are after soaking – so I wouldn’t recommend skipping this step! So now, let’s jump right into the recipe!

The Ingredients

  • Eggplant: it’s best to use smaller eggplants (like Japanese eggplant) for fewer seeds and less bitterness. Plus, their longer, thinner size makes them easier to cut into even-sized slices/fries.
  • Salt: helps the eggplant release its bitterness.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour. For a gluten-free alternative, you can use cornstack, tapioca flour, chickpea flour, or even rice flour or an all-purpose gluten-free blend.
  • Honey: I used “black honey” aka sugarcane molasses (naturally vegan). To make it at home, I followed this method for homemade cane sugar, stopping when the juice is half reduced. However, you can use regular bee honey. For another vegan option, use this dandelion honey (which tastes almost identical to bee honey!).
  • Milk OR Sparkling water: this is used to soak the eggplant for various reasons (listed above). Use either based on dietary preferences and what you have available. You can also use beer.
  • Oil: if you’re making baked or air fryer eggplant chips, you just need a little oil and can use olive oil or avocado oil, etc. However, I recommend a cheaper alternative like canola oil for deep-frying, though olive oil is also a popular option (I usually avoid using it for deep-frying due to the strong flavor and low smoking point).
Ingredients for eggplant fries

Optional add-ins and recipe variations

  • Other sauces: While this eggplant chips recipe is traditionally served with honey or molasses, this crispy baked eggplant will work as ‘fries’ with tons of different sauces; mayo, ketchup, sour cream, sriracha mayo, tahini sauce, balsamic glaze, etc. I particularly love the crispy eggplant chips with dips like tzatziki and even marinara. Salsa works well when slicing them at eggplant rounds that can scoop up the salsa.
  • Spice: If you want a ‘sweet and spicy’ dish, you could add some chili/cayenne powder to the flour mixture OR sprinkle the final dish with some red pepper flakes.
  • Seasonings: The easiest way to add extra flavor is by seasoning the flour coating. Paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder are all favorites of mine. Cumin and oregano would also work well. Rosemary, sage, and thyme all pair well with honey.
  • Parmesan: Parmesan will crisp up when cooked OR can be sprinkled over the cooked eggplant slices. Nutritional yeast can add a slightly nutty/cheesy flavor when making vegan eggplant chips.
  • Breadcrumb coating: You can use half flour and half fine breadcrumbs for ‘crunchier’ baked eggplant slices.
  • Herbs: You could garnish the crispy eggplant chips with fresh herbs like finely chopped parsley.

How to Make Crispy Eggplant with Honey?

Step 1: Prepare the eggplant

First, chop the eggplant either into matchsticks/thin slices (1/8-inch) or 1/8-inch coins.

Then, sprinkle salt on top of them and set them aside for about 15-20 minutes.

Then transfer the eggplant to a large bowl of either milk (dairy) or sparkling water (vegan) and soak for 30-60 minutes, covered.

Steps for preparing eggplant chips

I recommend 30 minutes minimum, but you can also soak them covered in the refrigerator overnight. I’ve tried both ingredients and had very impressive (but almost identical) results – so use either based on what you have available.

Step 2: Coat and cook the eggplant chips

Drain the milk/sparkling water from the eggplant and pat the pieces dry slightly. Then lightly coat with flour- shaking off any excess, so it’s a thin coating.

You can optionally season the flour for more flavor – salt, pepper, and other spices or herbs could be added. You can even add sesame seeds or wheat bran into the flour.

Eggplant pieces covered with flour

Then, you can cook the eggplant slices, either in the oven, an air fryer, or deep frying.

Baked eggplant chips: preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Then transfer the floured eggplant chips to a parchment paper-lined baking tray sprayed with a bit of oil. Bake the eggplant chips for around 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Air fryer eggplant chips: arrange the eggplant chips in a single layer on the greased basket (you might have to cook them in batches), then air fry at 400ºF/200ºC for about 12-15 minutes, until golden and crisp.

Deep Fry: Add enough oil to fill a large, deep skillet with 1 inch of oil and heat over medium heat. To check that the oil is ready, dip a chopstick or wooden skewer into the oil – if bubbles instantly form around the wood – you’re ready to go. Alternatively, use a thermometer to make sure it’s at 350F/180C.

Frying eggplant fries

Fry the eggplant in small batches until golden and crispy, turning often (2-4 minutes). Then transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.

How to Serve

To serve, drizzle the crispy baked eggplant with the black honey (or regular/vegan honey) and optionally a sprinkle of flaky salt. You can also add some parsley or other herbs. Then enjoy!

Here are some other ways you can enjoy the eggplant fries:

  • With salmorejo (an Andalusian soup with tomatoes, garlic, and bread).
  • Serve alongside other appetizers like Pan-Fried Zucchini.
  • Serve with goat cheese or fresh Mató cheese.
  • Make them into a sweeter snack with cinnamon and pomegranate molasses.
Eggplant fries on a plate

How to Store 

Make ahead: you can leave the eggplant to soak in the milk/sparkling water overnight and then drain and continue with the recipe. Alternatively, you can freeze the soaked and flour-coated eggplant for between 3-4 months in an airtight container/bag. Then cook from frozen, adding extra time to whichever cooking method you choose.

Storing: store any leftover air-fried/fried/baked eggplant slices in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Reheating: these crispy eggplant chips are best when fresh. However, if you’ve saved leftovers and want to reheat them to bring back some of their crispiness, I recommend placing them either in your oven or air fryer at around 350ºF/180ºC for 8-12 minutes until heated and crisp.

Eggplant fries drizzled with black honey

Recipe Notes and Top Tips

  • Don’t cut the eggplant too thick: the larger the pieces, the harder it is to make them super crispy.
  • Slice the pieces evenly: if you aren’t confident with your knife skills, you could use a mandoline to ensure all the eggplant slices are even. That way, they’ll cook evenly, too.
  • How to use the leftovers: while you can reheat the leftovers to eat with honey as an appetizer, you can also enjoy the eggplant fries as part of many meals, over salads, as a snack, etc.
  • Air fryer times will vary: Whenever I’ve posted air fryer recipes, I’ve received messages that the times have differed for different brands. So it’s important to keep an eye on any new recipe in your air fryer to see where the times vary. That way, you’ll know for next time.
  • Don’t overcrowd the eggplant: No matter which cooking method you use, overcrowding the eggplant will impact how crispy you’re able to get the eggplant. Make sure there is space between the eggplant slices when baking/ air frying and always deep-fry in small batches.

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If you try this crispy eggplant chips with honey (Berenjenas con Miel) recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Crispy Eggplant Chips with Honey (Berenjenas con Miel | Vegan)

5 from 6 votes
By: Samira
Berenjenas con miel (aka crispy eggplant with honey) is a popular Spanish tapas combining super crispy eggplant chips/fries (fried, baked, or air fried) and served with black honey (aka cane molasses). Best of all, this eggplant chips recipe requires just 5 ingredients and under an hour for a delicious sweet and savory appetizer or side!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 sides

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 eggplants use smaller eggplants (like Japanese eggplant) for fewer seeds and less bitterness
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour or tapioca flour or cornstarch or chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp black honey aka sugarcane molasses; or use honey
  • 2 cup milk or sparkling water, or beer
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil if baking or air-frying; if deep-frying you will need more – see notes below

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the eggplant

  • Chop the eggplant either into matchsticks/thin slices (1/8 inch) or 1/8-inch coins (0.3 cm).
  • Sprinkle salt on top of them and set them aside for about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl of either milk (dairy) or sparkling water (vegan) and soak for 30-60 minutes, covered.
    I recommend 30 minutes minimum, but you can also soak them covered in the refrigerator overnight. I've tried both ingredients and had very impressive (but almost identical) results – so use either based on what you have available.

Step 2: Coat and cook the eggplant chips

  • Drain the milk/sparkling water from the eggplant and pat the pieces dry slightly. Lightly coat with flour- shaking off any excess, so it’s a thin coating.
    You can optionally season the flour for more flavor – salt, pepper, and other spices or herbs could be added. You can even add sesame seeds or wheat bran into the flour.
  • Then, you can cook the eggplant slices, either in the oven, an air fryer, or deep frying.
    Baked eggplant chips: preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Then transfer the floured eggplant chips to a parchment paper-lined baking tray sprayed with a bit of oil. Bake the eggplant chips for around 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
    Air fryer eggplant chips: arrange the eggplant chips in a single layer on the greased basket (you might have to cook them in batches), then air fry at 400ºF/200ºC for about 12-15 minutes, until golden and crisp.
    Deep Fry: add enough oil to fill a large, deep skillet with 1 inch of oil and heat over medium heat. To check that the oil is ready, dip a chopstick or wooden skewer into the oil – if bubbles instantly form around the wood – you're ready to go. Alternatively, use a thermometer to make sure it's at 350ºF/180ºC.
    Fry the eggplant in small batches until golden and crispy, turning often (2-4 minutes). Then transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.
  • To serve, drizzle the crispy baked eggplant with the black honey (or regular/vegan honey) and optionally a sprinkle of flaky salt. Then enjoy!

How to Store

  • Make ahead: you can leave the eggplant to soak in the milk/sparkling water overnight and then drain and continue with the recipe. Alternatively, you can freeze the soaked and flour-coated eggplant for between 3-4 months in an airtight container/bag. Then cook from frozen, adding extra time to whichever cooking method you choose.
    Storing: store any leftover air-fried/fried/baked eggplant slices in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
    Reheating: these crispy eggplant chips are best when fresh. However, if you've saved leftovers and want to reheat them to bring back some of their crispiness, I recommend placing them either in your oven or air fryer at around 350ºF/180ºC for 8-12 minutes until heated and crisp.

Notes

  • How much oil to use: if you’re making baked or air fryer eggplant chips, you just need a little oil and can use olive oil or avocado oil, etc. However, I recommend a cheaper alternative like canola oil for deep-frying, though olive oil is also a popular option (I usually avoid using it for deep-frying due to the strong flavor and low smoking point). For deep frying, you need to fill your skillet with 1-inch oil.
  • Don’t cut the eggplant too thick: the larger the pieces, the harder it is to make them super crispy.
  • Slice the pieces evenly: if you aren’t confident with your knife skills, you could use a mandoline to ensure all the eggplant slices are even. That way, they’ll cook evenly, too.
  • How to use the leftovers: while you can reheat the leftovers to eat with honey as an appetizer, you can also enjoy the eggplant fries as part of many meals, over salads, as a snack, etc.
  • Air fryer times will vary: whenever I’ve posted air fryer recipes, I’ve received messages that the times have differed for different brands. So it’s important to keep an eye on any new recipe in your air fryer to see where the times vary. That way, you’ll know for next time.
  • Don’t overcrowd the eggplant: no matter which cooking method you use, overcrowding the eggplant will impact how crispy you’re able to get the eggplant. Make sure there is space between the eggplant slices when baking/air frying and always deep-fry in small batches.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
  • Other sauces: while this eggplant chips recipe is traditionally served with honey or molasses, this crispy baked eggplant will work as “fries” with tons of different sauces: mayo, ketchup, sour cream, sriracha mayo, tahini sauce, balsamic glaze, etc. I particularly love the crispy eggplant chips with dips like tzatziki and even marinara. Salsa works well when slicing them at eggplant rounds that can scoop up the salsa.
  • Spice: if you want a “sweet and spicy” dish, you could add some chili/cayenne powder to the flour mixture OR sprinkle the final dish with some red pepper flakes.
  • Seasonings: the easiest way to add extra flavor is by seasoning the flour coating. Paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder are all favorites of mine. Cumin and oregano would also work well. Rosemary, sage, and thyme all pair well with honey.
  • Parmesan: parmesan will crisp up when cooked OR can be sprinkled over the cooked eggplant slices. Nutritional yeast can add a slightly nutty/cheesy flavor when making vegan eggplant chips.
  • Breadcrumb coating: you can use half flour and half fine breadcrumbs for “crunchier” baked eggplant slices.
  • Herbs: you could garnish the crispy eggplant chips with fresh herbs like finely chopped parsley.
 
Check the blog post for more helpful tips and serving suggestions!
Course: Appetizer, Side
Cuisine: European, Spanish
Freezer friendly: 3-4 Months (meal-prepped)
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 168mg, Potassium: 544mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 53IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 173mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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