This Italian Fried Eggplant Recipe is absolutely delicious without using bread crumbs! I’ll show you how to fry eggplant with flour and eggs. It’s simply delicious! Ready in 20 min or less. Gluten-free option and vegetarian.
Fried Eggplant Recipe
Some Fried Eggplant recipes are dry and with a hard texture. But, this recipe is moist and melts in your mouth!
You might not want to be alone with this eggplant when you’re done cooking it! I’m speaking from experience here.
You’ll be amazed when you find out how easy it is to make your own fried eggplant.
It’s a great Meatless Monday recipe or vegetarian dinner or side dish. You’ll want to add it to your list of easy, go-to eggplant recipes.
Plus, this pan fried eggplant recipe can be made gluten-free too!
I use this recipe to make Eggplant Parmigiana! If you are an eggplant parm lover, you need to check it out! You may fall in love.
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Coming from an Italian family of excellent cooks, like my late mother who was literally “off the boat”, I picked up a thing or two about cooking, especially Italian food!
My mom insisted I learn to cook and she’d often say “You’re not watching me!” in Italian. Oh, but I was watching and I remember everything.
My job was to peel the garlic. I actually had to stop watching The Flintstones reruns and go peel garlic! Kids have it so easy today.
How to Fry Eggplant with Flour
This Italian Fried Eggplant is simple to make in 5 easy steps:
- Wash the eggplant and dry them.
- Cut them with a serrated knife.
- Salt them to sweat out the brown, bitter juice.
- Dredging station: Dip them in flour, followed by beaten eggs.
- Fry them in canola, corn or olive oil heated to about 365 degrees. Drain on paper towel-lined platter.
Therefore, let’s get started and you’ll see…
Pan Fried Eggplant
First, wash and dry the eggplant. I used eggplant that is called “Italian Eggplant” from the grocery store.
Before I show you how to fry eggplant, here’s a guide to eggplant varieties if you want to know more about them.
Second, cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick, round pieces. Thin pieces are best. Perhaps use a Mandoline slicer as pictured below.
Do you see the brown seeds in the photo above? Eggplant holds a brown bitter juice that we want to extract before we dredge and fry them.
Third, salt the sliced eggplant pieces. Lie them in a platter and salt each layer. Let them rest for 15 min. Set a timer.
They’ll look like they came out of a sauna. When they’re finished “sweating” out the bitter brown juice, they’ll look like the picture below if not, even more brown juice than pictured.
You can pat off the brown juice with a paper towel but, if you don’t, it won’t make a difference in the taste of the fried Italian eggplant.
Next, let’s start dredging! You ARE going to get your hands dirty here. Maybe make this recipe the day before you go to the nail salon. But, it is possible to dredge the eggplant with a fork but, I just find it faster to use my hands.
You really want to coat the eggplant slices as best you can. First, coat them with flour, followed by a nice dunk in the beaten eggs. You may need to dunk a couple of times to make sure the egg adheres to the flour.
Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free flour instead of white flour.
Next, add them to the hot oil. Let them fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Place the frying Italian eggplant on a platter that is lined with paper towels to drain. Salt them and start eating them when they cool down a bit!
This Simple Fried Italian Eggplant is moist and delicious! I grew up eating eggplant fried this way.
Now, are you ready to use this Italian Fried Eggplant to make Eggplant Parmigiana? My recipe has a homemade meat sauce and it’s utterly delicious! It’s perfect to make ahead for large gatherings or the holidays!
NOTE: if you are doubling this recipe, you’ll likely need to discard the oil when it turns brown and shows black gritty particles in it. It’s time to change the oil. You should be able to fry at least 2-3 small eggplants or 2 large eggplants before this happens.
Why Make Fried Eggplant without breadcrumbs?
As much as I love Italian style bread crumbs and the crunch of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs,) I prefer to use flour when frying eggplant because it has a softer texture and the focus of every bite is on the moistness and flavor of the eggplant.
There’s no distractions here. I talk more about using flour and bread crumbs below in the questions section.
How to Fry Eggplant
Do you need to salt eggplant?
Although you don’t HAVE to, it is better to salt eggplant. Salting eggplant and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes will allow the bitter juices to “sweat” out.
Do you peel eggplant before you fry it?
No, the peel doesn’t detract from the flavor of the eggplant nor does it remove itself from the vegetable flesh as do peppers need to be removed unless you don’t like it. It’s faster and easier clean up not to peel the eggplant.
How do you make eggplant crispy?
If you prefer crispy eggplant and I understand why, just dip the eggplant slices in this order: flour, beaten eggs, Italian style bread crumbs, fry, drain on paper towel lined plate.
The reason for doing it in this order is the egg won’t adhere to the eggplant unless it’s dipped in flour first and the bread crumbs won’t adhere to the flour unless it’s dipped in egg first. It’s an extra step.
Also, the temperature of the oil is important, if it’s too hot, it’ll burn the exterior and not cook the eggplant inside. So, this is how you make crispy fried eggplant.
Italian Fried Eggplant Serving Suggestions:
Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches- i.e. Caprese Italian Fried Eggplant Sandwich pictured below
Serve by itself as a main dish with a pasta side dish
Serve as a side dish with Authentic Homemade Italian meatballs or lasagna
Here’s a sandwich suggestion for your Fried Italian Eggplant with flour:
It’s a Caprese Italian Fried Eggplant Sandwich- Simple Italian Fried Eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ripe tomato, fresh Basil leaves with creamy mayonnaise!
You can make this delicious Simple Italian Fried Eggplant with flour in only 25 min and have moist fried eggplant that you can really taste the flavor of the eggplant.
Make sandwiches, Eggplant Parmesan (or Parmigiana) or eat it as is. Eggplant lover approved!
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Simple Italian Fried Eggplant
- 2 medium or 1 large fresh eggplant, skin on
- 1 3/4 cup Canola, Corn or Olive Oil you may need up to 2 cups
- 4 large eggs, beaten in a shallow bowl
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 tsp salt, plus more for finishing
- Lie the eggplant slices onto a large platter slightly overlapping. Sprinkle salt onto eggplant. Layer if needed but, salt each layer. When done, let eggplant rest for 15 so the brown, bitter juice can "sweat out."
- When eggplant slices are done sweating out the bitter, brown juice, dip them in this order: first in the flour and then dunk them in the eggs until fully coated with egg on both sides and then in the frying pan. Repeat these steps. The next step talks more about frying.
- Fry eggplant slices in med/high heat 365 degrees if using an oil thermometer, for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Thicker slices will need to cook a bit longer. Drain the fried eggplant slices on the paper towel-lined platter.
Sandwiches- i.e. Caprese Italian Fried Eggplant Sandwich
Serve by itself as a main dish with a pasta side dish
Serve as a side dish with meatballs or lasagna