How To Cook Eggplant (Baked, Broiled & Air Fryer Eggplant)
How to cook eggplant in the oven or Air Fryer! Bake, broil, or Air Fry eggplant (aka aubergine) whole, halved or sliced/cubed to perfection every time. Top tips including how long to bake eggplant depending on its size and cooking method!
After slicing and salting the eggplant, toss it with a bit of oil (cubes) or brush with oil (sliced or halved), lay out the slices/cubes on a baking tray. If using halved eggplant, then lay it flesh-side downwards.
Roast in a preheated oven at 400ºF/200ºC for between 25-32 minutes, flipping halfway through (for the coins and cubes). Or for 35-40 minutes, not flipping - if roasting halved eggplants. This will vary based on individual ovens, so check at the shortest time and increase as needed.When ready, the baked eggplant should be a golden brown color with a tender middle. For the halved eggplant, the skin will look puckered and slightly collapsed, with a custardy middle.
How To Roast Eggplant Whole
This method is excellent for when you want a super velvety, custardy eggplant for dips and spreads. Baked whole eggplant means no chance of the eggplant crisping up.Prick the eggplant just a few times all over, then transfer it to a baking tray. Roast the eggplant in a preheated oven at 400ºF/200ºC until the skin gets wrinkly and begins to collapse - which means the flesh inside has become lovely and tender - usually between 45-60 minutes.You can check the tenderness with a knife, too - it should slide through the baked whole eggplant with little resistance.Make sure not to forget to poke holes in the eggplant; otherwise, the steam can build up inside of them and lead to a messy exploding eggplant situation in the oven or across your entire kitchen.
Broiled Eggplant (Grilled Eggplant)
If I've cut my eggplant into coins, I'll often use the oven grill/broiler to cut down on the cooking time.Place the salted/rested and oiled slices in a single layer on a baking tray and broil for between 4-6 minutes per side until golden brown and tender in the middle.
Air Fryer Eggplant
Lay the eggplant slices out in a single layer, with space in between the pieces. Air fry in a preheated Air Fryer at 400ºF/200ºC for around 20 minutes, flipping once halfway (for slices) or between 15-20 minutes for cubed pieces.
Cook the slices/cubes in batches but don't worry about the first batch going cold. Once all of the batched are ready, place them all back in the Air Fryer (no space in-between required!) and air fry for just a few minutes (3-4) at 400ºF/200ºC.
Season and serve!
Don't forget to flip the eggplant - otherwise, it won't crisp up as much and may go 'limp' in the oven!
It's not always necessary to salt the eggplant - especially if you pick smaller ones as they are bred to have less bitterness.
Eggplant is absorbant - so don't worry if your oil seems to disappear as soon as you add it. Make sure to oil them well for the best texture without being greasy.
The thinner you slice the eggplant, the less time they'll need baking, and the more caramelized the edges will be. Just be careful as, too thin, and they'll likely burn.
Do you have to peel eggplant? No, you don't. Not only is the skin edible, but it also helps hold the eggplant slices together once cooked. It's only when using it for dips that you'll scoop out the flesh for the recipe and leave the skin behind (after baking, though!)
You can season the eggplant 101 different ways, so feel free to experiment! It's best to leave the seasoning till post-baking, though, for best results.
For softer slices of eggplant, feel free to space them closer together on the baking tray and skip flipping them over entirely. However, if you want crispier slices, then leave room for the air to circulate between the slices/pieces and make sure to flip.
Check the blog post for lots of serving suggestions and delicious eggplant recipes!