Air Fryer Eggplant Fries Recipe with Garlic Basil Aioli

5 from 2 votes
1 hour
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A quick air fry yields these crispy, crunchy fries that are light, tender and creamy on the inside. This Air Fryer Eggplant Fries Recipe with Garlic Basil Aioli is an easy, healthy appetizer, snack or side dish even eggplant skeptics will love! Perfect with my Grilled Chicken Burgers or Mediterranean Chicken!

Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli in basket with parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Why This Recipe Is A Keeper!

I finally bought an air fryer! I’m not a fan of owning a lot of countertop appliances because I hate clutter. However air fryers looked fun and if I could make something a little healthier like eggplant, I’m all for it because eggplant has a reputation for ending up oily.

After making these Air Fryer Eggplant Fries, I’m hooked and I wondered why I’d waited so long! My husband doesn’t really care for eggplant but he agreed this recipe is a keeper! If you’re new to air fryers like I was, this eggplant fries recipe is the perfect way to break it in.

A light, crispy and flavorful exterior coats eggplant “fries” that cook up quickly in your air fryer for a creamy and delicious interior. The Garlic Basil Aioli is the perfect dipping sauce!

Let’s make it!

Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli in parchment lined basket garnished with fresh basil.

How to Make Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli:

Equipment Note: For this air fryer eggplant fries recipe, I used the Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-Quart Air Fryer.

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this eggplant fries and aioli recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Eggplant: For this air fryer eggplant recipe, use “globe” eggplant, otherwise known as American eggplant. They’re readily available in every produce department.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are also known as Japanese breadcrumbs and can be found in the baking aisle with all the other breadcrumbs. They have a coarse, crispy texture.
  • Italian Breadcrumbs: Also known as seasoned dry breadcrumbs, these breadcrumbs are a staple in Italian cooking. The texture is very fine and they are flavored with dried herbs and spices.
  • Garlic Powder: The coating for these air fryer eggplant fries is one of the few times I use garlic powder which is ground dehydrated garlic.
  • Italian Seasoning: Although the Italian breadcrumbs have herbs and spices, adding this herb blend will bump up the flavor of the entire coating.
  • Mayonnaise: We’re fans of Duke’s Mayonnaise but it’s not available in every part of the country. Use your favorite mayonnaise in this aioli recipe including reduced or fat-free.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Combine both types of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a bowl.
  • Beat the eggs and season the flour with salt and black pepper. (It never hurts to add salt and pepper to the eggs, too, unless you’re salt-sensitive.)
Three glass bowls: One consisting of breadcrumb blend, beaten eggs and all-purpose flour.
  • Make the aioli. Combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and process until smooth. (A food processor won’t puree the basil completely however a blender will.)
  • Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
  • Slice the eggplant then cut into fries or “sticks.”
Eggplant rounds and fries on wood cutting board with knife.
  • Toss the eggplant fries with the seasoned flour. Make sure they’re fully coated. Then, as you work, shake off the excess.
Eggplant fries on wood cutting board dusted with all-purpose flour.
  • Dip in the egg then coat with the breadcrumb combination. It helps to use a fork to coat the eggplant fries so your hand doesn’t get “clumped” with breadcrumbs which causes waste.
  • Spray the air fryer racks with cooking spray or oil using an oil mister then place the coated fries on the prepared racks.
  • Give the fries a quick spray with cooking spray or the oil mister.
Two trays of eggplant fries before being fried in air fryer.
  • Place in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The eggplant fries are done when they’re crispy and golden. Like this! Mwaaaahhhh!
  • Keep an eye on them and rotate the racks if necessary.
  • If doing a really big batch, transfer the finished eggplant fries to a baking sheet and keep them warm in a low 180-degree oven.
Two trays of finished eggplant fries.
  • That’s it!!! Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired, serve with the aioli and get rave reviews. I did… from a hubby who isn’t all that crazy about eggplant!
Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli garnished with fresh basil.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Some egg will always be left behind from dipping the eggplant fries into the breadcrumb combination, adding moisture to it. Working with a small amount at a time will keep the majority dry. To keep all the breadcrumbs dry throughout the coating process, transfer a small amount to another bowl or plate and work with that rather than dipping the eggplant fries directly into the entire bowl of breadcrumbs.
  • Use a fork to coat the eggplant fries so your hand doesn’t get “clumped” with breadcrumbs which causes waste.
Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli in parchment paper lined basket with Parmesan cheese scattered about.
Eggplant fries in basket with one dipped into Garlic Basil Aioli.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How does an air fryer work?

Although called a “fryer,” the food doesn’t actually fry. The food goes onto a perforated rack or basket and the food cooks by hot air that circulates around it, similar to a convection oven. The force of the hot air cooks and browns the food.

What can you cook in an air fryer?

Any breaded (such as these eggplant fries) or dry seasoned food can be cooked in an air fryer. If you’re an air fryer novice, this recipe is the perfect way to try it out. It’s not possible to cook food dipped in a batter such as fried chicken or doughy foods because the batter will drip through the holes in the basket or the rack/tray.

Can eggplant fries be prepped ahead of time?

Yes, absolutely! Get the eggplant fries cut and breaded then place them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet as shown. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the pan, but do not secure it. (It helps to have some air circulation so the coating doesn’t get soggy.). Refrigerate for up to 24 hours then proceed as directed. The Garlic Basil Aioli can also be made up to 24 hours ahead.
Breaded eggplant fries on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Can I make these eggplant fries in a conventional oven or convection oven?

Yes! Prepare to the point of placing in the conventional or convection oven. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees in a conventional oven or 375 degrees in a convection oven. Keep an eye on them and flip halfway through.

Serve with:

More great eggplant recipes you’re going to love!

Besides this eggplant fries recipe, get all my appetizer and snack recipes here! Appetizer and Snack Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen

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Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli garnished with fresh basil.

Air Fryer Eggplant Fries Recipe with Garlic Basil Aioli

5 from 2 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
A quick air fry yields these crispy, crunchy fries that are light, tender and creamy on the inside. Air Fryer Eggplant Fries with Garlic Basil Aioli is an easy, healthy appetizer, snack or side dish even eggplant skeptics will love!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Appetizers and Snacks, Side Dishes – Vegetables
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 717 kcal

Ingredients
  

Aioli

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 large sprig fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Eggplant Fries

  • 2 medium eggplant - or 1 large eggplant
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs - (Italian-style)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese - divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt - divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper - plus more for the eggs and flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cooking spray - or oil in a spritzer

Instructions
 

Aioli

  • Combine the aioli ingredients in a blender or mini food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Eggplant Fries

  • Slice the eggplant(s) into rounds then cut into similar-sized "fries."
  • Combine the panko, seasoned dry breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper in a bowl.
  • Beat the eggs in another bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper to the flour. Toss the eggplant fries with the seasoned flour so they're evenly coated.
  • Spray the racks in the air fryer with cooking spray.
  • Shake any excess flour off the fries, dip into the beaten eggs, then evenly coat with the seasoned breadcrumb combination using a fork.
  • Working in batches, place the coated fries in a single layer on the prepared racks in the air fryer.
  • Spray the fries with cooking spray or lightly spritz them with oil.
  • Air fry at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, rotating the racks if necessary midway through until the fries are lightly browned and can be easily pierced with a paring knife. Repeat until all the eggplant fries are cooked, holding warm in a low 180-degree oven if necessary.
  • Serve the eggplant fries with the aioli.

Notes

  • To keep all the breadcrumbs dry throughout the coating process, transfer a small amount to another bowl or plate and work with that rather than dipping the eggplant fries directly into the entire bowl of breadcrumbs.
  • Use a fork to coat the eggplant fries so your hand doesn’t get “clumped” with breadcrumbs which causes waste.
MAKE AHEAD:  Get the eggplant fries cut and breaded then place them on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet as shown. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the pan, but do not secure it. (It helps to have some air circulation so the coating doesn’t get soggy.). Refrigerate for up to 24 hours then proceed as directed. The Garlic Basil Aioli can also be made up to 24 hours ahead.
CONVENTIONAL OVEN:  Prepare to the point of placing in the conventional or convection oven. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees.  Keep an eye on them and flip halfway through.
CONVECTION:  Prepare to the point of placing in the conventional or convection oven. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees.  Keep an eye on them and flip halfway through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 717kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 27g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 1519mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 488IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 349mg | Iron: 4mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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2 Comments

    1. Hi, Rick, Thanks so much for your question. I think it would be fine to do these in a regular convection oven. You can also do them in a regular conventional oven. For the convection oven, I would increase the temperature slightly to 375. For the conventional oven, I would increase the temperature to 425 degrees. Keep an eye on them either way! Thanks so much and hope you enjoy!