Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

This classic Italian recipe is loaded with scrumptious cheesy layers of breaded eggplant and marinara sauce. The eggplant is air fried instead of pan fried for a lighter, healthier dish.

1 hr 40 mins total time

45 mins active time


Serves 4



For the eggplant:

  • 1 large (1 lb) eggplant
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 oz) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (2½ oz) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup (1¾ oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp water

For the marinara sauce:

  • 1 x 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic


  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

To assemble:

  • 1½ cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ⅓ cup (¾ oz) grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

    to season

  • Small basil leaves

    to serve


  • 1Cut crosswise in ½-inch thick slices.
  • 2Arrange in a single layer on a large tray and sprinkle with half the salt. Turn and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Stand for 40 minutes to remove any bitterness and draw out the moisture to help it crisp. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 3Process the breadcrumbs, parmesan, oregano and pepper for 15 seconds, until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow dish and reserve 3 tablespoons to sprinkle on top.
  • 4Place the flour in a bowl. Whisk the eggs and the water in a separate bowl.
  • 5Rinse the eggplant well under cold water to remove the excess salt. Use paper towels to dry, pressing firmly to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • 6Toss each slice in the flour to coat, shaking off the excess. Dip into the eggs, allowing excess to drain and coat in the crumb mixture.
  • 7The oven will preheat. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 8Arrange the eggplant in a single layer, ensuring they are not touching.
  • 9Once preheated, place the basket in rack position 3 and start the timer. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 10Pour the tomatoes and juice into a bowl and crush evenly.
  • 11Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds, or until just golden. Add the tomatoes, salt, basil and pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Remove from the heat.
  • 12The eggplant should be golden and crisp. If not, give it a bit more.
  • 13Insert the wire rack into position 6 and adjust the temperature. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
  • 14Spread a third of the sauce over the base of a 8-inch square baking dish and top with half the eggplant, in a single layer.
  • 15Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella and a third of the parmesan. Top with another third of the sauce.
  • 16Continue layering with the remaining eggplant, cheese and sauce, ending with the cheese. Sprinkle with the reserved breadcrumb mixture.
  • 17Once preheated, place in the oven and start the timer.
  • 18It should be bubbling and golden brown. If not, give it a bit more.
  • 19Stand for 5 minutes. Season with pepper and serve sprinkled with basil.